Growing up I don't remember actually having any real "traditions" in the traditional sense... pun intended. With the exception of going to church, getting pajamas, and opening up stockings our Christmas Eve's around the house were pretty tame. That's why, when Justin and I got engaged, I knew I wanted to make a list of some really fun Christmas Eve traditions that we could start in our twenties.
Starting these Christmas Eve traditions now will make it that much more fun when we have a family down the road. I love the idea of being able to share stories and even pictures and video of all of our past Christmas Eves. I know everyone is super busy today so I thought a quick, Christmas themed post would get us all in the mood for Christmas!
1. Watch a specific movie with friends or family
I love the idea of getting all snuggled up on the couch on Christmas Eve and watching a good Christmas movie. While Justin and I aren't together this year and clearly can't start this Christmas Eve tradition yet, I see a lot of hot cocoa, popcorn, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas in our future.
2. Make dinner or host a potluck with friends
Making dinner or hosting a potluck with friends is probably one of the things I'm most excited for about having a full-blown house once we get married. While this Christmas Eve tradition may not work for everyone depending on how busy your holiday schedule is, this Christmas Eve tradition could be a great idea for military couples. Make this tradition even better by making it a brunch!
3. Bake cookies and package them for loved ones
Who doesn't love getting a bag of homemade cookies on Christmas Day? Make baking cookies a Christmas Eve tradition by turning it into a baking competition! How fun would it be to go to a Christmas Eve brunch with all of your friends and have a baking contest to see who can make the best cookies?
4. Open one gift or your stocking
Every year I get to open my stocking on Christmas Eve. I'm pretty sure that this started out as a way for my parents to bribe me into behaving at church but I love this Christmas Eve tradition. Typically, this means I get cozy new pajamas to wake up and open presents in the next morning. Sounds like a great Christmas Eve tradition to me!
5. Buy a new Christmas ornament and hang it on the tree
I mentioned briefly over on my Instagram that Justin and I finally got an ornament to celebrate our engagement, even if it was a year late. I have always loved the Christmas tradition of choosing a new ornament for the tree every year. Justin and I have continued doing this with our engagement ornament and are even taking it a step further by getting dated photo frame ornaments! I can't wait to see our kids' faces one day, years from now when they open the ornament form 2017 and see our picture.
6. Go caroling in your community
I have very fond memories of going caroling with youth groups through our churches as a kid. I was also in choir in high school and the holiday season was huge for us. There is just something about sharing music with others that warms the soul. Grab a group of family and friends and go caroling in your neighborhood for Christmas Eve!
7. Go to a Christmas Eve service at church
Christmas Eve service is a requirement at my house. Growing up as a pastor's daughter meant going to church when all of your friends were doing something way more fun... like opening presents. But going to church on Christmas Eve forces us to be present with the Lord and remember what Christmas is truly about.
8. Wear festive pajamas and take pictures
Justin and I definitely missed out on the matching pajama trend this year and I'm a little bummed about it if we're being honest. I absolutely love the idea of taking a PJ picture each year and watching our family grow!
9. Volunteer at a food bank or homeless shelter
I'll be completely honest here, volunteering is not something I do a lot of. I almost wrote "get to do a lot of" before I realized that I never make it a priority. While Justin and I may not be able to start this Christmas Eve tradition, volunteering more in our local community is definitely something I want to focus on more in the coming years.
10. Watch a Christmas Through The Years slideshow
The idea for this Christmas Eve tradition came to me when I was thinking about the ways my family celebrates the holidays. A few years ago for Thanksgiving, someone found an old projector and pictures from my great grandfather's collection. It was so much fun just sitting down and flipping through the pictures. This Christmas Eve tradition would be so much fun to do with kids!
Side note: I can't believe tomorrow is already Christmas! It seems like just yesterday I was making the decision to write for 25 straight days in December and now here we are! While I'll be going back to our regular schedule this week I just wanted to take a minute and thank all of you who have been swinging by and reading the blog this month. You've certainly reminded me why I decided to start this blog and made me remember what this season is truly about.