Festive Season Relationships

Enjoying the Festive Season as a blended or extended family

December 1, 2016
Blended family Christmas

Christmas and the Festive Season is such a happy time, however, it can also be stressful with all the planning and the number of people we have to catch up with.

Why not just relax and make a few changes to make this time of year more enjoyable?


Enjoying the Festive Season as a blended family is not always easy. Having a blended family means we have to ‘share’ the children and grandchildren so a few years ago when our first grandchild was born I started a new tradition.  When we first were together we both had two children – each a girl and a boy.  We would spend Christmas Night with my in-laws and the children would usually attend.

As they became adults and met partners the number of places they had to visit doubled and our Christmas Night tradition became a bit of a chore.  No one felt like eating a large meal, everyone was tired and there wasn’t much festive left in the festive season.

We now celebrate a week before Christmas, leaving them to enjoy the actual Christmas day with other members of their family.  It also means we don’t have grumpy and overtired grandchildren and can spend quality time with everyone.

Christmas can also be a ‘tug-of-war’ between parents who are separated or divorced.  No-one is the winner in these situations, least of all the children.

Does it really matter what day we celebrate?  Surely the most important part of Christmas is to have all the family together enjoying each other’s company and all the trimmings.  As parents we obviously want to spend the time with our family, however, I put myself in their position and realise the extra stress put on them to ‘attend’ everywhere on the Day.

I also think that families need to have their Christmas morning free so that the children can enjoy what Santa has brought them.  Too often, they quickly open their gifts and then it is a rush to the first visit of the day.

This year will be different again as my stepdaughter and her family will be away on holidays.  We won’t be having our big family get together which will be strange and I feel a little lost as I won’t be organising weeks ahead.

Instead my husband, mother-in-law and I will be going to my daughter’s for Christmas Day.  We will be having lunch with her and her husband’s family plus my son and also my ex-husband will be there.  So it will still be a festive day.

So let’s take a step back, forget putting pressure on everyone and arrange a time for your celebration when everyone is available and able to relax and enjoy.


Let’s Keep Sizzling!


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  • Reply Min@WriteoftheMiddle December 1, 2016 at 20:53

    You have save a great perspective on Christmas Sue. I must admit that the joy has gone out of Christmas for me somewhat. It’s all about racing from one family to another in order to do the right thing. We do have the mornings at home thankfully but then off to his side of the family (it rotates around) for lunch and then rush to my side of the family (always at my parents house because that’s how they want it) who are on the other side of town. The problem is that his side of the family’s lunch is the one and only big event of the day for them so they drag it out and are in no rush. Whereas for us – we have to get to the other side of town for dinner with my family by a decent hour (like no later than 6pm) because my parents are not young and will be asleep if we get there too late. SO yes I do understand how sometimes it can be difficult to do it all and please everyone! I would like to run away to the northern hemisphere and have a White Christmas one year! #TeamLovinLife

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 2, 2016 at 06:09

      Hi Min, this year we are having a quiet one and just going to my daughter’s place for Christmas Day. I think that parents can become so precious about the actual ‘day’ and seeing their family on the ‘day’ they forget what the true meaning is. I’ve always tried not to add pressure to the kids especially when they became parents. A White Christmas would be lovely. We once ran away for Christmas to Europe but unfortunately it didn’t snow that year in London LOL:) Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day!

  • Reply candy December 2, 2016 at 09:59

    I have seen some family members make it difficult because they insist on christmas day that you must be in attendance. One family I know finally decided that January 1st is when they all get together and celebrate Christmas. Works for them. Thanks for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers link party.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 3, 2016 at 06:32

      I know Candy it can be a nightmare for some people rushing all over the place on Christmas Day and it is just not enjoyable. I’d rather spend quality time even if it isn’t on ‘the day’. Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day.

  • Reply Grammy Dee December 4, 2016 at 11:55

    Such a great reminder for parents of adult children who have other relatives to visit. It doesn’t matter what day we celebrate, it’s all about sharing a loving get together with as less stress as possible and remembering the reason for the season. Thank you for partying with us at Blogging Grandmothers Link Party! We’ve shared your post on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 5, 2016 at 06:36

      I agree Dee, I don’t stress about what day we celebrate as long as we get together. Thanks for the Blogging Grandmothers Link Party I’m enjoying being part of it. x

  • Reply Clearissa Coward December 5, 2016 at 06:58

    Being part of a blended family, I totally enjoyed your article. It may be difficult to swallow, but once your child grows up you may have to share them with others. Also, as the stepmother of adult sons, you just have to relax and allow them to come when they can. Thank you for sharing with #blogginggrandmothers. Your article was stumbled.

  • Reply Leanne@ www.crestingthehill.com.au December 5, 2016 at 20:51

    I think it just gets trickier and trickier as the “kids” get older. You have the in-laws to share with, the grandchildren to fit in with, distance (in our case) to mess things up even more, and the list goes on. The last few Christmases have brought me close to meltdown point (and I’m not even a huge traditionalist) it’s just all the “being gracious and not demanding my own slice of Christmas” that irks me. Sometimes I want to sing “What about me….it isn’t fair” but nobody would be listening!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:05

      It sure does Leanne and I was always disappointed because we were last on the list. My ex-husband has his birthday on Christmas Day so I always wanted the kids to spend the time with him. Mike’s ex just would be co-operative so I just changed it to suit us. We also spend Christmas Day at Rachel’s with my family and Ian’s parents and sister plus my ex-husband so that works for everyone on my side.

  • Reply Jennifer December 5, 2016 at 21:53

    Christmas hasn’t been the same since the big family get-togethers have ended. But I’m learning to enjoy the smaller version of Christmas with just a few family members.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:02

      That is the hard part Jennifer and especially if there aren’t little ones to enjoy Santa and all that is so lovely about this time of year. Have a beautiful festive season.

  • Reply Beth @GrannyBeth3 December 5, 2016 at 22:46

    This is the toughest time for us “Steps”. You are right though, we need to pull our big girl pants up and make the holidays for the family.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:01

      It can be hard Beth but I feel so much better about everything since I changed the day – everyone is in a much more festive mood that is for sure.

  • Reply Elena Peters December 6, 2016 at 00:43

    You are a freaking genius! Christmas has always been a tug of war for me but now that the kids are grown with partners, it is even worse. Add to that, that my hubby always works through the holidays. I always want to just get it all over with. I am going to try the week before thing and take all the stress off of the actual day.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:01

      Yes I grew tired of the tug-of-war Elena, and just gave up and changed the day. It is much more enjoyable for everyone now and I can really cook up a storm which I love doing and know that everyone will be coming with empty tummies!

  • Reply shelley December 6, 2016 at 05:05

    I can absolutely relate to the issue of a tug-of-war between families having experienced it myself! It can make for a miserable holiday sometimes.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 12:59

      It can Shelley that is why I really was tired of always being the last on the list for visits when everyone was tired and cranky. So I changed it! It is much more enjoyable for everyone now.

  • Reply Rachel December 6, 2016 at 07:52

    Fortunately/unfortunately, we live far away from all of our family so it’s “easy” to break up the holidays so we get to see everyone on our own time. Since we are spread out across the country it’s just kind of known that we have to pick and choose who we will see and when. I’m not sure if it hurts anyone’s feelings but so far our feelings haven’t been hurt when we have been solo for a holiday.

    I hope you have a nice holiday this year!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 13:06

      Yes that makes it a little easier Rachel although I suppose sometimes you don’t always get to spend a particular holiday with one side because of the distance? I wish you a lovely holiday and the best for 2017!

  • Reply Melinda Mitchell December 6, 2016 at 11:02

    With divorces, and kids getting married, things certainly change!
    My nuclear family always celebrated on Christmas Eve. So, as grown-ups we still do, then Christmas DAy is for ourselves, or the other side.
    We even include exs too. So good for the kids!!
    Blogging Grandmothers

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 7, 2016 at 11:05

      Yes my ex and his partner(until she passed away this year) always comes to my daughter’s place with my husband and I. It is lovely for the kids to see that divorce doesn’t necessarily mean you hate each other, you just grew apart.

  • Reply Marilyn Lesniak December 14, 2016 at 03:49

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful post at #OverTheMoon. I look forward to what you will share next week! Do something special. Give yourself a standing ovation today! We hope you’ll come back again next Sunday when we open our doors at 6:00 PM EST. Pinned and tweeted!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2016 at 10:40

      Thanks Marilyn!

  • Reply Janice | MostlyBlogging December 14, 2016 at 12:51

    Hi Sue,
    Holidays can be hard for people without families.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    • Reply Sue Loncaric December 15, 2016 at 10:39

      Thanks for hosting Janice!

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