Christmas Eve is coming and the excitement around here is palpable!
There are so many helpful little hands, so much delightful anticipation, along with a flurry of sweet whisperers (and wild whooping, ha) about the joys to come.
Trying to fit it all in during these final days can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why I like to set aside a notebook specifically for planing and collecting any thoughts about all the holidays, birthdays, and any other special occasions coming up throughout the year. In addition to being a useful tool, I really enjoy looking back through our holiday notebooks from previous years and recalling the special memories made during those times!
I sat down this weekend to review the Christmas Eve plans we made at the beginning of this season.
And we sure have a heap of fun family traditions planned for Christmas Eve. It even has a page all to itself in our holiday notebook!
Along with making sure the fireplace and candles are lit and that Christmas tunes are playing all day long, here’s our Christmas Eve list for this year:
- The Gumdrop Tree: I don’t like to leave a lot of sugary snacks out around the house during the holidays so I wait until Christmas Eve to pull out our gumdrop tree. It makes a cute decoration for Christmas day and the boys love sticking the gumdrops on the tree, and snacking on a few while they work. Plus, it keeps the kids occupied when mom and dad are busy.
- The Mistletoe: I try to remember to give kisses under the mistletoe throughout the season but I make sure everyone gets a hug and a kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas Eve. Mistletoe isn’t easy to find where we live. I usually use an artificial ball but this year we ordered real mistletoe online! I think I’ve been a bit overly excited about this though, honestly!
- The Yule Log: We always have a Yule log for dessert, with hot chocolate, on Christmas Eve. And in honor of the true meaning of Christmas, everyone gets a slice of cake and settles on a blanket in front of the fireplace to hear the story of the first Christmas read aloud from the Bible. Some years, we also do a real Yule log in our fire pit or have a Yule log centerpiece topped with candles.
- The Christmas Eve Box: After having cake, we will unwrap the Christmas Eve box. Every year is different but we usually try to include at least a movie (this year it’s The Veggie Tale’s It’s A Meaningful Life, which the boys will watch Christmas Eve night while mom and dad are having a little time and exchanging presents), a treat (this year it’s chocolate covered popcorn and red and green Haribo gummy bears), a new book (The Little Blue Truck’s Christmas, in honor of our truck loving 2 year old ), and a small gift (a new family board game for 2017)!
- The Night Before Christmas: Reading The Night Before Christmas probably goes with saying, but we like to have a little fun first by doing a Night Before Christmas Madlibs. The whole family is usually in a fit of giggles before we can even finish! Then, we all snuggle up together on the couch and dad reads the original version.
- The Reindeer Food: Our family never forgets about Santa’s reindeer! Before bed we get on our Christmas jammies, robes and slippers and head outside to scatter the reindeer food: made with hay, oats, and glitter (or sprinkles), of course!
- The Christmas Star: After scattering the reindeer food, we search the night sky for the Christmas star (the brightest star in the sky). And talk about what it must have been like on that first Christmas evening so long ago.
- The Milk and Cookies: Santa needs lots of fuel for his around the world trek, so we leave a big plate of cookies and milk by the fireplace, along with a few carrots for Santa to keep in his pocket to keep those reindeer fueled up too!
- The Christmas Pickle: We leave our pickle ornament beside the milk and cookies for Santa to hide on the tree. The child who finds it Christmas morning gets a fun treat, this year it’s a peppermint Christmas tree lolly pop!
Our oldest son wants to snap a photo of Santa this year, so for the first time we are going to set our camera up to try to catch a picture of that jolly old elf. This might turn into a fun family tradition in the future, so we’ll see how it goes.
Finally, we get the little ones to sleep and mom and dad’s real work begins. And before turning in ourselves, we make sure that Santa remembers to hide some little chocolate gold coins around the house. This has been a tradition for several years and it’s fun for the kids, especially later in the afternoon when the novelty of opening presents has worn off.
Well, that’s our plan for Christmas Eve! What are your favorite Christmas Eve traditions? Are you trying anything new this year?
Hope you are having a wonderful season! Merry Christmas!