Commit your actions to the Lord; and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3 NLT
During the holidays, I once worked at a large box store in a department next to the Christmas decorations. A musical Christmas tree was on display. Unfortunately, it became stuck in the loop mode, repeatedly playing the song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” I listened to the same song during each shift for two months straight. Let’s just say that my holiday spirit did not experience a most wonderful time that year!
For many blended families, the holidays may not feel like the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays may bring mixed emotions and ordinary stress may be amplified to a greater degree. To create a joyful and harmonious atmosphere that helps your family thrive, here are some suggestions to consider.
1. Schedule holiday activities early. Coordinating schedules with former spouses, their families, and extended family members takes time, energy, and effort. Grab a calendar, sit down with your spouse, and begin to firm up details for your holiday plans. Make prayer an essential part of the process.
2. Keep plans simple. One simple step to help your family thrive and keep the holidays joyful is to avoid stuffing too many activities in your family’s holiday stocking. Minimize activities and maximize family time together. Engage in times that promote connection, such as playing games, cooking together, or watching holiday movies.
3. Get the kids involved. Creating holiday ideas for the family should include everyone in the family. Call a family meeting and listen to your children’s thoughts and ideas as part of the process. Getting them involved will allow you to hear the emotions behind their words and allows them to take ownership of the holiday game plan.
4. Start new traditions while honoring old ones. Establishing new holiday traditions for your blended family is an important bonding aspect. However, it’s important to consider blending in some of the traditions each family may have established in the past and desire to keep. Show sensitivity and respect for each member’s thoughts.
5. Communication is essential. Keeping communication lines open with former spouses will help avoid confusion and let everyone know what to expect. Exchanging information will also aid in avoiding scheduling conflicts, overlap in gift purchases, and allow time to make changes to your holiday plans.
6. Stay flexible. Just like glitches happen when using our computers, glitches may occur with your holiday plans. The best advice is don’t panic, pray. Proverbs 20:24 says, “The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way.” Rather than allowing frustration to steal your joy, trust that God has a plan for you and allow Him to redirect you. Allow the changes to improve your plan rather than derail it.
7. Focus on the season’s reason. The holidays are a wonderful time to build new memories, create new traditions, spend time together, and strengthen new family bonds. But the true joy of the holidays is celebrating Jesus. Take advantage of this opportune time to spiritually build the family by keeping Jesus in focus during the holidays.
Your family can thrive during the holiday. However, it’s important to have a plan, include everyone, keep it simple, flexible, communicate, and keep the focus on Jesus. These simple ingredients can make the holidays sweeter and become your family’s most wonderful time of the year.
1. When it’s convenient, schedule time away for you and your spouse to discuss calendar plans and develop a unified plan for the holidays. Stay open to all ideas and make decisions together.
2. Call a family meeting to discuss the plans, activities, and holiday traditions you and your spouse agreed on. Listen respectfully and take seriously the suggestions and thoughts of each family member.