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A happy blended Christmas

14 Dec

First Christmas as a blended family. Here are my top tips for making it a happy blended Christmas for all.

Girl with sparkler at Christmas

Entering into a new relationship when one or both of you have children is a big adjustment for everyone involved. You are taking on the role of step-parent, whilst also caring for and reassuring your own children. Your kids may get along well with their new ‘siblings’, but it might take some getting used to, especially as big occasions like Christmas come with their own rituals which put new relationships under strain.

Here are my tips for how to create a happy blended Christmas:

Have a plan. Both your children and your partner's children will want to know what the plans are for the Christmas period and when they will be seeing each of their biological parents. They may also be feeling conflicted between being excited to spend their first Christmas with new siblings, and feeling guilty for wanting to spend time away from their other parent. Ask them what their ideal Christmas is and, if possible, try to make it happen. By planning in advance, this will help everyone feel prepared and in control when the time comes.

Create new traditions.  Creating new traditions is a great way to involve the children and help you all bond over the Christmas period. Emphasise that you're not trying to replace old traditions, but rather you are excited to create new fun memories together. It also sets expectations on what to expect moving forward.

Keep it festive. Co-parenting over Christmas means you will be sharing your children’s time, and therefore it may mean it’s not possible for you to have everyone under one roof at the same time. Although you may be disappointed, try to not let this ruin your Christmas. Children are like emotional magnets, so keep it light and festive.

Respect everyone’s space. Some children can have a hard time adjusting to new set-ups. Don't be hard on yourself if you're met with resistance, particularly at a time that is steeped in family tradition and will have them reminiscing on Christmas’ gone by. So, be patient and remember these things can take time.

All this aside, remember Christmas is often the most stressful time of year for people, regardless of whether you’re in a new set-up or not. Never forget this and always keep things in perspective. Is something you want really necessary for the good of the day, or do you need to take a step back. Your first Christmas as a blended family is an exciting time but it’s also a big adjustment for all of you, so don’t put  yourself or your family under any pressure to make it perfect. If you follow these tips, you should be well on your way to having the first of many good Christmases together - enjoy!

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