Christmas Eve has been a very special day for my family for as long as I can remember. When I was a young boy we'd go to my Mommom and Poppop's for the traditional celebration. Today, Mommom and Poppop are both gone but the tradition lives on.
Some things of course have changed. I have a family of my own now with a wonderful wife and two little girls that I adore. Our Christmas Eve now begins with church at about 1:00 PM while prior to having children we used to hit the midnight service and still sip some Bailey's when we got home. Now, with children, just surviving the service is a win. After church we head to my in-laws so the kids can have naps. God, thank you for naps!
Here we are after naps prior to heading to my parents.
This is Lily. Happy time with Nana before we depart.
Then it's off to my parents where the old tradition kicks in. This is the same mouse on the same grandfather clock that I remember from my childhood. It's one of those little things that still, for some reason, makes Christmas special for me.
Then there is the traditional spread of homemade perogies (a recipe passed down from my Mommom to my mom) which Cara and Becky now help to prepare, fish, rice, bread, and a few other simple delights. The smells when you first walk into the house just bring me right back to my grandparents place. It's a feeling you really can't put into words. It's just special.
Josie and Meg enjoying some grub. It was really great to see the new generation, all at one table together, and sharing in the old food tradition.
Of course there are gifts. My nephew look (5) is into BMX racing and Santa brought him a vrey cool new helmet. He was just a little thrilled!
The deserts are also traditional with the exception of the cake. It's all about the cookies. My mom has been making THE best butter cookies and chocolate chips for many moons. Also there are those pecan thingies that are oh so good (can't remember what they're called). Yum and more yum!
Santa makes a visit as well :)
Once the celebration at moms is over we head home and get things ready for Santa. The rice crispy treats and carrots (for the reindeer) are put out by Josie.
Then the children go to bed and Santa gets to work!
He didn't forget the stocking...
...and he didn't forget to eat the treats either!
Another fantastic Christmas Eve in the books. More great memories and good times with family. It's difficult with all the running around and it's hard to enjoy while you're in the moment of hustling the kids around. But, when the dust settles and you have a few moments to reflect you realize you were, once again, part of something very, very special.
And I haven't even gotten to Christmas yet :)