Families and friends often look forward to the holidays as a time to catch up with loved ones who they haven’t seen in a long time. For families with stepchildren and stepparents, some people dread this time because the situation can become awkward or even tenuous as some members of the family struggle to get along with new members who seem to be replacing the old members.
However, blended families can often enjoy the holidays just as any other family. If you had a trying holiday season with your blended family, it can benefit you and your loved ones to mentally prepare for next year well in advance. The longer you can process what has happened this year in order to make next year brighter, the more likely you will be to succeed in this ultimate goal. Here are a few thoughts you may benefit from mulling over before next year.
It is acceptable to celebrate holidays on different dates
People often forget that the point of the holidays is to celebrate with loved ones. Celebrating the holidays on a specific date isn’t a big deal. Instead, try to find a day that works for everyone regardless of the date on the calendar. This will help to create a cordial family atmosphere and lets everyone know that the family is trying its best to remain flexible and enjoy the company of everyone. Keep an open mind and remember that the most important part of the holidays is celebrating with loved ones. If you need to alter your custody agreement in any way before next year, consider speaking with an experienced family law attorney.
Control is not the name of the game
When blended families are introducing new family members to old family members, it can be tempting to hover and make sure that everyone is getting along with each other. Some people will even try to guide the conversation in a certain direction to manipulate the interaction in an intentional way. Do not try to do this. Remember that if you love that person then the family will love them with you. Allow people the space to make their own way and navigate an unfamiliar environment. Manipulating a conversation will make it feel forced and everyone will detect the awkwardness. Give people space.
Maintaining a positive attitude
People are taught as children to remain quiet if they don’t have anything nice to say. This tip is essential in a new family gathering. It can be tempting to bring up the old family members or talk about how the other people somehow wronged the people at the gathering. This will only create a feeling of animosity and the negativity will spread. Instead, focus on the positives of introducing new people to the family. Creating a positive atmosphere will make the gathering run more smoothly.
Try to start a new family tradition
One of the easiest ways to bring people together is to start a new tradition. This is an event that the new family can call its own. This could be anything from a certain meal to playing a certain game or even a specific outdoor activity. Doing something together as a new family breeds companionship because everyone will work together towards a common goal in this new tradition. Try to think of something that everyone at the gathering will enjoy and continue this tradition each year. This will bring the family closer together.