Unfortunately, there is nothing more frustrating than the holidays when it comes to a blended family. These times are supposed to be filled with joy and fun; instead, they can be filled with stress and tension.
If done right, they can once again be enjoyable!
Here are 3 ways we started handling Christmas differently, eventually making Christmas a real joy again.
When you blend two families together, the one sure thing you will get is 2 different types of traditions. Every family has their own way of doing things.
Real tree or a fake tree?
Presents get opened from mom & dad on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
The whole family (including extended family) spends Christmas together, or just your family?
So many options and of course when you get together, your option is the right option because “we have always done it this way!”
If you desire a joyful and enjoyable Christmas, you must start new family traditions!
Kristy and I had to. Our ex’s always complained about who had the kids on Christmas Eve. When it was their year to have the kids, they would keep them way over their time. Just to be jerks.
Eventually, we decided that they could have them every Christmas Eve. Then we started a tradition where she and I spent the evening together, alone. I made prime rib and we enjoyed the time to ourselves. Once we let go of the “It’s not fair, they’re my kids too” attitude, we began to find real joy in Christmas again.
Drop Your Expectations
If you want to ruin your Christmas experience, have expectations on everything! Things will go wrong. Your ex will make things hard. Kids will be jerks. Your extended family will not understand why your kids are late.
You can count on things going sideways because they will. If you have this weird expectation that Christmas is your favorite so it must be perfect; you have already set yourself up to let down.
Learn to drop your expectations. Over-communicate with your spouse and let them know your frustrations and move on. I promise you, things are gonna change, but if you can drop your expectations and become more flexible, your Christmas will be so much better.
Give Give Give
This is simply a mindset shift. When we focus more on what we can give, then we are not disappointed when we don’t get things the way we desire.
Find ways that you and your spouse can serve. Find ways that you and the kids can serve. Find a family to sponsor for Christmas if you can afford to do so.
Get connected to your church and find ways to serve. Every church has a Christmas play. Even if this is for kids only, they always need parents to help. Get involved. Serve and serve together.
This alone will change the temperature of Christmas, especially on the inside of you. We become so much less self-involved when we are serving. Plus this point alone will satisfy both new traditions and healthy expectations.
You have a new family. Don’t expect things to be the same as they always were, or you will get what you always got. Blended families are amazing. They are a chance to create something brand new.
Merry Christmas from us to you!