No other holiday has a night before the way Christmas does. There’s this quiet that comes on Christmas Eve, if you let it. The more Christmases I celebrate, the more I like Christmas Eve.
I try to make a lot of the presents we give instead of buy them. It forces me to plan ahead and, as a result, elevates the entire experience a little.
The kids and I have let some of our traditions evolve, too, so no one goes crazy trying to keep something going. When the kids were little, we made a gingerbread house and took it to preschool for the Christmas party. All the kids had fun picking it apart to take a piece home. When they got older, I made a one-dimensional piece for the mantel one year. Then I just made dough so the kids could make cookies. This year, Paige asked when she got home from the U of Iowa if there was any gingerbread dough in the freezer. There wasn’t, and we didn’t make any.
But on a whim, we stopped at the Russell Stover factory store in Terrell on the way to celebrate the season with Aunt Regina in East Texas. We bought a cardboard gingerbread house filled with peanut brittle.
We spent some time in downtown Kilgore, ate lunch at Nanny Goat’s Cafe, came back to Regina’s house and sang Christmas carols around the piano in the parlor. We played dominoes, too. We did cast a glance toward SantaLand on the way home (2.5 million lights strung along a driving trail in the East Texas woods), but saw the rush-hour-sized car line and took a pass. It had been a nice day. We didn’t need to spoil it.
Tonight, we are waiting for Sam to come home from work. He will help close the store. I had to work today, too. All that makes it hard to switch gears and make it to a candlelight service, but it doesn’t matter. We know how to do this. The serenity is settling in.
Happy Christmas everyone.