Yes - I'm already planning Christmas for next year.
The family grew and changed during our three year mission. So we had to figure out where we fit into their new Christmas traditions.
We tried a few things this year and then asked the 5 Js (our 5 kids all have J names) what they liked and what to change.
Here's the list for next year:
Christmas Day prime rib dinner - fabulous! But make it pot luck next year so I can enjoy the day. And be sure to make this spinach casserole again - yum!
Dessert - Don't fuss so much. Keep it simple. No one is very hungry after dinner anyway.
China and crystal table settings for dinner - too much work!
So I'm collecting fun inexpensive dishwasher-safe Christmas plates for next year. The kids suggested paper - but I just can't eat prime rib on paper plates.
Sleeping over on Christmas Eve at one of the 5 Js house - perfect!
Lisa and Justin cooking turkey on Christmas Eve dinner - I loved it!
Family Christmas party during the week before Christmas - needs some modification. It's almost impossible to keep four one-year-olds involved and happy. Will four two-year-olds be better? Not a chance. We tried a white elephant game with the family and that does not work with little ones. Here is something that does entertain one year olds - a bowl of snow!
Family service project - definitely a keeper
Film family nativity - each year we made a film of the kids acting out the nativity. What a fun collection to watch each Christmas! We need to get some fun costumes and be more organized about it - maybe film early in December. This year's nativity was a bit hectic!
Things to add:
Story book countdown to Christmas - I'd like to give a new Christmas story book to each family in late November to add to their collection. They can wrap the books and use them to countdown to Christmas as they open a book each night for bedtime stories.
Family craft - Find a kid friendly craft to make an ornament for the tree each year.
Read the Gospels - I want more time for the spiritual side of Christmas. Next year I'd like to challenge family members to read the four Gospels before Christmas and come to a family gathering prepared to share something they learned.
I'd love more ideas - what works best for you?