Do you have Christmas Eve traditions? These are the traditions my family has done since I was a kid, and the traditions we do now that we have kids.
Traditions are my favorite way to bring Christmas magic.
Creating traditions is one of my favorite things. In fact, I wrote about some of our favorites throughout the year RIGHT HERE. But Christmas traditions (including Christmas Eve traditions) are some of my very favorite.
I love being able to create Christmas magic through traditions, outings, special meals, and cozy evenings at home.
This was our family tradition as I was growing up
Growing up, my family had a few Christmas Eve traditions. We would usually go see a movie on Christmas Eve, since it feels like the longest day of the year and that helped break up the day a bit. My mom would also make what we called a “Shepherd’s dinner.” We would sit on the floor, the meal lit by candles, and eat soup out of bread bowls, or a spread of meats and cheeses. Probably not what the shepherd’s in Jesus’ time, but it was more about the sentiment. We would recite the Savior’s birth story from Luke, and sometimes act it out.
It took us a few years of marriage to find a good Christmas Eve tradition
After Philip and I got married, we did a few Christmases with our parents, but the ones we did on our own didn’t really have many traditions. We made a really nice steak dinner a few times, but that was about it.
I loved my family’s tradition, but Philip and I wanted to do something that was our tradition.
My favorite Christmas Eve tradition ever, ever, ever.
When we moved to California in 2012, it was November and we were about to have our first Christmas away from any family or friends. Fos was a brand new baby, and moving felt like such a fresh start with the chance to do anything we wanted.
We had moved from Utah, where we had lived for the last 6 years, and had moved to Huntington Beach. Our rental home was about one mile from the beach, so it just felt right to spend Christmas Eve at the beach.
I grew up in Las Vegas, never going to the beach, and not even really liking the beach. But living in Huntington Beach changed me. I love the beach, and spending Christmas Eve there was the perfect way to relax and connect and focus before Christmas Day.
We spent every Christmas Eve after that at the beach, including in 2017 when we spent Christmas in Hawaii.
How we adapted our tradition when we moved to Texas
On our first Christmas Eve in Dallas, we found a man-made beach on the lake about forty minutes from us and spent the day there. It was a far cry from the beaches of California, but it was fun and pretty and we had a great time.
The next year, we went back and it was freezing and crazy windy, and we lasted about five minutes before we just decided to give up and do something else.
But this little man made beach trip has never felt quite right…it obviously feels nothing like the beaches of California or Hawaii, so we’ve decided to do something different this year and see how it goes…
The traditions we’re planning on this year for Christmas Eve
Since we’ve done traditions specific to our location in the past, we decided to do a more Texas themed Christmas Eve activity and get BBQ for lunch that day. The locations are closed for dinner, so a lunch is perfect.
After lunch, we’re going to a movie in the movie theater (a fun nod to my childhood tradition), which is something we rarely do as a family (maybe three times ever) so it’ll feel special and fun.
When the movie is over, we’ll come back to our house and we’ll do a crepe bar for dinner with a big stack of crepes and lots of topping options, both sweet and savory.
In the evening, the boys will each open a gift (both Philip and I did that on Christmas Eve). This gift will be an ornament that represents the year for them in some way. I’ve heard of families doing this tons of times and for some reason I didn’t want to do it. But we buy an ornament every time we go on a trip, and now our tree is filled with travel memories, so now that the boys are older and involved in more things, it feels right to incorporate this into our traditions. I’m scrambling at the last minute to get good ornaments for them this year, but I’m excited to put a little more time and thought into it for next year. And I’m hopeful that this is a tradition they’ll look forward to on Christmas Eve each year to see which ornament I’ve chosen for them for that year.
I also picked up this fun HANDBELL set and I think it’ll be fun to play a few Christmas songs together on Christmas Eve.
Tell me what you guys do on Christmas Eve!
Do you have any fun Christmas eve traditions? I’d love to hear!
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We always have a meal that we eat with our hands like tacos or meats and cheeses etc. During the day day we go out somewhere where we can have a long walk in the countryside, the afternoon is Christingle at the village church and on the way home we stop outside our village pub as they have a big Christmas tree and the whole village gather to sing carols together. It normally finishes in time to see the international space station pass over which I always tell my kids is Santa’s high level scout elves checking they are in bed. Followed by new pj’s and a Christmas film before bed.
I also have 3 boys- they exchange their “brother” gifts to each other.2 come up with a gift for their brother- so you each boy gets one gift- they love plotting together and guessing what the gifts are- it is a good way for those separate relationships to grow (oldest with middle, oldest with younger, middle with younger) my boys are teens now but we have done this since youngest was 2..before you can open your gift your brothers have to share a memory specific to the 2 of them from the year and say something they admire about the boy receiving the gift. i think they enjoy brother gift time more than christmas morning!
I have a wreath for each kid on their Bedroom door. They pick an ORNAMENT for the wreath each year to represent what they lik. I plan ok giving them their wreath when they move out so they have a little collection of their own.(sad Thinki. About it already lol) We also buy one when we travel and those go on our tree.
Those are the most perfect fashion models I have ever known.
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