When you’re a part of a blended family, the holidays can be especially hectic. Raising children between two households is a delicate dance on a typical day, but major holidays like Christmas require meticulous attention to detail and a greater-than-usual level of cooperation and flexibility from co-parents and bonus parents alike. COVID-19 has only heightened this need. As we inch closer to our first Christmas since the coronavirus pandemic has altered life as we know it, you may be wondering what the holiday season can look like for you and your blended family — especially considering the CDC’s guidelines for holiday gatherings. Here are a few tips.
Collaborate with your co-parent early
Communication between co-parents and bonus parents is always important, but this year, early collaboration is more important than ever. Get together and discuss potential holiday plans as soon as possible. The earlier you begin, the more time and space you will have to come up with creative ideas, back-up plans, and determine which safety measures will be put in place to keep your children (and each other) safe during this holiday season.
Talk to the kids
Your children may be wondering why things look a little different this year. Don’t take for granted that they are completely aware of the fact that the pandemic will affect how we celebrate this year. Have an appropriate conversation with them and ask for their input as you make plans for the upcoming season.
Keep things small
Presently, the CDC states celebrating with members of your household poses the lowest risk for the potential spread of coronavirus. Of course, this can feel virtually impossible when you are a part of a blended family. If both biological parents are adamant about seeing the children on Christmas Day, consider having one intimate celebration that incorporates both co-parents, bonus parents, and the children. Seeing all parties working together and celebrating the occasion under one roof can offer children an extra-added sense of security and warmth during these uncertain times. It can also help to distract them from the typical holiday traditions that your family may have to skip this year as a result of the pandemic.
Take advantage of technology
One of the great parts about being in a blended family is that there is plenty of love to go around. There may be two or more sets of grandparents, aunts, and uncles who want to see the children on Christmas Day. Sadly, with infection rates continuing to climb, house-hopping is not advisable for this holiday season; however, technology has made it possible that not even physical distance can keep families apart. Consider coordinating a virtual gathering that allows relatives and your children’s other parents to log in and see them on Christmas Day.
Choose logic over emotion
We have a tendency to get emotional during the holidays. We are fiercely married to our traditions because, in our minds, Christmas doesn’t quite feel like Christmas unless we do X, Y, Z. It is during these times that we must choose logic over emotion. If we make the sacrifice this year, we can help to ensure the safety of the people we love for many holidays to come.
Split the holidays
If anyone in your blended family falls within the high-risk category or if infection rates are dangerously high in your state, you and your co-parent may opt to split holidays as opposed to shuffling the children between your homes on Christmas Day. One household can keep the children for Thanksgiving and New Years and the other, Christmas.