12 tips for happy holidays as a blended family
Where does the blended family stand in Canada?
According to the 2016 Statistics Canada census, 1 in 10 children (9.8%) is part of a blended family. One can imagine that this number has increased considerably since then. The age of children also matters, as those who are older (10-14 years) are more frequently found in blended families
1. Plan ahead and be flexible
Plan ahead for the holidays by considering each family member's schedule. Discuss your game plan with your ex-partner, your parents and your kids to make it easier determine which days they spend at which home. If you want to plan a family dinner, the children can go to their other parent’s the next day. Will mom and dad attend the same party? Which child will go to whose house for New Year’s? Not always easy to navigate. To avoid misunderstandings, talk to all parties involved beforehand.
2. Communicate clearly
Take the time to listen to your children and your family. Ask them how and where they’d like to spend their time. Also, be clear about what you expect from others. The idea is to find a middle ground all family members will agree on.
3. Create new traditions
Keeping an open mind is often the key. Your kids may celebrate Christmas more than once this year as well. The fact that young children are joining the family may change traditions somewhat if the others are older. Adapt to the situation and be open to new possibilities.
4. Try out some get-to-know-you activities
Sometimes being in a blended family means you are all still getting to know each other. This is an opportunity for family activities that will allow siblings to learn more about each other or your new sweetheart. Board games, mimes or funny role-playing games can enhance the moment. Don’t forget outdoor activities like skating or sliding and, of course, choose activities that are appropriate for the current health situation.
5. Be fair
Avoid discord and jealousy between family members by giving gifts that are fair to all and do not prioritize one child over another.
6. Talk about positive things
The holidays are a time for family gatherings and fond memories. Encourage discussions that are conducive to bonding and harmony.
7. Avoid trying to get everyone together
If it’s not possible to gather all the family members under the same roof the same day, that's okay. It’s always possible to find solutions and compromise.
8. Put up a holiday tree
There's nothing like a beautifully decorated tree in the living room to add to the festive atmosphere. It's a classic! Go overboard with garlands, lights and even a small village at its base—whatever you wish. Whether your children are spending December 24, 25 or 26 in your home, a decorated holiday tree is a must.
9. Decorate your home
A festive home is more than just a beautiful tree. Add to the magic of the holiday season and get the kids on board with decorations you can make together:
- holiday stockings
- a festive DIY centerpiece
- a Christmas tree wreath that you can hang on the front door
- garlands and lights winding up the banister
- holiday-theme cushions and blankets
- original ornaments for the tree and windows
10. Wear ugly holiday sweaters
Many stores offer humorous sweaters for this memorable holiday. Family members can each don one for a good laugh during the evening. Why not make it a contest? May the ugliest sweater win!
11. Make a holiday playlist
What better way to promote the holiday spirit than classic tunes playing in the background? Think Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby for that musical touch and put everyone at ease.
12. Make greeting cards by hand
More personalized cards allow you to show off your family’s creative side. Visit art stores or get inventive with what you have on hand at home. Have fun!
No matter what type of blended family you have (simple or complex), the important thing is that you spend quality time together and that everything goes smoothly. Enjoy the beautiful moments with your loved ones and take the opportunity to create new traditions.