Tradition has always been very important to me. I stubbornly abide by traditions each and every year. To me, they are something to be relied on and something to look forward to. You know exactly what to expect and disappointment usually only comes when plans change. I am a stickler for upholding holiday traditions, much to the annoyance of my family who like to mix it up from time to time. The night before Christmas has always been dear to my heart, probably moreso than the actual holiday (and you know how much I love that).
A few years ago while trying to nail down a night for the family Christmas party, Christmas Eve was batted around as a potential date. I was strongly opposed (see: disappointment when plans change) because I already had an idea of what my Christmas Eve would be. It would be the same thing it always was. My traditions would not be stopped! Oddly enough, my grandmother somehow got the idea that those Christmas Eve plans included sitting around in pajamas while reading poetry with my mom. I’m still not quite sure where she got that idea, but we have never sat around reading poetry. Even now, the notion is pretty hilarious to think about. While our evening doesn’t include iambic pentameter, it does include some time-honored traditions.
First stop, dinner.
This is probably my mom’s favorite part of the whole night for we get to go to one of her favorite restaurants: In-N-Out. Yup, there’s no fancy meal for us, just some good old-fashioned burgers from Southern California’s most famous fast food joint. And clearly, we’re not the only ones with this idea as the dining room is never empty as we enjoy Double-Doubles and fries. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Continue with twinkle lights.
Fat and happy, we hop back in the car to drive around looking at Christmas decorations. I almost always end up in a coughing fit from laughing so hard. One of the things about my mother and me is that we can find anything funny and the more ridiculous something is, the more humorous we find it. Whether it’s my terrible singing of Christmas songs with made up lyrics or my mom repeatedly asking me the same questions, we are bound to be cracking up. It’s nice to have lovely houses to look at while we enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes, we even bring Jake along for the ride.
End with a holiday classic.
After the burgers are eaten and the lights have been ooh-ed and aww-ed over, my favorite part happens: we watch The Santa Clause. I wait all year for this one showing of my favorite Christmas movie. I watch a dozen other holiday films this time of year, including The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3 (nowhere near as good as the original), but Christmas Eve is the only time I watch the beloved tale of a man who becomes Santa Claus. I curl up with Jake and delight in the magic of this film. Tim Allen makes a wonderful reluctant Saint Nick and the story is charming and whimsical. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do.
So now you know what I’ll be doing tonight, but I’d love to hear your Christmas Eve traditions. Do you follow Santa on NORAD? Do you read The Night Before Christmas? Do you hit the eggnog? Or are you still out doing last-minute shopping?
Whatever you do, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.