Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas and Blended Families....manners matter....

My Christmas Table
My phone has been ringing with people wanting to know how to handle the difficulties that arise during occasions such as Christmas with “blended” families. The old adage that you can choose your friends but not your family is often relevant at Christmas, and particularly with families which have divorced and perhaps remarried partners. Unfortunately there are very few happy melded families like “The Brady Bunch” least initially.

If having good manners is about behaving well around other people and treating each other with respect, then at times of probable stress and possibly strife, the need to be even more cautious with words and actions is really important.

My children’s father and I have been divorced for many years. But over the years we have developed strategies to make our shared Christmases with our children and our new partners as pleasant as possible. We have always attended Christmas church services together, and afterwards had a glass of champagne and the opening of gifts. And then we have gone our separate ways with the children going with one or the other for a period. And most of the time it has worked without tears.

Decorated by all the family
I have found that it is sensible to have a predetermined plan and timetable in place and have the children well informed about what to expect, whom they will be meeting etc. And as parents we need to be alert for sad eyes and downturned mouths....and remember that the spirit of Christmas is all about the fantasy, festivities and friendship of the season.

And so this year is no different. Our adult children will join us from around the country, our Christmas Day will be divided after Church but we will all get together later for seafood, good wine, hugs and fond thoughts of those with whom we would also like to be sharing Christmas Day.

May I wish you Seasons Greetings and a safe and happy time with your families and friends.

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