Merry Christmas Eve-Eve, y’all!
In our family we have a silly tradition that started with my Grandpa Jake:
I can’t think about Christmas without remembering Grandpa and all his jokes. He started the tradition of trying to be the first person in the family to begin Christmas Eve by greeting another with the phrase, “Christmas Eve Gift!” If he won, Grandpa tried to make us think that the winner got to open a present, but we were smart enough to not fall for that bit of trickery…unless we were the “winner!” I don’t recall anybody ever getting to open up a present earlier than anyone else, but the goofy game persists. As an adult, I shamelessly call my mom and blurt out “Christmas Eve Gift” just as she picks up the phone to say hello. Heaven help us if I ever misdial and call some poor soul who hasn’t an inkling what I’m saying. In later years, the game has morphed into one that includes several “Eves” before Christmas. Thus, this morning on Facebook I sent my mom a message that said, “Christmas Eve Eve Gift! Gotcha!” My daughter jumps in on this silly game…or, at least she used to join us. Now that she’s a teenager, I can barely get the earphones out of her ears long enough to capture her interest in much beyond the story she’s writing and the music that provides her with inspiration. My husband puts up with these strange holiday antics of mine. But I can tell by the way he pats my head and lets me win every time that he’s just not feeling it. I guess you just had to have grown up in it to get it.
In honor of Christmas Eve-Eve, I thought it would be fun to post a list of some of our wacky Christmas traditions. I’d love to hear some of yours, too!
- Christmas Eve Gift Game
- Driving around looking at Christmas lights. Until I get carsick. But that’s another story.
- Reading the Christmas story together as a family, on Christmas Eve. This is best done in front of a roaring fire, preferably in the fireplace.
- My daughter putting the star on the top of the Christmas tree. This year she was upset thinking that she’s grown so much her dad might not be able to lift her to the top…only to discover to her joy that she is now tall enough to do it by herself.
- Attending candlelight services on Christmas Eve. If we happen to be in another town, we find a church and go there. We’ve seen some spectacular services…and some that made my eyelids droop from the, ah, lack of emotion. But always inside I worship and marvel anew at the gift God gave us in Jesus. If only I could bottle up faith and certainty that he LOVES me, warts and all! Somehow I feel this love in a darkened church, with candlelight flickering across the rows, strangers and families sharing the light together. Christ the Savior is Born!
- Putting gag gifts in the stockings. There’s a tiny bottle of Brut aftershave that is secretly stuffed in someone’s stocking every year. It must be at least ten years old by now! Every year I have a fun time figuring out what to put in the family stockings. One year I got a potato in mine. Guess that’s better than coal!
- Giving gifts to our dog. (Yes, we are hopelessly attached to this fluffy, stinky ragamuffin.) Strangely enough, she seems to understand which stocking is hers. Must be the rawhide giving it away.
- White Elephant Gift Exchange. Instead of buying gifts, when my side of the family meets up, we bring carefully selected gag gifts (separate from the ones that go in the stockings). These gag gifts have to cost zero dollars. We just find goofy things around the house — a pair of ugly earrings, a box of kleenex, etc.
- Some kind of service or project for others. One year we put together gifts for a family. Another year we made a basket of food. This year we donated to Samaritan’s Purse. Next year I’d love to go be a part of a feeding ministry in town on Christmas day.
Now…excuse me while I go hunt for an appropriate gag gift for tomorrow…