Forced Family Festivities


I think I’m suffering from “Facebook Envy”. Does this ever happen to you? Do all of the pictures and posts of families doing fun holiday things together leave you longing to trade yours in? One family is decorating the cutest gingerbread cookies. Another family is piling into mom’s minivan to go look at Christmas lights. Many are posting pictures of their beautifully decorated magazine-worthy trees, or the ones covered in handmade ornaments with little children so proud of their accomplishments. My family is playing video games and watching tv. In fact, each person is in a different room on their own device. God forbid anyone compromise or spend time together. Grrr.
In my head I had this evening pictured quite differently. I’ve been waiting to decorate the Christmas tree until our oldest came home from college, and our youngest was with us (1st & 3rd weekends). So this is it! As everyone gathered for dinner I announced my plan for fun family festivities and tree decorating. The reply… we’re not interested. Do it yourself.
Well, they didn’t use those exact words but that was the basic idea. So now I’m torn. Do I go ahead and decorate it, put it off for another day even though not all our kids will be here, or just leave it bare and call it a minimalist look? Or do I force them to participate? What would you do?
I believe as mothers it’s our duty to provide our kids with some memorable moments. The trouble with starting traditions in a blended family is that each member of the family has their own idea of what those look like. Our youngest has already decorated the tree at her mom’s house. Our oldest has never, to my knowledge, been in a family that did a lot of holiday bonding. Even my husband looked confused when I asked him what traditions are important to him. My blended family needs some major holiday therapy! They don’t play board games; they don’t sing Christmas carols; they don’t gather to watch the Christmas Story movie marathon. I feel like I’m starting from scratch here… with teenagers! The only tradition they are interested in is the part where they get to open presents.
Oh that gets my wheels turning. I do believe I just came up with our new tradition. We are going to volunteer somewhere AS A FAMILY! Now it’ll have to wait til after Christmas when we’re all together again, but that’s okay. There are so many people in need, and I know that volunteers are scarce once the holidays are over. As we gather on Christmas morning, before the gifts are opened, we will choose a worthy cause with which to share our blessings. That will at least start the day with our focus in the right place.
And we’ll all be wearing crazy socks too. That’s one tradition I started last year that I’m going to force participation once again!


What about you? What traditions does your family follow? What’s changed since you added step-kids? Help a sister out with ideas!

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