Christmas Eve Traditions

Christmas EveChristmas Eve is a magical time, and the traditions families create make it even more magical. I had the pleasure of asking my Facebook friends to share their Christmas Eve traditions. What a treat to be invited into their experiences and to see how they make Christmas Eve special.

For me personally, I love traditions and introducing them to my kids. Traditions are a parent’s chance to pass on beliefs, customs and to create nostalgia. In a fast-paced and full life, when I take the time to follow traditions, it actually slows me down and helps me enjoy the moment. Christmas Eve traditions are like family time at its best. Everyone’s light-hearted, giddy and anticipating the next day. It’s that big warm hug where the days troubles and worries take a back seat and family time is at the forefront.

What are your Christmas Eve traditions? Do you cook a special meal or bake cookies for Santa Claus? Do you open up one gift on Christmas Eve or take a tour of the neighborhood Christmas lights? Do you have special Christmas pajamas? Or maybe you attend a candlelit church service or read the Christmas Story from the Bible?

Please share your Christmas Eve traditions with us. Think of it as a gift you’re giving to other moms by allowing us a glimpse into your special day. It reminds me of that feeling I get when I drive by homes at night and the family’s lights are all on. The house looks so warm and inviting I just want to go in and make myself at home! That’s what sharing our traditions with each other creates – a warm, cozy, nostalgic feeling. It invites others into our lives, but more importantly it reminds us how blessed we are to create this same feeling for our own families.

So take a peak into other family traditions, and then share your own. Happy Christmas!

“Nothing sounds more like Christmas in the Owens’ home than the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Family time is key. We get cozy around the Christmas tree and the kids each pick one gift to open on Christmas Eve.  A newer tradition is tracking Santa Claus on the Norad Santa Tracker. We bake our special Crescent Cookies and leave a plate out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. We read from the Bible and talk to our kids about the birth of Jesus and its importance. We’ll also read The Night Before Christmas. We then tuck our kids in bed, decked in their Christmas pjs and finish any last minute wrapping. And at some point in the evening, my husband and I have a glass of wine, take it all in and think – job well done.” – Bright, Florida

“My mom makes fish, scalloped potatoes and sauerkraut for dinner. It’s a special kraut with apples and mushrooms that simmers all day on the stove. You have to eat it or you’ll have bad luck the next year! We also have bayberry candles on the tables, in addition to the Advent candles; the bayberry candles have to burn down completely on their own. If you blow them out, you will have bad luck. After dinner, we go to midnight mass and sing in the choir. When we get home we eat cookies and poppy seed rolls and put gifts under the tree.” – Robin, Pennsylvania

“The kids get a “Christmas Eve Box” which has Christmas pjs, a movie, a book, some hot chocolate and popcorn. We then all snuggle up in Christmas pjs and watch a movie with popcorn and hot chocolate.” – Jen, New York

“We go to my in-laws and everyone prepares an appetizer that we’ve never made before. The kids open matching pjs and we all sleep over and open presents with the grandparents, aunt and uncle and cousins.” – Beth, North Carolina

“My mother-in-law has an open house. She makes a huge pot of gumbo and asks everyone to stop by for a bowl when they get a chance. That way she gets to see everyone and they don’t feel pressure to stay all night.” – Ginger, Florida

“We go to my son’s house and have standing rib roast and all the trimmings with family and the in-laws. We read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Matthew and then put the kids to bed. We assemble and ‘battery up’ all the toys, spend the night and wake up to Santa’s bounty on Christmas morning. We exchange gifts and have a super good brunch – then nap!” – Brenda, Florida

“We have gingerbread martinis. The kids open one gift, wear their Christmas pjs and we read Christmas stories. And you cannot forget about putting out the reindeer food. Also a glass of milk and plate of cookies for Santa.” – Michelle, Florida

“We’ve always had Swedish smorgasbord on Christmas Eve…meatballs, Swedish cheese, knacks rod, ham, salmon, pickled beets, beans and Swedish cookies.” – Cindy, New York

“We always have gumbo on Christmas Eve. We also always read The Night Before Christmas.” – Nicole, Florida

“We go to Mass with the family. My mother-in-law reads the Bible verses and the grandkids take turns placing the baby Jesus in the manger at her house. My husband and I sit and have a drink by the tree after the kids go to bed and take a deep breath and remember our blessings.” – Greta, Florida

“We attend the Christmas Eve Pageant at church, have Chinese food take-out and watch the movie A Christmas Story. After years of providing a labor intensive 24-hour countdown to Christmas, homemade activity calendar with gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies etc, our Christmas Eve plans were the only tradition my kids remembered when I asked them what are traditions are! Learn from me.” – Jenny Ellen, Florida

“We have a Christmas Eve party…family, friends, both old and new and really anyone who needs a place to go is welcome. My grandmother taught me to remember ‘loaves and fishes’ and that there is plenty for all. We celebrate – eat, drink and laugh. Before all of the guests arrive we have a special moment with my parents and open presents (like when we were kids.) My mom always brings the scratch off lotto tickets, we use our ‘lucky quarters’ and scratch away! After the party ends we set out the cookies and milk and, of course, carrots for the reindeer and everyone is off to bed. Then Santa comes and I take pictures of him putting the gifts under the tree and he always goes in and gives a kiss to our daughter. We print the photos and put them under the tree.” – Maryteresa, Florida

“Christmas Eve in my family is called ‘Noche Buena’ otherwise known as ‘goodnight.’ It is very common in the Spanish tradition to gather all your family and friends and have a huge feast/fiesta. We make all the traditional Spanish foods along with the main course: roasted pig. The pig is roasted on a what’s called a ‘Caja China,’ which is like a BBQ box that the pig roasts on for about 12 to 16 hours. In our family, we also allow for one present to be opened on Christmas Eve night.” – Gabriella, Florida

“Birthday cake for Jesus – cheesecake with a cherry topping. And balloons to make it a real birthday party in His honor. Santa’s gift is what’s in the stockings (no one, especially imaginary, gives a better gift than Mom and Dad.) They open the stockings in the early evening to keep the day and excitement going.” – Grazia, Connecticut

Give the gift of a glimpse into your Christmas Eve traditions. Share in the comments section below and let’s inspire one another to make the most of this family time!

Bright calls Tampa home after spending 17 years in New York City. Originally from Atlanta, she graduated from FSU with a B.S. in Communications. Prior to a career in Motherhood, Bright worked in a Manhattan advertising agency, as well as a popular cable TV network in Promotions and Sponsorships. She also did Public Relations for a national urban ministry. Bright is now a stay-at-home mom who is married to her best everything, has four active kids and is passionate about moms! She recently joined the premium skincare line, Rodan + Fields as a consultant and launched her personal blog. She loves to play tennis, grab a coffee with friends, write to encourage others and unwind with a favorite TV show. You can get to know her better on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.