Do you have big family Christmas parties with your extended family? I grew up with them. All of my Great Grandma Johnson’s family would gather for a big meal (Swedish Smorgasbord) on Christmas Eve and we’d eat and visit. We had to do it in a church building because there were waaaaay too many people to fit in someone’s house. Each year, one branch of the family was in charge of putting on a program. We’ve continued the tradition of a family party in my family with my parents, siblings, and all our kids. And each year, my mom organizes some kind of activity or program which always includes a spiritual or sentimental part as my Dad has a little talk with us about something that is close to his heart.
Last year, my parents were in Chile on a mission at Christmas. But my siblings and our kids still overtook my parents’ home for our annual party. As the oldest, I kind of took charge of making sure things were organized. We didn’t do a whole lot, other than food. But I wanted to have a program of some kind. I decided on a theme based on A Christmas Carol, celebrating Christmas past, Christmas present, and Christmas future. And whether you’re having a big party with extended family or just want a structured program to do with your own kids, this could be a fun way to do it:
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This was the best part! I put together a video slide show of photos from past Christmases. I used Christmas pictures from when my siblings and I were kids as well as pictures from when our kids were young, and even included pictures from just the year before. This is actually what inspired the whole program because I had been scanning pictures for my mom and came across some real gems from when I was a kid. It was so fun for the kids to see the adults as kids and fun for my siblings to remember those Christmases from so long ago.
We always do a white elephant kind of gift exchange at our parties — one for the kids and one for the adults. So, for Christmas Present, we exchanged presents. We just made the gift exchange part of the “program”. (We only did the kids’ gift exchange as part of the program.)
Here’s a couple of fun ways to do your white elephant exchange.
I talked for just a couple minutes about Christmas Future — asking:
- “Who do you want to be next Christmas?”
- “What do you want to work on in the coming year so you can be a better version of yourself 1 year from now?”
And then, everyone was given a wood Christmas tree ornament. They got to use a glittery paint pen to write down their “thing” they wanted to work on. After they were finished, we glued magnets on the back so they could hang their ornament on their Christmas tree at home and then after Christmas they could put their ornament on the refrigerator or some other spot to remind them during the year.
A Christmas Carol Movie
My siblings and I always have a great time together and it’s so nice to be able to relax and laugh together without the kids. So, after the Christmas Carol program and activities, we put on The Muppets Christmas Carol for the kids to watch while we went in another room to do our gift exchange together.