How to Deal with Complex Families at Christmas Time

A lot of modern families are no longer the traditional idea of mum, dad, 2.5 kids and two pairs of doting grandparents.  With stepchildren, half-siblings, exes, and up to four or more pairs of grandparents and step-grandparents, the modern Christmas arrangements can soon become very, very complicated.  Read on to find out how to make a Christmas schedule that works for everyone.

Complicated Families Can Make For Holiday Complications

As our families get more complicated, so do the holidays and special occasions.  Dealing with ex-spouses, their new partners and a mix of children, step-children, various half brothers and sisters, and assorted biological and step grandparents can be a challenge.

All those people and their personal expectations and requirements can quickly add a lot of complication to your already busy holiday schedule.  While each blended family and its relatives is different, there are some things you can do to simplify the situation and, more importantly, make sure everyone involved gets to enjoy a great Christmas.

Here are three ground rules that work when trying to negotiate the mindful of modern complex and blended families:

Find Common Ground

No matter how strained the relationships may be, start by trying to find some common ground.  For example, if you share children with your ex, this would be your most important priority: giving the kids a nice Christmas.

Start there and keep this most important goal in mind as you make your festive plans.  If nothing else, it gives you a starting point, and a reason to talk and make things work.

Finding common ground can be tough when you don’t get along with part of your extended and blended family, but I promise it will be well worth it and make the holiday season that much nicer and more peaceful for yourself and your loved ones.

Be Ready To Compromise

Blended families involve a lot of people and with that come different commitments, traditions, and expectations.  In order to make things work this Christmas, be prepared to compromise.

Maybe you want the kids at home on Christmas morning while your ex wants to take them to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.  Make it work, even if it means you have to drive across town at two in the morning.

The same goes with traditions.  Each family has their own traditions, decorations, and ideas that can clash when you blend two families together.  Sit down with everyone involved and have a talk before the season begins.  Find out what’s most important to each family member and find compromises that work for everyone.  Blend your traditions, and don’t be afraid to make some new ones as well.

Remember that Practice Makes Perfect

Last but not least, don’t expect things to go off without a hitch during your first blended Christmas season.  It takes time to make this work.  New traditions aren’t created in a day.  Keep working at it, keep practicing, and before long you will find your stride and come up with the new perfect Christmas for your complicated, but lovable family.

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