My Christmas always revolves around cooking, baking and entertaining more than shopping and gift giving, so this is very hard for me. Cookie baking will be very limited this year, just for us and our kids. But I will still make traditional holiday breads in individual, disposable pans. When they cool, I will mask & glove, wrap them in pretty cellophane with a bow, and deliver to some neighbors.
Our pastor has already announced that Midnight Mass will be celebrated online – will make it much less lovely than usual, but we can do it! We'll just light our own candles and tree. We'll even ring our traditional bells.
Our kids and grandkids are certainly in the "have everything they need" category, so gifts are always one very special item that they definitely would not buy for themselves.
For the little boys, who are entranced with both real and pretend cooking, I have cobbled together a set of kids' cooking utensils, augmented by bits and pieces from around the house. It will be delivered in 2 small totes, with the tops decorated to look like a stovetop. In addition, they get a yearlong subscription to monthly, age appropriate activity crates, which they refer to as their "project boxes"; they just love to open and dive into the varied projects. They come from kiwi.com, if anyone is looking for ideas, and cover ages from 1 year to about 12.
For many years now, our Christmas has included donations to several charities that serve those in our immediate area.
My favorite is a drop in center and transitional housing for teens to 24 year olds who are working to get on their feet. Each year I gift them with McDonald's, Walmart, Target & grocery gift cards for Christmas, as well as monthly support throughout the year. I found them after we were absolutely stunned one year when, during the annual homeless census, my daughter found 43 kids in just her (suburban) high school who had no idea where they would sleep that night – either kids where the whole family was homeless, or kids who had aged out of foster care but were still in school, or the kids I must sadly called "throwaways", whose families had abandoned them. One boy rode three busses 40 miles (2 1/2 hours each way) every morning and evening to his Grandma's house so he could finish his senior year with his classmates.
Our other main holiday celebration is a crab boil with our 4 best friends on New Years' Eve – we have done it for almost 40 years without a miss! So we have been talking about watching the weather and figuring out a day we can do it outdoors – crazy, but it just might work! Maybe dessert will be our traditional cheesecake – just frozen on a stick.
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Sue, what a hoot! Love all your ideas and traditions. Good people. It looks like I'm joining you in a couple of your ideas as well as John and Fiesty76. Beth