Holiday Reset: Tips For A Stress-Free Blended Family Dinner

November 25, 2014  |  

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Let’s face it: the traditional American family is no longer. Just like peanut butter and jelly, America is a blended stepfamily sandwich. The blended family has become the norm and sometimes when there is much un-channeled energy in a family, it can lead to a dramatic Thanksgiving dinner.

Stepfamilies, also known as blended families, are more of a norm now than ever with 65 percent of remarriages including children from previous relationships. When families “blend” to create stepfamilies, though, things rarely progress smoothly.

I can share with you from personal experience that having a blended family can get sticky, especially when you add different personalities to the mix. My ‘bonus’ son lost his mom on 9/11 and navigating through the countless parenting suggestions from an extend family left me pleading for a timeout.  When you care about someone you want to see the best and it’s your job as the peacemaker to do an intake of all the suggestions, create an agenda to uplift your family, and most of all realize that grownups have to earn their title as grownups.

Lesson learned: Having open communication, positive attitudes, mutual respect, and plenty of love and patience all have an important place in creating a healthy blended family.

One in three Americans is now a stepparent, a stepchild, a stepsibling, or some other member of a blended family. Since 2010 blended families have been the predominant family form in the U.S.

Here are Taylor Bass’ Tips to a stress-free blended family dinner:

Have the ‘talk’. Plan to celebrate life and create a theme of loving and gratitude. Decide who will host the dinner, carve the turkey and send out invitations.
Make a budget. If you know that money is tight, communicate to everyone that all hands need to be on deck. Nothing spoils an occasion like money drama, set a budget and stick to it.
Invite the A-Listers. Create a VIP atmosphere and celebrate with easy-going friends and family.
Establish game time. Break out the Pictionary, charade and scrabble to ease the evening with good old fashion competition and laughter.
Decide on a no-bickering zone. ‘Tis the season for celebrating and not fighting.
Remember why you’ve gathered. Set the mood and tone of the evening by having your guests share what their thankful for.
Have wine on deck. You don’t want anyone to get sloppy drunk. But a glass of wine reminds everyone that this is an opportunity to relax.
Show yourself some gratitude. Give yourself props for seeing the big picture and putting emotions on ice.
Enjoy. You and your family deserve a stress-free holiday.

Holiday #Reset: Stay in gratitude this holiday season and give thanks for family and health. Take a moment; receive love while accepting the gift of people – blended, biological and friendly.

Karen Taylor Bass, PR Expert, entrepreneur and author is a ‘bonus’ mom with a blended family and has perfected the stress-free holiday celebration. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.

 

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