GeekMom Holiday Traditions: Christmas Eve

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Image: Sarah Pinault

We hope you have enjoyed sharing Christmas traditions with us this month. Both old and new favorites have made an appearance, and we have certainly had fun putting them together. Now that it is Christmas Eve, it’s time to settle in for for 48 hours of peace or mayhem, depending on your brand of family whimsy. The last advent drawer has been opened, the last advent candy eaten. The shopping has been done, and most of the wrapping.

Here’s a sneak peak at what the GeekMoms are up to today, from all of us here, have a Merry Christmas.

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Photo: GeekMom Jackie Reeve

With a four year old and a 22 month old, GeekMom Sarah and her family try to keep the kid-centric traditions low key. Never straying far from home on Christmas Eve, whatever happens, the day always ends with Chinese Food and the boys in an enormous bubble bath. New Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve are a must. After the kids have gone to bed, the presents are sorted under the tree; each person gets their own pile of goodies instead of the usual jumble. After the elves are done sorting, a good old fashioned Christmas movie is watched by the adults. Usually It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart or The Bishop’s Wife with David Niven. Tonight, who knows…

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GeekMom Cathe leaves a snowman for each child to open on Christmas morning. Image: Cathe Post

GeekMom Cathe’s family hosts an ethnic themed Christmas Eve dinner for her parents. Since her husband is such a good cook, they have been known to have Korean, Tapas, seafood (not ethnic—but so good), Chinese, Mexican—every year is a different theme of multiple courses! Games will be played, wine will be enjoyed, handmade gifts will be exchanged and opened, and kids will be put to bed so that a special snowman can be left next to the tree for each kid. Cathe just hopes her 7-year-old believes in Santa for many more years to come.

This is the day GeekMom Patricia’s family attends an (early evening) Christmas Eve church service and then drive around looking at holiday lights until bedtime. This year Patricia and her boys are excited about going to Christmas Eve services at the stunning Air Force Academy chapel. Now that her sons are older, the family doesn’t have the same cookies-and-milk-for-Santa traditions, nor do Patricia or her husband have to assemble large scale gifts such as tricycles and Leapfrog Learning Tables. They set out the gifts that had been hidden away, and Patricia and her husband enjoy cookies and hot cocoa while watching 24-hours of A Christmas Story on TNT. As mentioned earlier in the month about holiday specials, even though they have the DVD of the movie, they can’t mess with tradition!

After the family Christmas party and cutthroat gift exchange (in which stealing is not only allowed, it’s encouraged), GeekMom Cindy always gets to open one present on Christmas Eve. It always turns out to be new pajamas. She suspects her mother started the tradition so that the family would always look nice for pictures on Christmas morning. Whatever the origin, she’s continues the tradition with her husband and now her children. She wonders if it will take them as long to catch on as she did.

GeekMom Lisa’s family enjoys their church’s candlelight service in the evening. Then, they have a Christmas Eve dinner at a favorite cozy family owned Italian restaurant. After dinner, everyone heads to Grandpa’s house where the girls have popcorn and cocoa and watch The Polar Express with Grandpa (this has become their favorite Christmas Eve movie). Lisa and her husband take advantage of this opportunity to bundle up and walk the dog around her father’s historic neighborhood. They watch families coming and going in the various homes, and enjoy the light displays. Since they live in the Southwest, the luminaries are predominant on the mission-style homes. Such a peaceful evening before the wonderful craziness of the morning to follow at their home.

Last Christmas by Wham! © Columbia
Last Christmas by Wham! © Columbia

GeekMom Sophie, over in England, gets to begin Christmas Eve five hours before the rest of us. She usually begins the day by baking cookies for Santa with her pre-school aged son. In the afternoon she tries to attend the 4 PM carol service at the huge 1000 year old Lincoln Cathedral in the city center. The evening is spent roasting the turkey so it doesn’t take up the entire oven the following morning (trying not to eat it once it’s out), setting the dinner table ready for Christmas dinner, watching The Muppet Christmas Carol and helping Santa arrange all the presents under the tree and surrounding them with a toy train set. Once everyone else is in bed she finishes the evening with an annual viewing of The X-Files Christmas episode “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” before turning in for an early night.

For GeekMom Jules, living in a mutli-cultural household means a lot of different holiday and Christmas traditions. They never did the Santa thing. Instead, Jules taught the boys the story of the Saint and they would receive one gift from “Santa” to honor that memory. The rest of the presents were from family and parents. On Christmas Eve, the boys would unwrap their “Santa” gift, which also served to honor the German influences Jules had as a child. Then, once they went to sleep, that is when Jules would wrap all of the presents and put them under the tree for Christmas morning. It made Christmas morning even more magical. Jules really looked forward to seeing their eyes when they woke up to find all the presents under the tree. Now that one is an adult and the other almost there, Christmas is very different.