Christmas is so close it’s freakin scary! If you are like most families (blended or not) finances are tight and this can be a stressful time. If you throw in parenting times over the Holidays and money trouble you have a “Lord help me just make it til New Years” stressful time! In thinking about Christmas in our blender I thought I would share how important I think traditions are and especially in a blended family. The other parents of 2 of our children were on board with dividing time fairly between us and them every other Christmas. We felt that both parents deserved the right to be able to have their child at Christmas. One of them, however felt that they had a right to have their child every Christmas. Unfortunately, we had to go to court and ask a judge for every other Christmas. During the hearing, we were asked what traditions do we have in celebrating. It was sad because we had not as of yet had the chance to really form any because of the “control monster” that had stepped in and limited our Holiday time. (click here for previous post about this monster: http://blendermom.me/the-control-monster ) It got me to thinking though how traditions really help to ground and solidify blended families. It doesn’t have to be big expensive things. It can be as simple as doing an advent candle wreath or read a specific story or watch a specific movie while stringing popcorn. Doing these things give the kids something to look forward to and something they can count on which gives them stability. Some examples for us is that we always decorate a gingerbread house and place it on our dining room table for display. We always go pick out a tree together and we always decorate it as a family. We have special ornaments that each child loves or made and they get to always hang those on the tree first. We have a white column in our dining area that I always wrap red ribbon around and we all call it the candy cane north pole. The key word is “always”. The kids can count on what you are going to do. Even though it seems small that can make them feel more safe and secure, to always be able to count on those traditions. You should also think about more traditions that you can do throughout the year. We always have pizza or fastfood on Friday nights and eat it in front of the TV while watching a movie. We do a devotional reading with the kids and talk about it as a family. ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/1475155050/?ref=cm_sw_r_pi_dp_9E2uqb177D1BM Proverbs For Kids is a great book and what we are currently reading.) We always put the boys to bed at the same time and have them say goodnight prayers every time. What I am saying is traditions do not have to be some complicated ritual! Make Sunday night taco night every week. By the way, the judge did rule in our favor and we now have all three children every other Christmas. We miss them during the off years but that’s what we as parents do, we make sacrifices. Remember, it’s not their fault their parents got divorced. They have just as much right to love and form traditions with the other parent as they do with you. I personally do not ever want my kids to look at me and say “I don’t have a relationship with my father/mother because of you!” If you are dealing with the other parent who really is being mean and spiteful you can look at it as giving them the rope and let them hang themselves if they want to.
Traditions are important in families and what better time to start one is at Christmas! Remember, “Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.” Try to reach your child’s heart this Christmas.