{Advent} Christmas Eve

It’s finally here – what a beautiful, peaceful Advent it’s been.  I can honestly say for the first time in a very, very long time, we have actually savored every moment of the season.

Amazing what happens when you say ‘no’ to some things.

We have lots of fun family traditions surrounding today, a few oldies but goodies and a newbie to the bunch are in our repertoire of memory-making.  Hopefully, I’ll capture them all.  Truly, I do this because I want the kids to enjoy reading about this someday.

Today, as we’ve done for several years, we meet my family for lunch.  Because we all splinter off later in the day to do our own Christmas Eve celebrations, this has become a fun way to connect.  Where there’s food, we will meet 🙂

This afternoon, I’m throwing a new tradition in the mix.  The kids will be drawing photos of the gifts they want to give to Jesus.  Maybe it’s loving their brother/sister, giving away a toy to another child…I’ll let them decide.  Whatever it is, the spirit of Christmas and Jesus’ love must shine through.  I’m anxious to see what they’ll do.

After picture drawing and sharing, we’ll take baths and get all cleaned up for Christmas Eve Mass.  Someday we’ll make it to the Midnight one, but with littles in the house, we opt for the early bird special.

Note:  If you are a rookie parent, send one parent and non-squirmy/complainy children an hour early to save seats while the other parent and squirmy/complainy chilren arrive 15 minutes before Mass to enjoy said saved seats.  You can thank me later for that little tip.

After Mass, we’ll eat the traditional shrimp cooked in a thousand gallons of cream (yum-ola) and pasta dinner.  It’s a Southern Living recipe, so you KNOW it’s good.  Then, we will eat cake.  Birthday cake, that is.  This is something we’ve been talking about doing for YEARS and we’re finally doing it this year.  Yea for new traditions!!  My fav-o-rite bakery made this masterpiece.  We’ll be singing a round of “Happy Birthday Jesus”, blowing out candles and then reading the story of the Nativity.

Yes, opening gifts is fun, but when my kids look back in 20 years, I want them to remember exactly why we celebrate.  I want them to have memories of how we celebrated the birth, not just the gifts.  Which is why, in our house, our kids only get one gift from us.  We put much thought into that gift and when it’s opened, there is joy.

Everyone changes into their Christmas pajamas and we open gifts.  A couple of years ago, Scott started leading us in prayer over the gifts we open.  We pray for the givers, the recipients and those who made the gift and the jobs that they provided.  It’s a really wonderful way to refocus the gift giving and opening. 

We get the reindeer food, cookies and milk situated just “so” near the fireplace, make sure the notes to Santa have been written (you know, just in case he forgot), say goodbye to our sweet Elf on the Shelf, Sparkly, until next year, track Santa on the Norad Tracker…and then head to bed.

It is a day full of many memories, many reflections and a boatload of joy and anticipation.  Christmas is near!  Can’t you feel it??


p.s. photos to come soon of all this revelry!

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