I know you all have special family Christmas traditions. We do too! I’ve gotten several emails asking about ours and how they’ve evolved as the kids have gotten older, so today I’m sharing them with you, along with a couple of our favorite holiday dishes. I SO hope you’ll share some of your cherished family Christmas traditions with me too!
On Christmas Eve, we typically host my side of the family. Everybody heads over about mid-afternoon, and I like to have something festive (but not filling) that people can munch on if they’re hungry. In the past, I’ve done the cute fruit and cheese Christmas tree (above), but this year I’m going to do the all-fruit tree (below).
For dinner, I used to make something easy to serve a big group, like chili or tacos. The last few years, though, we’ve been ordering all the fixings for fajitas from our favorite Mexican restaurant. It allows me to enjoy everything without being stuck in the kitchen. No matter what I serve for the entree, one thing I always make is Merry Cherry Jello. One year I skipped it, and there was almost a riot!
Merry Cherry Jello
1 lb. applesauce (I use unsweetened)
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
6 oz. package cherry jello (I use sugar-free.)
1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
pinch of salt
mint leaves for garnish
Mix applesauce and cherry jello together in heavy saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir in drained crushed pineapple, salt, and pecans. Put in a square pyrex dish and refrigerate until firm. Serves 8.
Birthday Party for Jesus
For dessert, we always have a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cake, candles, ice cream, and singing. We started doing this before the kids were born, and we’ll never stop! It’s one our favorite family Christmas traditions. When the kids were little, we used to bake the cake together. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve taken over the baking and decorating. When my son Weston married Sarah, she and Becca took over. (And the decorating improved, thanks to Sarah!) This year, my sister and her daughter are going to do the honors.
As you can imagine, this started when the kids were little. As the kids have gotten older and bigger, the only thing that’s changed is that the costumes have gotten smaller! All of the cousins still participate every year, even the twenty-somethings. Bob reads portions of Luke 1 and 2, and the kids act out the story. It’s one of our most beloved family Christmas traditions.
Last year, my friend, Tricia, told me about one of her family Christmas traditions, and we decided to try it. If you’ve never heard of the game LCR (stands for left, center, right), you need to know about it! The best thing about this game is that it’s a game of chance. (That means there’s no arguing. YAY!) Each player starts the game with three poker chips and takes turns rolling the three dice. For each “L” rolled, they give a chip to the player on their left. For each “R” rolled, they give a chip to the player on their right. For each “C” rolled they put a chip in the middle of the table. For each dot rolled, nothing occurs. The dice are then passed to the next player. When one player has all of the chips, that player wins the game. When we tried it last year, we gave everyone three one-dollar bills instead of poker chips. Everyone got so into it; you’d have thought we were playing for hundreds of dollars! It was such a hit, this year I bought a set of four LCR games, which I’m breaking up and putting into each of my kids’ stockings. (If you’re interested, there’s still time to get the game before Christmas Eve with Amazon’s free two-day delivery!) Click the images below for more information.
On Christmas Day, we usually spend the morning opening gifts; then we head over to Bob’s side of the family for presents and dinner. Last year we played LCR after opening gifts, and it was so much fun!
What are your family Christmas traditions? I’d love to know! Please leave me a comment and share.
I think Christmas has become more precious to me as an empty nester. Do you feel that way too? Having my chicks back in the nest just enriches the season! Did you catch my post on building relationships with your older and adult kids during the holidays? I’ve been thinking and praying a lot lately about the importance of valuing relationships over right, and it’s something I’m really trying to remember this year. The relationships with our kids, parents, and extended family are way more important than who is right or wrong in any given situation. 🙂
When the angels announcing Christ’s birth sang about “good will toward men” [Luke 2:14], they weren’t singing about people showing good will toward other people, but about God showing good will toward men. Christmas is about God acting in an extraordinary way in order to show His goodness and love toward us. By becoming human, dying on the cross for our sins, and rising from the dead, Jesus Christ overcame sin and the grave for us. Christmas is all about the birthday boy who came to save our lives. With His help, I want to be loving, thoughtful, and gracious to my family this year.
Hugs and blessings to you and your family this Christmas! I’m going to take a break for a few days, but I’ll be back the day after Christmas with a detailed, organized listing of the best post-holiday sales. I hope it’s a help to you!
Thank you for reading Empty Nest Blessed, for your sweet comments, and for supporting me. I wish I could hug each of you personally and tell you what you mean to me. Merry Christmas, precious friends!
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Top photo by Megan Weaver.