When I fell in love and moved to Canada a few years ago, my new husband Nick and I joined our families to create the big beautiful blended family we have right now.

The joy is bigger, and the challenges are bigger too– and those challenges turn up with extra intensity around the holidays. Different beliefs around Santa. Different foods. Different memories.

When you’re blending families you’re also blending holiday traditions, and at first it was tricky to make sure that everyone was getting what they need…and that we parents weren’t losing our minds trying to remember it all and fit it all in!

Enter the modern-day family advent calendar. 

Each day, we pull a slip of paper with one small family activity we do to make merry or prepare for the season.

It’s fun, the kids love it, but it also serves an important purpose of making sure that everyone’s favorite moments get honored.

Before I load the calendar each year, we have a family meeting (or I put out post-it notes for them to fill out) where we learn what things matter most to them. (The answers are often surprising: the laborious cookie-making? not even on their list. The Christmas movie I thought only I liked? They all requested it.)

Then I map out our month with a mix of preparation (go shopping for your Secret Santa exchange! holiday concert! clean out your toys to make room for new gifts) and small rituals that make the whole month feel merry and bright (drink hot cocoa with peppermint sprinkles! watch The Grinch! movie night in our matching family PJs!).

So I made you a video where I show you exactly what this looks like!


Maybe this help you bring more cheer, more joy, and more SANITY to your holidays–

with much love from our family to yours,


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