Christmas Eve is easily my favorite days of the year, yes you read that correctly! Christmas Eve is more exciting to me than Christmas ::gasp::
Can you believe I just said that? Well, it's true and this year we plan to go all out like we do every year. Some new Christmas Eve traditions we want to try this year include new ways we can make memories as a family while we wait in anticipation for the man with the bag.
What does your family do on Christmas Eve? Let me know in the comments. I'm always looking for fun new Christmas Eve traditions to try.
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Christmas Traditions to Try This Year
Christmas Eve Boxes – Our children wake up on Christmas Eve morning to a treat straight from the North Pole a box filled with goodbye goodies from their Elf. This is a tradition I started when my son first got his elf for his 3rd Christmas. We changed it up over the years, but this is something I highly recommend doing with your own family. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money and the kids are almost more excited for their Christmas Eve box than their gifts from Santa …. almost
Say Good-bye To Our Elves – This one is always sad for my kiddos. My daughter is straight-up obsessed with her Elf so she has a hard time saying good-bye, which is why their Christmas Eve boxes come from their Elves. I always create a special good-bye letter for each of my kids from their Elf.
Opening One Present from Mom & Dad on Christmas Eve – Like most kids, my children are filled with excitement wondering what Santa has on his sleigh for each of them this year. A Christmas Eve tradition we started years ago was allowing our children to open one gift from us while they wait for the rest of their presents which come directly from the North Pole. Thankfully, they have yet to catch on that their one gift from us each year is the same thing – a family game for us to play together. Every year each one of my children receives a board game from their wishlist that we can all play as a family as their gift from my husband and I. That leads me to my next Christmas Eve tradition but first here's a few games I have my eye on for this year. Game nights are huge in our house.
Family Game Night- I normally host Christmas Eve at my house for my extended family. A few years we made a joint decision to cut back on the pomp and circumstance and go in a more low key direction for our family celebration. On Christmas day we have a huge feast, but on Christmas Eve our menu includes an array of delicious yet small and easy to eat food. By making the switch we can relax a bit and spend more time having fun! Our Christmas eve fun includes breaking open the two new games they just got as a gift from us. It's such a blast to play as a big group. In addition to the new board games, we always try to find a new Christmas game to play before the night wraps up.
Tracking Santa – There are so many fun Christmas apps, but our favorite is the Santa tracker. Frequently throughout the day we check to see where Santa is on the North Pole radar. Everyone gets so excited as they see Santa inching closer and closer to our house.
Neighborhood Christmas Lights We are lucky enough to live within minutes of the World Famous Dyker Heights Christmas light displays. Once our company heads home to get ready for Santa, we head out one last time to check out our favorite displays. We find that it's the perfect way to calm down the kids after a night filled with excitement. Getting out of the house for a little while after having it packed with the company also allows me to regain my composure for that long night we have ahead as Santa's Elves.
Matching PJs Once we return home it's time to change into our matching Christmas Eve PJs. Each year the entire family, grandparents included, get a new pair of matching Christmas PJs to wear on Christmas Eve. Sometimes, depending on our plans, we change into our PJs before game night starts. My kids love wearing their new cozy jams while playing games on Christmas eve. I mean that's the kid's ultimate dream, right?
Santa's Key – Before we start our Christmas Eve bedroom routine we make to sure to leave out a magical key for Santa. We live in NYC so we don't have a chimney for Santa, sadly. Instead, I found this magical key that allows Santa to open a locked door with ease. My kid's get such a kick out of the “magic” of it all. Christmas truly is such a magical time of year.
Reindeer Food – Every year my kids get magical reindeer food in their Christmas Eve boxes and right before bed we head outside to sprinkle it on our front lawn. This tradition is great because my kid's truly believed Santa's reindeer might get lost if we don't leave out food for the reindeer to find our home.
Cookies for Santa – It's not truly Christmas Eve until you leave cookies out for Santa! In our house we have a special set that's reserved just for Santa's cookies. Each child takes a turn filling it up with goodies for Santa before bed.
Read The Night Before Christmas – Once we are back inside it's time to head to bed! Santa can't leave presents for any child that's awake. All of us snuggle up in one bed and read The Night Before Christmas as a family. Now that my son can read we all take turns reading a page. This has easily become my favorite moment of the year. It's a beautiful moment to share as a family.
Christmas Eve Traditions Once the Kids are Asleep
Love Actually – As soon as the kid's drift off to sleep it's time for Santa's Elves aka Mom and Dad to get to work. Every year my husband and I watch Love Actually together while we transform our home into a Winter Wonderland for our children. It's a tradition we started the year my son was born and it's something we look forward to every year.
Capture Santa – Once all the presents are laid out for each child I make sure I “Capture Santa”. This is a fantastic FREE app I found a few years ago and it's helped my keep the magic alive. My son is at the age where he's beginning to question Santa, but SEEING is BELIEVING so the app has helped tremendously!
Santa's Footprints – With a simple can of fake snow we get to work. My husband puts on his heavy boots and I spray the fake snow right before he walks creating Santa's footprints from out entryway all the way to under the tree. My kids FLIP out when they see Santa has walked through their house.