Christmas can get crazy in a “normal” family! But I find Christmas in a blended family a little crazier and a little more unpredictable. You’re balancing schedules of up to four different families, trying to get Christmas activities done in half the time (50/50 custody), all while trying to have that Pinterest Perfect Christmas! It can be a tad stressful!

This year I’ve decided to approach Christmas a little differently! I’ve decided to get super organized, change my attitude and make the best of the situation we are in!

I’ve listed a few strategies for my fellow step-moms (or single moms/divorced parents)

1. Plan Plan Plan
Having 50/50 custody also makes it difficult to get all your activities done. Last year we planned on doing so many more activities than we actually got around to – Life was just too busy and there wasn’t enough time. Favourite Christmas Movies went unwatched. Favourite cookies weren’t made. We didn’t even get around to seeing Santa. Ummm  Parenting FAIL!

This year found this Free Printable on iMom, filled out our schedule and put it right on the fridge so everyone can see! I have seriously slotted in times to watch our favourite Christmas movies and make our favourite cookies!

For my fellow step-moms, another bonus of doing this calendar is that the kids know where they are going to be each day. In order to accommodate everyone’s Christmas schedules, access plans tend to get re-arranged, and the kids get juggled around even more than usual.  At least with the calendar they are less confused and have an idea of what the game plan is.

2. Be Flexible
Does your ex have a family celebration on your day with the children? Switch it!
Is there something she wants to do with the kids, when it is your time? Accommodate it!
Put any differences aside and remember it’s not the kids fault that their parents aren’t together – they shouldn’t have to miss out on activities because of hot headed parents, separation agreements and access schedules!

3. Be Prepared
Do your Christmas shopping, plan your menus & do your wrapping when the kids aren’t with you! This way, your time with them is free to do fun holidays activities!!

4. Don’t be an Ass
Even if you have some ongoing battle with your ex, or some differences you can’t seem to settle, put it on the shelf for the Christmas season. This time of year is supposed to be about celebrating and spending time with family, and divorce drama can really put a damper in everyone’s ability to have a good time. (And if you are an ass, you may want to consider putting “Don’t be an Ass” on your new years resolution list… but that’s a whole other blog!)

5. Re-define your “Perfect Christmas”
My parents are also divorced. When we were young, and felt bad that one of our parents were alone on Christmas Eve, my Dad would tell us that Christmas doesn’t happen until we are there. He wasn’t stuck on the calendar day, or the tradition of opening presents first thing in the morning. He was flexible and accommodating and willing to make new traditions.

So this year, I am not going to get stuck on having Reese’s first Christmas morning run according to the standard Christmas morning schedule. She is 7 months. She has no idea what is going on, so waiting to open her gifts until the kids come later in the day will be no sweat off her back, and really it shouldn’t be off mine either! Opening the presents as family is much more important than doing it the “perfect” way!