Each family has traditions- some are keepers for eternity (like acting out the nativity and caroling) but sometimes a few of them need a kick in the pants. This list of new traditions will give you ideas to infuse your Christmas Eve with new life- and will certainly bring smiles to you and yours like it has to ours for decades.
- Appetizers for Dinner. Stop with the hassle of a huge dinner. My feet ache just thinking about more kitchen time. The day before Christmas Eve, we all head to the store together and buy what we need to make our favorite appetizer and treat. (Well, dad pays, we just load the cart 🙂 Christmas Eve morning each person makes their chosen recipes (less cooking for mom alone) and we hide our dishes in the fridge until about 4pm. Then we all feast, all evening long, on the kitchen counter full of goodness. Throughout our Christmas Eve festivities and traditions we snack and refill our plates and stay up too late and it is SO great. Some examples are : rolls and cold cuts, fudge, veggie tray, spinach dip and bread, fudge, shrimp and tartar sauce, chips and salsa, fudge :), chicken salad, chocolate clusters, sugar cookies, fudge:) 🙂 crackers, cream cheese and smoked salmon, rotisserie chicken, sparkling cider, peanut butter cookies, mint brownies… did I mention the main dish of fudge? Yum.
- Gifts. At our house, the kids exchange with one another. I’ve found that doing this exchange the night before gives the kids a chance to focus on the gift. It is super sweet to see a sister unwrap a simple candy cane from her brother and gush over it- rather than have it get lost in the bigger presents the next morning. This is one of my favorite things- and the hugs! Must have hugs. This would be good for those gifts from great Grandma- the secret Santa from a friend… any gifts you think might not be as appreciated in the morning bustle.
- Christmas Caroling. Not like you did it as a kid. This is a game where we split into partners, and are assigned someone in the family to write a song about. We use the tunes of Christmas carols and rewrite the words to describe that person. These turn out hilarious and get everyone laughing.
- Lighting candles. Kids love fire. Okay, so does my pyromaniac hubs. Last year we turned off all the lights (except the tree) and lit candles as we talked about the journey Mary and Joseph made. It was sweet, the kids were entranced and it seemed to give some peace in the middle of so much excitement. Silent night was sung to close this portion. Here is a clip of Christmas 2014- you can see us dressed in various stages of nativity costumes:) What was just minutes before was crazy town suddenly calmed down and the candles were a big part of that.
- Merry Christmas to all! We love this poem, and it fits just perfectly into our evening just after giving the kids their new jammies. Ready for bed, we break out this classic- along with the instruments… this music score has a simple piano part to accompany the poem reader for the pianist in your family. We take turns reading and playing the piano at our house- the littles help out with kid instruments like triangles (for when Santa lays his finger aside his nose and goes up the chimney!), and handbells. Usually we get to the end of the poem with Grandpa exclaiming “and to all a goodnight!!!” when number 6 happens…
- Bells ringing. During the exciting poem, an adult discreetly cracks a window somewhere. When we close the “night before Christmas” poem we hear Santa’s bells ringing outside along with a good thump or two on the roof. There is not a single tradition that evokes more excitement than this one. Since I was a little girl my dad has been stomping on the roof and ringing bells. Now my hubs does it. It sends everyone scrambling to bed! The kids running and hollering to get in bed before Santa can find them still awake! Very exciting. I hope this tradition lasts for centuries- it is simply the best.
After the kids are tucked safely in bed (and a loud noisemaker turned on in the room so they can’t hear our commotion) the adults pull up their bootstraps, clean up the kitchen in record time and lay out gifts. Then we all go find ourselves a spot among the kids upstairs and sleepover together (aka – no one really sleeps at all but it’s a great memory!) While this is not a comprehensive list of the things we like to do on Christmas Eve- I hope it has given you some fresh ideas for the magical evening in your home this year.
We love spending time together and making memories during this special time of year. Here are some of our favorite posts about focusing on what is truly important this Christmas: