Welcome to our household for the holidays! In our house, we celebrate Yule and a secular Christmas. It all starts on Yule (around December 21st each year). We have a special dinner: usually soup, rolls, and a small dessert. Then we each open a present together next to the fireplace. The younger kids go to bed an hour late, getting extra snuggles and stories before bedtime. The older kids get to stay up until midnight. We play board games, and watch movies. After midnight, we brew a pot of coffee and settle in for some quiet reflection and together time. Sometimes we watch movies, or listen to music. I say prayers for friends and family, and some for everyone who is in need. At dawn, we cheer for the sunlight’s return, and then head to bed for as much sleep as we can before the little ones wake up!
On Christmas Eve, the whole family gets together. Poppa comes over and reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to the kids. Each kid opens a present which contains: a brand new pair of warm pajamas and a new book. We tuck them in, and let them stay up for an hour reading their new book. Then the grown ups hang up all the stockings, and fill them up to the very top. All gifts in the stockings are anonymous, so that’s the place we love to put your favorite snacks, little things you need, and special items you’ve been asking for all year. All the rest of the presents go under the tree, and then my brother carefully rearranges them so no present gets smooshed by another.
In the morning, the first thing we do is hug and open our stockings. Then we sit down and have a full breakfast together: eggs made to order, bacon, sausage, grapefruits, and fresh juice. Then, one present at a time, we open them together. Every person gets center stage while they open their gifts, because seeing them love their gift is the best part. At dinnertime (we have a big family, so it takes a long time to open everything!) we sit down together and eat a special meal. We usually make a big roast, and have lots of veggies and rolls, too.
I very much wish you could be here with us this year. Please know that, in our hearts, you are. Please join us in front of the fireplace this year, seeing everyone’s joy at being together, eating tasty food, and opening presents.
So much love to you,