The holidays are approaching, friends! And with that comes lots of fun, but possibly lots of stress too. Especially if you’re a part of a blended family. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the holidays, and all that comes with it. Now. But 10 years ago? Not so much. However, I’ve learned many ways to deal with the chaos that this time of year brings. So I thought I would share with you how I survive the holidays with my blended family!
Know The Schedule
We have been pretty consistent with our holiday schedule over the years. For Thanksgiving, we usually pick the kids up the night before, and then have them for half of the day on Thanksgiving. Their mom then picks them up, and will have them for the weekend. Now for Christmas, we always switch off who has them overnight Christmas Eve into Christmas morning. This year, we will have the kids the first half of the day on Christmas Eve, and then get them back for the second half of Christmas day, and keep them the majority of Christmas vacation. Whew! Did you follow that? I actually share how we split all of the holidays in this post, if you’d like to read!
It can get kind of confusing keeping track of the holiday schedule. Which is why it is important that we are aware of it well ahead of time. This eliminates last-minute confusion, and even arguments. Because who wants to be arguing during the holidays? Certainly not me! So my advice – have your schedule worked out well in advance.
This is good advice for any situation, but especially when it pertains to a blended family holiday! Communicating with your ex is number one – this goes along with making sure that the holiday schedule is worked out well in advance. So make sure that you are all on the same page. If you’re looking for a tool that can help with that, we actually used Our Family Wizard for a few years, and found it very helpful.
Secondly, communicate with the kids. My step-kids always like to know where they will be, and when, especially during the holiday season. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a big calendar above the desk in our kitchen where I circle all of the days that my step-kids are with us. I also color-code activities, meetings, appointments, etc. by person. Everyone checks this calendar daily. This way, the whole family is aware of the schedule.
Lastly, we communicate with our extended families. Everyone is so amazing about planning meals and get-togethers based on when we have my step-kids. We couldn’t be more grateful for this. Which is why we make sure to let all of our family know the days and times that we will have the kids.
As soon as we finalize the schedule with the kid’s mom, I start making our plans for the holidays. I honestly plan out every single detail, from the day we go to the Christmas Tree Farm, to our visit with Santa, to our trips to visit extended family. We try to do as many of these things as possible with my step-kids, so organization is really important!
Now I am realistic, and realize that with a split-custody schedule, it is pretty much impossible to do everything we want to do on just the days that my step-kids are here. This is true throughout the year, not just during the holidays. But my three boys (and my husband and me!), just feel more complete when our whole family is together, celebrating the holidays. So we try to fit in as much as possible on the days that they are with us.
One of the biggest challenges that I face in our blended family situation, is the ability to de-stress, and really enjoy our time together. This can be especially hard during the holidays, when there is SO much to do. But I have found that the more I follow the tips that I’ve shared with you, the easier it is for me to just sit back and relax with my family.
I know that every blended family is different, complete with its own set of challenges. But if there is ever a time to really put differences aside, and do what is best for the kids, it would be now. So here’s to a stress-free holiday season for all of us!