I have decided my favorite Christmas Eves are when they fall on Sunday. It forces us to be a little more prepared – shopping and presents are totally buttoned up by Saturday and then we get to enjoy our time as a family on Christmas Eve. We had a beautiful musical program which invited the spirit of Christmas and started our day with the correct focus.

We hosted our friends for our annual Christmas Eve dinner. If I’m counting correctly this is our 6th year together for this dinner. I called my friend a week before wanting to finalize some details for our evening. She was sensitive to the idea this may be Hallie’s last Christmas for a few years if she chooses to leave on a mission next fall – and wanted to make sure we didn’t feel obligated to carry on with this tradition if we wanted our private family time. She couldn’t be further from our desire of wanting to gather – this is Christmas eve: Our family and their family under one roof – eating, playing chimes and touring the neighborhood to see the luminaries and lights. We wouldn’t want it any other way!

I’m happy to report our chimes get better every year. There were a few years when the kids were younger, it was hard to make out what song we were trying to play. But this year, we were solid.

And without planning it – our Christmas jammies were nicely coordinated this year!

The kids get to open two presents on Christmas eve: Their Christmas pajamas and the gift from their sibling. I know when we first started doing sibling gifts I was fighting to keep it being opened on Christmas day, but the kids voted early on to open them on Christmas eve. I think at the time it was a selfish desire to open more gifts a day early, but we did it. Now, I see the importance and value of opening sibling gifts outside of the excitement of Christmas morning and I absolutely love it.

There is time and attention given to some special gifts the kids are so excited to give and receive. It is probably my favorite gift opening we do – because there is so much love and they feel compelled to give such big hugs of gratitude to each other.

Hugs all around!

We ended the night with Steve reading his family tradition book, “Twas the night before Christmas”. Which I’m guessing ends up being a little silly and more playful than most readings of the same book.

And then it was off to bed…

Except for they’re getting older and only the two youngest went to bed while the others stayed up far later than should be allowed for Santa to get his work done. 🙂