In New Mexico, Christmas Eve was always an event.
Josh and I both have big, close families, and we all celebrate Christmas Eve as the bigger event. As a kid growing up, we’d have tamales and red chile, open ONE present each (normally our Christmas pajamas), and then go to Midnight Mass. As we got older, we’d have bigger parties and events on Christmas Eve, and we’d spend the evening with loved ones and friends around our Christmas tree, with a fire roaring in the fireplace, and lots of delicious Mexican food and Christmas cookies to sustain us through the night.
When Josh and I got married, we were faced with the real questions of life: namely, how to split our time to make sure we both got what we wanted out of the holiday season. We always did, because we were always with each other (awwww. I know, cheesy, but true). But with just a few hours, and with two families who had never had to share either of us before, we usually spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day driving back and forth to see each other’s family. Here’s an example agenda for the evening:
5:00 PM: Dinner at my family’s house
6:00 PM: Presents at Josh’s family’s house
8:30 PM: Games and one present at my family’s house
8:00 AM: Biscotti with Josh’s mom
9:00 AM: Breakfast with my family
1:00 PM: Lunch with Josh’s family
4:30 PM: Movie with my family
7:00 PM: Dessert with Josh’s family
As you can see, we spent a LOT of our first six years together driving back and forth between our families. We loved seeing everyone, and it was the best way to make sure we could be there for the big events, so we didn’t really mind it. But when we moved to Georgia, holidays changed for all of us, including our families. Josh is an only child on his mom’s side (he has two siblings on his dad’s side), and I have just one sister who has her own family. Our parents have to make those big, serious decisions about who to see during the holidays, because we can’t really travel due to Josh’s job (he works straight through until Christmas Day, and sometimes is required for the after-Christmas continuation).
This year, we’re spending Christmas Eve alone. By that I mean, I’m spending it alone. Josh is working and so are Erik and Ellie. Strangely enough, I’m not worried about it. I’m looking forward to watching Christmas movies and finishing laundry and making a big meal for Josh. Tomorrow, Josh’s dad, grandma and sister are flying in, and then his brother and his brother’s girlfriend are coming out on the 27th. We’ll have a full house very, very soon. I’m an extroverted introvert at heart: by that, I mean I truly love people, and can talk to anyone because I am genuinely interested in other people. However, being around people all.the.time is exhausting for me. I really love my alone time, and I don’t mind being alone to eat dinner or see a movie. So knowing my alone time is about to disappear for a week makes me extra happy to have some quiet time before the chaos!
But once Josh gets home that evening, we’ll be eating tamales and watching Christmas movies in our pajamas, which falls right in line with our traditions!
Whatever your traditions may be, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas Eve and a joyful Christmas Day!