It's October, and the holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. If you are divorced and remarried and part of a blended family, you may be wondering how you will negotiate these or other holidays this year. Have the holidays found you in a tug-of-war with competing heads of other families for your adult children's attendance like my husband and I have?
In the beginning of our marriage, my husband Bill and I often found ourselves alone, and we didn't feel good about it. At the same time, we didn't want to force our kids forced to choose which family to visit. On occasion, we did get invited to attend an in-law celebration which we gratefully accepted, but we wished to entertain our kids and grandkids in our own home, creating our own traditions.
We finally came up with a solution.
We finally came up with a solution that has worked well for us. We've created "Thanksmas," a holiday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Before Thanksgiving we group text the kids in order to set a date all can attend. Because they often have plenty of turkey and ham in other homes during the holidays, I usually make a different main dish such as pork roast. The kids bring side dishes.
I hope the grandchildren will remember these "favorite things" as part of "Grandma's house" long after I'm gone.
I love to decorate for Christmas, and display many of the same decorations year after year. I always have everyone's favorite candy, cookies, and a big bowl of Japanese oranges waiting for them, especially for the grandchildren. I hope they'll remember these "favorite things" as part of "Grandma's house" long after I'm gone.
Last year, we decided to try a solution for Christmas Day.
However, this still left Bill and I with nothing planned for Christmas Day. Last year, we came up with a solution for that too. We decided to hold an open house and invite everybody we could think of! That's right ... everybody! It was a spectacular success. Seventeen people dropped in, some we hadn't known well. We loved the mix of church friends, workout people, neighbors, and singles who enjoyed getting acquainted with one another. Some brought food to share. Bill and I made too much, and were happy to send some home with our guests.
I won't lie, it was a lot of work, but it turned out to be completely heartwarming. Our guests have encouraged us to make this a tradition, and we look forward to it again this year.
You might say, Bill and I made lemonade out of lemons. If you and your spouse are feeling left out during the holidays, I encourage you to be creative and make new traditions that work for you and your family.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed or helped by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced opposing responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issue. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
If you and your spouse are part of an adult blended family, you may identify with the challenges my husband Bill and I faced when trying to bring everyone together for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bill and I didn’t want to make holiday attendance a popularity contest between us parents. How were our kids going to choose which celebration to attend?
Our Solution - Thanksmas
Our solution was to create a new tradition we call "Thanksmas". As you might guess, our gathering is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The timing works for most everybody. Our kids appreciate not being put in a position of choosing between spending time with us or the other sets of parents. Our Thanksmas has proven a little more laid-back than the actual holidays. We’re all more relaxed, not having the pressure of measuring up to expectations of the “real” holidays.
During our first Thanksmas, I discovered that, within our mix, we have several variations in food preferences and traditions. Frankly, I was flummoxed when my husband’s children’s tastes didn’t match some of my cooking. For example, we differed over how gravy should be made, and which is best (or worst!), mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.
An Additional Solution
Since I highly value our family's time together, I came up with a solution that works for all of us and might work for you, too. Rather than serve food at the dining table, I put it out on the kitchen counter buffet style so diners can pick and choose as they please. Although I try to accommodate everyone’s taste to a degree, the kids are aware of my usual dishes and know I will not be insulted if they choose to bring a dish or two more to their liking. The more food, the better.
All in all, our Thanksmas has been a success, because we all choose to make it so.
If you've experienced and resolved blended family holiday issues, I hope you'll share them with readers here in the comment section.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issue. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
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