The Night Before Christmas
My Mom’s side of the family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve, every year. It used to always be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where Grandpa had set up his trains around the artificial pre-lit tree, the cousins and I would play checkers or Duck Hunt in the basement, I’d read The Night Before Christmas to whomever would listen. Two to three sets of aunts and uncles, three to five cousins, plus Mom, Dad, me and Dylan, always made for an action-packed night to look forward to. I think the gathering of all of us in one place, along with the traditions I learn more about every year, is why I get so excited for Christmas Eve.
The traditions, though they remain, have evolved over the years. The fact that I notice this is how I know I’m getting old. The cookies are a really good example of this.
For the past few years we’ve celebrated at our house instead of Grandma’s, which I love because preparing all day makes me feel like I get a full day’s worth of Christmas Eve and not just dinner, dessert and presents. Aunt B moved to New Mexico some years ago, so she’s not always physically present at Christmas Eve — this year we’re finally catching up to the technological wave and will be skyping with Aunt B and Tim after we open gifts. Two years ago we switched from everyone giving everyone a gift and adopted a Secret Santa approach. The first year there was a minor hiccup:
Yep, some lucky relative of mine got two gifts while I got none. Of course I wasn’t hurt, in fact I found it really entertaining. But since then I’ve asked Hugh to proctor the Secret Santa process, just to ensure its perfection. And so we can say it was audited by EY (chuckle at our nerdy joke).
My parents manage to continue their own tradition of ending Christmas Eve by watching the broadcast of midnight mass at the Vatican together. No matter how old I get, I’m still unable to stay awake for it. Maybe, in the spirit of getting older, this will be my year and tonight I’ll watch it. Maybe.
Merry Christmas Eve!