Organised Christmas peeps - what do you do on Christmas Eve?

(55 Posts)
racingheart Sat 17-Nov-12 20:45:30

For the first time ever, I am so organised I've been wrapping presents as they arrive. Had a little dip today though, as I wrapped DCs stocking fillers. I love sitting up on Christmas Eve with a glass of champagne wrapping them.

What do you do on Christmas Eve if you're all already sorted? (Want some luxurious new ritual to look forward to.)

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sat 17-Nov-12 20:52:35

Midnight Mass. We're not Catholic but I find the combination of candles, frosty moonlight and Christmas hymns a magical way to start Christmas.

This year we're also going on a Santa train smile

Durab Sat 17-Nov-12 21:00:34

A veg prepping party!!

Hosted at whichever house we'll be eating at on the day. Everyone told by the host what veg they need to bring and how much. All sit round the table with Christmas music, chocolate, lots of wine and our peelers. I know you think I'm mad, but honestly it's great, all the generations together having the kind of conversations you can only have when you're slightly tipsy and don't actually have to look at anyone because your hands and eyes are occupied.

And it gets a rotten job done quickly with everyone sharing the load.

PelvicFloorClenchReminder Sat 17-Nov-12 21:04:13

Pantomime, followed by blessing of the crib at church, then home to bag from the elves, into snuggly new pajamas with mince pies, hot chocolate and cringingly Christmassy TV before bed.

Bit of organising in the morning making up the beds for whoever is coming to stay - relatives usually arrive by lunchtime.

We have our main Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve. After having the DC we got sick of missing them open half their presents because of faffing about with the cooking, so now we do all the work Christmas Eve and eat it late afternoon/early evening. We've done it that way for a few years now and it really feels like Christmas starts when we all sit down together to eat by candlelight with Christmas music playing in the backround smile.

Afterwards we all veg in front of the TV and watch a Christmas film (Muppet Christmas Carol or Polar Express usually), then we get wrapped up and go outside in the garden with torches to sprinkle the reindeer food. Then it's PJs on & stockings up on the ends of the DCs beds. Once they're all (finally) settled down, the adults can get (slightly) sloshed and look forward to a lazy Christmas Day sitting on our bums and eating yummy cold cuts smile.

Ooh I feel festive now!

Durab I love the sound of that smile

We like to go for a long walk. Sometimes through the town where I grew up as it brings back happy memories. Sometimes through the local forest. Then we come home, relax, have loads of yummy picky food out and watch Christmas DVDs. Lazing around in pjs, eating delicious food is really fab smile

Last year though was stress city! I was still baking things to go in hampers really late at night, and started before 6am! Not this year though, I'm only doing things that can be frozen or stored in the cupboard, things that can be made in advance. This way, we get Christmas eve back smile

Merlotmonster Sun 18-Nov-12 09:17:47

Either a long ride or hunting (bloodhounds) so no foxes chased only people!... Then back to my sister for some proper stooge food...pie and mash or something simple.....lots of red wine by the fire and national lampoons Christmas vacation on DVD! Failing that...all down the local pub all night and get hammered.....hic

anja1cam Sun 18-Nov-12 09:25:30

Light lunch, long walk in the afternoon weather permitting, in the evening nice dinner to celebrate DH's birthday - so I do spend some time on the kitchen on the 24th. Kids put out food (it has to be a piece of birthday cake!) for Santa before bed and we spend a quiet evening chatting with any guests we might have or watching a nice film and eating more birthday cake. Before we had kids we'd also manage the odd trip to midnight mass which was always magical.

Durab what a brilliant idea, I can imagine it being great fun! I suppose I do do that in a smaller scale with MIL who's usually here...

LadyLetch Sun 18-Nov-12 09:41:57

We have a small Christmas eve gathering - either at ours, or we go to someone else.

In the afternoon, we'll watch muppets Christmas carol and drink hot choc (with Baileys for the adultsgrin), early evening we'll see friends or family, then the children get a small tree present (including pyjamas for the children), do the Santa stuff and bed!

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Sun 18-Nov-12 09:56:28

Dh plays golf all day.

We all go out for dinner in the evening,

Ragwort Sun 18-Nov-12 09:58:55

Walk/Church mumsnet/read/encourage force DH and DS to play board games - but I am the only one who really enjoys them grin.

McKayz Sun 18-Nov-12 10:09:17

We have my parents and brother round for dinner. We go to theirs on Christmas Day

shockers Sun 18-Nov-12 10:24:54

DH is usually working (he's in the entertainment industry). I take DS2 and DD to pick DS1 up from the station and the four of us go to watch 'It's a Wonderful Life' at our local independent cinema. It's on every year, everyone sniffs a bit at the sad bits, laugh raucously at the funny bits and then stand and clap at the end. Then we go out for dinner.

When the DCs go to bed, DS1 and me drink wine and catch up til DH gets home, then we creep about with stuffed stockings grin.

blue2 Sun 18-Nov-12 10:29:15

We usually uncork all the sloe gin that's been brewing since autumn, and set to decanting it into bottles.

Of course each lot has to be sampled, ad dropped into a glass of fizz.

No wonder I always feel so TIRED on Christmas morning!

TBH, we may start going to Midnight Mass as DS is now 14.

Clary Sun 18-Nov-12 10:35:22

I prepare all the food for the next day. Peel veg, make puddings, ice cake (oops!), etc.

Classic FM on and then carols from Kings at 3pm, crying at the chorister singing Once in Royal David's City.

All my family are out visiting DH's rellies 50 miles away, they have an inordinately long day and if I went too then Chr Day would be a nightmare of un-prepared food so I prefer to do it this way.

To break it up I usually bob out to get a loaf of bread and some milk; also do ALL the ironing and clean house etc as do none of that on Chr Day or Boxing Day smile

When kids get home they have new pyjamas and Night Before Christmas.

Clary Sun 18-Nov-12 10:37:11

Reading that back it sounds truly hideous and as tho I am the mum on that Asda ad (but I am much better at wrapping) but in fact I really like it.

All year I am so so busy with work and running round after my 3 children that I love a day of practical busyness with nothing much to worry about. It's very satisfying and genuinely relaxing.

evilhamster Sun 18-Nov-12 17:05:11

We give out our presents. I'm Icelandic, and like most other European countries actually, present giving is on Christmas Eve. Don't really know why. But I like doing it, and they get Santa's present (or for DD1, the main present) on Christmas because we live in the UK.

This year, I'll probably be sorting out the food, as in the food which can't be cooked next day. Again, not the normal food. It's mainly fishy. Last year, DS put 'a turkey not any fish' on his Christmas list. It's mainly herring because that seems to be Iceland's staple food. Little herring things everywhere, then stored etc;

We watch some Christmas films. Those really, really annoying, cheesy films which I actually love to watch. Then we'll be going down to the village church hall where they'll be having a little meet-up thing, a very small amount of people as its a hamlet in the middle of nowhere, and the DCs will be forced to play a party game or two and pull crackers before Christmas Day. Then they'll moan because they didn't get the little toy which they wanted.

Then we go home. I drink wine, DH drinks apple juice and the DCs drink hot chocolate.

All the time, try and make sure my family are feeling happy. Also try to make sure my 87yr old DGM isn't speaking Icelandic to the poor pub owner who usually gives her some non-alcoholic drink to be on the safe side and then I have to rush out to pay him because DGM only has kroner in her purse.

That up there ^^ probably isn't a tradition you want to start though.

By that time, it's about 6:30. We open the Christmas pyjamas for DS, and we take him up to bed. Then we all take a turn to read a line of his new Christmas book, which can be a problem for DGM who doesn't read or understand English, and will be more of a problem because this year we've bought him a book in Welsh, so the whole family but for us (DH's family are Israeli) will find it hard to read. So usually it ends up with our family reading it and them watching.

Then we go downstairs after that, having watched him put his stocking up (he gets stocking presents for tomorrow too) and tidy away his presents into his toy box or whatever. Then we usually play a board game or something similar, and at around 7, we'll take DD1, 2 and the other children out around the village to look at the Christmas lights up.

By the time we walk back, it's about 8:30, and DD2 and most of my nieces and nephews go to bed at that time, so they open their Christmas pyjamas, and go up to bed with their stockings.

Then it's only DD1, DNiece and the adults, so usually we just eat some more and stick presents on the tree for tomorrow too. Then DD1 and DNiece might open a few more presents, and at around 12pm we'll go to midnight mass. We aren't actually religious, but my parents are, and the church hall has food and things after and before, and everyone in our hamlet/village will come if they can stay awake for it, so we feel we have to.

Oh, and when we wake up, we have the yearly tradition of chasing DD2 as she tries to put an elf hat on one of the dog's heads. Or attempts to give our rats a nibble of a mince pie.

evilhamster Sun 18-Nov-12 17:05:50

Now I look at that, I realise I don't come under the 'organised' people you want. blush

racingheart Sun 18-Nov-12 17:10:06

Oh. I get it. You all have FUN on Christmas Eve. I love the idea of that. We could go to the panto, and a carol service or have a few friends round for drinks. Love these ideas. Thank you.

MmeLindor Sun 18-Nov-12 17:14:44

We go out for the day. Last few years it has been sledging in the mountains, but the lack of Alps within an hour's drive may scupper that tradition.

Mulled wine, bratwurst and sauerkraut, a reading of a German poem will be new additions this year.

Later DH goes upstairs with the DC to give them their bath. While they are in their bath the Christkind sneaks in (German tradition instead of Santa) and leaves presents in the living room and new PJs on their beds.

DD set up her iPod to try and catch the Christkind last year, but I lobbed the pressies under the tree from the office.

knackeredmother Sun 18-Nov-12 17:15:36

Work! Does no one else in MN work? Christmas Eve is a Monday isn't it? I thought normal working day for most, certainly in the NHS for me. I wish I was off though all these traditions sound lovely.

MmeLindor Sun 18-Nov-12 17:20:15

knackered
just thought of that while I was posting. It will be our first UK Xmas. In Germany and Switzerland most people work till lunchtime, if at all.

knackeredmother Sun 18-Nov-12 17:25:04

How lovely mmelindor! I hope you enjoy your first Xmas here.

Bunnygotwhacked Sun 18-Nov-12 17:35:06

DP has Christmas eve off this year so the plan is to get up change beds spend some time in the morning decorating the gingerbread houses am doing a small one each so we will have a little village of them.
Then will probably skype relatives so the dc's can have a natter in their hyper excited state then after lunch go out for a walk along the river providing its not flooded or into town to see the lights. Come home to ham that has been bubbling in coke all day.
After dinner it gets really christmasy will bring out the hamper everyone can go take a bath and get snuggled into new pj's am setting up a hot choc station and sit down with lights off except tree lights to watch Elf never seen it before have told dp mumsnet promises it's good.
Then dc's off to bed having sprinkled reindeer food and left mince pie and milk, got stockings and hot water bottles into dc3 bed to have christmas story then off to their own to sleep pah who am I kidding Of course all presents will already be wrapped hmm and I don't have any prep this year as I am instead doing everyone's favorite meal Dd goulash ds1 pasta with pancetta ds2 pizza it seems daft to spend a fortune on a huge roast that only me and dp enjoy.

Aw sad Knackeredmother

Ten years or so ago DH and I worked Christmas Eve - but we're both lucky enough to have jobs that mean we never work Christmas Eve any more - and are on holiday right through till after New Year. Years ago we both worked in retail, which meant working up till late on Christmas Eve then going back to work Boxing Day sad.

knackeredmother Sun 18-Nov-12 17:59:38

Retail jobs are hard going for holidays, you deserve your time off now badtaste! I'm in general practice so I get Xmas day and boxing day off and have negotiated one day leave for the 27th. At least I'm not on nights or 14 hour shift on Xmas day like I used to do!

MmeLindor Sun 18-Nov-12 18:05:43

It is hard going when you have to work at Xmas. I refuse to go shopping on Boxing Day out of solidarity with retail workers.

Clothilde Sun 18-Nov-12 18:37:48

The worst is when Boxing day falls on a weekend, because the bank holiday isn't until the Monday so you work a really antisocial day but don't get extra pay or time off in lieu. I remember a very grim New Years Day when we had about 5 customers in total and we were all hideously hung over.

toomanydaisies Sun 18-Nov-12 18:59:52

Right. This is embarrassing. But I've never cooked a roast for more than 2 people. Can you really prep veg the night before? How? Peel, chop and leave in cold water,

MmeLindor Sun 18-Nov-12 19:16:07

Toomany
Not at all embarrassing. We have all done our first Roast Dinner.

yy, prep your veg the day before. I can PM you a link to a blog post with tips for a v easy Xmas dinner if you like.

fuzzpig Sun 18-Nov-12 20:02:56

We will have no choice but to be organised by then this year, as we are having a sort of Xmas day at a dear friend's on the 24th, so we won't be back til quite late!

I hope we can somehow fit in new jammies etc from the elves, the DCs will hang their new tree decs up before bed. I have got White Christmas on DVD as a surprise - DH loves it but hasn't seen it for years (I saw it for the first time last year at a work do) so I hope we will snuggle up and watch that after the DCs are asleep.

I'm not wrapping yet as I think they'll get tatty (our cupboard isn't very tidy at the moment!) but I will do them mid December. However on Xmas eve we will need to set up the playmobil castle (their main present) by the tree. Goodness knows where we will hide it til then.

Arithmeticulous Sun 18-Nov-12 20:14:37

Crib service and last minute rushing around.

serin Sun 18-Nov-12 21:03:10

I will be at work, another NHS'er. DH will take the DC's and dog off somewhere for fresh air.

In the evening we might go to Church or might leave it until christmas day depending on how everyone feels.

Clary Sun 18-Nov-12 21:31:35

Sorry to those who work. I used to be a journalist and often worked Chr Day or Boxing Day <grim>, tho rarely on Chr Eve oddly.

Agree retail is the worst, a friend works for Next and barely has any Christmas off.

toomanydaisies yes no worries with veg in cold water the day before. I have to do two kinds of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, sprouts, get all ready in cold water 24 hrs in advance. Also stuffing and stuff bird, prep sausages and bacon etc etc. Also make delicious chocolate mousse cake yummmy. All fine in the fridge/cold kitchen overnight. A trifle is fine too IME.

racingheart Sun 18-Nov-12 21:52:07

OK. I've decided the new organised Christmas Eve is going to be a fun outing, preferably to the theatre or to a pretty carol service, followed by the PJ hamper. I've given in to it. I've heard about it for years but never done it, and now I even know what basket it's all going in. DC are almost too old for it, but always up for a bit of magic and fantasy.

Gumby Sun 18-Nov-12 22:05:55

knackeredmother

Who looks after the kids?

Really hard to get childcare on Xmas eve ime

racingheart Mon 19-Nov-12 09:36:10

Before I had DC I used to love working over Christmas. Kept me away from the chocs and the general tv sloth.

Sorry to change the subject, but I'm so excited. I've just booked Winter Wonderland tickets on Christmas Eve. Never done fun stuff on Christmas Eve before, as I've always had it marked as a day of slaving away for the big day. Really looking forward to it! We'll have food at the market, go to the ice sculptures and finish off at Cirque Beserk before coming home for hot chocolate and stockings. Can't wait to tell DC.

Last xmas eve I was in hospital with my newborn DD2 who was in SCBU. So all tradition went out the window.

Normally, I stay indoors with the DD now DC. We bake mince pies, fairy cakes & biscuits with xmas music on. Then sit and watch an xmassy film with some hot chocolate. Then go to the crib service and come home for bath, Pj's, hot chocolate and xmas movie. Then we put all the bits n bobs out for Santa & his Reindeer and get the DC tucked up in bed so DH & I can sit with a glass of wine ready for the chaos which is Christmas Day.

This Christmas will be slightly better as we will have DD2 home. (she was discharged 2pm xmas day last yr) We are round my parents so we don't have to cook either smile

Dillydollydaydream Mon 19-Nov-12 09:43:01

Dh usually works Xmas eve so I make biscuits, snowflakes with the kids, watch Xmas films all day. Follow Santa using NORAD.
Dh comes home we have dinner, watch a new film then it's time for pjs and putting out treats for Santa and the reindeer.
When the kids are safely asleep we fill the stockings and smuggle the presents into the living room. I love Christmas Eve, I love the build up!

chocolateicecream Mon 19-Nov-12 13:42:50

DH usually always works Xmas Eve, comes home late, In-laws turn up late (hype up the kids), give him his Birthday presents then eventually go. Spend ages unwinding kids, frantically try and sort out presents once they are asleep. Go to bed shattered. WTF can't they just give him his presents before his Birthday, but no they have to watch him open them. Must learn to be more assertive.

knackeredmother Mon 19-Nov-12 14:27:00

Gumby, tell me about it. Christmas childcare is a nightmare. We have a nanny but she has her own dec so understandably wants (demands) Xmas off. Hopefully dh will be able to sort the day off. The last 2 years Xmas eve has bee a weekend then before that I managed to negotiate a half day or a night shift. I sometimes pine to work 9-5 in an office!

morethanpotatoprints Mon 19-Nov-12 15:14:54

None of my family are working xmas eve, Dh is working for few hours boxing night evening (musician) Then apart from new years eve he is off all xmas. Work resumes about 5th Jan.
We never seem to do the same 2 years running, apart from putting presents out, filling stockings and preparing veg etc.
I am trying to be better organised this year and have started prepping house now.

toomanydaisies Wed 21-Nov-12 08:49:30

Thank you for the reassurance re veg! thanks

bedmonster Wed 21-Nov-12 14:41:36

Oh god I wish I could be less chaotic and actually be able to enjoy Xmas eve! I'm usually to be found scrubbing the house from top to bottom, wrapping and doing food prep, with 3 kids at my feet hoping to do something 'fun'.

racingheart Thu 22-Nov-12 11:29:41

bedmonster, me too. My DC are 10 and this is the first year I've made plans to have fun all day on Christmas Eve. But we don't have guests this year until New Year, so it doesn't really matter if the attic gets hoovered and there's no turkey to prep.

TerrorNotSoFrightened Thu 22-Nov-12 12:07:03

DH is always off on Christmas Eve and I'm a SAHM, so in the morning I'll do the cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, DH will clean the rest of the house, the DC will play or watch some cartoons.

After lunch we will go for a walk with the dog, my neighbour will come in to the house while we are out and remove Avery (our version of elf on the shelf) and plant the Christmas Eve hamper......Santa shaped sachets of bubble bath, a glittery bath bomb, jammies, hot chocolate, DVD, reindeer food.

Then an early dinner of ham, mustard mash and green beans.

Outside to scatter the reindeer food and light the reindeer runway (candles in jars on each side of the path)

Then 'the Christmas bath'....aforementioned bubble bath and glitter bomb, candles and fairy lights and Christmas songs playing. (I'm such a saddo eh?, ah well)

Then into new jammies and downstairs to watch a Christmas movie, set out milk and cookies for Santa, carrot for the reindeer.

Then snuggled into bed for a reading of 'twas the night before Christmas.

Then DH and I will do any cleaning/prep needed for the morning, settle down with some drinks and nibbles to watch 'its a wonderful life'

Then put the Christmas presents out under the tree and go to bed. smile

I set my alarm for 7am and only then sneak through and put them on DC's beds.

drummerswife Thu 22-Nov-12 12:15:58

my dh is working xmas eve so myself and dd are going to go for a walk xmas eve morning then come home for lunch,watch a film then go to church where the children go dressed as angels/shepherds etc and take part in the nativity.then we'll come home and put our pj's on after having a nice bubble bath,then eat pizza whilst watching another xmas film.then dd will get her little table set up for santa before she goes to bed.
i'll then get the presents set up,listen to xmas music and have a glass of baileys

Pinot Thu 22-Nov-12 12:26:53

I feel soooooooooooooooo Christmassy after reading this thread!!

bedmonster Thu 22-Nov-12 21:40:48

Right. That's it. This year I WILL be organised. The DC finish the friday before Xmas and I am determined to have finished all my shopping by then. Hopefully DP (self employed plumber, ALWAYS busy in December) will be home at some point that weekend and he has promised me that he will be off on Xmas eve hmm. So we could possibly have a nice Xmas eve. I fancy having our lovely neighbours round for a drink and set all the DC decorating gingerbread houses in the other room.
The odds of it happening however...

knackeredmother Fri 23-Nov-12 22:23:44

Bed monster my dh is also a self employed plumber- the pressure people feel to have those plumbing jobs done by dec 25 is mad isn't it! Good for self employed income though!

bedmonster Fri 23-Nov-12 22:56:50

I know knackeredmother and I totally get the username! I barely see DP for the whole months of Nov/Dec, but to be honest, I can't complain much grin
And it does make me appreciate my heating when he gets a phonecall from a friend at 10pm on a friday night saying they've got no heating/hot water/water pissing from the ceiling causing disasters (although I HAVE had a dripping bath tap for going on 3 years now... mutter mutter tut tut!)

oneandnomore Sat 24-Nov-12 00:17:55

I go out first thing to butchers and for veg etc. Then it's a day at home.
The Christmas fairy leaves a bag outside for dd with pyjamas, activity, DVD and sweets. So she has a bath and we get snuggled on the sofa to watch the DVD.
Tea then leave food out for Santa and reindeers.

Bed for dd, I go to midnight mass then home to dh and we put the presents under the tree! I have to remember to chomp the carrots for the reindeer!

CockBollocks Sat 24-Nov-12 10:10:09

I have to work sad

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sat 24-Nov-12 10:15:05

last minute veg shopping
watch The Muppets Christmas Carol
peel spuds and make stuffing while Carols from Kings is on
make pudding for Christmas Dinner (we're not big Christmas pudding fans so it's normally some sort of chocolate affair)
Christingle Service
Reindeer Food and mince pies out

Doobydoo Sat 24-Nov-12 10:23:08

Not working Christmas Eve...go to see sister and family.Back,baths,pyjameas,film...treats for boys and logs on fire.DP reads the Night before Christmas....I love it.Prob walk dogs too at some point...and lots of Carols.Am working a Late Christmas day ...boo.But do have Boxing Day off.

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