Holiday Tip #4 – Be proactive in planning your schedule
Stepfamilies typically have a lot of people to consider when planning the holiday schedule. If the stepfamily marriage included children from both sides (like ours), there are two other parents and families to consider. So, the sooner you can start negotiating the schedule, the better the chance of finding a schedule that is acceptable to everyone.
This Christmas, my ex-husband decided he was going to make a concentrated effort to see the girls. They have not seen each other in five years and he is usually very unpredictable because he battles addiction. He lives in a neighboring state and planned on coming to visit the week between Christmas and New Year’s. It was the same week we had planned to visit my parents so I tried to work out an alternate plan with my parents, which happened without too much trouble.
We also like to work out a time to have our oldest daughter visit when our other four kids are together. She lives over 300 miles away and has limited time because of her work schedule. So we start planning our schedule with her several weeks before Thanksgiving. It seems very complicated sometimes but it is always worth the effort to have everyone together.
Another part of the holiday schedule that is important to plan includes dates of special programs, church services, etc. that you want to attend and invite other family members to attend. It takes additional scheduling to coordinate piano recitals, choir concerts, etc. but it’s meaningful for the kids to have family members at their special events.
Other activities to consider might include: decorating together, holiday cooking, shopping together, and gift exchange. Planning for each activity in advance allows family members to participate without additional stress to their schedule.