On Christmas Eve, we always attend evening church service and my mom usually sings O Holy Night, BEAUTIFULLY I must add!! Then we go home and my parents go all out on the food! My dad cooks brazillian-style meat, we have black beans and rice, shrimp cocktail and other appetizers or finger foods. My mom also makes several yummy desserts to choose from. Everything has a Christmas touch to it...even the butter is shaped like a Christmas tree! My mom doesn't overlook a single detail. She lives for entertaining and decorating and I'm pretty sure we would all miss it if she stopped paying attention to the details. They are fun.
After we stuff ourselves we sit in front of the tree and fireplace in my parent's living room and open our gifts starting from youngest to oldest. I love watching my nephews open their gifts first. The excitement and enthusiasm is so cute! Every year my mom buys each of us a new pair of PJ's to sleep in that night. The first year Jared had Christmas with us my mom and I schemed together a practical joke for him. We bought a pair of those footed pajamas that had spaceships on it a glowed in the dark and pretended to be dead serious. His reaction was priceless. He tried to hide the shock on his face so we all started busting out laughing and you could see relief wash over his face! Classic.
But we don't open all of our gifts Christmas Eve, we save our stockings for Christmas day. Our stockings are always full of thoughtful and sentimental items according to our preferences - I usually get panda, hello kitty, fun socks and photography related items! :) My mom knows me VERY well! Here are a few things I got this year in my stocking....
click for larger view
My mom ALWAYS gets each of us a toothbrush, our favourite candy(mine are sour patch kids) and at the bottom of our stocking is always a fresh orange. We stay in our pajamas ALL day and watch Christmas movie marathons on T.V. - my favourite is A Christmas Story!
A few new traditions we recently started since Jared and I have been married is watching the Nativity Story on Christmas Eve. It is a great way to start the holiday because it is a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of why we celebrate. We also MUST get egg nog shakes from Steak and Shake and go look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. Because there are no Steak and Shakes here in Switzerland...we made our own egg nog shakes this year and they were just as good if not better! :) We also get together with Jared's side of the family a few days before Christmas in Ohio at his grandparents' house - he has a large family and it's SO nice to see all of them together in one place for the holiday! Everyone draws a person's name out of a hat to buy a gift for prior to our get together and we go from youngest to oldest when opening gifts. Grandpa does most of the cooking but everyone makes such delicious dishes. I just adore his family and always enjoy our time with them!
I missed being able to see ALL of my family this year but was very thankful to have been able to spend Christmas with my parents and my husband and did get to talk to some of our family back home on the phone. It was very memorable and we were able to re-create many of our Christmas traditions together which made it feel more like home, more like Christmas.
What are some of your holiday traditions? I'd love to hear them!
Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a New Year full of blessings!