What do you do on Christmas Eve?

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Whusky

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Jun 7, 2022
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For as long as I remember, we've always gone out on Christmas Eve. Sometimes a last minute look around the shops, always visiting a coffee shop, sometimes taking the dog to the woods etc.

I make the kids a Christmas Eve box which they do a "treasure hunt" for in the morning. We usually have Chinese takeaway for dinner.

This year we're staying in. We're trying to clear our debt, so we're on a budget. I'll still be doing a box for the kids and I'll try and get them a gingerbread house kit, but I'm after some more ideas on how to pass the day, but also make it special.

I'm not a baker at all lol, so that's not an option, and we're not a religious family so we don't do church. I'm considering doing a hot choc bar but I'm still undecided

Any ideas greatly appreciated (this has probably been asked lots, sorry).
 

sweetpumkinpye

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We do a lovely, easy buffet type dinner. It is Summer here so we have all different fruits and I do chocolate dipping sauces. We do a meat platter and a cheese platter. I do a ice cold fruit punch for drinks.
After dinner we do a Christmas Eve box. This contains bottles of Coke, popcorn, fun sized chocolate bars, lollies, savory crackers, potato chips etc. We have a selection of movies and we watch one or two..
 

Whusky

MHH Member
Jun 7, 2022
23
49
13
UK
We do a lovely, easy buffet type dinner. It is Summer here so we have all different fruits and I do chocolate dipping sauces. We do a meat platter and a cheese platter. I do a ice cold fruit punch for drinks.
After dinner we do a Christmas Eve box. This contains bottles of Coke, popcorn, fun sized chocolate bars, lollies, savory crackers, potato chips etc. We have a selection of movies and we watch one or two..
Sounds good! I used to do a buffet dinner, but I found that I was in the kitchen all day prepping it.
I like your idea of the box being given after dinner too - builds up the anticipation even more.
 

Lori K

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We typically do Christmas Eve with friends. We'll begin with cocktails and appetizers, then have a nice dinner. He's a self-taught home chef and we are his guinea pigs. He may do lasagna, shepherd's pie, other pot pies, maybe a roast ... He'll let us all know what his main dish and we'll all provide the sides, a salad, vegetable dish, or desserts. We exchange small gifts with the host and hostess after dinner. As the kids have gotten older, we've ended with a game of some sort, and end in time for those who want to make Midnight Mass. It's a short but quiet drive home as I admire the holiday lights. Since DH passed, I've found comfort in being with my "chosen" family on this evening.

EDITED to ADD: We USED to spend Christmas Eve with DH's family and exchanged gifts with that side of the family on Christmas Eve and do Christmas Day with my family. But after his Dad passed, his Mom started going to Florida right after Christmas, and then his DB and DSIL moved and started going south, as well. That's when we started enjoying the company of our "chosen family" on Christmas Eve.
 
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MrsSoup

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We don't usually have plans for Christmas Eve, just whatever comes up. However, you could have a movie marathon of favorite holiday movies. We do track Santa on Norad even though my kids are older. ;) I also do a Mrs. Claus box with a new set of PJ's for everyone, candy, and hot chocolate. It gets left at some point during the day when everyone is otherwise occupied and I can sneak it under the tree unnoticed. I love to look at lights so sometimes we go walk around the neighborhood and do that or drive. Pretty low key here.
 

Miss JoDee

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Last year I set up a scavenger hunt and planned some Christmas games (Minute to Win it type) that we didn't get to do because Covid-19 numbers were climbing. (family members having to travel) so we did a zoom Christmas in early January. (our family Christmas is NYE) We will be doing the hunt and games this year.
 

Minta

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We host Christmas Eve with the extended family and a couple close friends... this year we are doing a buffet. I will be ordering a lunch meat platter, meatballs in the crock pot, etc - easy set up and clean up
We are planning on setting up a hot cocoa and hot cider station for the kids/teens.
Hoping we can do gingerbread houses with the kids this year. We usually run out of time but since it falls on a Saturday this year .. we shall see. While the adults talk the kids play board games.
After everyone leaves we like to pop in a Christmas movie to watch.
 

Whusky

MHH Member
Jun 7, 2022
23
49
13
UK
We typically do Christmas Eve with friends. We'll begin with cocktails and appetizers, then have a nice dinner. He's a self-taught home chef and we are his guinea pigs. He may do lasagna, shepherd's pie, other pot pies, maybe a roast ... He'll let us all know what his main dish and we'll all provide the sides, a salad, vegetable dish, or desserts. We exchange small gifts with the host and hostess after dinner. As the kids have gotten older, we've ended with a game of some sort, and end in time for those who want to make Midnight Mass. It's a short but quiet drive home as I admire the holiday lights. Since DH passed, I've found comfort in being with my "chosen" family on this evening.

EDITED to ADD: We USED to spend Christmas Eve with DH's family and exchanged gifts with that side of the family on Christmas Eve and do Christmas Day with my family. But after his Dad passed, his Mom started going to Florida right after Christmas, and then his DB and DSIL moved and started going south, as well. That's when we started enjoying the company of our "chosen family" on Christmas Eve.
The dinner sounds incredible, Lori K. Sounds like a very pleasant evening.

We don't usually have plans for Christmas Eve, just whatever comes up. However, you could have a movie marathon of favorite holiday movies. We do track Santa on Norad even though my kids are older. ;) I also do a Mrs. Claus box with a new set of PJ's for everyone, candy, and hot chocolate. It gets left at some point during the day when everyone is otherwise occupied and I can sneak it under the tree unnoticed. I love to look at lights so sometimes we go walk around the neighborhood and do that or drive. Pretty low key here.
Haha I track Santa too, only for my benefit however! My kids know the score.
Last year I set up a scavenger hunt and planned some Christmas games (Minute to Win it type) that we didn't get to do because Covid-19 numbers were climbing. (family members having to travel) so we did a zoom Christmas in early January. (our family Christmas is NYE) We will be doing the hunt and games this year.
The games sound good. I've seen loads of them on Pinterest but never tried them.
 
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Whusky

MHH Member
Jun 7, 2022
23
49
13
UK
We host Christmas Eve with the extended family and a couple close friends... this year we are doing a buffet. I will be ordering a lunch meat platter, meatballs in the crock pot, etc - easy set up and clean up
We are planning on setting up a hot cocoa and hot cider station for the kids/teens.
Hoping we can do gingerbread houses with the kids this year. We usually run out of time but since it falls on a Saturday this year .. we shall see. While the adults talk the kids play board games.
After everyone leaves we like to pop in a Christmas movie to watch.
I've only ever had 'lots' of guests over on Xmas Eve (by lots I mean five other people). I do like spending Christmas Eve with just my immediate family though.
Now I'm thinking of a hot cider bar, although that's not a thing in the UK so I'm not sure how I can do it.
 

Myron's Mom

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Christmas Eve has changed over the years here. When we were first married my husband was a pastor so there was always church. Christmas Eve dinner always happened on a night I didn’t work and my step son wasn’t with his birth mom. We’ve always had dinner at our house with both sides of the family. Now that we are both retired we stay home Christmas Eve. Our son is only home a short time and our time together is cherished. We had so few actual Christmas eves together they are special now.
Honestly most of dinner comes from the freezer these days. Soup, stuffed cabbage and anything else is made weeks ahead and froze. Except for the ham and the fried potato wedges everything else is a reheat. I do all my prep days in advance (setting the table, serving dishes etc). Potatoes are peeled in advance and stored in water in the garage, salad dressing made, anything I can do ahead so my kitchen time is minimal. While the potatoes are cooking and I’m cutting the ham the 3 of us enjoy a glass of wine and talk.
when our son was younger there was always a gift to open, usually a movie or game.
Our evening now is spent talking and watching movies.
 

PamelaG

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We always celebrate just the three of us. We go out to breakfast in the morning, do our Target shopping tradition (go around the store separately making a list of things we’d like, then meet up to exchange lists and shop - we take the items home and wrap them in tissue for stockings - this way everyone gets little things they want but they don’t know which things were purchased from their list), then it’s over to Barnes and Noble where we each pick a book or magazines, these stay in the shopping bag and go right under the tree to be enjoyed Christmas Day. I pop a ham in the oven for the main dish of our Christmas Eve buffet - I make the salads the day before and everything is covered in the fridge In their serving dishes. Then it’s off to a Christmas Eve service, home to enjoy the buffet, Sophia opens her Christmas pajamas, and we all enjoy a game or Christmas movie. It’s a full day.

I used to make a Christmas Eve box with pajamas, a movie, a new Starbucks cup, and cocoa mix but we use our Amazon library now so got rid of DVDs and Sophia stopped collecting the cups so it’s just pajamas (usually with a matching pair for the dog) now.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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Sounds good! I used to do a buffet dinner, but I found that I was in the kitchen all day prepping it.
This cannot be hard work as we generally work on Christmas Eve,
The meat and cheese I get pre packaged from Aldi in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Cheese has a huge shelf life.
On the day I literally cut the tops of strawberries and kiwis, plonk a bunch of grapes and cherries on a plate. The meat and cheese goes on a platter each and I arrange a box of crackers. The punch literally takes seconds to make. In all i think this might take 1/2 an hour to prepare.
 

sweetpumkinpye

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We are planning on setting up a hot cocoa and hot cider station for the kids/teens.
Can you please share your hot cider recipe?
 

halimer

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Well, you've heard all those rumors about what Jewish people do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - a movie and Chinese food - it's pretty true.

We have done many different things over the years. This year might be DH and I going to a movie and DS and DDIL coming over on Christmas morning for brunch.

We usually visit friends on Christmas Day - we did last year - but who knows anymore???
 

Ahorsesoul

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This cannot be hard work as we generally work on Christmas Eve,
The meat and cheese I get pre packaged from Aldi in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Cheese has a huge shelf life.
On the day I literally cut the tops of strawberries and kiwis, plonk a bunch of grapes and cherries on a plate. The meat and cheese goes on a platter each and I arrange a box of crackers. The punch literally takes seconds to make. In all i think this might take 1/2 an hour to prepare.
I think you have the right idea for the meal.
 
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Ahorsesoul

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When the kids were home we opened family gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa gifts on Christmas morning. Now with the grandson we have Christmas a week or so before Christmas for opening gifts. I figure do it early so he is not so overloaded with gifts. And then if DS and grandson want they can come to Christmas dinner with us either on Christmas Eve or Day depending on when grandson is with his Dad (my DS). I really do not care if it is one the actual 24/25th. The date isn't important. The celebration and family time is more important to me.
 

Lori K

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In my next life I am seeking out a chef friend like this.
He comes in handy some times! And he can really cook! I can't think of anything he's made that hasn't been good.
 

MinnieCo

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It literally varies every year depending on what day Christmas falls on and what family is in town. The only for sure thing is new Christmas jammies at the end of the night.