December 24 - Christmas Eve How did you, your family or your ancestors spend Christmas Eve?
Dad: When we were young Christmas day was when we opened presents then went to church to celebrate the nativity. Eventually as we got older Christmas Eve became our time to exchange presents. If we were going to mid-night service, we opened our presents when we returned home. If we were going to church Christmas morning, we opened the gifts around 9:00 o’clock. Snacks, drinks, and holiday cheer were all part of the celebration. Sometime our grandparents would also be there.
Now at our church we have Christmas services on Christmas Eve. There is children’s service at 3:30 PM and an adult service at 6:00 PM. No one wants to get up early on Christmas anymore (other than the kids for toys). Our old 8:00 AM service was cancelled and only late morning services are held on Christmas. I doubt that my grandparents could understand the changes. Christmas Eve was always the preparation day to celebrate the Nativity on Christmas day.
Mom: When I was a kid, we watched some Christmas shows on TV and were sent to bed. Then mom and dad decorated inside including the tree after we were in bed and asleep (sometimes pretending). Presents were opened on Christmas day. When we all got married, we still came to mom and dad’s house for Christmas. All the kids, aunts/uncles and pets would be there. We opened presents either from the youngest to the oldest or tried to switch the order when the kids got older. That way mom and dad finally got to open their presents first. When our family gets together now we sometimes play a gift exchange with both funny (useless) or nice presents.