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Thread: Christmas Eve Traditions

  1. #1
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Christmas Eve Traditions

    Do any of you have any? How about fond memories growing up?

    The reason why I love "A Christmas Story" is because, as a "member" of that older generation, it does remind me alot of my youth. Some of those traditions in that movie were real to me. Especially being bundled up in those snow suits where you could barely move. If you fell over, you were like a turtle lying on it's shell, waiting for someone to come by and help you up.

    And my younger brother did get his tongue stuck to the flag pole we had in our yard. Dad was not too happy with me at all.

    I remember having white Christmas'. Does it even snow any more on Christmas? It's been close to the 50's around here lately.

    My brothers and I were outside constantly - building snow forts, having snowball fights, sledding with the neighborhood kids at the local hill, ice skating at the local pond, and making .75 cents for shoveling driveways/sidewalks. That was big money then.

    My Mom was Donna Reed. It was almost like the Stepford Wives in the neighborhood. She, and all the neighborhood ladies, would make dozens of Christmas cookies that we neighborhood kids were always running around and delivering to each other's houses. And these were cookies made from scratch too. Not a Pillsbury roll.

    On Christmas Eve she'd always leave a plate of cookies and hot chocolate on the table with a note to Santa. Good ol' Mom.

    Freaked the crap out of my brother and I when we saw our Dad eating them one year. We laid in bed with paranoid thoughts of Santa doing a "flyover" over our house because our Dad ate his snack.

    We had a fireplace with stockings over it. Which was always the last thing checked by us on Christmas morning.

    Do parents today still do the stocking thing?

    And of course there was the Christmas card racket. My Dad worked for the post office, and always had to work OT during that time of year, so he didn't care much for it.

    But Mom would always take the cards and hung them around the various door openings.

    And of course Dad would decorate the outside of the house. We had one of those very same Santa in the sled with the reindeers that Chevy Chase launched at the end of Christmas Vacation. Every year Dad would climb up on the roof and set this thing up.

    We all loved driving around and looking at Christmas lights.

    I don't really know if they had artificial trees back then. All I know was that it was a joyful family affair to go out at the beginning of December to get the live tree. They were usually sold at the local fire stations.

    And there was always the annual family sledding party with various cousins and relatives in tow. We would go to a local farmer that had one of the best hills for sledding too. But it was no fun trudging back up that hill. My uncle had a solid oak 8 ft toboggan that belonged to him and my Dad when they were kids. It had been around for decades and was solid as a rock. They would wax that thing up a couple weeks before use. We kids also had our American Flyer sleds that we got at the local Western Auto store (anyone remember those?), and they were always beat up and nailed back together because of all the things we use to wreck them in to. And their was always the bon fire to get warm by and to cook hot chocolate. Great times!

    And of course it was a family tradition to watch all of the great Holiday classic movies, children's TV specials, and of course the Christmas specials with the Bing Crosby and Andy Williams families.

    On Christmas Eve, my brothers and I would always TRY to go to bed around 8 o'clock because we wanted to get the evening over with and get right to the next day. One of the longest nights of the year for a kid!

    And while my Mom was Dona Reed, my Dad was Dagwood Bumstead. The guy was a piddler and couldn't be on time for anything. Every morning Mom would yell up the stairs that his eggs were getting cold, and he'd come running down, gulp what he could, and go flying out the door, just to make it to work at the buzzer. It was his daily routine. We all still laugh about it today, though Dad is gone.

    On Christmas morning, we all had to wait until he got through in the bathroom (shaving, etc). To my recollection, these were the only times I ever had thoughts of wanting to hurt my Dad; but to a kid, sitting there in view of all those presents, it was pure psychological torture!

    And of course, when it did come time to open the presents, my Dad would always tell us beforehand "Try to save the paper and bows", because they would save them and re-use it next year. A very practical man my Dad. We tore through ours while he'd sit in his favorite chair and meticulously try to peel away the scotch tape, not harming the paper, and very carefully unwrap the present. We were done in 5 minutes. He still had gifts to unwrap at 10 AM.

    And afterwards came the huge family get-together and dinner. We'd have our basement all decorated and set up with numerous tables. My Mom and Dad came from very large families, so our Christmas get-togethers were huge. And the food was always excellent.

    My biggest worry though was trying to keep my cousins from coming over and breaking any of our toys THAT DAY. We reserved that honor for ourselves.

    Very fond memories.

    I have done my best to build those "traditions" with my kids.

    The yearly trek to go and get the tree. Watching the Holiday movies/specials together.

    Next week, since we are all off, we will go tubing over at Madriver Ski Mountain if it gets cold enough. They make their own snow. We always have a blast there.
    Last edited by GAC; 12-23-2006 at 06:41 AM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

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  3. #2
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    My favorite is going to the State Auto headquarters building in Columbus on Christmas Eve and watching them place Baby Jesus in the manger at their Nativity scene. Their Nativity scene is hands down, the best I've ever looked at.

    GAC, I remember white Christmas' also. I have been bummed here lately because of the mild temps and rain. I gladly would have traded any gift that was bought for me for a significant amount of snow.
    Last edited by dman; 12-23-2006 at 06:57 AM.

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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    To a certain extent my Christmas memories tend to blur together--all happy, but a blur. Growing up, we always opened gifts on Christmas morning. Other than maybe getting a toy on my birthday, Christmas morning was the one time a year I got new toys as a kid, and I would get a lot then.
    One of my favorite Christmases was around 1965. I got a pinball machine. My favorite uncle was visiting us from the Wooster area that Christmas, and I can remember how he liked the pinball machine.
    For some reason I can remember the toys I got at around that time better than any before or since: A Mattel "Fanner Fifty," a Man From U.N.C.L.E. gun, a "Dogfight" board game, "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em" robots. Those toys are long gone, but I did buy replacements of the "Dogfight" game and the robots off E-Bay, and I've played the games with my nine year old son.
    A a boy it seemed as if we had plenty of snow at Christmas, and i can recall sleigh rides, snowball fights, snowmen, etc.
    I can also remeber how much it pleased me the first Christmas after I got out of law school. For the first time I could really buy my mom and dad something nice with my own money. I enjoyed that. I can also remember the first Christmas after I became engaged; I was more excited watching my bride-to-be open the gifts I had bought her than I ever was opening anything for myself.
    Now, with three sons, we have aroutine. We will spend much of tomorrow evening at the home of my mom and her husband, having dinner and opening gifts. My sister and her hubby and daughters will also be there. Christmas morning we will open gifts here. We will then go to my wife's parents hoem for dinner and gift giving. Her sister and family will also be there.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by dman View Post
    My favorite is going to the State Auto headquarters building in Columbus on Christmas Eve and watching them place Baby Jesus in the manger at their Nativity scene. Their Nativity scene is hands down, the best I've ever looked at.

    GAC, I remember white Christmas' also. I have been bummed here lately because of the mild temps and rain. I gladly would have traded any gift that was bought for me for a significant amount of snow.
    A white Christmas may look nice, but for me up here on the edge of the snow belt (I'm actually in what they call the "secondary snow belt"), I'm okay if Heat Mizer wants to give us a green Christmas. It will give me time to get my shopping done. Ever since we've moved into our house, we've been hit pretty hard the last 3 of 4 Christmasses. For someone with a bad back, clearing that snow can be a lot of work. Last year we got hit so hard in late Nov. and Dec. that I asked everyone to just chip in and get me a snow blower because I couldn't handle the shoveling any more. The irony is that, right after I got the snow blower for Christmas, it hardly snowed again the rest of last winter. This year we've gotten 1 decent snow so far. Based on this track record, my friend asked me what my next big purchase would be that would alter weather patterns.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  6. #5
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    When in Cincinnati we always check out the Nativity scene here.

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  7. #6
    Future Reds All Star TeamMorris's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Always had nice Christmas's but were VERY busy for me as a kid until I was about 11 or 12. Christmas eve was always spent at home doing the getting ready for Santa thing. Christmas day was the crazy part. The morning was spent with TB as always, then off to my Grandmothers for gifts and an early Christmas dinner. After that we would head to TB's fiancés's parent's house for gifts and a later dinner. Most of the time I left before dinner to go to my fathers house where we had yet another Christmas and I would spend the night and most of the following day. That was rough on a little kid knowing all those other gifts were sitting home just waiting for me. It was like Christmas all over again when I got home I think as I got older things calmed down a bit when I started complaining. I loved my dad very much but really wanted to be with my mom all day on Christmas. Started going to my dad's the following morning. Then he moved to Florida when I was 11 or 12.

    Yes GAC, we still do the stocking thing. Santa only fills Matty's stocking and the grown ups pitch in to fill each others. The grown ups wrap each others stocking stuffers while the ones Santa brings are unwrapped (along with the gifts he brings so they are the first thing he see's in the morning and there is no question what Santa brought). I guess that could be considered a family tradition. That is how it was done in my house when I was little and how I continue to do it.

    Being brought up in upstate NY, we NEVER had the lack of snow on Christmas either. Many blizzards on Christmas day. One gift most kids asked for on Christmas were sleds and I mean every year. We would destroy them in one winter because they were used so much. Anyone remember those Ronco plastic snow block things? We all had one and they really worked! LOL! Making snow caves in plow piles was always fun also.

    Other than what I have mentioned already, we sometimes open a gift on Christmas eve now. Usually something Christmas related like new PJ's, a decoration or ornaments. We also have Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. One less thing to worry about on Christmas and makes the day much more relaxing. People eat leftovers when they are ready....no schedule to follow. We have wonderful Christmas. Believe it or not even with a 6 year old in the house they are very laid back. He doesn't just rip through his gifts. He checks each one out carefully and most of the time is ready to play with it for a bit before moving on to the next. Is nice to have the day last a bit after all that hard work getting there!!

    Ok...I am now just rambling! Hope everyone has a great Christmas!!

  8. #7
    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    I have better Christmases with the Teamsters than I did growing up. That shuffling between parents and all the guilt involved sucks! (Are you spending equal time with both, etc.)

    I love staying in a robe all day. My brother and I agree that we just won't travel on Christmas day again.

    On Christmas eve, Teamboone reads Twas the Night Before Christmas and the story of Jesus. The last couple years, we strung cranberries and popcorn for our wildlife friends. No snow this year, so they're pretty fat and happy this year. The exhausting part happens after an excited little boy finally falls asleep and "Santa" does his work. Usually cocktails are involved. We also have dinner on Christmas eve, so there isn't much work on Christmas day. We have leftovers and shrimp cocktail and crab dip, etc.

    Christmas morning, I sneak down before people get up and build a fire and start breakfast. We usually get through 3 pots of coffee before cocktails.

    Lil Teamgriffey asked me if a bird was going to die again. I don't know how kids remember this stuff. We sat down to dinner a couple years ago and a cardinal flew into the picture window right there at the dinner table. Aunt TC couldn't save him.

  9. #8
    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Teamgriffey leaves cookies, milk and carrots for the reindeer.

    Aunt TC nibbles all.

  10. #9
    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Do your families rip through gifts or open one at a time taking turns?

    Ours lasts until late afternoon.

    The first year the TG was old enough for cool toys we overdid it and it took him 2 days. We learned a lesson that year.

  11. #10
    Member Highlifeman21's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Since 2003, it seems my Christmas Eve tradition is.... working.

    Here's to continuing the trend tomorrow!

  12. #11
    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    I don't let anyone make my kids take tirns. I get more enjoyment watching them tear into things with a look of zeal on their faces. To make them wait, I think, is needlessly selfish- their gifts are about them, not me.
    I've been to dinner at Jimmy Buffet's house, and I've eaten it at a homeless shelter. And there's great joy and harrowing terror to be found in both places.
    -Todd Snider

  13. #12
    Member TeamCasey's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Ours isn't selfish because we've always done it that way. It works so far, and he's used to it. If he gets something cool, one of the adults is helping him set it up while someone else is opening something.

    We play, eat and open all at the same time.

    If he gets a shirt on one gift, we make sure he gets something occupiable and fun the next. We can read when he's getting antsy.

    Honestly, one year some relatives were in town and they just let the kids come down and rip into them. Christmas was over in 5 minutes. It wasn't enjoyable and I don't even think the kids knew what they got. Of course, it was 5-6 kids and utter chaos.

    I'm not saying either way is better. It just works for us.

  14. #13
    Administrator GIK's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    I grew up opening gifts one at a time. I actually prefer it that way as the fun lasts longer. I also like seeing the reaction of others as they open. But that's me.

  15. #14
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    When I was a kid, our traditional Christmas involved bathing and getting to bed on Christmas Eve, no presents. Later on, my mom started letting us open stockings on Christmas Eve, but my dad always kind of frowned upon opening gifts before going to church. His feeling was that you should grace the Lord with your presence before opening your presents. On Christmas day, we observed the following operating procedure:

    1. Get up and get dressed for 8:30 am mass. This mass was nice because it was uncrowded and they usually had the fun "Guitar Nuns" playing this mass.

    2. Once back home, we would have breakfast. Usually bacon, eggs, and toast.

    3. Open presents. One person would play "Santa Claus" and hand out presents. We would open them one as received, which could be one by one or simultaneous, depending on who was dealing.

    4. We got a few hours to play while dad drank enough coffee for the 3 1/2 hour drive from Cuyahoga Falls (near Akron) to Troy. Then we all jumped into the car for the trip to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

    5. Stop at the Mansfield McDonalds for lunch and a bathroom break.

    6. Once we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we played with our cousins while we waited for dinner.

    7. Eat dinner. Grandma's rule was that there were no presents until all plates were cleared. As we got older, her rules relaxed a bit. Also, the main course later became peel-and-eat shrimp when Grandma no longer had the energy to cook such a large meal. Grandpa liked to play quirky Christmas music during dinner. Sometimes it was something off-the-wall like "A Space Music Christmas," but the most popular was the Cajun Christmas Music.

    8. Open presents again. Here, my Grandma handed out presents and we opened them as she handed them out. It was important to make sure Grandma got to see you open your present. She loved to shop and would prepare for Christmas year round and loved to see it when somebody got something they really wanted.

    9. The kids would pass out from so much Christmas joy. The adults would adjourn to the dining room table to sit around, drink a few (or many) beers and "solve the world's problems."

    10. The next day was the trip to the Dayton Mall to return anything that didn't fit right or just wasn't your style. Grandma always had gift receipts at the ready if you didn't like your gift.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  16. #15
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Christmas Eve Traditions

    Don't anyone tell my son, but his Dad found him a Nintendo Wii.

    I was getting kind of worried because that was all he wanted for Christmas, and basically all he was gonna get too. So he was looking at not having anything under the tree on Christmas morning (which I felt bad about).

    But he is 17 and understood that I'd get him one after Christmas when the stock was more readily available.

    But I am gonna lead him along till Christmas morning, thinking he didn't get one. :ughmamoru

    We had our family Christmas down at Mom's yesterday. It was a great time. Me and my two younger brothers, along with our uncle, who is about 6 years older then me, sat around talking/reminiscing about all the good times and crazy stuff we did as kids.

    And I wonder why my kids are so honery?

    I got a really neat Beatles book from my Mom. My older sister made my a cheese cake (best in the world) and also a couple dozen no-bake cookies (my favorite).

    Today we'll wrap presents, watch Christmas movies culminating tonight in the family tradition of watching NL's Christmas Vacation. My wife will be cooking all day as her parents and family come up tomorrow to shower the kids with money. And we'll have to take them out this week to spend it.

    I hope everyone on here has a A JOYOUS AND SAFE HOLIDAYS



    Last edited by GAC; 12-24-2006 at 04:59 AM.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations


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