One of the many challenges of a blended family is blending Holidays and vacations. The historical approach to these events by the two families is rarely a perfect fit. Of course, this is where one could make argument for all of these events to be spent on the beach or up in the mountains. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. Holidays are spent with family members and past vacations can have a life of their own. Every family and blended situation is different, but here are a few suggestions.
Blending Holidays – The World Tour
The most common approach for a blended family seems to be doing it all. This can become rather exhausting as families grow. Even a family of four or five can quickly grow to a half dozen stops of more. Although this obviously works (because so many do it), I find it to be too much. The quality time we should have during a Holiday gets swallowed up in travel and juggling schedules. By the time the Holiday is over everyone is ready for a vacation.
This seems to be the common court approach. Instead of going everywhere for each Holiday, instead the location rotates over the years. This approach can still be problematic in a large family. It could be years before a Holiday repeats at a location. When you have older relatives it gets to where you wonder if they will live long enough to see them again. Although this is not perfect either, at least the simpler schedule improves the quality of the time spent together. Everyone can be fully present wherever they end up each year.
Old School – The Reunion
Reunions seem to have fallen out of favor. This solution finds a location for everyone to gather. It can be awkward to have extended families in the same location. However, it eases the burden on the blended family. Also, it helps the blending effort. Instead of “my family” and “your family”, the extended members have the opportunity to blend. This blending can be slow and difficult, but effective. Think of parents of a couple to be married getting together for introductions. It may be years before they meet again, but over the years the in laws can build some form of relationship. This helps keep the family more intact.
A reunion may be the best solution even if it is the hardest to pull off. No one has to be put out with hosting and everyone shares the same memories. Rotating the location for the reunion makes it even better. Some years will be a short trip, but in fairness, other years will be longer to accommodate all of the family members.