Q With all the "yours, mine and ours" family juggling, I'm having trouble organizing Thanksgiving. I am divorced now but was married for 25 years. That family has married children (some are and some are not biologically mine) that have to divide their time among spouses' families, some of which include divorced parents who have remarried. What suggestions do you have for families who want to celebrate together but face divorced mothers and fathers, plus divorced mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law?
A You can be at only one place at one time. That's why I try to remind everyone that "the holidays" are not necessarily just one day but an entire season. Between mid-November and Jan. 1, there are quite a few days to celebrate with loved ones. It doesn't have to be on the designated day. You're looking for the family feeling of celebrating together.
I have always celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband's ex because the collective kids prefer to be together, but this year, our adult children have other commitments with extended family and new in-laws. I'm opting to cook on Saturday instead. And from now on, I told the kids to go where they need to go on Thanksgiving but to plan the Saturday after Thanksgiving to be at my house. They were elated. It took all the pressure off trying to get to three or four Thanksgiving dinners, and Saturday will be the bonus Thanksgiving with yours, mine and ours at the table.
The key to successful holiday get-togethers after a breakup is to be flexible and compromise whenever possible (good ex-etiquette Rule No. 10). Modifying rather than abandoning traditions helps.
I'd love to hear how some of you have altered your family traditions as your family evolves. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can share your ideas with my readers before this holiday season gets under way.
Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of "Ex-etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation" and the founder of Bonus Families, bonusfamilies.com. Reach her at email@example.com.