24th Day: Christmas Eve Traditions


Every year we spend the twenty-fourth doing our Christmas Eve traditions.  

We start by dressing in our “Sunday best”.  Christmas Day is always spent in pajamas, but Christmas Eve is for dressing our best in preparation of Christmas.

For dinner, we make the Italian meal of Feast of Seven Fishes.  Traditionally, the meal is had on Christmas Eve and consists of seven different seafood dishes.  When our kids are old enough to want to eat seafood, and we have a few more people at our table, we plan on making the full course meal.  For now, we do a sort of tribute with just eating a nice seafood dinner.  We like to change it up every year, this year I made lobster, seared scallops, cheesy potatoes, and garlic cheddar biscuits.  Usually we have a glass (or three) of nice white wine, but this year it was sparkling grape juice.

Feast of Seven Fishes meal 2016

It was my first time searing scallops and I have to say, while intimidating, it was pretty simple and tasted delicious!  I definitely recommend to try it out for a way of adding a bit of flair to a date night.

After Christmas Eve mass and dinner, the kids changed into their elf pajamas that Santa brought on St. Nicholas Day.  Marshall helped make red and green chocolate chip cookies.  Yup, I totally used refrigerated dough this year.  No shame in my preggo game.  Next year we will go back to making homemade sugar cookies.  I told Marshall that Santa understands mama’s struggle- it’s not easy heaving around a big round belly!

He’s perfected the elf pose

While the cookies were baking, we found that the elves have dropped off the kids’ Christmas Eve delivery out front!

Every year on Christmas Eve the kids get a box from the elves (because Santa is busy delivery presents around the world).  This is our happy medium tradition.  In Brad’s family the kids were always allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve.  In my family Christmas presents were for Christmas.  So this is our compromise, all the presents for Christmas stay untouched (and still tucked away because Vi can’s help herself), but the kids still get something to open and a little taste of the Christmas thrill.

The box always contains the same kind of things: a new set of pajamas for each child that can be worn all year long (i.e. not holiday themed), a new book for each, homemade baked good fresh from Mrs. Claus’ oven, and little drink cups to enjoy with their sweets and books.

Marshall carefully going through the box and Vi trying to out her new straw cup

Excited for her Mrs. Claus confection

This year’s box included adorable coordinating woodland pajamas/robe sets for the kids, Eric Carlyle book for Vi, Good Deed book for Marshall, Mrs. Claus signature chocolate brownie/chocolate chip cookie bake, and penguin straw cups

By the time we got done with the box the cookies were ready to be set out with milk and our special Santa envelope with the kids’ letters inside.

Since the letters we leave out on St. Nicholas Day detail what the kids want, the Christmas Eve letters lay out why the kids believe they should be on the nice list.

Vi couldn’t be stopped from drinking Santa’s milk. Some of our kids have more of a case to make in their Nice-List letters than others…

Shameless and ruthless.  We told her no, that those were for Santa.  That’s when she gave us this smile, as if mischievously saying “I know.”

Need some of Santa’s cookies to go with his milk, of course.


The kids tried to con their way into sleeping on the couch for Santa.  Yea, that wasn’t happening.


After stripping Vi’s pajamas off and throwing them in the wash quick (because: milk spillage); we read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.


The kids were tucked all into bed, anxiously awaiting Santa’s arrival.  It was a successful Christmas Eve full of tradition and time well spent with each other.  It’s hard to believe that this will be our last Christmas season with two kiddos.  Hopefully Santa can overlook the milk fiasco and find both the Ding kids on the nice list.  Sweet dreams, friends!

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