Christmas Eve is probably my favorite day of the entire holiday season. It’s a day we pack full with rich, meaningful & fun traditions, and despite the crazyness that inevitably comes from four little girls who are hyped up on the excitement of Christmas, it’s just lovely.
It’s only been in the last couple of years that our family has really settled into some traditions, so for those of you who are still considering what your family traditions might be, here are a few ideas from our celebration:
The morning starts out fairly calm and slow as we wake up and begin our day. And then…
Because the evening is so full, we do our last advent devotional reading and light the middle candle in the morning rather than the evening. I’m so glad we’ve added this simple tradition to our celebration because it makes us pause and focus throughout the advent season in a way that none of our others quite have!
We also give the girls a small gift each week as part of our advent devotional, and Christmas Eve is when they exchange the gifts they’ve purchased/made for each other, which allows them to focus a little bit more on those simple gifts rather than letting them get tossed aside in the excitement of opening presents on Christmas morning.
Pictures in Front of the Tree
Everybody gets dressed up and ready to go, and we take pictures in front of the tree. This silly picture from last year is my all-time favorite, but I usually keep a few pieces of candy on hand to bribe them for some nice pictures as well!
And then we head out to celebrate Christmas with Sean’s mom’s side of the family. They’ve celebrated on Christmas Eve for as long as Sean and I have been together (this is our 14th Christmas!), and so it’s a staple of our holiday plans!
After celebrating, we rush back toward home for the Christmas Eve service at church, which I love. It’s my favorite service of the year, with the whole family together and lots of Christmas carols! Last year I emailed our worship pastor ahead of time to ask for the song list. He was kind enough to send it to me so I could make sure the girls knew those carols specifically and could participate more in the service, so I’ll probably do that this year as well.
When we get home, the girls excitedly open their new Christmas pajamas. I know some people give new pajamas at the beginning of the season, which I think is a great idea so they can wear them throughout advent, but I just can’t bring myself to change this tradition, which we’ve been doing since our oldest’s first Christmas. They do wear Christmas PJs all year long since they’re opening them at the end of the holiday season, though!
This part of our day is nowhere near as calm as these pictures make it look, but it’s special nonetheless!
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
Once everybody’s warm and snuggly in their new pajamas, we drink hot chocolate or hot vanilla and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas together. Even though our family doesn’t really do Santa we love to read this story each year; such a classic!
Matching Pajamas for Everybody
Although this may change when my baby sister gets married herself, for now my parents and sister (and last year my grandma too!) spend the night at our house on Christmas Eve, and my mom gets us all matching pajamas as well. We have just a little bit of fun together!
After the girls are tucked safely in bed, we fill the stockings and add a stocking letter to each one to tell the girls how much we love them and how proud of them we are. Last year was our first year doing the letters, and I loved how they all abandoned their stockings for a few minutes while I read their individual letters to each of them; it made my heart burst that the letters meant that much to them, even our littlest!
The grownups might watch TV or start a movie at that point, and my husband waits until we’re sure the girls are all asleep before he pulls out their big shared gift (which we usually do instead of individual gifts, and then we head to bed to get as much sleep as we can before the excitement of Christmas morning!
More Christmas Eve Traditions
Those are our Christmas traditions, but here are a few others to consider as well:
- Let the kids open their annual ornament
- Make cookies for Santa
- Make a batch of reindeer food
- Sleep by the Christmas tree
- Roast chesnuts
- Drive around to look at Christmas lights
- Snuggle up to watch a Christmas movie
- Serve at a community shelter
How do you celebrate on Christmas Eve?
Join us as we celebrate 101 Days of Christmas with new DIY projects, gift ideas, traditions and more every day from now through Christmas!