There is a lot of talk of Christmas traditions right now and when it comes to our blended family, I cherish all the time we get to spend together. Also, at times, I love to have some me time. It’s all about some sort of balance, am I right? Especially since my stepchildren are growing up so fast and are spending more of their time with friends, after-school activities and on homework.
Over the years we’ve bonded, created traditions (I didn’t even realize they were traditions at the time) and then changed our traditions as they got older and our blended family became closer.
There is no doubt that all traditions are important for your family and you can read why here.
For the sake of it being December 1st and Christmas officially being here, I’m sharing a few of our mostly non-related Christmas traditions.
Hot tub nights
It seems like everyone is distracted by their cell phones lately. Even though I make a conscious effort to stay away from my cell phone, I don’t always succeed. Barely ever, to be honest, unless the phone is in another room and on silent. Neither does my husband or my stepchildren. To combat this really annoying habit, I love to spend nights in the hot tub. There’s no set day. When we feel like it, we pop open the hot tub lid and spend time talking, staring at the stars or making snow angels and sprinting back to the warmth of the hot tub.
Yes, we are that family who has dinner around the table 99% of the time.
Board game nights
When my stepchildren were younger the whole bedtime routine was rushed. We barely had any time to fit in homework, reading and showers before 8 pm. I don't miss those days! It was literally a race against the clock and we haven’t been able to breathe until recently. Now, with time on our side and this sense of calm serenity, we sit down to play a game of Uno, Sorry or other board games.
Movie and popcorn night
Not a massive deal, you would think. But, for a family who doesn’t have cable television and rarely watches Netflix, this is a big deal in our house. So after we spend 30 minutes scrolling through all the movies in the hopes of finding a movie neither one of us have seen yet we break out the popcorn! My husband also makes it just a little extra special by selecting the classics every once in awhile.
Bedtime stories - an oldie but goodie
I’m pretty sure they would be soooo embarrassed if I told you guys and everyone around us that we still read bedtime stories to my 12 and 10-year-old stepchildren every single night. So I won’t, ‘cause we don’t. Sadly, they have grown past this stage a very long time ago. But this was one of my favorite things to do!
Thanksgiving camping and any other long weekend camping trips.
One of my favorites because there is so much food involved. Plus we get to spend it with friends and family roasting marshmallows, eating hot dogs and glamping somewhere far away in the backcountry without cell service.
Dutch traditions on New Year’s Eve
Oliebollen are a Dutch New Year’s tradition. They are a lot like Apple fritters without the Apple. The name Oliebollen translates roughly to “Oil Balls” according to my husband. My husband and my stepchildren run around the house asking for oil balls right around New Year's, it a little inside joke in our house. I know the name makes them sound awful but I promise that they are delicious. It has also become our New Year’s Eve staple and has been requested for birthdays. Something I haven’t followed through with yet... Head on over here for a recipe.
As a blended family, the big thing with most traditions is that there has to be flexibility. Things change, the kids are with mom half the time, after school activities get in the way of sitting down together for dinner or my husband isn’t home for every single long weekend. Heck, he isn’t even home for Christmas or New Year’s this year.
The biggest factor to traditions changing? Kids grow up. My stepchildren don’t need us to read bedtime stories and tuck them in anymore. They grow up and traditions end which opens doors to start new traditions!