Every year that I can remember growing up we spent Christmas Eve with my maternal grandfather. At least the evenings were spent there. But, once I was on my own in the world there were many different places I have spent Christmas Eve.
When my husband and I were first married we spent the evening with some close friends of his. They did their Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. I used to feel like we were intruding, but the family always made us feel so welcome.
One year my husband's nephew started having his family Christmas on Christmas Eve and invited all of the family. We would bring a dish to share and they always supplied the meat and many other fixings. A white elephant exchange was great fun we shared and we watched as that part of the family opened their gifts. Eventually, those gatherings stopped though.
As my children got older, I liked to leave that particular evening free for my children to do with as they please. They had many friends they liked to visit and some of those friends they exchanged gifts with. Their parents were also a part of my children's lives, so it was great they could visit with them also.
When I worked and the girls went elsewhere, it gave me a chance to finish up on wrapping and setting the table for Christmas dinner. I could also prepare food and clean the house for the next day. As time passed I noticed the girls weren't gone all night visiting anymore. They suddenly became more of a help to me. Because they could help me, we had more free time and might go look at neighborhood Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. My one daughter and her dad would go to midnight mass, and most years I would be in bed or still working around the house at that time. A couple of years I went to mass with them, but it must have been when Christmas Eve fell on a Saturday or Sunday and I had the whole day to do my preparations.
Now, I have grandchildren and a daughter who lives in Tennessee. When the daughter from afar comes in, the other daughter and her family are here spending time with her and us. We have dinner and spend the evening together. It is a special family affair and we love it!
May you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve! Thank you to Geneabloggers for promoting the Advent Calendar, it has been great fun and I hope you have enjoyed the posts!
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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!