Everyone celebrates Christmas differently. I've heard from a few folks lately and this is how they do it...
This is from Kimberly Beckham...
"On Christmas Eve, all the family gathered at my grandma's house. To help us with the overwhelming excitement of Christmas and the longing to open the presents, my mom started a great game for my cousins, my sister, and me. After a traditional Cajun dinner of Seafood Gumbo (only made on Christmas Eve). Each child got a note with their name on it. In the note was a clue of the next spot to go to, to find your next clue. For the older children, the note would have a written riddle clue. For the younger ones, the note would have a picture of where their next clue would be (like a box with a V on top for T.V), so the little ones could feel big and figure it out for themselves. It was like a scavenger hunt. After about twelve notes that sent each of us all over the house, we would eventually find a shoebox wrapped in Christmas paper with our name on it and inside would be things like little gifts and fresh baked muffins and little candies.
"Now I am a mother of a 7 year old Anna, and a 9 year old Ryan. All of my cousins have little ones too. My mother passed away in '94. We follow the same traditional scavenger hunt with our kids. We still do it at grandma's house, with the same meal. My grandma says her favorite part has always been hearing all the laughing and giggling children running throughout her house as they search for their treasure. I always think of my mom as the house is buzzing with excited children."
Elizabeth Gibson goes to the Candlelight Service at her church each Christmas Eve. They also attend a Singing Christmas Tree concert where the choir stands on elevated platforms in the shape of a Christmas Tree.
Jennifer Nanto's family plays a game called the "Christmas Eve Gift." The object is to say "Christmas Eve Gift" to as many people as you can, before they say it to you! Everyone you say this to owes you a gift. What a great way to get presents a little early!
Suzanne Koch's family opens their presents on Christmas Eve. Everyone loads up in the car(you see, they can't be there when Santa comes!), but Mom forgets her purse and has to use the restroom (what is taking so long?) Finally, they get to drive around the quiet neighborhoods, looking at the Christmas lights and looking for Santa's sleigh. After about a half hour dad says "Do you think Santa's been to our house yet?" No one yells out, it's a serious matter. Daddy has to go in first to see if Santa has indeed been there(and to grab the camcorder to record the first reactions to all of the goodies!) Even for people who open their presents on Christmas morning, the idea of a Christmas Eve drive is a lovely way to celebrate the season.
Jo and her family get together and make Christmas cookies! Everybody bakes a different kind so they all get to take home a nice variety after only one day of baking!
My own family has a group of friends and family over before Christmas for appetizers and gift exchanges. The children really enjoy this.
Christmas Joys by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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