My cherished family tradition takes place every year on Christmas Eve.
Over the years, Christmas Eve has come to be such a special night for my family (my parents, my brother Justin, and me) and me.
Usually, we go to my Uncle Brian’s house (he has Christmas Eve every year for my Mom’s side of the family) and always have a great time, with a lot of food, laughs, and fun. My mom is one of nine, so things get pretty hectic at my uncle’s house.
Some years, we go to my Aunt Carol’s house, who is my dad’s sister. She is one of two siblings my dad has, so usually that celebration is more low-key, and you can actually hear yourself talk without having to raise your voice. After that, depending on how tired we are, how late it is, or if we just do or don’t want to, my family and I will go to late mass at our parish, St. Patrick’s, to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
But every year on Christmas Eve, no matter what time it is, every member of my family opens one gift when we get home from our Christmas Eve celebration. This “ceremonial first gift” is unanimously chosen by the other members of my family.
The gift-giving on Christmas Eve usually entails my parents giving me my best gift. My brother is 30, so, for the most part, my parents don’t get him anything significant, but usually they hook me up. Last year, I got a 6 day trip to Florida over the summer with my brother and his fiancé, which was such a great time. In the past I’ve gotten other great gifts, and the night in general is always special in our family.
During this time, my parents and brother will usually have an annual seasonal drink they have together. We stay up well past midnight, just talking about things, laughing over memories and great experiences, and just bonding as a family.
We then go to bed, happy, fulfilled, and anxious for the next morning.