How to Reduce Holiday Stress Among Blended Families

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Managing the holiday season with a blended family can be challenging. Finding ways to schedule celebrations, visits, and gift-giving occasions when dealing with two or more extended families can require significant time and effort on your part and on the part of your former spouse. Here are some of the most helpful strategies for handling the holidays with a blended and extended family.

Get Everyone Involved

Even if you and your current spouse are not on good terms with your former in-laws, the holiday season is the perfect time to put these hard feelings aside and include everyone in your celebration plans. Your children will benefit from maintaining contact with all members of your extended family. If you cannot bring yourself to visit or invite these family members, you may want to consult with your former spouse to make sure that he or she will make the effort and will include extended family members in their holiday plans.

Take Turns

One way to make sure that the holidays are equitable and fair is to take turns by alternating years for holiday celebrations between you and your former spouse. This can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  • If you and your former spouse live in the same city, then you may be able to split the holidays by allowing your children to spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other. This will help both of you enjoy the holiday experience with your children.
  • Alternatively, you may be able to split the holiday vacation by weeks. Most children have about two weeks off school at the end of the year. By taking turns on which week you will have with your children and which week your former spouse will take, you can establish a schedule that works for all parties involved.

Allotting plenty of time for both you and your former spouse to visit relatives and plan holiday activities is an excellent way to ensure that everyone enjoys this festive season this year and in the future.

Establish New Family Traditions

With the changes in schedule required after a divorce and subsequent remarriages, new family traditions can provide the added sense of stability your children need to feel confident and happy during the holidays. Planning a trip to a local restaurant or amusement center will allow all members of the family to bond more closely and enjoy the pleasures of the holiday season in a new way. For families that prefer to stay at home, board games, favorite movies and decorating the tree are all activities that can inspire feelings of merriment and joy for your children and your entire family.

By working with your former spouse to create an inclusive and enjoyable holiday season, you can ensure the merriest atmosphere for everyone in your immediate and extended family. The holidays are a great time to put aside any feelings of resentment or anger and extend the hand of friendship to your co-parent and his or her extended family.