Christmas Eve — it’s that extraordinary night right before the actual holiday, the night when you can feel the very spirit of the season ripe in the air. It’s the night when the simple birth of a very special Baby was anticipated, and the night when Santa takes off from the North Pole to deliver his treasures in remembrance of the gift of that Child so long ago. And it’s on the Eve of Christmas when many traditions are born to commemorate that night and its distinctive quality.
Those traditions vary tremendously, according to families’ own personal legacies and new customs that have been incorporated over the years and have become more contemporary practices.
Here are a few favorite Christmas Eve traditions we’ve gathered together from some of our Hotty Toddy friends; how do they compare to your family’s fun?
- Going to my granny’s with all my mom’s side of the family, eating finger foods, dressing up and doing our ornament swap (dirty Santa but with ornaments).
- It used to be all the family drew names and would get together on Christmas Eve to exchange gifts and have snacks and just spend time together. Our family has gotten bigger and we’ve gotten older so some of us don’t participate. Miss those times!
- When we were young, my father would buy us each a special gift to open on Christmas Eve, usually a toy to keep us busy. Later, we started a dirty Santa tradition on Christmas Eve with fabulously horrible and tacky gifts.
- We’d have homemade cocoa with whipped cream, cookies and we’d get to open one gift.
- Being with some of my family that I don’t see often each year and loving all the bright lights and having my mom and step dad there and knowing it was Christ Jesus’ birthday.
- My favorite tradition and memory would have to be making cookies with the kids for Santa.
- All of us gathered at my Mamaw Minnie’s house to exchange gifts and just be together! Miss those days so much! There’s nothing like family time.
- Getting to open new pajamas!
- It’s doing my “it’s over till next year” dance.
- We fly by the seat of our pants. Never do the same thing twice. But it’s always fun, festive, food, folks and family!!
- Attend the candlelight service at church, eating together, and opening gifts with the “hide the name” technique. You can’t receive and/or open a gift until someone can find the name, which is written in tiny print using a pen of the color of the dominant color in the wrapping paper. Sometimes, it takes a long time to find it!
So, whether it’s Christmas caroling all over the neighborhood or making a batch of reindeer-food for Santa’s extremely tired means of transportation (a tradition at my house), Christmas Eve traditions are as different and special to each of us and our families as our own DNA is.
Have a wonderful holiday and maybe this year, start some new traditions your children will continue for a few generations until your great-great-great grandkids come up with a few of their own!
Reindeer food recipe:
- Uncooked oatmeal
- Red & Green sugar crystals or edible glitter
- Mix together and place in Ziplock bags and scatter all over yard, wherever Santa might allow his reindeer to feed.
Angela Rogalski is a HottyToddy.com staff reporter and can be reached at email@example.com.