Many stepfamilies know nothing about an unofficial holiday created just for them—National Stepfamily Day. What’s the purpose of it? Who should celebrate? Why was it created?
Stepmom Christy Tusing-Borgeld created this important holiday in 1997 to honor stepfamilies and create awareness. With seven children in a “his, hers, and ours” family, she and her husband get it—they understand the good and the bad of stepfamily life. Her vision for the holiday was to promote the understanding and celebration of stepfamilies—those who had successfully merged, in addition to those who were fighting to keep their families together.
If you’re in a blended family, you’re all too familiar with the complexity of relationship building that’s different than a first family. Perhaps you’ve experienced unfavorable stigmas and general negativity that can accompany relationships in nontraditional homes. Tusing-Borgeld wanted to help stepfamilies move past negative stereotypes and celebrate the unique identity a blended family holds.
Why you should celebrate National Stepfamily Day
So why should your family celebrate National Stepfamily Day? Maybe it seems awkward or insignificant to bring attention to your family. Or perhaps you wonder if your still-blending family will even want to recognize the day. But I encourage you to consider it.
Here are a few thoughts on the value of celebrating National Stepfamily Day, whether you’ve been married one month or 100.
1. Celebrating creates an atmosphere for dialogue, growth, and bonding for your blended family.
Celebrating National Stepfamily Day is the perfect opportunity to foster dialogue and create bonds with those in your family. Whether you gather around the table for a special meal or set up a picnic in the park, relationships bond as you give special attention to one another. Games that spur relationship-building, new traditions, and good old-fashioned FUN are great ways to celebrate your family while you encourage an atmosphere that fosters unity.
2. Celebrating offers new beginnings for struggling relationships.
Celebrating your family gives you a chance to start again after a rough patch. Maybe you’ve walked through a season with a defiant teenager, a heartbreaking custody change, or just the mundane of life that left you discouraged. Celebrations generate energy and hope to start again with renewed efforts to keep trying.
3. Celebrating helps bring awareness and understanding to stepfamilies.
Stepfamilies are found throughout the Bible, although we don’t see the terms “step” or “half.” Even in the case of our Lord Jesus, His earthly father, Joseph, wasn’t His birth father and could be termed His stepfather. When we read of mixed families in the Bible, we don’t find negative stigmas surrounding them.
Sadly, stepfamilies today can feel judged and disregarded, particularly in Christian circles. Celebrating your stepfamily tells society that non-traditional families matter. Awareness of stepfamilies helps others understand the unique needs and complex variables of blended families.
National Stepfamily Day isn’t for perfect families
Maybe you’ve recently become engaged to someone with kids and wonder if it’s premature to celebrate the holiday. Absolutely not!
Celebrating before marriage garners energy and excitement about merging as a family. It allows everyone to come together for a mutual purpose and can be used to help foster relationship building. And if you can only come together as a couple, consider reading a great resource just released by Ron L Deal, Preparing to Blend: The Couple’s Guide to Becoming a Smart Stepfamily.
National Stepfamily Day wasn’t created to celebrate perfect stepfamilies. It was created to challenge stepfamilies to create relationships that can withstand the complexities blended family life brings and find joy, security, and contentment in their family relationships.
Why not give it a try? There’s no need for an elaborate or complicated celebration. Just a simple gathering that speaks love to your family.
National Stepfamily Day comes around every year on September 16. Make this the year you choose to celebrate your family!
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Gayla Grace serves on staff with FamilyLife Blended® and is passionate about equipping blended families as a writer and a speaker. She holds a master’s degree in Psychology and Counseling and is the author of Stepparenting With Grace: A Devotional for Blended Families and co-author of Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Gayla and her husband, Randy, have been married since 1995 in a “his, hers, and ours” family. She is the mom to three young adult children and stepmom to two.