Christmas Eve Traditions

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Christmas Eve will be here before we know it. The memories of Christmas Eve Traditions, both old and new, are where the Christmas magic happens.

Today is the last day of Twelve Days to Get Ready for Christmas and I am sharing my favorite Christmas Eve traditions. As you decorate the tree, bake cookies for Santa, or wrap gifts for your loved ones, think back to when you were a child and what made Christmas Eve traditions so magical.

Christmas Eve Traditions

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Christmas Eve Traditions

It’s Day Twelve of Twelve Days to Get Ready for Christmas! Can you believe that it’s been twelve days already?

Thank you for joining me, I hope that you feel inspired and ready for the holidays!

My Favorite Christmas Eve Traditions

Vintage Christmas Pre Lit 9 ft Christmas Tree

I am a bit crazy when it comes to traditions. So sharing Christmas Eve traditions is the perfect item to share today.

I would love it if you all would add some of your family Christmas Eve traditions in the comments. I would love to read about every single one and I am ready to add some more.

Family Cook-A-Long for Christmas Eve Dinner

I love cooking in the kitchen with our family. A few years ago we started a tradition where we team up and each team cooks a course. We all cook together and it is so much fun. This evening is one of my favorites in the holiday season. And usually, it happens on Christmas Eve!

Gift Wrapping All Day

How to Organize Your Gift Wrapping Room 18

Our family has always wrapped gifts on Christmas Eve (day). For the past few years I have actually wrapped earlier but there are still some members of our family that need to start a tradition to do it earlier. But I won’t hold my breath!

Reading the Night Before Christmas

Christmas Living Room

When the boys were really young, ages, 1, 2, and 3, Dave started reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. He still reads it every year! And the boys are now ages 31, 30, and 28.

How cute is that?

Making/Decorating Cookies for Santa  on Christmas Eve


We always make homemade cookies for Santa and leave them out on Christmas Eve. One year I had a cookie cutter made in the shape of our home and decorated them with some royal icing. It is from Copypastry. Our kids are grown and we still do this. I love it so much!

Watch a Favorite Holiday Movie Together 

Christmas Joy

I love having a special family movie that we can watch with our family. When I was growing up, my sisters and I loved watching “White Christmas” every year. I think I know every word of every song and most of the dialogue throughout the entire movie!

As hard as I have tried to get my boys to watch the movie “White Christmas”, they haven’t shown any interest. They like movies such as A Christmas Story and National Lampoon Christmas Vacation.

Are you surprised?

Open a Gift on Christmas Eve

Growing up, we always opened one gift on Christmas Eve. Usually, the gift was pajamas or a new robe. Do you open none, one, or more gifts on Christmas Eve?

Take a Drive to See the Christmas Lights

holiday decor ideas

The last tradition I am sharing is one we have enjoyed for many years. Every Christmas Eve we put on our pajamas, pile the dog in the car, and head out to St. Alban’s street to look at the Christmas lights. Now that we are a family of six, it’s a very tight squeeze in the car! We always put Christmas carols on the car radio and we have so much fun.

I hoped you have enjoyed our Family Christmas Eve Traditions. Now it’s your turn to share your traditions. Please leave them in the comments.

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I have put together some cozy favorites of mine for you for Christmas Eve. Whether you are putting out the milk and cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer, are curling up on the couch to read about Santa and his Christmas Eve adventure, or watching your favorite Christmas movie, I have gathered something for everyone for some Christmas Eve magic.

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Stocking Stuffers for Christmas Morning

For the Cook in Your Life, Make Ahead Christmas Sweets for the Dessert Table

‘Tis the Season of Giving Christmas Gifts Under $25

Holiday Gift Guides for Everyone You Know

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If you missed any of my Twelve Days to Get Ready for Christmas, you can find them here:

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Christmas Eve Traditions

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  1. We always had a fondue dinner- cheese and bread, oil and meats, and chocolate. When we were in jr.high, we started opening our gifts afterwards, one at a time. My uncle passed away the, so my mom had us celebrate Christmas Eve as she was flying out the next morning. The tradition stuck, so we always opened gifts Christmas Eve after that. We loved it- we could get a good night’s sleep and look over everything in the morning. When i was single, i had parties Christmas Eve- sometimes for 6 or 20! I made dinner, and we all had a great time. Now being married, we have a nice dinner and watch hallmark movies. My husband’s adult kids ( when here) come over Christmas Day at noon, play games, open gifts, eat dinner, and consume mass quantities of candy and popcorn!

  2. Wow, these are all wonderful Christmas Eve traditions but it must make for a very busy day and night! I like to be a little more restful now that my kids are grown. We all still gather at our cottage where we have plenty of snow here in Canada. We go tobogganing down our hill and drink hot spiked cider by the outside fire. Then we gather inside for a big feast of Pasta Bolognese by the roaring fire and massive tall Xmas tree! We wear light up necklaces and hats and ugly Xmas sweaters. It’s always a wonderful way to celebrate with just our nuclear family in the woods!

  3. Same thing at our house with White Christmas……hubby falls asleep, kiddos watched it when they were home but are in their own homes now….and I too can sing all the songs and know all the lines….but it’s so fun and it’s just not Christmas without it! Love reading your blog everyday, your button crafts were very inspiring!

  4. All these are great and beautiful ideas…but I see nothing about celebrating the real meaning of Christmas. That we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, who came to earth to offer salvation to all!

  5. Christmas Eve – for years we have had the same meal – home made cabbage rolls, ham and perogies. Oftentimes we were wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve day as well, but as the kids are grown now, gifts are less and often too large to wrap! Up until 3 years ago, our kids always opened a gift on Christmas Eve as well, and it was always pajamas! That was a tradition I grew up with as well. Our kids are 34 and 30 with spouses of their own and this year they want to start their own traditions and one of them is to open gifts in their own home on Christmas morning. This makes me a little sad but I understand that things change and I don’t blame them. Covid started that last year…so we will see what this year looks like.

  6. Love your blog! Not a Christmas Eve tradition, but a Christmas Day tradition — Since I was a child (and I am a senior now) we always sing Happy Birthday and have a special birthday cake for Baby Jesus. With all the excitement of Santa and Christmas it is a reminder of what the holiday is really all about

  7. My mother gifted my (now 31 year old) twin boys The Polar Express and wrote inside to read it every Christmas Eve and we have – this year, my first grandchild will be present. The boys love the tradition – even reading what their grandmother wrote: “I still hear the bell”.

  8. I have 4 kids (24, 26, 28, and 30) and now, 2 daughters-in-love! Ever since the kids were little, they have drawn names on Thanksgiving for a secret sibling gift exchange. When they were young, they were supposed to secretly do nice things for their person all month (like make their bed or do their chore that week). Then those are the one gift they open Christmas Eve. We go to church and come home and as we are making dinner they one by one open their gift.

  9. Christmas Eve day is usually spend finishing up baking, gift wrapping, or stocking filling. That evening we have a delicious but simple dinner using our china and sterling sliver. Then we head to church for a beautiful and special candle lit service. We love wishing our friends a merry Christmas and seeing all the college kids in attendance who have returned home for the holidays. After the service we drive around and enjoy the festive lights and revel in the warmth and love this special night always brings and reminisce of past Christmases when the boys were young. We usually open a gift or two under the tree and watch Christmas specials or a Christmas movie until bedtime. Christmas Day begins with mimosas and opening of the presents around the tree. Afterwards is a delicious breakfast and a festive fancy dinner later on. And sometimes a nap in between.

  10. Being a Firefighter family means our Christmas Eve “traditions” changed depending on whether my hubs was on duty or not. Holidays at the fire station were always fun, entertaining and of course be exciting sometimes! So we don’t have set plan but that’s okay!

    And am I surprised your 3 sons pick Christmas Vacation and Christmas Story over White Christmas?? I did mention we are a firefighter family right?😂 But I LOVE White Christmas too and it would be the Christmas season without watching it a few times!! 🎶🎵Sisters, sisters..🎶there were never such devoted sisters🎵🎶

  11. I loved reading your post and all of the comments. When I was a child our family, aunts, uncles and cousins met at my grandparents’ house for dinner. My grandmother cooked a feast with decorated cakes for dessert. One cake I remember was a train, probably an idea from a 1960s McCall’s magazine. There was an adult table and a children’s table. After dinner my grandmother read the Christmas story from the Bible… with the grandchildren at her feet. Afterwards we would open gifts. An uncle would then step outside and declare he saw Santa flash across the sky. We would hurry home and hang our stockings, leaving milk and cookies for Santa then head straight to bed! My siblings and I were usually awake by 4:00 a.m to see what Santa had brought.
    I now have married children and two grandchildren. We go to Christmas Eve service at church and then to my mother-in-laws’ home for dinner. She is 94 and still cooks. We return to her house for Christmas brunch on Christmas morning then open gifts.
    My own parents passed away this past year so it will be a hard Christmas. They lived four hours away and we used to jump in the car after brunch and travel to celebrate with them and my huge family. Times change and having grandchildren will help make Christmas merry and bright. (You will see, Leslie!) Thanks for sparking memories. 💕

    1. Hi Kathy, thank you so much for sharing this beautiful memory. I hope this Christmas brings new traditions and memories while still honoring your parents. So sorry for their passing. Can’t wait to see what light grandchildren will bring- again, thank you so much for sharing ❤️

  12. Our family tradition has always been to gather for appetizers, then attend Christmas Eve mass together. On the way home we drive around a few neighborhoods to check out Christmas lights and displays. Once we get back home we enjoy dessert and put all the gifts in separate piles next to where each person will sit on Christmas day. Then we watch the Christmas Eve mass at the Vatican while I stuff all the stockings on the mantel.

    1. Love this Sherry! Driving through neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights is the best- so magical. Thank you for sharing ❤️

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