“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.”

Christmas Eve has finally arrived. It’s cold, and there were a few flurries when I went outside to get the papers. It seems Mother Nature is catching up with the season. The day is bleak looking, but that doesn’t matter. Christmas Eve brings its own brightness, its own joy. It doesn’t need the sun. It has the Christmas tree bright with lights and candles in the window. Today Gracie and I have a dump run, and I need a few things at the grocery store. My friends are coming over tonight, and we’re going to put together and decorate our gingerbread houses. We’ll snack on hors d’oeuvres, and I’ve got egg nog.

This special night seemed so long before we felt the least bit sleepy. Every other night of the year we fought to stay out of bed, to stay up longer, but on this night, we wanted to be sleepy as soon as it got dark. We never were. The night crawled along until my mother decided it was time for us to go to bed. I think we might have cheered. The last thing we did was hang our stockings. They were hung on the bannister in birth order. Mine was at the top, and my sister Moe’s was at the bottom. The stocking were red with a white cuff, and our names were written in glitter on the cuffs. The stocking weren’t very big, but they seemed to hold gift after gift, and they were always stuffed, filled to the very top.

When we got to bed, we talked between bedrooms for a while wondering what Santa might bring. My little sisters fell asleep first while my brother and I lingered a bit longer. I never remember being tired but somehow I always gave in to sleep. Morning seemed to come in a heartbeat. I’d wake up and it would take a few seconds before I’d remember it was Christmas morning and Santa must have come.

My first look at the living room was over the space in the bannister. The tree, always lit on Christmas morning, was surrounded with gifts. Some presents from my parents and grandparents were wrapped but Santa’s were never wrapped. They were sitting under the tree just waiting for us. We were overwhelmed, and it usually took a while to see all our presents. We’d show my mother and father who acted surprised and thrilled at what Santa had given us. On the bannister the stockings were bulging, and we’d each grab our own and sit on the floor to empty them one gift at a time. I don’t remember ever eating breakfast, but I do remember eating a candy cane or two. The usual rules just didn’t apply at Christmas. It was too magical a morning for toast and cereal.

The sun is starting to come out and the day is brightening. It’s only 31°, but that sounds about right for Christmas Eve.

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21 Comments on ““Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Christmas Eve was even celebrated in our Jewish household when I was a kid. We didn’t have a tree but my parents allowed us to hang up stockings on the mantle to allow Santa to bring us something on Christmas morning. Our stockings were usually filled with candy and a small present since we received our big gifts during the eight nights of Chanukah. Of course Christmas would never exist if it weren’t for Chanukah. If the Assyrian Greeks had wiped out the Jewish religion and completely destroyed the Temple in the second Century BCE, then Jesus would not have been Jewish but would have been an Assyrian and a follower of idolatry.

    This is one of those years when both Christmas and Chanukah occur at the same time. The Jewish calendar follows the lunar year and is adjusted to allow the seasons to occur in the correct months. Therefore, Chanukah can occur anywhere between Early December and Christmas.

    My favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Story” by Jean Shepard. The movie epitomizes the holiday season in the mind of a ten year old kid living in the 1940s in the Midwest. During my 15 hour journey across the Pacific I watched it on the small TV screen at my seat. I have seen it many times since it opened in 1983, but I enjoy it each year at Christmas time.

    Regardless of what you celebrate, I want to wish all a very happy holiday season.

    • Kat Says:

      I always think Santa is a universal so hanging stockings is a perfect way to celebrate.

      I know that Chanukah is always in December, but this is the first time that I remember it and Christmas being the same.

      I love that movie. Though my childhood was a long way removed, they and we celebrated in much the same way. I watch it every year as part of the holiday tradition. “You’ll shoot your eye out.”The scene in the Chinese restaurant always makes me laugh.

      • Bob Says:

        It’s an old Jewish tradition to go to the movies on Christmas Day and to eat Chinese food.

        “You’ll shoot your eye out” is the universal mother’s reply to the air rifle request. I think it’s one of the 613 commandments in the Jewish bible required to be followed by woman who have male children.

  2. Zoey & Me Says:

    I think we are good to go. We won’t see the grandies until afternoon so will miss the awe of them seeing gifts under the tree but I’m sure the 12 year old is exactly as you described in this post. She will be peeking around corners most of the evening. My son and his wife had to put up with that last year and they always hide the gifts at her Mom’s house. So they will probably get to bed at midnight.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the nice weather you’re having up there. Still 80 degrees here.

    • Kat Says:

      Isn’t it a nice feeling to be good to go! My friends and I will open presents together tomorrow. I’ll open the ones from my family here, and then bring theirs to their house when I go to dinner. I’ll be having a mamosa or two in the morning!

      You also have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. olof1 Says:

    We were allowed to open up a gift of our own choise this morning as long as it was a smaller one or if my mother wanted to sleep a bit longer she told what present to open up so she would know we were occupied all morning without waking her up 🙂 🙂 🙂 The rest of the presents were usually opened at my Mormors (grandmother on my mothers side) later in the day.

    I didn’t mind as long as we didn’t have the Yule Gnome coming 🙂 🙂 🙂 The rest of the Yule days were days to go to other relatives or to bring them home to us. None of the adults liked each other to be honest but at least they tried during Yule 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Today I finally could stay at home, friends usually get a bit angry when one tries to stay at home during Yule, doesn’t matter if it is the biggest wish of them all. For some reason they think that it is awful to be at home alone at Yule even if I really want it 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I’ve eaten to much food and I’ve watched Donald Duck and his friends, Yule is complete 🙂 I didn’t buy myself any present yet though. I’ll buy a new TV in the sales that starts tomorrow, but I’ll wait until Tuesday before I get out in to that sales insanity 🙂 🙂

    Have a God Yule!

    • Kat Says:

      All our presents were under the tree, and my parents were there when we saw them and opened the wrapped ones. I don’t think they got much sleep going to bed late after putting the gifts out then getting up early with us.

      On Christmas day we usually went to my grandmother’s house, on my mother’s side. All my mother’s sisters and brothers would go too, and we had a million (or so it seemed) cousins running around the house. There were presenst there from relatives to open and toys to play with. I always fell aslepp on the way home.

      I wouldn’t really mind staying at home, but I’d want a few people over to help me celebrate.

      We’re just starting to celebrate here!

      Merry Christmas, Christer!

  4. Hedley Says:

    We have a houseful but everyone was gone by 8.30 am and I started wrapping. For the first time ever, there are some gifts under the tree before Christmas morning. Nothing is to be opened this evening and my study is full of items who’s shape and size give everything away.
    I’m watching Jets, thinking Lions, my son has arrived and all is good.
    I celebrate the gift of family and friends, and wherever you are, may your God go with you.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Today I’ll put out the food for snacking on while we do the gingerbread houses, but it’s mostly a few dips and an antipasto with cheeses and meats so little work. Everything is done and now I just get to celebrate.

      Pats are getting killed!

      Merry Christmas, My Dear Hedley!

      • Hedley Says:

        It was Chapel night, it did start with Silent Night and…
        My Detroit Lions blasted the Chargers and marched into the playoffs…Indi here we come !

  5. Danno Says:

    Not a reply; just a wish for a merry Christmas and a happy 2012!

  6. That Little Elf Says:


  7. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I’ve been to two parties today and had a surprise phone call from a far away friend. All in all a good Christmas Eve day. I’ve had too much to eat and a few too many glasses of Bailey’s so all is right with the world. Tomorrow I plan on doing nothing very much.

    Merry Christmas to you and I hope your gingerbread houses are magnificent.

    • Kat Says:

      Merry Christmas, Caryn

      The gingerbread houses are beautiful. I’ll post the pictures on my other blog tomorrow.

      I was into egg nog and Kahlua, and I think I’ll have one right now before I head off to bed. I’d hate to be awake when Santa comes!

  8. Kat Says:

    My Dear Hedley,
    The Pats pulled it out in the second half and are also play-off bound!

  9. Hedley Says:

    The Lions may have the luxury of resting players for next weeks visit to Green Bay. Looks like we will start in San Fran or New Orleans…SUH !!!!!

  10. Cuidado Says:

    Best of the season to you, Kat. Enjoy the day and some wonderful music.

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