Happy Holidays: Families and Complications

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As our families get more complicated, so do the holidays. Most modern families no longer consist of Mom, Dad, 2.5 kids, and one or two adoring grandparents. Instead, you’re dealing with ex-spouses, their new partners, and a mix of children, step-children, and various half-brothers and sisters. With that, a lot of complications get added to your already busy holiday schedule.

While each blended family is different, there are some things you can do to simplify the situation and make sure everyone involved gets to enjoy the holidays. Here are three ground rules that have served us well when dealing with these compliction.

Find Common Ground When Faced with Complications

No matter how strained the relationship may be, start by trying to find some common ground. For example, if you share children with your ex, this would consist of giving the kids a nice Christmas. Start there. While keeping this most important goal in mind, you can make your holiday plans together — or at least while respecting each other’s holiday plans. If nothing else, it gives you a starting point, and a reason to talk and make things work this holiday season, no matter how that ends up looking.

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. THe lack of complications can 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. With that comes different commitments, traditions, expectations, and other complications. In order to make things work this Christmas, be prepared to compromise. Maybe you want the kids at home Christmas morning while your ex wants to take them to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Make it work, even if it means one of you has to take a drive across town at two in the morning.

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

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 loveable family.

3 Tips For Dealing With Family Issues During The Holidays

During the holidays, families can be a wonderful blessing, or they can be a major pain, adding additional complications to a stressful season.

Frankly, they can be both at the same time.

The stress of the Christmas season, combined with the fact that we’ll be spending more time with each other than during the rest of the year, can bring any tension and arguments to a boiling point.

Be Patient And Kind

‘Tis the season to be patient and kind. Make this your motto and you’ll enjoy a much more peaceful and relaxed holiday season this year. Remind yourself of this when things get hectic and stressful around Christmas.

I find that the simpler I keep things around the holidays, the easier it is to stay patient and kind. When we have too much on our plate, we get stressed out and irritable. I don’t have to tell you that this leads to a short temper that may cause you to do or say something you regret later.

Walk Away If You Need To

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. If a situation is stressing you out, or spiraling out of control, get yourself out of there. Go take a breather and come back when you can get back to being patient and kind. Sometimes just going into a different room for a few minutes or taking a short walk outside will do the trick.

At other times, you just need to leave before you get into an argument with a family member, and that’s OK. There are times when you’re better off avoiding the confrontation. If that will make it possible for you or the people you care about to enjoy their Christmas, you do what you have to do.

Postpone Arguments When Possible

The holidays only come around once a year. Bite your tongue if you need to and avoid arguments and fights. You don’t have to cave or bend over backwards for family members you don’t get along with. Think of it more as postponing the argument until after the holidays. Enjoy the time with your loved ones… even the ones who are a little more challenging to love than others.

One last thing to keep in mind when you’re struggling with squabbles and fights around the holidays. This is a special time of the year and something you can’t get back. Try to put bad feelings aside and celebrate this special time with your family and friends.

The holidays tend to highlight issues that may be just below the surface or make any previous complications stand out. It does take some effort to make the holidays flow as smoothly as possible. With some effort and communication, it can be done.

Happy Christmas Eve!

Loving Life–The Reboot!


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