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Christmas Eve Traditions


Traditions are a big part of the holidays and Christmas Eve is no exception. Every country has their own customs that make this a special holiday. Children are excited and full of anticipation. This is their favorite time of the year!

Nothing could be more perfect than a light dusting of snow falling on Christmas Eve to bring on the holiday spirit. Even if you're not going to have a white Christmas, there are many things you can do to set the holiday mood.

Create a Holiday Environment

Enhance a cozy atmosphere with Christmas music and light some candles to welcome your guests. If you have a scrooge in your family, bribe him with some good food and shower him with love. He'll be sure to lighten up. Whatever your traditions are, embrace them. They are part of your heritage!


Church services are are often attended, particularly Midnight Mass. A meaningful sermon this quiet time of the night brings the true meaning of Christmas -- and why we are celebrating it. Seize this opportunity to take comfort in Jesus and the special gift he has given to all mankind.

Prepare Christmas Eve Dinner

Many Christmas Eve meals in America traditionally are ham or fowl. Because of the big meal planned for the holiday, some families like to keep the meal light and serve soup and crackers. By and large, most have the good ole sausage and cheese on hand for tasty snacks and appetizers.

Deck the Halls

With the commercialization of Christmas, this tradition is probably not near as popular these days because most families have trimmed their tree and put up decorations long before the holiday. For those running behind schedule or want to keep the tradition, this is a perfect time to add the finishing touches.

Deliver Christmas Gifts

Many people use this day to deliver gifts to friends and leave presents for service providers such as mail carriers and newspaper delivery personnel. With all of the activities planned for the holidays, some families choose Christmas Eve night to exchange their gifts. A visit from Santa Claus will please the children and hopefully wear them out so that they sleep well -- with, of course, visions of sugarplums...

Donate Time to Charities

Many people find that going down to the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen and helping out brings a warm feeling like no other. There is a satisfaction to giving to the needy and it reminds us to be thankful for the life we have and not to take it for granted.

Holiday Travel

For those who plan on traveling for the holidays, this is often the day they begin their trip. Airports and highways are crowded with people trying to get to their destination so they can spend Christmas with their family or friends. If you're one of those, check out our travel tips page to make your trip easier.

Traditions for Children

Besides a visit from Santa, stockings are hung by the fireplace to collect all of the goodies. It is customary to read children some Christmas stories to complete their evening. The classic "The Night Before Christmas" is by far, the most popular short story of all. Reading stories in front of the fireplace with some hot chocolate will get the kids settled down and ready for bed.

Make New Traditions

Old family customs are nostalgic but sometimes not practical in this day and age. Try mixing some old traditions with new ones. If you want to be out and about on Christmas Eve, going out to see a holiday movie or play will serve that purpose and add some holiday cheer. Check in with the personnel at a local nursing home to get an idea of what residents will not have family in town. Pay them a visit and give them a small, useful gift, all in the spirit of Christmas.

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