Sue over at Navel gazing at its finest is having a contest for the best Christmas traditions.
Every year, my husband's family gets together to make gingerbread houses. All we need to do is show up with multiple bags of candy, small cookies, cereal, pretzels, and other things that will work well for decorating the houses.
When we get there, everyone gets a gingerbread house "kit" which consists of all of the parts of the house, ready to ba assembled, and a square of cardboard covered with foil to sit the house on. There are also bowls and pastry bags filled with royal icing to use to glue those puppies together.
You need to wait for the frosting to set on the walls of the house before adding the roof or the whole structure will collapse. We always get to learn who is not vary parient at this point, There are usually at least two serious cave-ins each year. After you add the roof, and it sets, you get to decorate the house with all of the candy that everyone has brought. (We usually eat more than we put on the houses)
Everyone gets to make their own house, from the little kids to the grandparents. The really little kids get a gingerbread man to decorate.
We all leave on an incredible sugar high.
NOTE:In order for this to be a great experience for you, you need to find a kind, grandmotherly type who is willing to mix up, cut out and bake all of the gingerbread, seperate the pieces into individual ziplock bags, cut out a large number of cardboard squares, cover them with foil, make gallons of royal icing, set up church tables, and be willing to let everyone come over to her home and grind frosting into the carpet. Otherwise, this is just too darn much work!
Every year, we like to invite my cousin and her kids over to make sugar cookies. We let the kids do most of the work, and they have a blast! I get to spend an afternoon with my totally cool cousin. The kids make an incredible mess, and are once again on a huge sugar high.
This was actually my kids idea, and we will be doing it this year. They want to do the 12 days of Christmas for someone. They are having so much fun coming up with ideas for gifts that go along with the lyrics of the song. They are SO creative! ("hey, for the 5th day, lets give them 5 glazed doughnuts!")
They wanted to do it for friends of ours, but I suggested doing it for a neighbor that we don't know very well. They loved the idea! They are all so excited to be the one who rings the doorbell and runs away. It's so much fun to see them this excited about GIVING.
This does require some advance planning. The kids will come up with all the ideas, I will get the items and help them put it all together. We just need to decide who will count backwards from the 25th to figure out which day we should start.
Hey Sue, You are looking FABULOUS today! Did you do something with your hair? New outfit? I know, you've lost weight! You are so amazing! A true inspiration. You are like the coolest and most adorable person I know! And what's more, I will never call you on the phone!