On Christmas day, I do think of my stepdaughter's mom. I think of her celebrating the rest of Christmas without her daughter. No amount of learning to share can prepare you for this.
When you envision Christmas wth your children, you usually imagine waking up early and opening gifts around the tree. Then lounging in pajamas surrounded by wrapping paper, sipping cocoa and watching the kids play with their new toys. You don’t imagine cutting that time short to get your kids ready to go do the same thing in another home.
Holiday traditions can be alternatively different when you have a child with two homes. While the kids reap the benefits, the adults need to change their views on what their holiday traditions involve.
I was born into a Jewish family, so Christmas for me as a kid had its own traditions. My parents, sisters and I would go out to see a movie and then back home for Chinese take-out. Sometimes, Santa even accidentally dropped a gift down the chimney for us. As I got older, I didn’t dream much about a large wedding or elaborate vacations. My dreams were heavily based on this one special event that would become my new family tradition. I couldn’t wait for the day that I would wake up Christmas morning to hear my kids run out of their beds with excitement to see what Santa left under the tree.
Making New Traditions as a Stepmom
When I met my Christian husband, he had a beautiful three-year-old daughter and, as the holiday season rolled around, I hoped that I would get my Christmas morning. Understandably, her mom had first dibs and an annual family Christmas Eve party the night before. It only made sense that my now stepdaughter would spend Christmas Eve with her mom and Christmas morning. While I didn’t get the traditional Christmas morning I was hoping for, we started our own tradition.
Christmas Eve, my husband and I come home from a family party and I wrapped all of the gifts while watching a movie. These gifts have been coordinated with my stepdaughter’s mom so we don’t buy the same things. We don’t compete. We put them right under the tree since no kids are around to see them.
On Christmas morning, I get busy making bacon and cinnamon rolls and preparing for our annual Christmas party in our home. My husband and I stop for salted caramel hot chocolate on the way to pick up my stepdaughter in the late morning. We bring her stuffed stocking with us. When we pick her up at her mom’s house, she is on a Christmas high after opening tons of gifts. She is so happy and excited and ready for more! It is fun to see her so happy and hear about what Santa left at her mom’s house (he knows to split the gifts between homes). When we get home, we go right for the gifts and then indulge on bacon and sweets and make sure that we have time to spend together, just the three of us, before the rest of our family arrive.
Honoring my Stepdaughter's Mother
On this day, I do think of my stepdaughter's mom. I think of her celebrating the rest of Christmas without her daughter. No amount of learning to share can prepare you for this. Nothing prepares you for having to share a person that completes your family. It isn’t fair, but I am sure that she has made her own traditions too.
Now, my husband and I have a 2-year-old son and this will be the first year that he understands enough to wake up early and run to the tree. I am as excited as a kid on Christmas! But after 10 years of our alternative Christmas tradition, I am just as excited to take that drive to pick up my stepdaughter.