Christmas Eve traditions

Jeanie Knowles Hyland's

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Each one of our family traditions has elements that have been passed down from the generations before us. Family time is one of the most important things to my husband and me; and the holidays are filled with opportunities to bond together as a family and make memories to last a lifetime.

Each Christmas Eve, we get into the car and go on a drive to look at Christmas lights. We try to find the neighborhood with the best Christmas decorations. This specific tradition comes from my mom’s family. Growing up, her parents would load them up into the car, my grandma would “forget” her purse and would run back inside. They then drove around looking at the lights and when they returned they’d find that Santa Claus had already made a stop at their house (remember my grandma always forgot her purse). Then they spent the rest of the evening opening presents.

This is also how I spent my Christmas Eve growing up too. My dad would stay home to nap, and we would leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. When we returned, our presents from Santa would be under the tree, the cookies and milk gone, with a note that read “Burrrp.” My sister and I could not figure out how my dad slept through Santa coming and never connected the dots that Santa’s handwriting was identical to my dad’s.

We’ve decided to change the tradition a bit to fit our family. Instead of opening all the presents on Christmas Eve, we open one present with pajamas and a book. Then we make cinnamon rolls, have hot cocoa, and watch a Christmas movie. This is how my husband spent his night before Christmas growing up too.

When we got married, we joined two families but also started our own. I think it’s important to pass on traditions, but it’s also important to create some that are unique to your family. I hope that my children remember our Christmas Eve as fondly as I remember mine; for it’s a time when life slows and being together is the most important thing.

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Jeanie Knowles

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