Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Christmas Eve Traditions



First off, I have to say that I am incredibly happy to be able to spend one more Christmas with my family before moving to Europe.

I am sure we’ll all be together again some Christmas down the road, but right now, in the moment, it seems like the last one for a long time.

On the flip side, I get to start my own traditions with Vince and his family and, one day, our own kids. That’s pretty swell.

Plus, being so close to the Mecca of old-fashioned-y Christmas markets and general Christmas cheer, Germany, isn’t too bad either. Definitely going to plan a trip to Deutschland during Christmastime sometime in the future.

When my brothers and I were little we would spend Christmas Eve at our grandparent’s (my dad’s parents) house. They had a full bar in the basement and threw some pretty legendary holiday bashes with tons of family and friends. We also got awesome gifts, which was sweet.

Sadly (for us not them), my grandpa retired and they built a house in hot-as-hell Logandale, Nevada and moved there. While this meant no more awesome Christmas Eve parties, it did mean summers on the surface of the sun. Woo hoo!

After they moved, our Christmas Eves turned into a more immediate family affair and my parents, brothers, and I would usually spend the night at home watching Christmas movies and eating (I still love summer sausages this time of year).

My parents always let us each open a gift which was usually a board game. We’d then spend the evening playing games (read: fighting and crying until we were forced to put the games away). It’s a tradition that I hope to continue with my own kids (the giving of games, not the fighting), as well as giving pajamas. I think opening up a pair of new, comfy pjs on Christmas Eve is great.

When my parents divorced a few years ago, we stopped really doing anything much the night before Christmas. In that sense, I am really happy to be at the point in my life where I will soon have kids to create traditions with. I think Christmas with kids is so much better than just 20-something Christmas with the folks.

I think that’s the reason why Annie, my 6-year-old cousin and youngest member of our family (by far) is lavished with gifts and attention on Christmas. There’s nothing better than watching a kid open their gifts from Santa!

It’s so odd being at that point in my life, especially now that I am married, where I get to decide what I think is important during the holidays, what traditions I want to carry on from my own childhood, and traditions I want to create for my own family. Odd, but in a good way.

Man, seems like just yesterday I was hiding in my closet with my blankey and little brother, waiting to sneak up on Santa (we both promptly fell asleep).

Now I am a “big kid,” thinking about Christmas Eve with my unborn children. Weird.

Time flies.

What are your Christmas Eve traditions?

No, Seriously. Tell me. I want to see if I can steal them and make them my own (and take all the credit, of course!).





4 thoughts on “Christmas Eve Traditions

  1. On Christmas Eve when I was little my great grandmother would bake cookies with my little sister and I. We would decorate them and put the reindeer’s names on them and use those to leave out for Santa Claus. By the end of all the baking and decorating and planning for his visit, my sister and I were finally tired enough to fall asleep. Wonderful memories.

  2. Sounds like you’ve got a bittersweet Christmas ahead of you! Enjoy.

  3. My favorite (besides pj’s, of course) was my mom reading “The Polar Express” to us. Dad rigged it so he could sit on one side of the room and discretely pull on some fishing wire that was sneakily strung to the other side of the room and attached to a bell. When the story ended, we’d hear the bell go off and it was so magical! We just KNEW Santa was coming!

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