This is going to be a very special Christmas for our family! Normally because of our extended family living so far away, flights being expensive around the holidays and Sam's work schedule we stay in Minnesota alone. We've never had the option of figuring out his family's turn...her family's turn...Christmas Eve here...Christmas Day there. However, this year we have my parents already with us and ALL of my siblings are coming in from the east coast!
We can hardly contain the excitement around these parts.
Celebrating Jesus' birthday, our 2nd Christmas together as a family of seven & 14 people sleeping under one roof...can you feel the excitement?!
Well, it did take a little bit of planning...here is how some of the preparations have been going.
Decorations: Our tradition is to set everything up in one fell swoop the Saturday after Christmas. That way we get to enjoy the mood lighting all month until the new year comes and mom is finally ready to pack it all up. Last year was a little bit different when it came to all of the time spent searching for seven stockings. This year was super easy to just re-hang everything...phew! The decorating is done.
Holiday Baking: Last year I took part in a community cookie baking class. I wrote all about it here. It was great but this year I didn't get a chance to sign up. Instead we did a get together with some friends for our third annual chocolate pretzel dipping activity.
If this continues I can't wait until my kids ask some day how that special, meaningful tradition started. My answer..."because it was easy." :-) Not to mention that it is a great activity for kids of all ages to get involved. You just dip and sprinkle. The kids later have a blast going from door to door and wishing the neighbors a Merry Christmas.
Our Three Present Tradition: We were totally on top of the game...or so we thought. We took advantage of cyber monday sales by forcing our kids to sit down and write Christmas lists and then working like little elves using our prime membership (free 2-day shipping!) and placing some orders. The down side...we didn't get everything and haven't done anything since. Picture me frantically going through the house trying to make a list of what we did get and realizing that our youngest has no gifts so far (probably because he didn't make a list for us)! Needless to say, mommy & daddy are sneaking off for a few hours tonight to make some final purchases...hey, hey...an impromptu date night!
Birthday Cake for Jesus: Done! Well sort of...at least I have all of the supplies.
Christmas Letter: I went with our same process this year. Only I hadn't actually bought any holiday paper last year. I almost just did all white paper but I did find some leftover paper from past years and spent time adjusting the fonts and margins multiple times to accommodate using up all of the paper. I still have labels, and folding and stuffing to do...oh my!
Overall that is how a few of my To-Do list items are shaping up. Family starts flying in on Christmas day. My goal is to have Christmas letters sent out by today (fingers crossed!), presents bought by the end of the week, and the fridge stocked along with a list of a some things that we will pick up fresh next week. Other than that I'm whipping the house back into shape (aka finally cleaning areas of the house that were neglected during the bathroom project...speaking of which will be revealed the first week of January!) and making sure that we have enough bedding for all of our special guests.
Come Christmas it is all about Jesus, family, fires, hot cocoa, hearing stories and eating some of grandpa's pistachio Christmas wreath cake...my mouth is watering as we speak!
My encouragement to you...take this final week to plan out the things that are most important to you and you really want to get done. If other things don't get done, it might be that nobody even notices.
Happy preparing! What do you have left on your list to do?