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Establish your own Thanksgiving traditions

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Sharing families, sharing traditions

If you are remarried and have joined your two families together, you may be looking to create your own new unique family traditions for Thanksgiving. Learn how to join together already established traditions from both of your families and set up Thanksgiving holidays that everyone can look forward to every year.

step-family-at-thanksgiving

Blending a stepfamily

Moving from your own family into a new relationship and marriage can bring about emotions and stress, but if you surround your new family with bits and pieces from both your traditions and his, it can ease the transition.

Holidays are a time of warmth, fun and togetherness, so it can be an ideal place to start blending together the old and the new. It can be difficult at first to ease your children and his into new routines that include family holiday fun — particularly if they miss spending time with their other parent. However, working parts of what you and they are comfortable with into new traditions is rewarding and can help build memories that they will cherish.

Decorations — by everyone

One way to help everyone feel that they are part of your family is to decorate for Thanksgiving using artwork from each of the children. Also use decorations you or your partner have used in the past. If you don't have room to display everything, consider rotating your stash of decorations throughout the season.

Get their input

Young children may really relish starting new turkey day traditions, but be sure to keep old traditions as well as starting new ones. Quiz your partner on what they used to do to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family and keep those things in mind as you plan out your day.

Older children, such as preteens and teenagers, may be more resistant to change than their younger siblings, so be sure to include them in your Thanksgiving planning. Find out what everyone's favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner are and incorporate something from everyone in your meal plan.

Going visiting

Some families go to Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner, so decide early on which family's house you will go to each year. You and your children may be accustomed to going to your mother's house, for example, and your spouse may want to go to his. One idea is to compromise by alternating years or even alternating holidays — go to your mom's for Thanksgiving and his for Christmas.

With these ideas in mind, your new blended family will create traditions that your — and his — children will grow to love and look forward to every year.

More on stepparenting

Secrets of successful stepparenting
Integrating the stepfather into the family

Raising a blended family: 9 Dos and don'ts

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