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Christmas Eve traditions(36 Posts)
What are yours? DD will be nearly two this Christmas and more aware of what’s going on than last year and I’m trying to think of what we did as a family when we were younger. I know traditions evolve but I’d like to start some small things we do the night before.
We usually go to carols but our church is closed. DH and I usually go for a nice lunch then start prepping food, lay the table and enjoy the calm before the storm but the lunch place is closed and DD is a live wire so no time for lying around after a boozy meal this year.
What do you remember from childhood or do with your younger ones?
We do the following:
Cookies for Santa. The creepy Russian wooden elf that one of my relatives gave me as a child "magics" up a new Christmas cookie cutter every year (as part of a small box which contains something for everyone)
Decorate the Gingerbread house whilst cookies are baking
Go for a walk, usually in a fairy wood or by the sea
Tea is a picnic by/under the Christmas tree. When I was little, we lived in a different country to my maternal Grandmother who insisted on very traditional family Christmases. We'd arrive after a long day of travelling late afternoon on Christmas Eve and she would have decorated the sitting room to look like a forest with loads of lights/foliage/Holly from the garden etc. All the children in the house would eat there, crusty bread, ham, salami, cheese, crisps, vol au vents (I still get nostalgic when I see one) and apple/plum dumplings sitting on a picnic rug. My two love it as much as I did.
We usually go to the Christingle service but I imagine that won't be happening this year. We might attend if virtual though.
Bath, new pjs and board games by candlelight
Stockings for everyone in the house get hung up
In bed, they can pick a Christmas/winter themed story each and we'll finish with the nativity story and then the Night Before Christmas.
I'm hoping Carol's from Kings will still be on, I grew up watching that with my mum. I love the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve. Following with interest!
That sounds incredible Dino, how lucky are your children!
My dad always played Pachabel on Christmas morning, you know the one people have for weddings and we had it at ours, so I’ll do that the night before as well.
We love candles but she’s had a recent growth spurt and can reach most display surfaces so I’m musing how we can burn some but safely!
Exchanging books is a great one.
I’ve got a special dress for Christmas Day so might give her that on Christmas Eve.
Night before Christmas book.
Gingerbread house is inspired, do you make the pieces?
We go for a walk in the afternoon. While we are out the Christmas eve box appears and the elf disappears. We have Snacky tea, hot chocolate, new slippers and a film to encourage bedtime. The night before Christmas story at bedtime then dinner prep and some port for dh and I whilst waiting for kids to go to sleep.
Decorate a paper plate on which to leave a mince pie/cookie/whatever you leave out for Father Christmas.
Take a bag of old toys to the charity shop or some food to the local food bank.
Every year, the bedtime story on Christmas Eve is always ‘The Night Before Christmas’.
For the last couple years, a few days before Christmas we’ve gone driving to look at Christmas lights late at night. It’s awesome! Take popcorn and hot chocolate in travel mugs, and have Christmas music playing in the car. It’s basically free entertainment for the kids, and it’s nice quiet family time where everyone is strapped down. We call it a Christmas light safari.
Gingerbread house is inspired, do you make the pieces?
Dc1's first Christmas I did. I bought a mould from Lakeland and had hours of "fun" assembling. Now I just buy a kit and add extra sweets/home made gingerbread trees. Lidl do a lovely Hansel & Gretelesque one which we've had for the past two years. Takes the stress out of it and all the kids care about is adding sweets/eating them.
The past few years we’ve gone for a big walk in the woods in an attempt to tire the DC out, followed by soup & a sandwich. Usually we go to a Christingle service after, no word yet on if that’s going ahead this year or not.
Then home to watch Arthur Christmas, have a bath, put cookies & milk out for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph, and then bed.
Then last minute wrapping for us, followed by Champagne and M&S Thai box meal.
There is a Christmas Eve tradition which my DH and I observe every year, without fail: DH wraps my presents, while I'm there to keep him company. Being the impatient cheating person that I am, I would sneak a look at them, but there's a small problem - I'm blindfolded so I can't see. But that's on my insistence. I just love hearing him do it - I get all excited, like a child thinking about Father Christmas; and then I get the excitement of opening them the following day.
For many years, one tradition was me at midnight and beyond, still frantically wrapping presents.
Glad to say those days are past.
A 10 pm-ish walk with dh, armed with secateurs, to a road with stacks of holly hedges, to get a well-berried sprig to stick in the Christmas pudding.
Carols from King’s, preferably the TV version, with mulled wine and mince pies. But I’ll settle for the radio ditto if necessary - mulled wine and MPs still essential though.
I dare say the live version won’t happen this year, but an old repeat won’t bother me. 🎄
This year covid depending we're meant to be spending the afternoon at my sisters house to see the family and exchange gifts (will them see dhs fam on Boxing Day so we can do Christmas just at home the 3 of us)
Then come evening, a Christmas Eve box that will have baking goods, hot chocolate a movie, pyjamas etc. Dd is 2 on the 27th December, but very developmentally delayed so I don't think she'll understand anymore than last year but that won't stop me. We'll bake, listen to music and just hang out. Then watch Muppets Christmas Carol whilst sat in our new pyjamas with a hot chocolate and snacks. Then bedtime routine will consist of a nice bubble bath, then 'Twas The Night Before Christmas book. These are traditions that have carried over from my childhood.
Oh and of course out out Santa and Rudolph's treats.
* For many years, one tradition was me at midnight and beyond, still frantically wrapping presents.*
I have definitely inherited this tradition & not lost it yet!
Ideally carols/xmas service but who knows.
Park/playground, collect foliage to add to decor at home.
If siblings are already at my mums, meet up with them.
Christmas Movie with snacks/alcohol.
New xmas pjs for the kids & a xmas book at bed.
Cake/whisky/carrot left out on Santa plate.
Move stockings filled with toys into their bedroom as it's what my parents did.
Traditions that will change this is are last minute shopping followed by eating out for lunch but I think this year we'll give it a miss and have an festive afternoon tea or picinic at home while watching a christmas movie and tbh I'm not sad about it either, might mean more preparation and cleaning up but it'll be nice having a more relaxed day. We bake some cookies while listening to christmas carols, do some festive activities. We usually order Chinese take out for dinner but we didn't really enjoy it last year so we're thinking of having a little buffet instead this year. We take the dog for a stroll around town and look at all the pretty lights and while we're gone my mother will let herself into my house and have all the Christmas boxes out. It'll have new pyjamas for us all so its a case of shower and change for everyone. We then sit down and watch the polar express with hot Chocolte. My favourite tradition is after the movie we go out into the garden and see if we can spot santa in the sky and my mother will be out in the alleyway with bells and she rings them and the kids think santa is near by then we read twas the night before Christmas.
What normally happens:
I spend ages on 23rd laying the dining room table which involves finding all the best knives and forks crockery etc, and generally poncing decoratively.
On Christmas Eve, DS1, partner and small DGS arrive from London to stay for a few days. DS2 and his DCs, come to stay over night even though they live only a mile away
On Christmas Eve we have cheese and meat fondue plus a pierrade and raclette in the conservatory, Alpine style, thus leaving the dining room table unsullied.
Christmas. Day, general present opening, two young DCs go to their mum’s where they have Christmas dinner with their other Grandparents, returning in the early evening for dinner with all of us, appetites seemingly unabated.
It works so well, but what of this year? Will the London family be able to come, will the local DGCs be able to stay?
DH says we can’t use the (carefully decorated) dining room for Christmas dinner, we must use the Conservatory as it is better ventilated. Which means I can’t lay a glorious table until after the Alpine conservatory meal stuff has been cleared.
I wanted this Christmas to be lovely. DS1’s partner is Brazilian and next year it is their turn to go to Brazil, fair enough. But I am 76 now, will I be up to an all-systems- go Christmas with them all two years hence?
Thank heaven for this Christmas forum I know you will feel my angst and not be unkind!
Christmas Eve morning DD and I go to Tesco firstly for a Christmas treat in the cafe and then pick up last bits (usually veg and salad) for the next couple of days. It’s quiet and relaxed - the staff are all in Christmas jumpers and hats and it’s a lovely atmosphere.
I like the idea of decorating a gingerbread house in the afternoon so we might do that this year.
The local rotary club Father Christmas usually comes around late afternoon/early evening. Not sure if it’s happening this year but if so then we’ll be out on the street and then we go for a walk to see around the neighbourhood to look at how people have decorated their houses.
Be very careful around ginger bread houses, we tried to make 1⃣ from scratch, utter disaster. Tried to do a few others at various stages. Again dreadful! Get one that just needs decorating. However we do it on Xmas eve.
Can’t remember much from childhood apart from opening presents, christmas telly and lunch.
With my two when my youngest was two almost three we went to the panto for a few years on christmas eve, then changed to cinema to watch a film or sometimes just a nice walk in the lakes and nice family meal out on 24th. We had advent calendars. Did christmas crafts. We always read the night before christmas a few times and always on christmas eve. When they got older the kids took it in turns reading it to us all. We cuddled up and watched christmas films together, had christmas lunch, watched christmas telly, spoke to family over the phone and had some nice walks.
Last year was DDs first Christmas so we are still forming our family Christmas traditions, but for a couple of years before she was born we went to the cinema on Xmas eve, we might carry on with that now she’s a bit older. We also had a steak dinner last Xmas eve and I’d like to do that again. Other than that Xmas eve is usually a day of lots of baking followed by a lovely long bath and new PJs.
We go to a Carol service. When we get home I give the DC their Christmas Eve box. It varies what is in it depending on if they need pjs or a new mug for example. I always put a Christmas tree decoration in and a sweet treat like cookies or popcorn. Actually not sure what else to put in this year - they are 8 and 13 and over the years we have lots of Christmas dvds, story books and colouring/activity books - really don't need anymore. I'll probably put some nice toiletries in for their bath/shower that happens after they get their box. They then come down in their cosy pjs/onsie and we have soup, baguette and cheese followed by stollen and lebkuchen. We watch the Muppets Christmas Carol while we eat. Then I read them stories finishing with Twas the Night before Christmas. They hang their stockings on the fireplace and leave milk and a mince pie for FC and a carrot for the reindeer.
Usually family around for mince pies and sandwiches, then midnight mass (it's always around 2000 here, not actually midnight in my local church) but I don't suppose we will be doing either this year.
We always make cookies fresh for Santa on Xmas eve. Every year.
Usually I'll be frantically prepping a humongous dinner for the family for the next day, followed by taking all the kids in our family to the pantomime then back to my mums for a bit of roasted ham, singing and dancing- guess I'll have to think of a something else this year.. Think Christmas Eve 2020 is likely to consist of takeaway, muppets Christmas carol, new pjs & wine.
I have to admit that ours evolve and change a bit as they grow (now 18 and 20). Still have a lush bath bomb each and new PJ’s.
One tradition that I saw somewhere and thought ‘I wish I’d done that’ was one family took the same photo each year making the Christmas pudding trying as hard as they could to get the same spot. It’s made a lovely memory wall over the years and you could take the photo however it suited your family.
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