Today is Christmas for me. My family is from the Czech Republic and growing up we celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve.
I enjoyed this. It was festivities and celebrations and you went to bed weary and happy and tired, but you were done. No one had to wake up at 5am wondering what Santa brought, or had a hard time getting to sleep knowing that some time in the night Santa may come by.
I never had any doings with Santa until I met my husband and his family. Christmas spreads out over two days now that we have kids. While I had an invisible Baby Jesus come to our house to deliver presents after dinner, my kids also get an invisible Santa Claus who manages to squeeze through our non-existent chimney to give them even more loot and stockings. I like the tradition of stockings. It is fun to see what you can find in your decorated sock that isn’t lint or an orange.
We have a Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. It does not involve turkey or gravy. I’m not sure what the traditional fixings are for this meal, but I know that my mom tried to keep up the tradition of eating white fish for dinner. When she was a kid they used to bring home a live carp. It swam around in the bathtub til it was time to prep it. Then it was killed, skinned, breaded and fried. Later, it was eaten.
I make a potato salad and corn soup like we had when I was a kid. I’ve now added more side dishes of veggies and sometimes I put out cranberry sauce because I like the red color. There is no gravy. My kids are picky eaters so it doesn’t really matter what they have; they will still not like something. It’s more about creating a tradition for us, as a family.
I think that is what Christmas is for me. It’s not the anticipation or the presents. It’s not the expectation or the stress or the chaos. It’s not even about having a few days off work. It’s about doing things together that you will do each year. It’s about meaningful rituals. It’s about spending time with the people you want to spend time with. The best things at Christmas are not things.
I hope you and yours all have a wonderful tradition to celebrate, no matter what day you dedicate to this.