We have so many traditions surrounding Christmas Eve. Some are new to the party and some we’ve done for years. For the eve of the big party, this is how we roll.
Christmas Eve Mass. We almost always go to the earliest service because of the kids. We’ve tried them all and this is the one that is the most enjoyable for all of us. Granted, Scott and the bigs get there an hour early to save seats, but it’s worth it. The kids did beautifully and my parents, brother and sister-in-law were there, too.
Dinner. For the last five or so years, we’ve been making the same Christmas Eve dinner. Southern Living Shrimp and Pasta. Oh my. I’ll let the photo speak for itself.
New Gift-Giving Tradition. This year, we decided to ask the kids to share what gift they wanted to give the family this year. The catch? It had to be an intangible gift. We might have them write it down or even write a letter to the family next year. Either way, I think this is a keeper. In the secular world of a commercialized Christmas, we are realizing we have to counteract that with the reason for Christmas. It is hard to be counter cultural…but a gift I hope my children carry with them for life.
Happy Birthday Jesus! Last year, we formalized the holiday with a cake. This year, we opted for cupcakes. The kids love singing “Happy Birthday” and we love that they are beginning to see the evening as Jesus’ birthday party. Once again, our favorite bakery Polkadots, came through!
Prayers and Gifts. Before opening presents, Scott led us in prayer. We prayed for those that made the gifts and the jobs they created, those that gave them and those that received them. By then, the kids were chomping at the bit, so we let them dive in, reverse birth order. For several years, including this year, we’ve only given our children one gift and then they receive one gift from Santa. However, we were inspired by this article and think we may have found a new tradition for future years. The children would receive three gifts (just like Jesus) that reflect the gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold gift is the most precious and perhaps the most expensive (the gift our children really want for the holidays); the frankincense gift is one that draws our children closer to God (CD, book, devotional, etc.); and the myrrh gift is one that covers the body (clothes, soaps/lotions). The article does a beautiful job describing the Biblical roots and I absolutely love it.
Santa is coming to town! After we dug out from beneath all that paper, sugar and excitement, the kids changed into their Christmas pajamas and we got ready for Santa. The cookies had to be just “so” you know. Will decided Santa likes egg nog (smart man) and the reindeer food was primed and ready. Time? 9:30pm. No matter how organized we are, we haven’t been able to get them in bed before then! They said their goodbyes to our beloved elf, Sparkly. I think Clare may have even shed a tear she was so sad to see him go. Sweet thang. They literally sprinted to bed, for fear that Santa would pass us over because they were still awake. Could he come every night?!
Fast forward half an hour and Scott and I had the mess cleaned, the kitchen back in order and a glass of wine poured. Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse…
Amidst the crazy I found myself enjoying every moment. I now have an idea of what it must be like to celebrate Christmas without children. Our house is so full of mess and joy and life. I know it can’t last forever, but I’m grateful I got to experience it another year. Merry Christmas all!