December 24 - Record a Christmas Eve family tradition in your blog or journal.
Many years ago, my local newspaper back in my hometown of Wisconsin asked for Christmas family stories and so I tried my hand at writing what Christmas meant to me. To my pleasant surprise, my story was published.
A family tradition in my family was to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. We would have a wonderful dinner and while the adults were clearing the table and because the kids were anxious, my father would take all the younger children, which included my myself being the youngest of nine and many of my nieces and nephews since I was an aunt at the age of seven, out for a drive to see the Christmas lights.
I always looked forward to the Christmas ritual, we would drive through the park that was always decorated for the seasons. Christmas music would be playing from the bandstand and my dad would stop and roll down the window so we could here. We would travel up and down many of the city streets seeing all the beautiful decorated houses.
We would stop downtown in front of the one of the stores that had a wonderful animated display for Christmas. Dad would park the car and all the kids would hop out and walk to the store window and see the train that ran around and the elf figures that were making toys. It was a wonderful and magical time for me. We were all anxious to get back home, because Santa would visit our house while we were out. I was always jealous of my older siblings because they got to see Santa come and deliver the presents.
When we finally got home which felt like hours of driving around and seeing all the lights, we would run into the living room, where the tree was one end of the room by the window and the presents seem to stretch halfway across the room.
However, before opening presents we had one more tradition to do. That would involve the blessing of the house, the tree and the naivety scene. The youngest member of the family which was me, would take baby Jesus and place him in the manger. I passed this tradition onto the next youngest when the youngest became five or six years old. What a treat it was to be able to place baby Jesus in the manger.
Then the gifts were handed out and the youngest was allowed to open their presents first and we went to the oldest, and in spite of my Mom being the oldest, my Dad was the last to open his gifts. He was always a hoot to watch opening his gifts. He would slowly tear open is gift and then peek inside and his eyes would get real wide. All the little kids would be screaming, what is it, show us.
It was always fun opening my gifts, but I enjoyed the time I spent with my family on Christmas Eve and seeing the joy on their faces as they opened their gifts was the best present anyone could ever receive.