As next Friday is Christmas Eve I thought that today I should share our Christmas Eve traditions with you. Like advent, they have evolved over the last fourteen years and it is the day we all look forward to far more than Christmas Day itself.

On Christmas Eve morning we make bread dough so that we can construct our Father Christmas bread, I make a hearty vegetable soup so I don’t have to faff around in the evening and we load the NORAD website on the laptop (it’s a Father Christmas tracker and you can watch his progress around the world getting nearer and nearer as the day turns to evening!)

The kids wrap their presents and write their cards. Bonus Boy may find this difficult as he keeps hiding things in a new place every day and is already having trouble remembering where he’s put them! He reminds me of the little boy in my favourite Christmas book!

After lunch we get all the sparkly crafty stuff out and make anything we feel like, indulging ourself in a last frantic glitter fest before the big day. If we’ve got time we wander into town to get the last couple of things and soak up the atmosphere and then we finalise the programme for our Christmas Eve show and it is printed out.

Every year each family member plans a little something and we sit down before tea for the show. Most years people play their musical instruments (2 trumpeters, one flautist, one violinist, two pianists, one guitarist and a very enthusiastic small percussionist), there is singing and dancing. Some years we have a puppet show (we lost baby Jesus in the middle of one of these which caused much hilarity and quite a lot of silliness), I re-wrote The Night Before Christmas once to fit our family, my Mum brought a magic box with her another year and produced goodies from within. We always video it, I always compere it with tinsel around my neck and we always end up in a heap laughing, a lot.

After tea has been eaten we settle in front of the fire with the Snuggle Sack. The Snuggle Sack is a large embellished pillow case which I stuff with things to make a Happy Christmas Eve. Last year it contained new pyjamas for some, new slippers for others, two silly books to make us laugh, chocolates, crackers and cheese, a DVD and a pocket-sized game, lemonade, ginger beer and a nice bottle of wine. (I can’t tell you what’s in this year’s as the children have turned into blog watchers!)

Once the DVD has been watched, the books thumbed through, the game played and everyone is nicely replete we put the ice lanterns in the garden to light the reindeers way to the landing strip.  This year we will also be copying Jen at The Mad House and will be leaving food on the lawn to guide the reindeer, I have printed out the lovely labels and am very excited by the whole idea!

The children leave some goodies on a plate and something warming in a glass for Santa, hang up their stockings and then trot off to bed.

I now transform into a mad woman, frantically wrapping things up…every year I intend to wrap before Christmas Eve and every year I fail. I came close last year and didn’t have too many to do but there have been many years where I am up to my ears in wrapping paper and sellotape cursing and complaining. This CANNOT happen this year because my teens go to bed almost as late as I do!

I suspect, as the years go by, that these Christmas Eves will get more raucous and sillier. I do love that there is still glitter and magic and jingly bells in our house with a wide-eyed little one and that the big ones join in with it happily and help make it even more magical for him.

Last week’s Orchard Toys Giveaway winner (selected by the online random number gernerator) is….New Mummy! Well done! I’ll be in touch!

So, what are your Christmas Eve traditions? Have you got something brilliant like Jen which we can pop into our festivities? All ideas enthusiastically received!

If you’ve been blogging about Christmas this week please share your links here and then have a wander around everyone else’s sharing some comment love!

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1. Convert Kids Art Into Baubles – Red Ted Art

2. Linzer Augen (More Austrian Cookie Yumminess) Red Ted Art

3. Childhood Christmas Memories – Inside the Wendy House

4. Christmas Traditions

5. Christmas Style Tips 2

6. Home Made Snow Globes

7. The Fantasy Decorator – Christmas Garden

8. That Holiday Letter from Molly Campbell

9. Christmas Cookies

10. K is for…Kiss Me #underthemistletoe

11. Christmas Pudding Loaf Recipe

12. Easy Party Food – A Compilation of Ideas at the Five Fs

13. Mama’s Christmas Traditions

14. Christmas Decoration Tour 2010

15. Not So Gingery Gingerbread

16. An Alternative To Salt Dough Ornaments

17. A Pause in Advent – Joy

18. Much Christmas Fun at Mummy Squared

Ella at Notes Frome Home is running a lovely Christmas Traditions Carnival over at her place today and all these lovely people are there!

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family shows us how she makes snowglobes.

Nova at Cherished By Me posts her family’s Christmas traditions.

Jenny at Gingerbread House writes about her new family’s Christmas traditions.

Jax at Making it Up writes about the Season of goodwill.

Maria at Fab Mums posts a Christmas poem.

Kelly at A Place of My Own posts about giving thoughtful gifts.

Jessica at Jessica Milln’s Blog writes about Round Robin letters at Christmas.

Ella at Notes From Home posts her family’s Christmas traditions.

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