Stepfamilies: Ensuring a Happy, Blended Holiday Season


Holiday’s can be stressful for stepfamilies, especially since children may have to go with an ex or ex spouse for the holidays.

Some tips found online include:

  1. Plan early where the children will go for the holidays.
  2. Don’t make promises in the family you can’t keep. Be realistic with plans.
  3. Create new holiday traditions. Also keep old ones.
  4. Discuss with current spouse how much you will be spending on each child.
  5. One way to save money and avoid competition with the biological parent is to discuss gift choices and split costs.

Family is family, and you should love one another. Stepparents should love all their children whether they are biological or not.

Additional holiday tips for blended and divorced families include

  • Use technology-for those who are not able to see their children in person. Skype, Facetime, and Google hangouts are great video chat resources for communication between parents and their children in different areas of the country.
  • If parents have different holidays and religious views – celebrate both. Each parent can choose what they celebrate, and include their children in the festivities.
  • Working together and communicating can help stepfamilies be able to help the stress during the holiday season.
  • Negotiate and compromise. Just because you don’t celebrate on the date doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate together as a family on a different date. For example, children with divorced parents can celebrate Christmas on two different days if one parent has to work.

The organization Help Guide says, “Let the kids know that you and your ex-spouse will continue to love them and be there for them throughout their lives.” Don’t favorite one child over the others. All children deserve to be treated equal whether or not they are your biological child and children should have different wish-lists for each side of the family.

Some questions to think about with divorce and blended families from Helpline.

  1. Who is picking up the kids, where, and at what time?
  2. Will the parent who doesn’t have the kids on a certain holiday have contact with them on that day?
  3. How will grandparents and step-grandparents be involved?
  4. When does the holiday start and end?

Have a positive attitude about the other household. Don’t guilt your child into going to see other family.  “Do what you can and accept what you cannot change.” This is the best advice when making holiday arrangements with ex spouses and step families.

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