Merry Christmas Eve!!
Just popping in to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas- whatever that looks like for you.
I was thinking this morning, as I brushed my teeth…. isn’t it funny how “everyone” seems to do so many of the same things around the holidays, yet at the same time, we all do them so differently, too?
Obviously there are massive differences in customs and cultures around the world, but I’m talking about within the general “same” culture, where there tends to be more in common than not.
For example- I feel like most people in my area partake in some variety of the following: Putting up a Christmas tree or some sort of holiday decorations. Gathering with family or friends. Eating some kind of special foods. Listening to Christmas music, somehow or another (even if just while out grocery shopping, like it or not). Buying/ giving gifts with at least some people in their lives. Baking sweet treats of some kind. Watching a holiday movie. Perhaps exchanging cards or other holiday greetings. Etc.
Of course, there are people who do none of this; I know. But I’d argue the collective majority of people I know do at least one of these things in December. The holiday traditions run deep, and I think many/ most people in the United States have grown up with at least some version of “the usual”.
BUT, at the same time, it’s fascinating how differently we all spend our holidays, too!! The way we “do” our holiday might actually look very, very different from what is totally normal for another family- despite those underlying similarities.
For us, we spend Christmas Eve alone- just immediate family + my parents. Usually church, a meal (though not a formal, fancy meal) and we open a majority of gifts on Christmas Eve night around the fireplace. Christmas Day is more low key for us now. When I was younger, we traveled to my grandparent’s house and spent it with the whole extended family. Now, it’s just us! We have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, traditionally the kids would open the Santa presents, and then spend most of the day lounging around watching Christmas movies… eventually eating leftover festive foods around the bar.
I LOVE our holiday celebration. It’s peaceful, cozy and wonderful. (In my opinion.)
That being said….
- Ivan grew up with a HUGE family party on Christmas, that lasted all night, with music and dancing and feasts and flowing alcohol.
- My good friend growing up looked forward to midnight mass at church every Christmas Eve. Midnight!! That would be very different to me.
- My other best friend’s family had the tradition of just placing the Santa gifts under the tree, unwrapped!!
- Some people go out to dinner on Christmas Eve! (I actually heard that a local steakhouse in town has dozens and dozens of reservations for tonight.)
- Some people, like Jenny, have friends over on Christmas Eve instead of family.
- Some people, like Elisabeth, only open one gift on Christmas Eve, and always gift a new set of Christmas PJs.
- San bakes delicious German treats!
- Some people, like SHU, celebrate Hanukkah instead, and are actually traveling over the holiday week (family ski trip in Montana!). (*Side note- Holiday travel kind of fascinates me. We have NEVER traveled over Christmas, and part of me has always been almost appalled by the idea. I just love our cozy, wintertime Christmas traditions so much that the idea of essentially missing them makes me so sad. But, I also kind of see the appeal of just sort of skipping all the hassle and jetting off to somewhere fun!! (Or maybe warm?!) Potential spoiler, but I think Christmas 2023 may be our first ever “travel” Christmas. We’ve actually never spent a Christmas in Mexico with Ivan’s family, and for various reasons that I can outline in a later post, I think next Christmas (when Asher is in 8th grade/ pre-high school) may make the most sense to finally do this. Ivan will be overjoyed, and I will tolerate a non-winter/ non-traditional Christmas (for me). 😜)
Anyway, it’s so fun to see how many differences there are within the realm of all the similar traditions and sameness. 🙂 Variety truly is the spice of life, right?
WHATEVER you are doing today/ tonight/ tomorrow- I hope it’s wonderful and merry and bright!!!
Peace and joy and love to all of you. ❤️
I am grateful for holiday traditions! Having things to look forward to makes life extra special.
Bonus pic: Christmas Eve Eve last night, delivering cards and a cash gift to each of the employees at the Mexican restaurant we go to every week!! 🙂 We are grateful to them for always brightening our Friday nights. This was fun.