We are super lucky at the holidays because we have most of our relatives within an hour drive of home, so we don’t have to travel very far. I didn’t truly appreciate this as much as I do now, with two kids to consider. I hear horror stories of airport drama, car road trips through snowstorms, nightmare weeks spent in cramped quarters with in-laws… NO THANK YOU. I’ll take my crazy family living nearby, please!
Because of the close-ness of everyone, we have had pretty ‘set’ plans for Christmas in recent years. We usually have Christmas Eve at our house- I think we started that tradition shortly after we got married? I can’t even remember. But we even did it last year, when we had everyone over for tacos (hey! WE WOULD BE SICK OF HAM BY CHRISTMAS DAY.) and Audrey screamed for like NINE HOURS while I was trying to get everything ready. (That was so much fuuuuuun. OY.) Then on Christmas morning, we open gifts here at home with Maggie (and now Audrey), head to my parents’ house in the late morning for gift exchange and a homemade chicken soup lunch (YUM.), then we pack up and head to Dan’s grandma’s house less than an hour away for the afternoon.
But this year, Dan’s aunt who lives out of the state is very sick (prayers for her, if you’ve got a minute!) so Dan’s grandma is with her. So that made the rest of Dan’s side of the family consider changing their plans, so we’re all getting together on Monday instead of Sunday. Which means… Christmas Day was wide open!
So I volunteered to have my family over to our house for Christmas Day.
YOU GUYS. No schlepping of kids and gifts around to two or three different places, and no worries about Audrey missing her nap (so, NO CRANKY BABY!) I know those of you who travel hundreds (or thousands!) of miles with kids are totally rolling your eyes at me- with good reason!- but seriously. A Christmas Day at home. This is going to be awesome.
I’m also looking forward to FINALLY making it to the family Christmas Eve service at church. We’ve wanted to do this just about every year, but we also loved spending the evening with our family at our house, eating and chatting and visiting. I figured God understands how much we love our families, right? :)
Anyway. So Christmas Day! Fifteen or more people coming over! This means food! I LOVE FOOD AND PARTY MENU PLANNING. My menu for the weekend:
Christmas Eve Dinner
It’ll be just us and I want to make something quick and easy so I don’t have to worry about dishes and cleanup while we’re shuffling the girls out the door for church. So I’m making Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup. I know- FESTIVE! But we love it and it’s easy. Done.
Keeping it simple- probably eggs and toast and maybe waffles and I got a tube of those cinnamon rolls with the icing. ALL HAIL, BREAD IN A REFRIGERATED TUBE.
I’m making crock pot potato soup. My mom is making a ham for sandwiches, plus her ridiculously delicious homemade chicken noodle soup. MMMM, NOODLE SOUP! (You’re my BFF if you get that.) We’re also having sweet potato casserole (my MIL) and I’m making this apple pie dip for an appetizer. My sister is making her delicious pecan pie. And I think one of my uncles is probably bringing his famous buffalo chicken dip. Plus I have a bazillion cookies from a cookie swap in our neighborhood. And I’m sure there will be a few surprise dishes that show up because that’s just how my family rolls.
But the thing I’m most excited about? A Hot Chocolate Bar! I made a whole batch of homemade hot cocoa mix (I can’t find the recipe link at the moment, but there are a billion on Pinterest, go search!) and we’re going to have all sorts of goodies to mix into our drinks. Mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, toffee chips, cinnamon, whipped cream, peppermint schnapps (for the grown-ups!). I can’t wait to get it all ready and dig in.
Christmas Day, Part Two
The day after Christmas we’ll be spending time with Dan’s family, and I’m bringing this hot caprese dip. I just hope it makes to the party, because I seriously might just eat it in the car.
And then we’ll all pass out into Food Comas, the way baby Jesus intended. Amen.
So what are your plans for the holiday weekend? Do you have to travel a bazillion miles away to see the people you love? Or are you able to have a semi-relaxing day at home with your family? No matter what you’re doing this weekend, I wish you all a very very Merry Christmas!
(And I’ll see you when it’s all over for some exercise after ALL THE FOOOOOOD. heh)