How was your first ever Christmas as a step-parent?(12 Posts)
I'm about to experience my first ever Christmas as a 'step-mum' after two years of having a single-person's Christmas following the breakdown of my very long 25yr + marriage.
My children are in their 20s and have lived independently for a few years now.
My partner's children are both 8 and 11 and we will be having them for the entire Christmas period as their mum doesn't 'do' Christmas and so she's going away with her boyfriend.
I'm excited and a little nervous too as my partner has not done a full-on 'proper' Christmas with his children due to his ex wife disliking everything about it - they are about to have their first ever stockings this year! We're spending Christmas in France (ex wife is French and we have our house there).
How was your first ever Christmas with your partner and their family? Was there anything you were unprepared for? Do you have any tips to pass on or words of experience you'd like to share with those of us who might benefit from your advice?! Do you have any funny stories to share?!
Watching with interest as I am in a similar situation Lilly...
I would urge caution, and set yourself low expectations.
Xmas can put a strain on even the most robust of 'first' families - blended families are naturally more fragile and therefore more vulnerable.
But, enjoy it! If you relish every positive, no matter how small, then the niggles are easier to live with!
Despite all the drama and hostility regarding my DSC, I have very positive memories of last Xmas with DSS and my DD. I hold onto those when things get tough.
I am gearing up for my first proper Christmas with us all together - dh and i married this summer so decided to keep the dsc this year. i have been finding it very hard to gel my Christmas plans with theirs - ie when we will open presents etc as it all means i have to follow what they are used to. sounds really selfish i know, but it does make me feel like i am on the edge of the family rather than part of it as all my traditions are passed over. hoping it will start to feel like more of a joint event soon...
It was nice in the end, but...
I ended up choosing, paying for, and wrapping all off SS's presents as now dh wasn't interested, then we picked him up for the evening and took him home to open his presents. I sat on the floor ready, all excited and now dh handed me his camera and told me to go in the corner and take photos of him sitting with SS while he opened his presents! Needless to say I was NOT impressed. Dh wasn't being a dick on purpose, he just didn't think, but his attitude just said it all really
We had our first Christmas all living together last year - though I have DCs too so it was a bit different from your situation - more equal I think. I guess it must be a bit harder for you not to feel the outsider. On the other hand, if your DCs have never really made much of Christmas in the past that's a lovely opportunity to start forming your own family traditions.
We did talk though expectations of the day beforehand - what time children were allowed to get up, whether they opened stockings on their own or only with us, what time for opening main presents and for eating meals to make sure we agreed on what was happening when.
The other thing we did that I really enjoyed was to fill the stockings together - we'd both bought a few bits and pieces for the kids and it was lots of fun deciding who'd get what. I'd bought a few bits and pieces for DP as well, but DSD insisted I hang a stocking out too, and put me a few chocolates and odds and ends in it. That was really sweet of her, as I've not had anyone fill a stocking for me since I left home
We also carved up responsibility for Christmas lunch - DP was used to doing this himself and was a bit of a control freak about it, but agreed to let me do the veggies and a pudding, whilst I left him alone with the turkey. Helped stop us arguing over it and meant no one was working too hard.
I also introduced DP and DSC to the tradition I grew up with which was that after lunch the kids watch a film - whatever's on telly usually, whilst the grown ups go for a sleep . And also, charades in the evening is great fun, but best not played competitively.
The French generally don't do the whole Father Christmas stuff like we do to be honest. At one stage in Paris the only place to visit Father Christmas was at Disney Paris. So I wouldn't be too worried about your SC not having done a traditional British Xmas. They just did it the French way. My French friends don't do stockings or advent calenders either - their children don't seem to have missed out as they never knew about it!
My first Xmas as a stepparent was also my first Xmas in France, and to be honest I was more taken aback by the differences between a French and English Xmas, than the fact of having dss there! For example: the celebratory meal and present giving is all done on the evening of 24th, the 25th was more like boxing day. Presents are not put under the tree as and when, but all brought out at a given moment and supposedly all gifts, for everyone, not just kids, are from Santa is you can't explicitly thank anyone for a specific gift or acknowledge you bought anything for anyone (though maybe this is just DP's family's way of doing things...)
Best bit: the food. French Christmas dinner is awesome. One tip: they don't have crackers here, so they were a real novelty for DSS when I brought some for the table, he LOVED them. Those and party poppers!
First xmas with DSkids I was shocked by how much time the telly was on! / how much mess there was (crisps all over the floor etc)
Possibly similar set up to yours. My family Christmases as a child were very much full of bling, house decorated to the rafters, we'd make paper chains and be fully involved I getting everything ready. Peeling spuds and sprouts the night before etc. mum and dad were big church goers so we'd have a special cooked breakfast on Xmas morning, be allowed to open one present before church, do the carol concert and hang around for drinks and biscuits after. Then there'd be the time before lunch was ready that we'd tear into the Santa presents and after lunch we'd have presents from the family which were left under the tree.
As a parent of my own kids I carried on that tradition but with not so much of the regimentation, but they love the way Christmas Day goes on and on,it's not just over in one indulgent self gratifying whirl of unwrapping and then nothing else for the rest of the day. It's more social.
When I met my current partner, her and her kids had only really done the tree and the one off splurge of present opening. They love getting all the decorations up, the Xmas breakfast, different types of present, Santa and family and now they're the ones that nag to turn the house into santa's grotto and are stricter about the routine than we can be bothered with now they're older.
For younger kids, I think stretching out the excitement. For as long as possible does two things. Keeps the telly off and makes sure they go to bed early!
The "best" one, that first one. There have been 4 utter nightmares since.
Just do your best. It's all you can do.
Bloody awful. We nearly split up over it.
DSC were spoilt and nasty. Every present they opened they literally threw to one side and said "NEXT"
As soon as they had opened everything they started whining for more.
They ate chocolate non stop all day and refused their dinner and DP let them get away with all of it and went out boxing day and bought them a load more stuff!!!!
After a week of this I finally stormed out in tears on New Years eve and said change your ways or its over!!!
Thankfully they did and now they are lovely and I'm looking forward to having them this year!
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