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Looking for some Christmas Eve traditions to start with my own kids...

I am looking for some Christmas Eve traditions to start with my own kids. They are 5 1/2 & 3 this year. The problem is that we rotate having Christmas eve at my SIL’s and MIL’s. We leave out cookies/milk but that's about it. Any suggestions??

(FYI: I am Pagan, the rest of my family is not – so I tend to de-emphasize the religious aspect of Christmas – don’t get your panties in a bunch over that, just answer the question accordingly please!!)


Asked by Anonymous at 12:41 AM on Nov. 17, 2009 in Holidays

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Answers (11)
  • You could buy those craft kits at AC Moore or Micheal's, pretty much come with everything you need. And they travel well.


    Answer by Anonymous at 2:32 AM on Nov. 19, 2009

  • My tradition is pretty similar to my best friend who happens to be a Pagan. We both give our children one gift that night and its normally PJ's we bake cookies and have lasagna for dinner and then sit down to watch movies at my house its normally polar express because my kids are younger, she has teens so the movies change every year.

    My kids and I also check the santa tracker, we take reindeer food out and sprinkle it on the lawn (oatmeal mixed with glitter) once we see that santa is in the next state over If the kids are not already asleep i hurry them off to bed.

    Once everyone is asleep DH and I pour a glass of wine and get busy on santa duty, I know I will miss this as they get older and stop believing.


    Answer by 3_ring_circus_ at 12:47 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • My kids LOVE the reindeer food. Something we do a couple days before christmas, but could work on christmas eve is we decorate gingerbread (graham cracker!) houses! The day before we are going to do them we build a square house with graham crackers and icing so it can harden. Then we give the kids a bowl of icing, a Popsicle stick, and a paper plate with an assortment of candies and let put things wherever they want! When they were 3 we iced and let them place because it would have been a huge mess...but they have more fun and come up with some....interesting....houses LOL. We do Santa tracker and of course the one gift to open....PJ's!


    Answer by momof030404 at 12:54 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • I have the girls open one gift that night ( their Christmas Pj's ) Sometimes something little like knowing they will get new Pj's every year is cool for kids even when they become adults. I still know My mother has new undies for me in my stocking.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:05 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • All GREAT suggestions!! Thank you!! Oh yeah, another thing we do is put a small tree in each kids room and Santa leaves them a special present under that tree that they can open right away in the morning. My daughter loves that!!

    How about anything that we can do atmy SIL's and MIL's houses on the years we have to be over there??The kids just sit around and get bored (as do I). So I am looking for special things to do at the more formal, stiff inlaws houses.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:12 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • My parents also let us open our jammies on x-mas eve. I suppose if you don't think it's too cheesy you could do what we do. Since we always have to travel on x-mas eve we sing carols together in the car. I love those memories with my family.


    Answer by jenae_gist at 2:05 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • For when you are at the ILs house, you could do something similar to an easter egg hunt, but make it little christmas candies (candy canes, goodie bags with cookies, little toys, etc). It would keep the kids occupied :)

    As for the night before, my family always did a present the night before, but it was always one that we each got to pick out of our piles. Sometimes it'd be clothes, sometimes something different. I'm in the same boat as you, with trying to figure out our own family traditions. I think I am going to start one of letting the kids make a special ornament on Christmas Eve to hang on the tree. It would keep them occupied and be something I could cherish forever :)

    Answer by laird6372 at 5:01 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • You might burn the Yule Log in the fireplace and read a few stories:
    Twas The Night Before Christmas or some stories about solstice/Goddess traditions.

    Answer by doulala at 6:32 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • We do a simple dinner... track Santa, set out freshly baked cookies/milk and carrots...
    this yr our 8 yr old will be filling the stockings of all 4 of his kitties...
    We may watch a movie with popcorn...
    We do not do a gift on Christmas Eve, they receive their b4 gift on Yule...
    We stay away from the more religious aspects of the season bc I too am Pagan...

    Answer by gmasboy at 9:39 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

  • Footnote... We do not travel to other families on Christmas Eve... that tradition died out as the moms (dh's and mine) got older and having ppl over became to much... so we are home so our traditions for the Eve of is pretty set.... I do all of the Christmas dinners at our home... our families don't like to entertain at their own homes... and I love to...
    And you can track Santa at

    Answer by gmasboy at 9:44 AM on Nov. 17, 2009

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