It’s never too early to start planning for Christmas, is it? As I’ve been designing holiday-related digital scrapbook paper this last week, I feel ready for the wonderful season to be upon us once again. This is what Christmas with my family is like.
Christmas Eve Day Celebrations
The day of Christmas Eve at our house is all about baking and spending time together. Most of the siblings will congregate at my parents’ home and pitch in with making fudge, caramels, sugar cookies, toffee, and on and on. We may all gain five pounds that week, but it doesn’t seem to lastingly impact us, or at least that’s how I justify the splurge.
We sing carols and have a Christmas trivia game that we usually whip out during this kitchen time. Some less-gifted baker like myself will usually handle the cards while the others continue working hard for our desserts. We generally prepare dessert plates for a handful of close friends and deliver them in the late afternoon. When we were younger, good ol’ Dad would make us wear reindeer headbands and some belled-elf accessories while delivering goodies, but in our ripe ages we children have successfully rebelled.
Christmas Eve Night Celebrations
After visiting with our family friends, we return home to finish preparing dinner. What we eat has changed over the years, but it’s always well received due to my mother’s faithful diligence in the kitchen. She provides the bulk of the meals while my siblings and I tend to make smaller contributions.
Because my family is so large, we rarely have formal, sit-down dinners. Our style is more that of dish-it-up-yourself and find-somewhere-to-sit. With that structure, we end up sitting and chatting with only a few family members at a time, as we are spread throughout the kitchen, family room, and living room.
After dinner, we have a secret buddy gift exchange. A few weeks prior to Christmas, everyone’s name goes into a hat and we each pick out a “secret buddy” to buy a small present for. Christmas Eve we then go around the room from oldest to youngest guessing who has us as his or her secret buddy. As we are found out, we disperse presents and thank one another for the thoughtful gifts.
Sometimes our Christmas Eve celebrations include a family retelling of the nativity scene, or a reading out of the Bible, and sometimes this is left to a matter of personal scripture study and spiritual time. We return to our homes and try to patiently wait for the next day to come.
Christmas Day Celebrations
Depending on who wants to sleep in, our Christmas morning usually has a leisurely start. Mom makes blueberry muffins and we all roll out of bed sometime before noon. On our way down to the living room, we grab our stockings that Santa left at the foot of our beds so we’ll have extra treats to munch on during the official present-opening time.
The family members who actually live by my parents and aren’t in town visiting usually have their own morning rituals and festivities so the rest of us start without them. We go around the room opening one present at a time until our parts under the tree are bare.
I usually find time for a good nap before the rest of the family comes over in the afternoon and we continue opening the rest of the presents. We spend the remainder of the day together playing with our new gifts, watching movies, and pigging out on whatever Mom fixes. It’s a time of togetherness and love, especially the love that comes from the Savior–knowing it is His birth that we are celebrating.