Blending Family Traditions

If you think your holidays are stressful, step into a blended family’s world. Between new spouses who have to earn the love, respect and affections that seem to come more naturally in a biological family, and children who have to find their place in a new home, things can get pretty complicated.

We’re not talking about ‘June Cleaver’ stress, which yearns for the perfect cookie or décor, but a deeper stress, bubbling from your desire for the perfectly unified family. These uniquely blended families can survive the holidays with a little effort and a generous sense of humor.

Executive Pastor at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Kim Swyden married Julane, a counselor, 15 years ago. He had two daughters, she had one.  Pastor Swyden says problems often result when everyone wants to do things the way they’ve done them for years. “It’s always going to be a problem if you try to bring your traditions to your blended family,” said Swyden. “In doing that, we often unintentionally create stress and crisis, and it ends up being the 12 days of Christmas we never intended. We have to create a new tradition.”

Jackie Shaw, executive director of Edmond Family Counseling, said starting meaningful and fun traditions can bring everyone together. “Keep celebrations manageable and enjoyable. Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten they’re supposed to be fun. I knew a family who all made turkeys from a paper sack of supplies. Some really strange things came out of those sacks and it was hilarious. They do it every year,” she says. “Some families volunteer to make Christmas baskets, deliver gifts or serve meals to needy families. O