Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Tips for Combined Families

Today’s families sure make the Brady Bunch look less unique. Well, except Alice. Wouldn’t we all like our own Alice? Most of us have half- and step- something or others in our families. Depending on the dynamics, this can make holidays a joy or more painful.

Last year I did the Christmas decorations for a client with grown children with spouses and grandchildren and grown stepchildren with spouses and grandchildren. The family schedule had one group on Christmas Eve and the other children on Christmas Day.

When I meet with my clients, I ask a lot of questions about what they do in a room, what functions they need supported and basically who they need to be in the room. It helps me to form the plan. As we were discussing her holiday needs, she mentioned the issues of the combined families and dealing with the gifts. She told stories of gifts that had previously been forgotten on Christmas Eve and found on Christmas Day, or that young feelings had been hurt by counting gifts for one group (not understanding “value” of the gifts, of course). As we discussed, I could see that this had become a real point of stress.

While it wasn’t in my initial brief to help solve this problem, I did come up with two solutions for my client. The first was coordinating the wrapping for all packages for each group. Perhaps one family is all in gold, while the other is all in green. And the second solution, which we ultimately did, is to have 2 separate Christmas trees in separate rooms. We had a tree in the family room and another in the living room. Not only did it solve her gift issues and stress, it spread the Christmas spirit throughout her home, giving more use to the formal living room and also adding a tree in the family room, where the family spent the most time.

Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design

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