I love Christmas Eve especially. Everything grows quiet and simultaneously loud, too. People gather to their homes, the cold roads begin to empty, twilight approaches and homes are filled with the warmth of family love. And probably some family drama too, let's be honest. But mostly family love. And laughter. And delicious FOOD. And everyone gets the chance to enjoy each other (and roll their eyes a little bit) and laugh about old times, quotes favorite family movie lines, tell old stories that have most likely been shared before. It's a wondrous, familiar, delicious time. And yet it's always new and exciting, because each year brings it's particularly fresh changes. Like for us. This year we have a baby for Christmas.
What are your family traditions? I wanted to share a bit about ours because I always enjoy hearing about what other people do with this particularly special holiday time. We cozy up, snack on delicious appetizers (tonight mom has baked brie and crudites on hand, yum), munch while we make the actual meal (ribs!) and then we will relax around the fire and have family time. We might play a game. We might break out the guitars and have a jam session. We might all pile up on the couches in the family room and watch an old movie (or argue for 30 minutes over who wants to watch The Hobbit, who wants to watch The Holiday, and who wants to watch BOTH). We will most definitely be wrapping those last-moment gifts. In years past, we would always go Christmas caroling in our community, but with a new baby this year, we want to stay home and keep him warm. And do our best to adhere to a reasonable bedtime (I say it like its only for him, but its for me too :)
A word on Christmas sleep: I used to try my hardest to stay up reeeeeeally late on Christmas eve in order to wake up a bit later on Christmas morning. I was one of those kids who would leap out of bed at 4:30am, wake everyone up to OPEN PRESENTS OPEN PRESENTS OPEN PRESENTS, and end up ticking everyone off. So I had to learn the hard lesson of not to bothering mom and dad before 7am. And lets be honest, my sisters too. They were such teenagers, even before their time. Just wanted to keep snoozing. However, this year, I will fight the urge to not be a Scroogy-sleeper myself. I'm just coveting all the Zzz's I can get, especially with Stevie taking some time off for the holiday!
Tomorrow will begin with hot cinnamon buns, gathering in the living room with a fire blazing, and my dad's bible taking center stage. We will sip my parent's preferred coffee (this year they're on an Illy kick), while we listen to my dad re-read the story of Jesus' miraculous birth and His gift to the world. We will discuss it. What it must have felt like to be Mary, probably 16-ish and pregnant, carrying that baby around with no clue on how to explain what was happening to her. What it must have been like to be Joseph, whom the bible calls a "righteous man", marrying her in light of the scandal of her condition. What it must have been like for the Magi, searching the skies every night, following a star throughout the land, in hopes of meeting the most treasured baby ever born. THE STORY IS BONKERS. We will also act out the manger scene with our animal noises. And then my dad will call us all blasphemers and close the book. Look people, I gave birth this year. If there had been some sheep and cows hanging around my hospital room, I'm pretty sure I would have started throwing some punches (and probably wheezing a bit, too.) Whew. So there's that part of the morning.
Then we will DO PRESENTS. And this year - take turns holding Everett while we do so! After presents we will enjoy my parents' infamous eggs benedict. It's the one time a year they cook something together in a planned fashion, and it is so scrumptious, we always beg them to make it more often. But its our special Christmas breakfast. And my little sister will lick the hollandaise sauce out of the bowl. She will. And she will be horrified that I just shared that on the Internet. But she weighs like 10 ounces so who even cares.
Then Stevie and I will pack our things and prepare for round 2: heading to his parent's house! To do "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas Morning" all over again! We are so super duper blessed. Both our families love to celebrate so well, and we gladly soak up the double Christmas fun. His family celebrates so similarly to mine, but there are a few fun twists. They like to make fresh-squeezed orange juice, all run up the stairs together on "your mark, get set, GO!" to pounce on the presents, and then begin opening one by one. It's just hilarious and chaotic and comfortable and so fun. We will still be celebrating with family and extended family and relatives until Saturday, when things will finally wane into a sleepy post-Christmas-adrenaline stupor. Oh the stupor. I'm hoping Everett really allows us to nap then. It's some of the most wonderful napping done all year long.
So that's what's happening in our neck of the woods! What are some of your Christmas traditions? Any of this sound similar to how you and your loved ones celebrate?
Enjoy your Christmas Eve immensely. I hope you get to gather the ones you love tightly in your arms and squeeze them and kiss them frantically. Because if there were ever such a time to do so, that time is tonight! XOX.