December 24 Prompt:
How did you, your family, or your ancestors spend Christmas Eve?
Ha! I'm still PREPARING for Christmas on Christmas Eve! Usually I am still wrapping gifts. Amazingly, this year I finished my shopping and wrapped them all yesterday. Good thing too, as I need to make coffee cake all day.
Mark, Eric, and I will open our gifts to each other tonight as we head to Austin tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with my family of origin. My parents and siblings and their children will be there as well as my aunt, Sister Jean Marie Guokas, from Houston.
My brother Brian and his wife Paige have started a new tradition on the years they spend Christmas Day with Paige's family. On Christmas Eve, they invite everyone over for buffalo or venison stew, hot bread and a salad.
My dad tells me that growing up, his family opened their gifts on Christmas Eve. They would usually go to Grandpa Massmann's house, who would take them out for some kind of distraction while his servants played Santa and put the gifts under the tree.
Mom's family opened gifts on Christmas Day, so when she and Dad married, he adopted her customs. I don't remember anything special happening on Christmas Eve while I was growing up, except attending Midnight Mass when I was older.
My son Eric's father and I separated when Eric was ten. Our custody agreement specified how the Christmas holidays were spent, and in alternating years, Eric was with me on Christmas Eve (until 1 AM Christmas Day, after the midnight church service). I think this led to being comfortable celebrating on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - or both.
Below is a picture of Eric with a gingerbread castle he made during his sophomore year in high school, in a world history class. It was the last class day before the holiday break, and they HAD been studying the Middle Ages! I think that castle became part of our household decorations until I moved back to Texas in early 2006.
This is post 24 (and the final one) in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Geneabloggers.com
© Amanda Pape - 2009