“There has only been one Christmas; the rest are anniversaries.”
W. J. Cameron
I enjoy Christmas Eve more than Christmas day. We make treats and take them around to friends, spend time together, have a relaxed meal, read the ‘’Cajun Night Before Christmas, and most importantly we read the Nativity story. Most years we have put together the same Christmas puzzle we have done since the first Christmas we were married. We each get to open a gift, but I love the fact that the whole evening is not about the gifts, but about spending time together.
People have different traditions: some open aloof their presents on Christmas eve except for the ones from Santa and some open one present which is usually pajamas, some have their big feast then and some have a light meal of appetizers. Whatever you decide to do, there are some inexpensive ways you can celebrate and have a great holiday..
Make treats and take them to others. You can make inexpensive treats like sugar cookies or bread or muffins.
Sing Christmas carols. This doesn’t cost anything, yet is fun to do and helps you feel so happy!
Do a Christmas puzzle. If you don’t have one, borrow one or get one from a garage sale or thrift store for 25 cents to a dollar. It is one of our traditions to do the same puzzle each year that we got when we were first married.
Many years we have had a simple meal where each person in the family gets to choose whatever they want to contribute to the meal. The parents would get something healthy to balance out the meal. Some years we have had soup and bread. Some people have Shepherd’s pie. Others may make Christmas Eve their big feast and have leftovers on Christmas day.
We focus our thoughts on religious things Christmas Eve. We read or act out the nativity story. Use robes for shepherds, a doll for baby Jesus, etc. You can also make nativity shaped cookies or make a marshmallow nativity or make one out of paper, cookie dough or clay. Check the internet for ideas.
There are many stories about the symbols of Christmas and what they mean. If you want to find one of the stories, google ‘teach the children’ or ‘symbols of Christmas’ or ‘teach children the true meaning of Christmas.’ It is good for kids to associate the candy cane with the shepherd’s crook, or to associate the star with the promise of a Savior that will bring light into the world, or understand what the colors of Christmas stand for.
Some people have a birthday cake for Jesus and each share the gift they will give him for the next year: being more loving, obedient, generous, etc.
Usually on Christmas Eve, each member of our family gets to open one gift. Many years it has been pajamas. If pajamas are too expensive, try buying socks for everyone. You can also make Christmas pillowcases for everyone to use to sleep with on Christmas eve. You can get cheap Christmas fabric or use any old, worn clothes that have red, green or white to make the pillowcases. You can also get ribbon or lace and embellish the pillow case any way you wish. You can always use material just for the band of the pillow case instead of the whole pillow case if the material is expensive. Plan early and use coupons.
Because we lived in Louisiana for several years, we enjoy reading the “Cajun Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. It brings back fond memories of the time we spent there.
We play a game on Christmas Eve with dice and inexpensive packages that are wrapped several times with wrapping paper and packing tape so they are difficult to open. You also need a set of oven mitts. If not, you can use mittens or gloves as well. Get a small box for rolling two dice. The first person rolls the dice and if they get doubles, they put on the oven mitts and begin doing their best to open a present. If they don’t’ get doubles, they pass the box and the dice to the next person. The next person rolls the dice and it they get doubles, they take the oven mitts and the partially opened present from the person who was opening it. They continue opening it until someone else gets doubles and takes the mitts and present from then to continue opening. Every time someone else gets doubles, they take the mitts and the partially opened gift and continue unwrapping the gift. This process keeps going until the gift is opened completely. Whoever opens it at the end, gets to keep the present.
Christmas Eve is a fun time to spend with family and loved ones. Whatever you choose to do, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the time together.