Seeking Family Fun

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’m a nerdy middle-schooler who’s more into people than gadgets,
clothes, or social media. My parents got divorced five years ago when I
was in elementary school. Now they’re okay around each other, after
they each married another divorced person. Surprisingly, I like them
all. Holidays are complicated because of how many places everyone is
trying to get to. I like my new siblings, half-siblings, cousins, etc, but
it’s usually too hectic for any quality time. I was trying to think of an
idea for Hanukah that could help us be more of a family instead of a
crazy, jumble of busy people who I think might like each other if they
stopped running around and actually spent time together. Can you

Seeking Family Fun

Dear Seeking:

Holiday gift-giving offers the perfect opportunity to accomplish your
goal. While you might not be able to get everyone together as often as
you want, you should be able to initiate a series of activities that will
generate energy and establish precedent for family fun. Get yourself a
stack of construction paper, some markers, glitter, and access to clip
art. Then design a series of gifts/invitations, targeting various
combinations of peers and parents. Your goal isn’t to match the exact
people who will become final participants with the activities you are
going to suggest. It’s to start a family conversation about the value of
playtime together, shared hobbies, adventures, and fun.


Think about activities you think would be entertaining and educational
to try together. They can be as varied as entering a family team in a
bowling league to participating in a volunteer effort like a Habitat for
Humanity build. Identify concerts that will happen in the next few
months, classes at the local parks and rec centers, and games that will
bring family together to laugh and bond. Make as many invitations as
you think people can handle. Mix and match who gets what. Encourage
people to trade off the invites, or to join in as many activities as they
want. Bring a calendar and write down the names of who wants to do
what. Then follow up gift-giving with email reminders of which
activities people are coming to, and remind them to put them on their
schedule. The more fun you make this, the more fun will follow.