It is December 23rd as I type this. Growing up in my family this date was known as "Christmas Eve Eve". My brothers and I got to open one present of our choice on this night. We all looked forward to it. I enjoyed telling other people about this unique holiday as I was growing up. "Don't you know that it's Christmas Eve Eve tonight?" We had some good Christmas traditions in my family. This one was probably the best.
One of my favorite things about having kids is having our own traditions for different things. Christmas Eve Eve has never taken off with my own kids, but we do have a number of other things that must be done in order for it to "feel" like the Christmas season. This year it's 60 degrees, raining and thundering. We need all the help we can get. Here's a few things we do.
My kids are past Rudolph and Frosty. They were never that crazy about them to begin with, to be honest. The one I insist we watch every year is The Grinch. It is my all time favorite. I love Dr. Seuss so much. A few years ago, I started buying everyone a pair of Grinch pajamas to wear on the official viewing night, which is usually on the Friday that Christmas Break starts. It's not easy finding Grinch pajamas for everyone ranging in sizes from adult to juniors to boys. But I love hunting for stuff each year. We add a new Grinch ornament to the tree on this night as well.
I have a gingerbread man pan that we break out every year. We just use a simple gingerbread mix. The kids do all the work and then decorate them. I think they actually enjoy this more as they get older.
Every year. Oh, yes. This was something I did as a child with my brothers and cousin every year. I knew when that weekend rolled around, the Christmas season was starting. I asked my aunt for the recipe for her Christmas sugar cookies before I was married so I could someday make and decorate cookies with my kids. There's a big ball of dough in my fridge right now, waiting to be rolled out and cut into different shapes vaguely resembling Christmas trees, stars, and candy canes.
Christmas Mass in the Evening
The kids have been singing in the choir for many years now. My girl started this first since she is older. I'm always swelling with gratitude and happiness at this mass each year.
The Angel Tree
At the beginning of Advent, our church sets up two angel trees. Since they were old enough, I let the kids pick one child off the tree. This is most fun for me when they pick a very young child, since I don't get to buy those types of toys anymore and the clothes are so dang cute. This year my they picked an 11 year old girl. This proved to be tough, since it's hard enough buying for my 12 year old daughter who I know pretty well. Maybe next year, I can talk them into a 2 year old again.
Matching Family Christmas Pajamas for Christmas Eve
My mom really started this for our family. It wasn't something we did as kids, but a friend of hers did it with her family. It used to be kind of hard to find adult and kid pajamas that match, but now it's become a "thing" for a lot of people. It's much easier to find these for the whole family these days.