Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Eve Ideas

  This will be our 4th Christmas Eve we will live VERY far away from any of our family members.  We have been able to make our own traditions, while incorporating traditions from both my husbands and my families traditions too.  It has been really fun. 
   Our Christmas Eve has evolved into something like this: dinner with our friends, who have become very much like our family here.  They come over around 4:30-5:00 p.m.  (We may play a game or something first depending on the mood).  My husbands family also had the tradition to ask all of the Elders (missionaries) in their ward (church) to come and spend the evening with them so we have tried to do this as well.  Our dinner menu is something like this:
Ham- spiral cut, honey glazed--my favorite!!!  No other will do!  It is also as simple as throwing it in the  
     crockpot all day then following the instructions on the packet for the honey glaze, 30 minutes prior to
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Jello Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
   Yes, I know it sounds very much like Thanksgiving but we still love it for Christmas Eve.  All of the recipes will be linked below.

   After dinner, we will go in and have a little nativity play with the kids.  Right now, we just have 2 and our friends have 3, so it is really small, but it is still great.  Of course the kids costumes will be nothing fancy.  Towels can be worn on the heads of Shepard's and a bathrobe for their coat and maybe a curtain rod dowel for their staff.  Mary can wear a clean white sheet wrapped around her and her head like a shawl.  Joseph can be dressed like the Shepard's.  You can try to get fancy with the wise men- have them carry a jewelry box or wear an aluminum foil crown.  If you have enough kids (or if the adults want to play too) someone can pretend to be the donkey Mary rides in on.  One of the adults can play the inn keepers at different locations in the room.  You can have an angel dressed in white with an aluminum foil halo on their head and maybe foil covered star of David to hold up above their head as they tell the Shepard's to follow the star.  The scripture passages we usually use are as follows:

  This year after the Nativity, because that is the true meaning of Christmas and I really want my kids to celebrate that part and know it is more important than Santa, we are going to play 'Dirty Santa' as they call it in the South, or 'White Elephant' as we used to call it in Idaho!  I think we will do 2 versions of it, one for the kids and one for the adults. 

   I would also like to include little gifts for all of the kids like the lifesaver books, but also 'Polar Express' or 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'.  After we play our little game, we are going to make Hot Chocolate and popcorn to watch one of the movies they open up.  One final tradition we have had is to let the kids open one gift Christmas Eve, and for some reason, it usually ends up being pajamas (wink, wink).   I don't know why, but they insist on wearing them that night too!  Maybe if I can find a Santa costume, I will have my skinny husband come as Santa and bring those gifts for them!  We will see if that one works out or not. 

Polar Express

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Hot Chocolate

1/2 C. Sugar                                                          1/4 C. Cocoa                                                     
1/3 C. Hot Water                                                   Dash of Salt (I don't ever add)

3/4 tsp Vanilla                                                        4 Cups Milk

 Combine all of these in a large cooking pot and bring to a boil.  Stir and keep boiling for 2 minutes.  Add 4 C. Milk and 3/4 tsp. Vanilla.  Heat it through and serve when hot.  Spice it up by adding marshmallows, whipping cream, or a candy cane.  If you are serving more than 4 people, you will want to double or triple this and add more like a gallon of milk.  That is what I plan on doing for this Christmas Eve.

  So that is a few of the ideas I have to share for a fun Christmas Eve.  Hopefully it will be full of Christmas spirit and memories.  Mine always were and I hope I am doing the same for my kids!


  Ha ha!  No recipe here, just something like Hawaiian Sweet rolls or Rhodes rolls.  Easy and delicious because I can't bake bread!

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 Cups Cooked mashed Sweet Potatoes               1 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla                                                          1/3 Cup Milk
3 C. Miniature Marshmallows                                 2 Eggs
1/2 tsp Cinnamon                                                  1/2 Cup Butter, melted

1/3 Cup Flour                                                       1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/3 Cup Butter                                                      1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla, milk, eggs, cinnamon and butter, beat until smooth.  Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish and sprinkle with marshmallows.  ( I usually omit the marshmallows because it already has enough sugar and I have never been a fan of marshmallows on sweet potatoes).

Next combine the brown sugar, 1/3 cup butter, flour and pecans (again I omit because of allergies).  This will make a choppy crumble.  Sprinkle on top.  Bake at 350 for 30 min.

Cornbread Stuffing

8X8 or 9X13 pan worth of Corn Bread (recipe below)
8 Slices of Bread (lay out to dry night before on plate, uncovered)
2 Sticks of butter, melt
6 Eggs
Celery- about 2 stocks, diced
2 Medium Onions
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Sage
Poultry Seasoning (optional)
Chicken Broth (also optional if more liquid is needed)

  After butter is melted, allow it to cool and then whip the eggs into it.  Add the salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning.  Crumble and mix the cornbread and bread into a large baking bowl.  I use my large stainless steel bowl.  Add celery and onions to the top and begin to add the egg/butter mixture.  As you are stirring, the celery and onions will get mixed in.  Cook at 325 for 1 hour. 

**If you are using this to stuff a turkey, you will bake it for longer because the juices from the turkey will keep it very moist.  Cook whatever is remaining after stuffing the turkey for 1 hour.


2 Cups Flour                                                             2 Cups Corn Meal
2 Tbsp Baking Powder                                              1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs                                                                       1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Oil                                                               2 Cups Milk

Combine the dry ingredients until sifted well.  Add milk, oil, and eggs.  Beat until slightly lumpy.  Pour into greased 9X13 dish and cook at 400 for 25 minutes.  You can easily half this recipe and cook in an 8X8 dish and still get roughly 9 pieces of cornbread.

Green Bean Casserole

1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Cream of Mushroom Soup        Dash ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk                                                                4 cups cooked cut green beans 
1 1/3 cups French's® French Fried Onions                  1 teaspoon soy sauce

Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Bake at 350°F. for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling.  Stir the bean mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining onions.

Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

(Campbell's Green Bean Casserole Recipe)



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