Traditions are a big part of what makes Christmas special for many people, and I’m no exception. For my family, Christmas traditions range all the way from watching “Elf” (the best Christmas movie ever) and putting up the tree, to buying a shirt for my uncles on my mom’s side of the family.
I love all of my Christmas traditions, but one of my favorites is Christmas Eve night.
We spend Christmas Eve morning and afternoon wrapping last-minute gifts, watching classic Christmas movies and mostly waiting for the night’s festivities.
Since I was in middle school, my family has had a Christmas Eve pajamas tradition. My sister and I each are allowed to open one specific present, which contains a pair of Christmas pajamas. We then put the pajamas aside to wear that night.
Once our hair is perfectly curled and we have on nice dresses, my sister and I practice our lines for the church Christmas program one more time. Then, my whole family begins loading our car with presents and food for after the program.
When we arrive at the church, my sister and I find our places backstage while my parents find a good seat in the audience. The program, which is usually a retelling of the story of Jesus’s birth, seems to go by fast.
Once we sing the final note of the last song and Pastor Don prays, we are dismissed to go chat with friends and family in the audience. The deacons hand out bags full of candy and fruit to all of the kids. This is one of the few times I like to still be considered a kid. After we’ve told all of our friends “Merry Christmas,” it’s time to head to our first family celebration: the Kaufman Christmas.
On Christmas Eve night, after all of our respective holiday programs, all of my aunts, uncles and cousins on my dad’s side of the family gather at my Grandpa Kaufman’s house. Once everyone has arrived, we usually eat a supper of soup or sandwiches. As a young child, I remember that this part of the night seemed to last forever.
The next thing we would do was open presents, so naturally, us kids would scarf down our meals. The adults were never done eating quite as fast, though, so we just ended up waiting more.
Now that I’m older, I’ve realized that it’s more beneficial to take time to eat my food; that way, I can actually taste how delicious it really is.
Next, we open presents. We always go in order of youngest to oldest. I’m on the younger end of my family, but lately I still have to wait a while to open my present because of all the new grandkids.
Once everyone has opened a present, the young kids begin to play with their new toys while the older kids and adults talk and laugh together. Between 11 p.m. and midnight, families begin to leave one by one.
Oddly enough, the drive home from Grandpa’s house is one of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve. We always turn on the radio to a station with Christmas carols and everyone is in a good mood.
Even though I drive home at night many times, the stars always seem 10 times brighter on Christmas Eve night. Even now, my sister and I usually point to a red flashing dot on a far off telephone tower and exclaim, “Look! It’s Rudolph!”
When we get home, my family and I gather on our back porch and sing a couple Christmas carols to no one in particular. Then, my sister and I put some cookies (or any other candy we can find) and milk on a table in the living room for Santa. Finally, we set our alarms for Christmas morning, which will bring about a whole day of traditions. I go to bed that night dreaming about precious time I will spend with my family in the next 24 hours.
I wish Christmas didn’t have to end so soon. It always seems like Dec. 26 comes way too fast. But that can be seen as a good thing, too, because that means I was blessed enough to spend another holiday with my family, making memories that will last forever.