6 Tips to Survive Blended Family Holidays
Christmas, Family, Family Dynamics, Guest Post

6 Tips to Survive Blended Family Holidays

6 Tips to Survive Blended Family Holidays

I can’t think of any person that gets married and has children with the intention of getting a divorce. Consequently, the shear idea of breaking a family a part and having “yours, mine, and ours” kids is not something anyone sees coming. Other times, children are born into a family where their parents are not married and over time one, or both parents, marry someone else. Unfortunately, blended families are real and is happens frequently, even among Christ followers.

As a remarried mommy of 8 children, the holidays are an extremely interesting and sometimes stressful time of year. After the initial tension, anger, and sadness of the divorce and my remarriage settled, it became obvious of one thing. Our children were the ones who were really bearing the weight of being in a blended family. It took countless tears from my children for myself, husband, and my ex-husband, to realize that something had to change. We needed to make an adjustment to “how” we were handling the holidays. After family meetings and extensive conversations, we came up with 6 Tips to Survive Blended Family Holidays.

6 Tips to Survive Blended Family Holidays

It’s Not About You

This first tip is probably the most important. When a parent decides to remarry, they are so over the moon with finding a new love and being able to move on from the past. Children’s feelings are many times overlooked. The parents don’t take time check in with the vast emotions their children are dealing with. During the holidays, children are told (either by courts or their parents) where they will be spending the holidays. Depending on the circumstances, children should have a voice in this decision. Children in blended families are the innocent bystanders of the failed relationship. No matter the dynamics between adults, the best interest of  children should be considered when making decisions. Their voice should be heard and validated.

Don’t Insist of Having Control

As someone who LOVES being in control, this is probably my greatest struggle. I want things they way I want them because I feel it is the best solution. After becoming a blended family, I had to learn to acknowledge and validate the feelings and opinions of my children and my ex-husband. All adults involved, who truly feel the best interest of the children is the most important thing, will humble themselves and be willing to relinquish control. This tip doesn’t mean you have to be miserable or only agreeable. It just means, you are willing to accept that your solution my not be the best or most practical solution for the holidays.

Be Respectful

Have you ever found yourself arguing with your ex or the new spouse of your ex in front of your children? Do you find yourself bad mouthing your ex or their spouse in front of your children? Both scenarios are detrimental to the overall health and well being of your children. Being in a blended family is already difficult. Children are shifted back and forth between homes, constantly readjusting to the norms and rules of each home, and even missing out on events or activities due to visitation schedules. Listening to parents verbally assault their other parent or step parent, being placed in the middle of an adult argument, or even asked to pick sides is unfair. Make a commitment to be respectful of your ex and/or their spouse, their family holiday traditions, and their gifts or lack of gifts. Children should not have to be little grownups.

Make a Plan

In many instances, during divorce proceedings or a separation, visitation and custody plans are addressed or determined. At times, weeks, weekends, holidays, and vacation time is haphazardly assigned without the consideration for children or the reality of the lives of children. In a blended family, taking time to touch base with all parties and making a realistic plan is essential to reducing stress and chaos. Are some holidays bigger experiences than others in a family? Where do the children want to spend the holiday? Which home is more feasible? All of these questions are necessary when planning. Taking time to discuss and plan long before the holidays season arrives will create a more peaceful atmosphere and will help everyone prepare without unexpected changes.

Create a New Tradition

Growing up, Christmas time was such a wonderful time of year. The entire month of December was filled with activities, such as, driving through the neighborhood looking at decorations, making Christmas chocolates, my Aunts famous homemade cookies, and more! I remember every Christmas morning, we would wake up extremely early, open presents, call our grandparents and our close friends to chat about all of the things we got. My mother would then serve homemade waffles with all the fixings. Through the years, my brother and I have continued many of these same traditions with our own children, right down to the homemade waffles.

After my ex-husband and I divorced, we realized we both wanted to be a part of Christmas morning. We stepped out on a limb and my ex-husband decided he would arrive before the kids woke up, open presents together, and enjoy Christmas breakfast all together. When I remarried, my husband humbled himself, knew that this day was about the happiness of the children he also calls his own, and opened his home and heart to my ex-husband. Although the whole thing is strange to many, our tradition is the perfect fit for our family.

In a blended family, someone will most likely be without the children on the holiday. Does this mean the beauty of the holiday has to become non-existent? Absolutely not. This is the perfect time to create new traditions! Celebrate the holiday on a different day, if logistics permit celebrate the holiday in the morning and in the evening. The options are endless. Thanksgiving can consist of a family breakfast buffet at one house and dinner at the other house and Christmas presents can be opened in the evening or on Christmas Eve. Step out of the norm and do what makes the most sense for your family.

Remember the Reason for the Season

It is so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday season that we forget why we celebrate the holiday at all. Taking time to reflect on things we have to be thankful for during Thanksgiving and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas is the Reason for the Season. Despite the circumstances of becoming a blended family, keeping the reason at the forefront of your mind will help you to stay focused and positive. If you end up with your children for the holiday, encourage them to reach out to their other parent. If you end up without your kiddos for the holiday, try celebrating with someone who has no family or friends, volunteer to serve at a shelter, take a meal to an elderly neighbor or family in need. Be the hands and feet of Jesus.

There is no doubt about it, blended families are challenging! No book, article, or person can give you the answer to what works best for your family. Keeping your children’s best interest first and having an open and humble heart will save your family a lot of stress during this holiday season.

CHIME IN: What tips do you have for blended families during the holidays?

Need a few gift ideas for the kids to give? Check out 8 DIY Christmas Gifts from Kids

 

 

 

 

Christmas

Olivia’s Sensational Soaps

 

 

 

Choose Your Soap Base:                                                       Choose Your Color                                                           Choose Your Style

Glycerin                                                                                                     Red                                                                                  Silly Soap (toys is visible-glycerin only)

Shea Butter                                                                                               Green                                                                               Hide and Seek (toy is covered-shea butter only)

No Color                                                                          No Toy Please

8 DIY Christmas Gifts
Christmas, Faith, Family, Homeschool

8 DIY Christmas Gifts from Kids

8 DIY Christmas Gifts from Kids

Christmas time is a wonderful time of year. It is a time when families come together celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time when many people search and search for the perfect gift for loved ones.  What gifts can you give to mom, dad, sister, brother, or grandparents that truly show it is from the heart?

As a mommy of 8 children in a blended family, I struggle with finding the right gift for the kids to exchange with one another or to give their grandparents. Contrary to popular belief about home school moms,  I also am not a big fan of crafts! In fact, I am one of the least crafty people I know. Go figure.

Last week, I decided to poll my readers about blog topics for this week. Wouldn’t you know it, the request came in for “handmade” gifts from kids. Oh, the irony!!! So, I set out to find 8 DIY Christmas Gifts that even the least crafty mamma could do. I searched and search and was amazed to find some awesome and easy handmade gifts. Check them out!

8 DIY Christmas Gifts

#1. Reindeer Thumbprint Mugs

Reindeer Tumbprint Mug

This cute mug is super simple and sweet for kiddos to give to parents or grandparents. The supply list is short and easy (mug, porcelain pen and paint). You could even add the names of your kiddos under each reindeer. Jen @TheMadHouse just helped peak my interest in getting crafty this Christmas!

#2. Snow Globe Photo Ornament

snow globe ornament

Ok! This one is a winner in my book!  What grandparent doesn’t love to see pictures of their grand babies? I was able to find the clear ornaments at my local dollar store. My kids are excited about being able to have an ornament with their picture inside. I think this is also a great way to see how much the kids have grown from year to year. Thanks, Kristen @Busy Kids. Happy Mom

#3. Personalized Candle

Candles are a great gift that can be used year round. Creating a personalized candle allows your kiddos to create a masterpiece and then have it transferred to a candle. The process is pretty simple and really inexpensive. Check out this video on YouTube by ArtCraftCrazy.

#4. Handprint Apron

Handprint Apron

 

Kierste, @simplykierste totally gave this non crafty mommy a great idea for a gift. This cute apron is perfect for moms, dads, and grandparents. Pick up a blank apron from a craft store, some paint and you are set. Want to really decorate? Add ruffles, bows, and more to bring out the personality of your gift recipient.

#5. Manicure in a Jar

Manicure in a Jar

Are you looking for an inexpensive gift for that tween girl in your life? This is the perfect gift idea for a sibling to give. All of the supplies can be purchased at the dollar store and labels can either be printed or handwritten. Lauren @GroovyGlue even suggest socks, snacks, and a gift card for boys!!

#6. Legos To Go Box

Lego Box to Go

Have your kids ever tried playing with Legos in the car or on the go? My kiddos always get frustrated because they have to take their creations apart. This Lego To Go Box is a perfect way to store and take Legos along anywhere. Sarah @ThankYouHoneyBlog.com gives step by step instructions that are simple for your kiddos to make this neat Christmas gift with minimal adult supervision.

#7. Prayer Box

Christmas time is a great time to remind others of the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. A healthy prayer life plays a big part in developing and strengthening that relationship. Using a few supplies, like a mint box, scrapbook paper, glue stick, and varnish, Laura @AweFilledHomemaker.com offers step by step instructions to make this adorable Prayer Box.

#8. Christmas Story Stones

Last but not least….Christmas Story Stones perfectly combines the rock painting phenomenon with the much-needed skill of storytelling. This craft allows kiddos to decide which pictures to paint and then opens them up to the world of imagination. Sarah @Ruffles and Rain Boots made me realize that even this non artsy mom can help her kiddos create a fun and educational gift to give to their siblings.

Alright folks, so if you are running out of gift ideas or time is closing in before Christmas, you now have 8 super easy and cute ideas for your kiddos to make as gifts.

Until Next Time,

Christel, “The Chaos Coordinator” 

P.S. Still can’t think of anything? How about a print out of the 12 Stem Days of Christmas and a bag full of all the supplies? Check out the list of activities here.

Christmas, Faith, Free Printables, Homeschool

12 STEM Days Before Christmas

12 STEM Days Before Christmas

Let me be honest folks! I always struggle trying to keep the kids doing school work during Christmas time. I often find myself running here and there, preparing for Christmas Day!

So, this year, I have compromised a printable to keep me (ahem) I mean the kids focused. Each day, the kiddos will only have a few assignments to complete, including that day’s STEM Challenge on this great FREEBIE. 

*Science * Technology* Engineering* Mathematics*

Looking for a complete list of activities that are sure to keep their brains working during this holiday season? Check out this compiled list of activities on this FREEBIE! (#afflinks)

Copy of Perfectly Blended and Blessed

Download ***12 Stem Days of Christmas ***

Christmas, Faith, Free Printables, Homeschool

25 Days of Christmas (Freebie!!)

Advent Calendars are a great way to help your children learn about the birth of Jesus and prepare for Christmas!

StockSnap_LYLSNVRT25

Check out our newest resource, 25 Days of Christmas Scripture Cards. They are the newest addition to our home. Each card is tucked inside our Advent calendar with a special surprise. Children read the scripture card which tells the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth.

On Christmas morning, children will have learned the entire story and wake up excited to celebrate Jesus’s Birthday!

Grab Your Freebie Below!

 

Download —-25 Days of Christmas Scripture Cards—–

 

Check Out A Video Of this Freebie in Action!