Creating new holiday traditions with a blended family
Building a new tradition can be an opportunity to engage in innovative ideas. Involve everyone. You can also get to know each other’s likes and dislikes a little better all while making memories that last a lifetime.
Growing up as a little girl, my sisters and I went to visit my dad, bonus mom and our three siblings, Paul Jr, Jordan, and Kendra. We felt like we were loved and safe; however, we did feel a little out of place when it came to the holidays. We didn’t get to participate in any of the decorations or give our input on the meals while there. Our experience would have been a more embracing and memorable time if we had been included with the decisions made during the holidays. I believe the holidays are a time when traditions are most important. Even if our ideas were not entertained or used, at least we were important enough to be asked our likes and dislikes.
For families that do not carry on holiday traditions, you still can find some to embrace by everyone. An idea that comes to mind are monthly family “meetings of the minds”. Everyone sits down together and we share something good going on in our lives and something we are working to improve. Then you can try monthly documentary nights. You basically choose a documentary subject and watch it together. Afterward, allow a thirty-minute discussion time for everyone to participate. Weekly traditions of culture food Friday are possible. You just Google recipe food ideas and everyone helps in the preparation and enjoys the meal together.
The point is that traditions are not made with trends in society. Traditions are made by the family that decides upon them and makes them happen. Your family is a living, active force that it chooses to create. When making new traditions, it is key to involve everyone in the plans.
In a perfect world, we everyone in a blended family would be loving and embracing each other. Everyone would want to be involved and no one would be thinking, “I don’t want to be here. I wish my mom were back with my dad” or vice versa, “I wish my dad were back with my mom”. Perhaps one parent is not alive (condolences) and the family members miss the deceased. There are many reasons why a blended family becomes a new structure in the home. It is an even greater reason to make traditions and create times that will have meaning for this new family. It gives everyone a fresh start for building relationships. Yes, traditions are very much a relationship-building tool in a home structure or family setting. Tradition is defined this way according to the Oxford Dictionary. It assumes the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation or the fact of being passed on in this way.
This would give each person or persons the opportunity to give some of who they are now and who they are becoming as a part of this new family as it grows and develops. Family traditions are simple but meaningful as it is a place of unity within a group of imperfect humans deciding to come together in one accord for a common goal!!!!!!! That is an amazing feeling to have it builds security and confidence and a sense of self pride as well. We know everyone may not be on the same page all the time however, creating new family traditions is a common ground everyone can agree upon.
In my most recent marriage, the blended family consists of fifteen children in total. I had ten and he had five. We had three at home – my daughters 11, 13, and 16. My other seven are grown and not living at home. His children are aged 6 to 20; all embraced me with open arms. They loved me like a bonus mom hopes to be loved. So, I had seven children out of the home and one child in the home who despised their bonus dad. They showed no love for him. My two youngest girls were very neutral. It is always our responsibility as parents to set the tone in the home. Our children do not set the tone in the home.
As the adults in the delicate blended family home, we should be aware of the different needs and feelings of our children. This includes the teenagers and the adults not living in the home. Believe it or not they do affect your home setting as siblings have loyalties to each other. My influence as a mom might not be as strong as the loyalty a child has with an older sibling. Such was the case.
The way an older sibling feels towards the bonus dad (dislikes and won’t ever like) will have a direct impact on the child in the home given his or her loyalty to the older sibling. My husband’s elementary age children were fine, and I believe the toddlers were even more welcoming. It was my responsibility to understand the divide and the peace needed for a homelife balance. It came to creating traditions together. One of the traditions was that we had to eat dinner at the dinner table. We did that daily and we held hands; everyone had an opportunity to say grace over the meal.
We kept some of the traditions I have enjoyed for years. I put up a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving every year. My kids were used to it and so it was a bond to be shared. We have kept this tradition for years no matter what the family structure had been at the time. Also, Bonus Dad was not a huge fan of celebrating birthdays like my family had been. We compromised on that; as long as I worked overtime and it did not cut into our regular budget, I was okay to throw a big birthday party for my daughters living at home.
He only wanted his children to receive a card with $25 in it. So that is what we did. We got input from our children in the home about weekly family meetings. As a result, bedtimes were changed as they grew older. My point is that we developed things as we went along. I have offered some examples of how you can involve the kids and still create loving lasting traditions in a blended family setting.
Everyone is not going to be in love and harmony; however, we were in unity when it came to creating meaningful family traditions together. However, you choose to create those fun and lasting new family traditions, keep it simple and embrace the time you have with each other. Family is a priceless thing and no dollar value can be added to its meaning.
Thank you for listening,