However one chooses to celebrate Christmas, there are several special ways to incorporate tradition into your celebration. There is perhaps no better time to do so than on Christmas Eve. Traditions are always a big part of the holidays, and Christmas Eve is no exception. While the traditional Christmas Eve may have us picturing a light dusting of snow falling to bring on the holiday spirit, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season even if your weather is bright and sunny. Even if you’re not going to have a white Christmas, there are many things you can do to set the holiday mood. Here are just a few-
Create a Holiday Environment-Set a cozy atmosphere with Christmas music, and light some candles to welcome your guests or just to celebrate with your family. With plenty of good food and holiday atmosphere any of your guests young and old will feel special if your house is welcoming on this magical night. Whatever your traditions are be sure they are reflected in the way your home is decorated. Embrace your traditions; they are part of your heritage!
Worship-Church services are often attended on Christmas Eve. A meaningful sermon or even musical worship service at this quiet time of the holiday can bring in the true meaning of Christmas and why we are celebrating it. You may want to seize this opportunity with your family to help illuminate the real meaning of Christmas according to your beliefs.
Prepare a festive Christmas Eve dinner-Although many Christmas Eve meals in America are traditionally ham or turkey, there is no rule that says this special meal cannot reflect your family’s heritage or even geography. Those who live in warm weather climates at this time of year may want to have their Christmas Eve meal from the barbeque. Other families find they want a light meal due to the holiday eating ahead, while other families use the Christmas Eve meal as an assortment of appetizers or specialty foods. Whatever you choose to serve just make sure it’s a tradition you will all enjoy.
Deck the Halls-In years past it was the tradition with many families to set up and decorate their Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Most families these days have trimmed their tree and put up their decorations long before the holiday. But do not let the commercialization of Christmas dissuade from this tradition if you decide this is for you. Even if your tree is up, Christmas Eve is good time for those running behind schedule or who want to keep the tradition to add the finishing touches.
Deliver Christmas Gifts-Many people find Christmas Eve the perfect time to deliver gifts to friends and leave presents for service providers such as mail carriers and newspaper delivery personnel. In addition, with all of the activities planned for the holidays, some families choose Christmas Eve night as the time to exchange their gifts. Don’t be afraid to establish the gift tradition that works best for you and your family.
Donate your time to charities-Many families find that going down to the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen on Christmas Eve can help bring out a warm feeling like no other. While much of the focus of the holiday seems to be on the receiving, giving your time to charity on Christmas Eve can bring in some balance.
Traditions for children-For a meaningful Christmas Eve don’t forget to include the youngest members of the family. While the stockings are hung by the fireplace to collect all of the goodies and are awaiting a visit from Santa, it can then be a great time to establish a Christmas Eve tradition with your kids. Try reading stories in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate; it will also provide the benefit of getting the kids settled down and ready for bed.
Make New Traditions-While old family customs are nostalgic, they are sometimes not practical in this day and age. Try mixing some old traditions with new ones that will fit your family and your lifestyle. Just remember; whatever you do, Christmas is a time of celebration so have your Christmas Eve traditions reflect that.