Staff Favorites: Christmas Traditions
"Santa always visited our house and checked on each kid on Christmas Eve. We knew this because when we woke early Christmas morning, there would be a trail of magic snow from the North Pole that Santa tracked into each of our rooms when he peeked in on us. Why is the North Pole snow magic? Because it doesn't melt, of course!"
One member of our team recalls, "Growing up, we were allowed to open one present each on Christmas Eve. We knew what it was, new pajamas, but it was just the excitement of getting to rip into that wrapping paper. We would open our pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear and have on for Christmas morning festivities, and usually stay in them all day."
Adds another, "We still do this as adults!"
Go to the Movies
"Every Christmas Eve, my family has the tradition of going to a matinee movie. When we were little kids, it was always an animated Disney movie – they used to come out every year about that time. As we got older, we started choosing a variety of different movies, really whatever we could all agree on, sometimes with mixed results. One year we went Sleepy Hollow – definitely not something to get you in the Christmas spirit! After the movie, it's dusk or dark, so we drive through our neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, before we return home to sit in front of the fire."
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
"Christmas was a sad day for my husband after his mother passed away, so we began a tradition of spending the day with close friends – one of whom is a trained chef. We work out a fabulous menu jointly and share all the costs. We have been known to consume an assortment of caviars with champagne or spiced nuts with eggnog, standing rib roast or rack of lamb, four-cheese potatoes or soufflés, fabulous vegetables and salads, decadent desserts and cheeses, and lots of great wine. They arrive in the late morning or early afternoon and we carry on until late at night, with one wonderful course after another. There's a fire in the fireplace, good music, and a nicely decorated tree, of course. Christmas is now a major epicurean event, which is almost better than opening presents."
"Each December, my mom makes a large batch of spritz cookie dough. We use a cookie press, food coloring, and sugar sprinkles to create holiday treats in seasonal shapes and colors. This is a fun family activity with delicious results – and don't forget to save a plate of cookies for Santa Claus."
Check out some of our favorite cookie recipes!
Visit with Neighbors
"Every Christmas Eve, my family and I head over to my neighbor's house to visit and reminisce about yet another year that's gone by. It is one of the only times during the year that we are all together to visit, so no matter how busy we may be, we always make time on Christmas Eve to see them. We sit around the fire, eat, drink, and have a blast!"
Sing Christmas Carols
She says, "We always have a huge party on Christmas Eve, with the entire extended family. Everyone eats and drinks and catches up, but the night isn't over until we all gather around the piano to sing Christmas carols. We have quite a few talented piano players in the family, but what really makes it so nice is hearing everyone's voices together – young and old, in tune and off-key, macho cousins, squeaky toddlers, and doting aunts alike. It's too corny for anyone to admit, but I think it's everyone's favorite part of the holiday."
You can print out the lyrics to your favorite Christmas carols, too!