The above is a picture of my family a LONG time ago. I'm the one holding the doll. Don't worry, my sister is only upset because she couldn't get her doll for the picture! Growing up we always opened our gifts Christmas Eve. It was always a fun time in our household. Most of our "work" was done. My mom directed the Youth Chorale in which my sister and I sang. My mom sang in the Adult Choir and by Christmas Eve both musicals were over and the only thing for my father to worry about was Christmas Day service.
My father would begin delivering the Christmas presents to the various people who worked in the church in the morning. A few times he would take me with him. I never really enjoyed going with him. I wanted to be home to smell the wonderful cooking...my mom would be working away in the kitchen getting ready for our big Christmas Eve dinner that night...it was always just the 5 of us, which made it special.
During the afternoon she would have cookies and eggnog set up for people who would drop by to wish us "Merry Christmas." And there was always someone dropping by! If you read my sister's blog, she wrote about all the wonderful cookies we would make and the special dish my mom would always use and how wonderful my mom made Christmas Eve dinner for us.
After dinner we would get to open our presents. But first we had to put the Yule Log on TV. Watching the fireplace from Gracie Mansion, the home of the New York City mayor, was a tradition in our house! It seemed it would take us hours to open our presents, no rushing, no ripping through the packages; everything was done slowly and we all had to "watch" each other open their gifts.
When we were first married and started our own family, the Colonel and I always opened presents on Christmas Morning. However, we found we were rushing through it too often. I was always trying to either get a dinner together for company or get us in the car to make the long drive to someone's house. We decided last year enough was enough...we were opening presents on Christmas Eve.
And it was so nice. We went to Christmas Eve service and then came home and spent as much time as we needed to open our gifts. Then, the next morning, the kids slept in and I didn't worry about having to get a house cleaned up before our company came! The only difference between now and when I was growing up is that the fireplace we watch is now in our house...not on TV!
This year will be quite sad because my dad won't be with us. We are going to my mom's house for dinner and then to Christmas Eve service and finally home to open gifts, but not until my husband reads the Christmas Story from Luke 2. I'm planning on having a plate of cheese and crackers, fried ravioli and a few other yummy treats to snack on. I actually did some baking. Below are pictures of banana bread all wrapped and ready to hand out tonight after church.
Banana Bread Cooling...
Aren't Those Dishes Cute?
All Ready to Give as Gifts...
Whether you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, I pray that you will take time to remember the greatest gift given to us...the gift of Jesus, our Savior...I know I will! Merry Christmas!