A guest post by Cynthia Tyson
The holidays are the perfect time to unify a blended family. Each family has its own traditions that have been carried down through the years, and while it can take time for a blended family to come together with no conflict in sight, the spirit of the season has a way of bringing a family together. Here are some holiday traditions you won’t want to skip if you’re looking to increase the peace in your blended family:
The Family Meal
Americans will spend more than three hours in front of the television on Thanksgiving Day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another hour and a half will be spent eating and drinking. Create the menu and cook the meal as a family, with each person taking on a specific task or responsibility.
Take a Family Portrait
Schedule a family portrait during the holiday season—it signifies the unity of two different families into one solid unit. You can choose a conventional family setting or let the children show their creativity by letting them choose the place and theme of the portrait.
Some families choose Thanksgiving as the setting for the family portrait. Make sure someone has a camera handy and take as many pictures as possible to capture the holiday spirit and fun memories from the celebration. These make excellent photos that can be included in memory books. You can also use these photos to make custom Christmas cards to send to family and friends. If you’re like so many of us who wish there were a card company with a blended family message, you’re in luck. You’ll find cards that are a perfect fit at Modern Family Cards.
Over the Hills and Through the Woods
If you’re traveling by car to visit relatives for Thanksgiving, include travel games, books and other types of interesting things for the kids to do. Join the games and share stories about your own holiday memories. Make traveling a learning adventure, too; before you leave, choose landmarks and special points of interest along your route that you can show the kids and let them in on some fun facts. For some fun road trip game ideas check out Mom’s Minivan.com.
Different Foods and Activities
Family traditions, blended or not, revolve around food and festivities. One of the ways a step-parent can get to know his step-children is to learn the family traditions they are used to practicing. Follow family traditions as closely as possible. Teach children the origin of each activity and who started it. Use Thanksgiving as a time for the children to make their own Christmas ornaments—it’s only a month away.
Yours, Mine and Ours
Whether it’s trying a new food or activity, children are more receptive to step-parents who are willing to understand their habits and what makes them happy. Family traditions occur over time, and each generation adds something new to the mix. Old traditions need to be remembered and new traditions should be established. This respects the past but also allows both children and step-parents to look to the future and the benefits of discovering the joys of a blended family.
Cynthia Tyson is a stay-at-home mom with a background in social media and public relations.