The holidays are not quite wound down, but while thoughts of the actual day are still fresh, I'd like to make myself some suggestions for next year. Something like the list I posted five years ago, but with some tweaking. Five years ago we had three very small grandsons and Christmas was still fairly controllable, but our grandchildren are bigger now and they've multiplied, adding a new dimension to an already often chaotic time of year. So... here are my new thoughts.
1. Once again, lasagna (or a one dish main course) makes a great Christmas meal. Keep it simple and let the others bring sides and appetizers.
2. Don't neglect a Christmas Eve service somewhere!!! Find one and go. In fact, go to several special services. Just do it.
3. Find out what the kids would like. Ask them, ask their parents, have them write a letter to "Santa Claus," but find out, buy whatever it is, wrap it, and leave it at their house to open ahead of the family Christmas gathering. Stay and watch if you must, but have it done before it gets dark on Christmas night.
4. Buy or make something for your honey. It doesn't have to be grand or glorious, but there should be something under the tree that says, "Hey, I love you and you matter to me." (Please forgive me, my Barefoot Lumberjack, for I have failed.)
5. Listen to Christmas Carols, the old fashioned babe in the manger kind and remember who and what we're supposed to be celebrating.
6. Watch Christmas movies, drink hot chocolate, and eat popcorn.
7. Remember the less fortunate; the homeless, Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child), Compassion International,... Give to someone who can't give back. Don't forget the Red Kettle.
8. Take a ride. Go look at lights. Visit Seneca Falls (think "It's a Wonderful Life.") Drive to Schenectady (think "A Christmas Carol.") . Find something or someplace to fill your heart with childlike wonder.
9. Host a graham cracker/gingerbread house building party for the kids.
10. Make and decorate cookies. (You might not want to wait until Christmas Eve, especially if trying new recipes for the first time...)
11. Plan a fancy "adults only" dinner complete with Grandma's fancy china and a gift exchange.
12. Take an annual "Grandkid" photo (If you can get them all in one place at the same time during the year.)
13. Enjoy the crowds and chaos while shopping. It's part of the fun. Say "Merry Christmas" often, smile much, give random gifts, and relax.
PS. While I'm at it... You may as well take advantage of those sales and not feel guilty making purchases for yourself while the prices are right, things are on sale, and you're out wandering the aisles. If you don't buy it, chances are nobody else will either. :0)
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