Christmas Eve Traditions

🎄☃️✨ Welcome to Day 23 of Blogmas At Home! It’s 2 days until Christmas and in the words of Phoebe Buffay, Happy Christmas Eve Eve! ✨☃️🎄

I think traditions, particularly the ones surrounding this time of year, provide us with such a sense of nostalgia, joy and comfort. I have never spent a Christmas away from home, so all of our family traditions are deeply entrenched in my idea of what Christmas means and entails. I wouldn’t have it any other way though- I know that one day, Christmas will morph and change into something else for me, new traditions will be made and different experiences will be had, but, for now, there is something so peaceful about the idea of experiencing that familiar magic all over again.

In honour of Christmas Eve being tomorrow, I thought today I’d pay homage to the idea of traditions, and write a little bit about our Christmas Eve ones. Perhaps this post will help get you into the mood for the next few days of festivities, encourage you to remember your own Christmas Eve traditions over the years, or even just remind you, as we rush headlong into the festive frenzy, that Christmas is more than the stress and the turkey-basting and the family-wrangling. It’s memories and magic- a reminder that it’s okay for things to change, because that’s how the best traditions are made.

Table of Contents

Last-Minute Wrapping

This one isn’t strictly a tradition (or at least one any of us wants to be a tradition), but despite all of our best intentions, there always seems to be some last-minute wrapping left to do on Christmas Eve!

In fact, when I was little, my parents used to wrap most of our stocking presents after we went to bed on the 24th, which always ended up being quite late. This made for quite a funny chain of events when they were just a little bit tipsy after some particularly strong mulled wine one year! They were perhaps not quite as stealthy as they thought they were…

Christmas Eve Ham

On Christmas Day, we usually have a turkey for dinner (though I do remember a few years when we had a goose instead). On Christmas Eve, though, we have ham. In particular, we have Nigella Lawson’s Ham in Coca Cola. Honestly, we have converted SO many people to this ham- it is truly delicious. I know that it sounds kind of weird (and also kind of gross?) to boil a ham in Coca Cola- honestly, it probably is, but oh my, does it taste good. I’m not the biggest fan of turkey, so I end up eating lots of the leftovers from the ham on Christmas Day, and it makes me so happy.

We tend to serve the ham with Dauphinoise potatoes- which we, inevitably, have problems with. I think we’ve found a recipe that works for us now, but there were a good few years there where we just could NOT get the potatoes cooked. It was always a whole thing.

Christmas Films

We always save our favourite Christmas films for Christmas Eve. For a good long time now, the film of choice has been Arthur Christmas. However, more recently, we’ve all become obsessed with both the 2018 version of The Grinch and the film Klaus (which served as inspiration for my December bullet journal setup this year!). Watching Arthur Christmas on Christmas Eve is a given, but as time has gone on, we’ve also been known to throw the other two films into the mix as well, for extra festive cheer (and time relaxing before the big day!).

5-Ingredient Iced Star Biscuits

This one is definitely a more recent tradition, to the point where I’m not even really sure if it counts as a tradition yet, but it is something that we sometimes do on Christmas Eve, in the evening. Having said that, we don’t do it every year, so maybe it hasn’t quite reached ‘tradition’ status yet! Basically, my mum and I make a batch of cookies, which we cut out into all sorts of shapes: either Finnish Spiced Biscuits, classic gingerbread (though I’m still looking around for a perfect recipe), or the plain butter dough I used for the 5-Ingredient Iced Star Biscuits from yesterday’s post.

We put on some Christmas songs and make some glacé icing, then I bring out my extensive collection of sprinkles and all of the leftover sweets from making the gingerbread house, and we let everyone loose on the cookies. We end up with all sorts- while I tend to gravitate towards reindeers, my brother has been known to turn a snowman cookie into a lightbulb and a snowflake into an atom. Very festive, no?

Hanging the Stockings

I feel this is probably a pretty universal Christmas Eve tradition, but we always hang our stockings up on Christmas Eve. There’s always a last-minute scuffle when we can’t find the stockings, but we always seem to locate them eventually! We don’t actually hang them over a fireplace, or at the foot of our beds, but on the chest of drawers on our landing. We have these decorative golden hooks that spell out ‘NOEL’ (+ a Christmas tree, because there are 5 of us!)- they sit on the edge of the dresser and we hang our stockings on them. We also have a little tree that sits on top of the chest of drawers all season long, which lights up with rainbow colours and is so pretty and festive.

My mum made our stockings back when we were young. Neither she nor my dad ever had one though, so one year I knitted one for my mum (of course!) and sewed one for my dad. Their stockings have become part of the tradition now, which is lovely. We open the stockings on Christmas morning, while we eat pastries and drink coffee (followed by a Buck’s Fizz) for breakfast.

The Night Before Christmas

After we’ve hung the stockings on the landing, we all go into my parents’ room to read The Night Before Christmas. We actually have two versions that we read: the first is the classic story (we have a very old and battered, but much-loved, edition from Sainsbury’s) and the second is the Carol Ann Duffy poem, ‘Another Night Before Christmas’. The latter has always been my favourite- I love the poem, but I love the illustrations even more. It’s can be tricky to locate the edition we have (we got it a long time ago!), but I did find it on Amazon– whether it stays available for long, I can’t be sure!

I can’t be trusted to read the original one, because some of the drawings make me laugh so much that I can’t get my words out. Every time, I think to myself, I’m going to do it right this year, and every time I am felled by this particular image:

The Night Before Christmas, published in 1994 for Sainsbury’s.
Illustrated by Lis Toft.

Final Thoughts

So those are our Christmas Eve traditions. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them, and I hope they help to get you into that Christmas Eve mindset ahead of tomorrow. I think the best part about traditions is that there are inevitably hiccups along the way- something always goes wrong, whether that’s losing the stockings, or even some mulled-wine induced chaos. The great thing, though, is that those hiccups are what make the best stories, which preserve the magic of those traditions when they are told over and over again every year. I’ve always had a rather unhealthy dose of perfectionism, but, when it comes to traditions, I almost enjoy a little mishap here and there.

What are some of your Christmas Eve traditions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!



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