It’s really interesting how things evolve over time. Most of us tend to repeat what our parents did in order to keep family traditions alive. We all loved Christmas so much when our kids were little. Then, even after our kids started having babies, our adult sons still wanted to be at mom & dad’s because it always meant warmth, security, food and togetherness. At some point though, you have to be realistic. I wanted our grandkids to have that same sense of wonderment created only when Santa visits their home. I came up with a rational solution that also accommodated all of the kid’s in-laws. Jeanie and I started having Christmas on Christmas Eve. It was the perfect solution. The kids could climb out of their beds at home and see what Santa delivered, have time to play with everything and head out to the other relatives for a Christmas meal and Christmas all over again. It’s been such great fun over the years to have an excited houseful on Christmas Eve with a big buffet and a wide variety of foods and snacks (which I’ll share in a moment).
Christmas Eve at our house is a very lively event. We put presents for the kids and grandkids under the tree, fill the table with goodies, pour some wine or pop a few beers and retell stories that we’ve all heard , but with greater embellishment.
After everyone catches up and has some food, we stop torturing the little ones and start opening presents. Jeanie grabs a large garbage bag for the discarded wrapping paper
And everyone yells “Save the bows” (We have bows that get re-used and go back 20 years.) Kids start ripping through stuff, all the while learning how to issue a proper “Thank you” and patience, as everyone takes turns. When the chaos is over, all the “Cousin Friends” scatter to various corners of the house to play with their new toys and the grown-ups adjourn to the kitchen for dessert & coffee.
Eventually, the kids tire and all the kids, the toys and excitement get packed up and head home. The long goodbyes are special because I know everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed being together at mom and dad’s.
Suddenly, it’s quiet. Jeanie and I put away the remaining food, wash a few dishes and re-set the tree for each other. It might only be a present or two, but in the morning…it’s just us.
No more long nights putting toys and bicycles together. No more frantic wrapping, hoping the kids don’t wake up. Fear that surprises will be spoiled. We go to bed tired, but grateful and sleep until we wake up.
It is then a peaceful Christmas morning. I always seem to wake up first and when I wake up, I’m up. I head to the kitchen and can’t decide what would be the best Christmas brunch for my Jeanie so I start cooking a variety of brunch items. I make sausage biscuits and gravy, roasted potatoes, eggs benedict and a few Quiche Lorraine. Fresh fruit is also a must and perhaps a mimosa. The quite peace of Christmas morning is a delight and I highly recommend it. My boys are well aware of my penchant for making too much food. If I ever get that Quiet Christmas morning that I’ve just written about, I’ll let you know. It appears that everyone came back for breakfast.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.