We don’t always do the same thing every year, but common elements are family, faith, and food. This photo is my dad and my son choosing a tree to cut down at my dad’s rural Alabama property, seven years ago. This year we aren’t traveling for Christmas; we’ll be enjoying our artificial tree at home. We’ll make some traditional Swedish foods for Christmas eve, remembering my mother-in-law’s heritage, before attending a candle-light service at our church.
~ Dawn Churchill
Every year me, my wife, and the 2 kids pack up the car on Christmas Eve and head over to my sister’s house for dinner and opening gifts. Santa lands their first, so the kids get their gifts from one side of the family. We usually have an extraordinary dinner then open gifts followed by a competitive game of Scrabble that has been a tradition.
When we get home on Christmas Eve we put the kids to bed or try to at least. Then once they are asleep we usually wrap all their gifts and place them under the tree. We usually get to bed about 2 or 3 in the morning. Then I wake up early around 6 and wait for the kids to get up so I can catch their looks on their faces when they come down stairs. That look is what Christmas is all about for me! Then mayhem occurs. Followed by assembly required instructions which brings the joy to all new levels.
Finally, around 1 or 2 o'clock we head over to my mother and father in laws and have yet another Christmas which is also includes another extraordinary dinner and of course more assembly.
Christmas is a crazy day for my husband and me. Now that we're married it will be a little easier without having to drive a million places in one day. We typically start at my in-laws Christmas morning and attend Christmas mass. After that we open our stockings and then head over to my mom's house to have lunch and open gifts with my grandmother, my mother, my sister and her boyfriend. After that we go back to my in-laws to open gifts throughout the day, eat dinner and play games. Our family is very competitive so whoever ends up winning that game gets to choose a lottery ticket as their prize! Towards the end of the night, us girls will watch either "It's A Wonderful Life" or "White Christmas" and the guys will watch "Die Hard" while snacking on homemade spritz cookies (grandma's recipe), and open gifts throughout the rest of the night in our ugly Christmas attire. We draw names for gag gifts and for couples so we're not buying for everyone. Santa drops off gifts too! It's always fun and now it will be even better because we have a new niece to play with!
Me and my family are going to spend Christmas at my house this year. My Mom and I usually make a huge meal, which is followed by opening presents. Then we do a gift exchange called Craptackular. In which everyone wraps up crap they have around the house, then each person draws a number and pick in that order. The first person chooses a present. Then the following person gets to either select a new present or steal a present from someone that has already selected. It’s a fun way to get rid of crap outta your house and laugh at the same time. Which is then followed up various games like Cards Against Humanity, Meme game, etc...
Our Christmas Eve is spent at my in-laws. I spend most of the evening like a bear preparing for hibernation by eating the entire day. We don’t eat a traditional meal that day, but rather everyone brings fun finger foods / hors d'oeuvres and my in-laws provide the main attraction which is perfectly cooked tenderloin!
~Mark Bouquet Jr.
My husband and I spend Christmas Eve bouncing between our family’s houses. Lots of food, drinks and fun! Christmas day we try to hide away and enjoy it to ourselves; Eating a massive breakfast followed by a day of lounging on the couch, binge watching our favorite movies and TV series.
We will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with our extended families. Some coming on Christmas Eve and some coming on Christmas Day and some coming both days.
We have a strange tradition of homemade spaghetti and meatballs on Christmas Eve, so the day will be spent preparing that and a variety of desserts and appetizers. Since there will be so many people coming and going, it just sits on the back of the stove and you make a plate when you’re hungry!
Christmas day will be even more laid back with a variety of appetizers and desserts to munch throughout the day and no formal meal. Both days will be spent watching everyone, especially the kids, open their presents, eating, sitting by the fireplace and just enjoying conversation and family.
~Mark & Tammy Bouquet
(Mark Jr., Jake & Cody, too!)
We usually spend Christmas Eve with family up in Milwaukee where we eat, play games and eat some more. Also, everyone brings one wrapped gift and do a white elephant gift exchange. We all sit around the gifts and draw numbers to see what order we will pick a gift. The first person picks a gift from the pile and opens it. The following people can either pick an unwrapped gift from the pile steal an unwrapped gift from someone that already opened one. If you get your gift stolen, you can choose a new gift or steal from someone else. It gets a little crazy sometimes and is lots of fun! One year, my cousin’s 10 year old son picked my gag gift of a fancy toilet brush. He opened it up and yelled “this isn’t fun” and was mortified! Of course, his grandmother traded her gift with him in the end. Every year is always great fun. There is ALWAYS great food as my cousin is a rockin’ cook! One year, we even did a sushi Christmas!!!
Christmas day, we do a quiet little secret Santa gift exchange, but the secret usually doesn’t last longer than a week after we draw names at Thanksgiving! Regardless, it’s still an enjoyable time. Sometimes I’ll make a big dinner, sometimes I’ll do something simple. One year, we went to Ted’s Montana Grill. It’s usually never planned to far ahead since it’s more of a relaxing day.
After Christmas is when we get together with my parents and exchange gifts. We’ll have shrimp cocktails and other snacks, then do a deli sandwich tray for dinner. We’ll exchange gifts and watch classic Christmas movies the rest of the night.
& Alex, too :-)