Friday, 20 December 2013

Rock a Bye Baby

Christmas Eve has always been a bigger deal in my family than Christmas day.  Maybe it has something to do with anticipation, but many of my fondest Christmas memories are actually from Christmas Eve.

Here are some Christmas Eve traditions past & present I thought I'd share:

Christmas Eve Road Hockey Game
This started a number of years ago and has evolved into the annual In-laws vs. Outlaws street hockey game.  My father plays net and you have to circle back and cross a sewer grate to make sure the orange, hard as a rock ball is in fact in your own possession.  It's super violent and usually isn't over until my sister, brother or brother-in-law elbow someone in the eye and get into a "game related dispute".  It's usually my sister and my brother and it gets extra weird when they are on the same team, yet still fighting.  Last year it got so intense I may be joining my kids and the nieces for a less violent mini sticks version in the driveway, likely with 20% less crying.

Special Christmas Eve Dinner
We each used to pair up and then do a draw for courses for a grande meal preparation.  The dream team was always on appetizers and they wrapped everything in bacon or ensconced it in cheese.  After the grand-kids entered the picture we wanted to go simple, so now our grande meal is takeout Chinese. No fuss, no muss!

One Gift on Christmas Eve
As kids we were always allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, it was usually pyjamas to ensure that we were appropriately stylish for photographs the next morning while we poured over all of our presents.  There was always one catch though, we'd need to complete a scavenger hunt created by my father before we were allowed to open our "select" gifts.

Scavenger Hunt
This was my father's ingenious way to have us wear off some hyperactivity on Christmas Eve, in hope that we wouldn't stay up all night  in anticipation of St. Nick.  Random written clues by my father, often targeted towards certain children so they'd be "age appropriate", led to other clues until finally, 8-20 clues later, we were allowed to open our select gifts.  We were most excited the year that my father wrote a clue in my mother's lipstick on a bathroom mirror.*  To provide an example of how my father's mind works, here's a clue from the 1990s: "Scary Rebecca".**  Nowadays clues are geared to us and our children.  Needless to say it can be a lengthy ordeal.

Twas the Night Before Christmas
My dad used to read it to us, now he reads it to our kids.

What are your favourite Christmas Eve Traditions?  Stay tuned for my Christmas Day list...

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*She was unthrilled to say the least.
**The answer, logically of course, is the baby cradle that was in the basement, because Rebecca De Mornay was "scary" in the movie The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.

1 comment:

  1. We always enjoyed Christmas Eve the most too, and had Christmas dinner that night, which always included a pan of creamed lobster. I still try to do lobster on Christmas Eve, though it's a bit more expensive in Toronto...