We don't put gifts under the tree until Christmas Eve. But on that special night, after dinner, when the dishes are done, everyone settles into the living room for our traditional bringing of the gifts.
All the presents that we have been secretly buying, making, wrapping and storing have been gathered to one room of the house tonight. And beginning with the smallest child and working up, we take turns going to that room, getting as many presents as we can carry and bringing them to the tree.
On the way to the tree that person jingles bells. When everyone who is waiting hears the bells they must close their eyes until the presents are under the tree and the bells stop. Then they may open their eyes and see who the new presents are for. This repeats until all the gifts are under the tree.
It is also our tradition that there is one gift we each get to open on Christmas Eve. Once the last present has been brought to the tree, Mom searches out the secretly marked “chosen” packages for each one. It is expected and yet, it's a surprise because every year our traditional Christmas Eve gift is (insert drum roll here) new PAJAMAS!
Two years ago it was nice fleecy ones. Last year it was comfy cotton pajama pants made by mom with a matching t-shirt. This year… well, I can't give it all away, but if you have to have a hint. . . let me just tell you that lately more than one of our children have been enjoying the classic TMN Turtles cartoons that Daddy grew up on, and their Christmas Eve gift will have something to do with that.
Once everyone gets changed into their new PJs, we take a family photo, finish up family devotions, and put the excited kids to bed. But sometime during the night “someone” comes back to the living room and arranges the gifts neatly under the tree.
Occasionally we also discover that that person has included a few more “special” gifts too. The kids are all amazed Christmas morning at the transformation of the chaotic pile of gifts from the night before into neat and tidy rows arranged by size around the tree.
Whether you want to start a new tradition with your family this Christmas season or just enjoy reading about the traditions of others, you will want to check out this list of ideas by my friends at the Inspired Bloggers Network. Here are just a few of their great holiday traditions posts:
Abundant Life – Traditions for Focusing on the True Meaning of Christmas
Raising the Barrs – A Christmas Book a Day
Homemaking With Heart – Celebrating Advent with a Jesse Tree