89 days (2,137 hours as of the publication of this article) until Christmas.

There is no better time than the holiday season to strengthen the bond between you and your stepchild.  Whether you are in a new step parenting role or the relationship you currently have is strained, the holidays give you the perfect opportunity to develop or share traditions that can strengthen the relationship you have with your step child.

It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you find a way to do something together.  The time you share during the holidays will help sustain your relationship throughout the year.  Children of blended families often have a difficult time knowing where and how they belong during the holidays; you can help your stepchild feel involved and a part of the family with any number of activities:

•Conspire with your stepchild when holiday shopping for your spouse.  Not only will your stepchild have insight into his or her mom or dad’s likes and dislikes, but you’ll be sending a message that you trust them, respect their opinion, and rely on them.

•Share a tradition from your childhood. If there was something special you used to do with a parent or grandparent, try sharing that activity with your stepchild.  String popcorn to go on the tree, go Christmas caroling, or participate in a charity event.

•Bake together.  Spending time in the kitchen can be therapeutic.  Bake sugar cookies that you can decorate and then make up plates of them to deliver to friends and family.

•Get up early the day after Thanksgiving and shop together. Give your stepchild money of their own and help them shop for all of the people on their list.

•Decorate the tree together. There is nothing more isolating than coming for a weekend visit to find that all of the holiday preparations have been made in your absence.  Try to save activities that will be more fun to share with your step child.  If you have a live tree, let them help pick it out.

•If you don’t celebrate Christmas, share your beliefs with your step child and allow them to learn about different holidays that are celebrated among the religions this time of year.

The holidays can be an extremely difficult time for everyone in a blended family, especially if it is your first major holiday together.  The more inclusive you can be, the better the holiday season will be for everyone.

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