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A year or two after we were married, my husband, Mike, and I and our four kids (then ages 6-8) were on a car trip that lasted several hours. During the long drive, the children started talking about all the extended family members they had in their stepfamilies and the different traditions of each family.

For fun, we decided to write our own lyrics to the “12 Days of Christmas,” using our many relatives and the fun things we liked to do as a family. The lyrics went something like this:

“On the first day of Christmas, my family gave to me:

  • 1 terrific brother 
  • 2 parents in love
  • 3 beautiful sisters
  • 4 crazy kids
  • 5 cans of silly string
  • 6 cousins
  • 7 roller skates and bicycles
  • 8 bowls of ice cream
  • 9 party poppers
  • 10 aunts and uncles
  • 11 grandparents
  • 12 hugs and kisses”

For us, in the moment, it was all about having fun. On a deeper level, I realize that we were encouraging the children (and ourselves) to focus on the positives that have come out of divorce. While it was difficult and heartbreaking for all of us, we also gained family and love from it.

I suggest that you sit down with your family, whether it is big or small, and make up your own “12 days of Christmas” that prompts you to focus on the fun things you and your family do, the family and friends you’ve gained over the year, and the stuff you are grateful for. You will have a blast, and you remind everyone how blessed you are to have each other.