Originally Posted by Shaki
I can speak about this from the perspective of the kid in this situation. OP I don't know if this will be of any help, but i though maybe sharing what it was like for me as a kid would give you some insight into your DSD's state of mind....and maybe help you to be patient with her.
My sister and I had very similar feelings to your DSD's when we were growing up. We loved Christmas (still do) and had many very special traditions that were handed down from my Mom's side of the family. When our parents divorced, our Dad was very insistent on his new traditions with his new wife. The message we got was that our feelings were not important, it didn't matter what our traditions were or what we wanted to do. I can imagine that for your DSD with a new baby thrown into the mix, which can increase feelings of jealousy and alienation, the sense that her traditions/feelings aren't important may be amplified. I can see from this thread that you are trying to listen to your DSD and honor her feelings, that's wonderful; keep doing that. It may appear from her behavior that it doesn't make a difference, but it does--over the long term it makes a huge difference.
I agree with the PP's who said that if she wants to spend it with her mom, and you are cool with that, let her...I'd even go so far as to say let her do it even if you have some negative feelings about it. But it sounds like your situation is a little different because her mom can't always take her on Xmas. I don't think it's reasonable or realistic for you guys to recreate the same exact experience that she has with her mom, and there's no point in even trying. I can remember saying things like "Well if we had a microwave, then I'd be more comfortable here," or whatever, knowing full well that microwaves (or any "stuff") wasn't going to fix the pain and confusion I felt over my parents divorce and my dad's new family. I think sometimes my parents just got the "stuff" because it was easier to do that than to really look at the pain my sister and I were in. And I just suggested the "stuff" because that was easier than trying to articulate what I was really feeling. I dunno I guess sometimes it felt like the adults would be asking me "what will fix this right now? what will make it so you never have these feelings again?" and the truth is there is nothing that can do that. So it's not really a valid question, there's no way to really answer it. So you say "more presents" or "microwave" because you have to answer something. For a kid these feelings can be really scary and hard to talk about. Add the emotionality and expectations of the holidays to the mix and you've got a massive cocktail of confusion. I notice that some folks have called your DSD spoiled, but I'd offer the perspective that Christmas has become a hard, melancholy time for her and presents are not the real issue. She's 8 years old and she's struggling, when you come up with ideas that she rejects don't take it personally, cut the kid some slack and just keep trying.
Another thing is that splitting a big holiday between two households is exhausting (from the kids perspective) I think sometimes the adults whose homes the holiday is being split between completely forget the sheer exhaustion (both emotional and physical) of it for the child traveling between the two houses--your step daughter could simply want to have a more relaxed holiday where she is not shuttled form place to place. I know I longed for that every year...and I wish I could have asked for it without my parents (both of them) taking it as a rejection of them.
I also really disliked having to celebrate Christmas not on the actual day, it felt fake and forced to me, so I can identify with your DSD's feelings on that.
Sounds like there's a magic to Christmas that she's remembering from when she was younger and she doesn't feel like that magic is being embraced in your home. You have admitted that Xmas is not a big thing to you and you don't want it to be for your DS, so it sounds like that's a pretty fair assessment. I guess the question is how can you honor your DSD's feelings and at the same time create new traditions that reflect the family you are building? This is something that will take years. If you can be patient and understanding of your DSD that will help.That doesn't mean that she gets to dictate all the terms, or that you need to jump through tons of hoops to please her, just that you guys (the grown ups) don't get all bent out of shape when she expresses dissatisfaction.
Be patient with her, be patient with yourself, just keep trying. Enjoy the good moments. It'll take years but it'll happen. My sister and I actually asked my dad and step mom if they would host our families for Xmas this year. 15 years ago I would have never thought that would be possible. If we can make it, so can you!!!
Hope this was of some help, and happy holidays!