Blended Families During the Holidays – Remember the Holidays are Supposed to be Fun!


Holidays are supposed to be fun! Getting a divorce, having a custody battle or navigating blended families certainly is not fun, regardless of the time of year. However, during the holidays it can be especially difficult and it is a good time to try to put aside your differences, even if you just place them on the back burner for a few hours.  The following strategies may help lessen the holiday stress.

Take Time

Take time to do something just for yourself.  Spend time with your children doing something out of the ordinary during the holidays.  When you can take a break from the stress, even for just a few moments, you will feel better. Those around you will notice and it will lead to a happier holiday.

Plan Ahead

If you already have a parenting plan in place, there’s no excuse for waiting until Christmas Eve or a few days before Thanksgiving to review it.  At least annually, review both your parenting plan and your calendar to determine the children’s holiday schedule. I suggest that you pre-plan your calendars a year in advance. You’ll thank me later! Every fall, spring, or winter go through your parenting plan and create next year’s calendar. This will help you plan and anticipate possible problem dates in advance. If you utilize a shared online calendar with the children’s other parent, you will be able to spot problem areas ahead of time and fix them with the other parent in an efficient and stress-free manner. If you don’t utilize a shared online calendar, I highly suggest you start. There are many free programs and they simplify your life!

Active Litigation

No court orders in place and the holidays are approaching?  It’s hard to get into family law court during this time of year. Judges are humans; they have children, take vacations and celebrate holidays too. Remind your attorney that you will need holiday orders. Pre-plan. If you have a hearing between August and December, remember to ask for specific holiday orders. If you don’t have a hearing, tell your lawyer to file a motion in advance of the holidays. It’s an easy fix. The judges are happy to give you holiday parenting time. Inevitably someone will forget or not plan ahead, which will lead to unnecessary stress. Simply put: don’t wait until November or December to plan your holidays.

Start Your Own Traditions

That first major holiday alone is going to be tough. There’s no denying it. It’s quiet and it’s lonely. However, embrace the opportunity to start new traditions when your children are with you. Create a new adventure, a new memory or a something very special with them. The holidays are what WE make of them.  If you‘ve always liked spending the day in your pajamas or you like breakfast for dinner, make it YOUR new tradition! Your children will love whatever you dream up because you’re making new memories, ones that you and your children are the authors of.

About the author:  Carissa Seidl is a family law attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk.  She can be reached at 602.248.1000 or

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED on ABC 15, December 9, 2017 

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