I was replying to an email from KarenW and asking her questions about how her family celebrates Christmas. They are stateside this year, but I was wondering if they'd picked up anything interesting in Romania, or how their family in Alabama celebrates Christmas.
Growing up with divorced parents, from year to year, things were seldom the same. I have picked up some things from both parents and step-parents that I have implemented into how our family celebrates Christmas. We generally tend to be the first family in our neighborhood to put up our tree. Neither my children or I can wait, and honestly I don't care what anybody thinks anymore. Jesus said to enter His Kingdom you must become like a little child - and when it comes to celebrating His birthday - I am usually worse than the kids. We bake Christmas cookies with some dear friends. On Christmas Eve we go to my friend/adopted "big sister", Carol's house and celebrate with her family - husband-Andrew, daughter-Brenna and dog-Emma. There is always shrimp, and tons of good, beautiful baked goods because Carol is absolutely, without a doubt the best baker in the entire world. We usually go to a candlelight service for Christmas Eve - except for one year when we had a terrible snowstorm. Then we come home and always let our children open one present on Christmas Eve - NEW pajamas! (I figured out early on that this makes them look all nice and shiny in their Christmas pictures - unless somebody barfs on them in the middle of the night but I'm not mentioning any names! Kendra!!) We either snuggle up together on the couch and read the Christmas story from Luke. Before going to bed, the kids set out Christmas cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. We have been known to tuck them in bed and listen to sleigh bells ring outside their window!
On Christmas morning, our children always wake and open their stockings first thing. My husband is a bit overbearing with the video camera, and insists that they wait to see what is under the tree until he is all set up to capture every single wide eyed, bedhead framed expression. We make a pot of coffee and put on some Christmas music, and if we can get the insane camera man to put the camera on a tripod, we all sit around in our jammies and enjoy watching each other open presents. The rest of the day is usually pretty laid back - for everyone but me! I spend most of the afternoon in the kitchen - and eventually we have a nice meal and watch a movie, play a game or continue assembling, or deconstructing the packaging of some of their gifts. Last year we went in the evening to visit some friends who will be out of town this year - but that was a very nice addition.
My husband grew up in Texas - and one of the things his HUGE-mongous family usually did to celebrate Christmas was set off fireworks. You can't even buy them where we live this time of the year.
Every family has ways of celebrating that are unique and special to them. Some of our traditions will stay the same when (Lord willing!) we move to Texas and others will sadly be set aside. (We will miss you terribly Carol, Andrew, Brenna and Emma!) I just thought I'd share, and ask YOU to tell me how YOUR family celebrates CHRISTmas!