Everyone is right in the thick of the Holiday season and honestly, other than it being a lot of fun and something to look forward to, it can also add a lot of stress.
For a Dutch girl who really only celebrated St. Nicholas growing up, I never celebrated Thanksgiving and sort of had a half-ass Christmas. Moving to Canada was a big game changer and a real eye-opener.
Getting to experience that first big white Christmas as an adult was pretty amazing. And then the cold hard truth hits you. You are planning, coordinating, shopping, traveling, exchanging gifts, cooking, eating and celebrating.
And on top of that?
As a stepmom you’re also dealing with pick-up and drop-off, schedules and - if you’re on good terms - coordinating gifts together with the ex because you don't want to end up getting the same present.
Some years you might have your stepkids on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a switchover sometime after Christmas dinner and other years you won’t. It's different for every blended family. My stepkids have never been with us on these days, we do our Christmas on Boxing Day, which is totally fine. It’s not about celebrating Christmas on the exact day, it’s about being together, whatever day that might be.
Once you’ve figured out who the stepkids are with, you may need to coordinate with your extended family.
There are literally a million things to do for Christmas and it can add stress IF you don’t plan for it.
Believe me, a lot wasn’t planned for my first Christmas in Canada.
Christmas shopping was a huge mess and the credit card statement was insane. Gifts showed up on the doorstep fully showing what they were as we drove up the driveway with the kids in the back seat. Happy EARLY Christmas you guys…
Cooking a turkey was a first for me. The turkey was still frozen the morning of our big Christmas dinner and we frantically defrosted that sucker in the sink even though everyone from here to Timbuktu said you have to defrost it in the fridge. Oh well...
We had so much food during the day and a sweet grocery bill reflecting this that guests weren’t really hungry by the time our totally over the top Christmas dinner was served.
The Christmas Holidays can be stressful and the most common causes for blended families are usually,
This girl got one present on Christmas morning growing up and that was that. Plus we didn’t do Christmas until my teenage years. Our Christmas tree wasn’t jam packed full of presents. So who was excited when Christmas day rolled around in Canada and there were soooo many presents? ME! Even though none of the present were for me…
Until, I totaled how much was spent on presents for my stepkids, nieces, nephews, adult gift exchange items and all the food. Like ALL the food.
Before you know it you’re spending way more money than you want. Since our first Christmas we’ve scaled back big time and I’m now dreaming of a Christmas with a limited amount of presents. Using the money we save for a little weekend getaway or day trip with the kids.
Finding the perfect gift
How much time have you put into finding the perfect gift? Not just for one person but for 6, 7, 10 or 12 people. My brain starts going into gift buying mode by November ‘cause there is no way I’m going to leave that until December again and rack my brain over what to get everyone AND spend my time in a very busy mall and long lineups with everyone else shopping for last minute Christmas presents.
For some of us, there is A LOT of traveling involved. Drop the kids off with their mom, schedule a pickup, drive to your parent's place and the next day visit the in-laws and grandparents. Drive again and again plus eat tons of food. The Christmas schedule can get pretty insane.
Cooking a big dinner
The turkey needs to cook for hours, potatoes need to be boiled, the salad needs to be made and veggies prepped. The amount of time you spend in the kitchen totally depends on how extensive your Christmas menu is and how much help you allow into the kitchen.
I can’t leave this one out because it can be a huge headache for some blended families. And I highlight can and some as it’s not the case across the board.
All in all, even though Christmas can be stressful, it’s a great time to get together, make memories and start traditions. Plus, there are ways most, if not all, stressors can be avoided!