I can't even remember how many years that we have been doing our annual Christmas Eve Dinner with friends, but it has been quite awhile. When you don't live close to family, it helps to find friends that help fill this void, especially at the holidays. To me, holidays aren't holidays without family or friends around. I love a full house! We started inviting friends over for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Years Eve quite a few years ago and has now become a tradition. Most the time the friends or neighbors coming over are like us, famlies without our own families close by to share this time with us. These friends become like family to us.
We have a pot luck dinner with lots of great food and then do a white elephant gift exchange before everyone goes home to do their own little Christmas Eve traditions before going to bed.
It's always fun to see the newest family come with their white elephant gifts, because they are usually always the nicer white elephant gifts because they have not figured out yet that the rest of us usually give more cornier, cheaper items. These new white elephant gifts become the wanted gifts by evenings end.
Usually every year we have had the Daniels-Brown family, Secrist family, and Donovan family- until they moved to a different ward and started their own tradition of dinner and gifts, we still miss you every year! This year we had the Walker family join us since their California trip did not quite work out. It's always great to have new families, return missionaries, and college kids visiting with us again. Corbin is always great to help me clean up, after we have refused to have the families who came help clean up, even though they try every year. It doesn't take long. This wonderful evening always give us many memories and helps form those special relationships that will last forever!! Here are a few pictures of our evening this year!