With the holidays right around the corner, what better time than to take a look at our new traditions as a blended family!? Maybe even explore ideas for possible new traditions?
This is only our second year together as a blended family, and I’m sure that not everything we do will stick around. Some of them definitely will, though. I am super excited to announce that this year we have one HUGE difference. My dad is in town for the holidays! He has been with us since the day before Thanksgiving, and staying until right after the new year.
Ever since my mom passed, he has been traveling a lot and visiting family. My brother and I both live in the same town here in ND, so my dad has been splitting his visit between our two houses. Which is really great because he gets to see all of his grand kids, and he even got to meet Chris’s kids! They all seem to be enjoying his company, which really makes me happy.
Since Chris and I both have HUGE families, the holidays tend to get a bit hectic. Based on the countless holiday memes and funny stories the internet gives us for entertainment, I know we are not the only ones.
Establishing Family Traditions That Everyone Can Be A Part Of
One of the most important things I wanted to keep in mind, being a newly blended family was that both sides already had their own set of family traditions. So with that being said, some of the things we do now will be a combination of both sides traditions, and others are or will be completely new.
I’m no psychiatrist, but I think it’s important that we keep some of those things alive from before we were a blended family. Especially if they’re things that the kids truly enjoy doing, and are looking forward to. Lets face it, teens hardly ever know what they really want (and we have two of these creatures), so I would rather not upset the things that they are looking forward to doing.
When we are thinking about the things that we would like to start doing, or at least try, I definitely think it’s important that we do something that everyone can participate in. Or if not everyone, then find at least one thing to do with each of the kids. For example, Joselyn is my baking buddy and would totally enjoy making cookies and breads with me, but the other kids wouldn’t. So, let’s jump in and see what we’ve got going on for this year!
In my post: Our Thanksgiving as a Blended Family I talked all about our Thanksgiving traditions, and how we had several celebrations to attend to. So now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas!
Speaking of Christmas
I’m a HUGE SAP when it comes to Christmas Tree’s, and all of the lights. They bring a certain calmness and peace to me,it always seems to lighten my heart. I don’t know how to explain it. I love sitting in the living room with the Christmas tree glowing, and the fireplace burning. We only have an electric fireplace, but it is still pretty! Here is what we all like to do as a family in the spirit of Christmas.
Last year, instead of buying fancy stockings, we decorated our own stockings! We each got a felt stocking, a ton of glue, and about two tons of glitter for us all to use. We laid out plastic shopping bags on the kitchen table, and we went to town decorating. We did this two nights in a row because we decorated both sides. We helped Jr. of course, but everyone had such a great time! We were cleaning up glitter right up until the time we moved out of that house, but it was so worth it. All of the kids were with us, we all hung out decorating our stockings together. Even with music playing in the background. It was like a Hallmark moment or something. Everyone had so much fun, and they all asked if we can do it again this year. (When you find an activity that appeals to ALL your kids between the ages of 5-15 like – ya stick with it.) I am still deciding if this is something we want to do again this year, or if we should reuse the stockings from last year. They are all still in such good shape. Although they’re cheap, I can use that money to get stocking stuffers… Undecided. This might be something we do every other year? We did get a stocking for Papa though, to add to the bunch.
It also pleases me to say that each of the kids found something to put in everyone’s stockings. Even if it was a couple of pieces of candy. Hoping for the same this year! Regardless of if we decorate new ones, or hang the ones from last year, we of course will hang the stockings.
Christmas Eve Boxes
The next big Christmas tradition is the Christmas Eve boxes. I found this idea on Pinterest and circling Facebook a while ago, but it has been a favorite that everyone seems to like. So, if you aren’t familiar with Christmas Eve boxes, first everyone has a “fancy” reusable box. I got ours from Big Lots and Dollar General. Since these are sturdier than the standard white clothing boxes, they usually last a couple years as long as they’re handled and stored properly the rest of the year. These are also great because everyone has a different design, and knows which box is theirs. Everyone gets the following in their boxes:
- Pajamas – Some people like the matching family pajamas. Not me. I know my kids won’t wear them. So I try to find some sweats, joggers, or leggings that I know they will wear year ‘round.
- A movie – I totally shop the $5 movie section at Walmart for this! One movie for each box.
- Favorite Snacks – I put a couple of everyone’s favorite snacks in their box. Dollar General has a dollar isle, and several other dollar options that is great for this! Khalub’s favorite are gummy worms, or Taquis for example. Popcorn usually goes in each box as well, because it’s so popular in our household.
- Hot Cocoa Mix – I buy one box of hot cocoa, and put two packets in each box.
As you’ve guessed, we all open our Christmas Eve Boxes, well, on Christmas Eve.Then we pick a movie together that we all want to watch. We change into our new pj’s, make our snacks and hot cocoa and all sit down to watch the movie! I can’t guarantee that we will all make it through the movie, but it’s still fun!
**Bonus** These boxes are also great for storage when it’s time to put all the decorations away. They’re not overly expensive either.
One thing that we missed out on last year, that we are able to do this year is one of Bubs family traditions. Building a gingerbread house.
Last year, it seemed we couldn’t get to Walmart for the life of us due to road closures and snow storms. We also don’t have many shopping options here in town, and everywhere that had them in stock sold out really quickly.
This year, Bubs picked one out early while we were at Walmart this past weekend! Yay!! It was a process deciding which one too. There are so many different types, and different characters to choose from. He decided to go with a Minion Gingerbread House, which was probably the best choice because all of the kids like minions. The next time we have all of the kids, that will be one of our projects. This one came with the base and even little minion figurines! More to come on how this turns out. I haven’t done many gingerbread houses in my time, so I am really excited about this one.
As far as Christmas dinner goes, I’m positive we have several gatherings to go to, same as Thanksgiving. In regards to our Christmas, everyone in my house is pretty sick of any type of bird. So we usually do a ham, with a homemade glaze that my mom always made and used. Of course we will have all of the fixins’ to go along with it.
We didn’t get to do any homemade pies for turkey day, so I think we will try and get that on the menu for Christmas. Other than the ham and the pies, I still have to come up with the rest of the Christmas Dinner Menu. That is one of my favorite parts! When my mom passed away I got some of her dishes that she has had ever since I was a kid, so I will definitely use those to incorporate parts of my mom being with us this holiday season. Although by the end of all the prepping and cooking, I’m tired of being in the kitchen, it is all so worth it!
What are some of your favorite family holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to hear from you! I wonder how many different traditions we can get…