Too often we forgo entertaining because of the mere thought of all of the preparation that is involved. And more is not better. Often we try to out do each other with lavish parties and expensive gifts. Stop and remember for a second what was important from your own childhood. Was it an outing? Baking cookies with your grandmother? Building a snowman with your dad? We need to connect. This doesn't require more time, just shifting the focus of the time we already have. Here, a casual party and a very simple activity were the catalyst that brought everyone together.
To get the entire neighborhood into the Christmas spirit we planned a caroling party.
The day before our guests arrived, my kids and I spent an afternoon making decorative candleholders to give to each caroler, to light the way for our caroling expedition.
Dad, dressed as Santa, provided our very own photo opportunity. Little ones whispered their Christmas list in Santa's ear. Grown ups, as well as kids, had their pictures taken in Santa's lap.
Adults, kids, and even a few dogs then joined us on our merry way. Our numbers grew as we made our way caroling through the neighborhood.
As the carolers returned, we welcomed them with Mexican hot chocolate and ginger spice cookies. This party was a great way to engage everyone in an activity that the whole family could enjoy. And for a few short hours we were able to turn our attention away from the commercial marketing of the holidays to something much more personal.
Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate
Recipes are one of our most cherished traditions. Passed down from one generation to the next, they conjure up memories of holiday preparations or time spent with a favorite relative. Cooking provides a quiet time to pass on the wisdom of family lore.
4 cups whole milk
4 ounces Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra
3 ? ounces semi-sweet chocolate plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla, preferably Mexican
1. In a medium sized saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until scalding.
2. Break the chocolate into pieces. Add to the hot milk along with the sugar and salt. Stir until melted. Beat with a wire whisk until frothy.
3. Add the eggs and vanilla. Continue to whisk.
4. Pour into 4 mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
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About The Author
Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes are the co-authors of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out their website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit http://www.togetherparenting.com. To subscribe to their online newsletter, go to http://www.togetherparenting.com/feedback.asp