Christmas Day is for the traditional dishes, time with your relatives, and the hubbub of a full house. On Christmas Eve, you’re allowed to improvise.
Make Christmas Eve a night for your family and about your family. Make it about what you love. The Christmas Eve and dinner that night can be special without being over the top. This is an evening that should feel comfortable, relaxed, and casual. Plan a meal of your family’s favorite food that reflects your everyday family culture at its best. I know one family that makes hearty American chili on Christmas Eve. Another family that lived in the Southwest makes tacos and chiles rellenos. In my family, a few years ago we started making osso bucco, a stew-like Italian preparation of veal shanks my girls and husband love.
This Christmas Eve, try a new recipe, break tradition, or start a new one. Be unconventional! Every Christmas Eve, my girls each get to open one gift each. I can’t remember how this tradition started, but it stuck and became part of our family. When the girls were little, it boosted their anticipation of Christmas Morning, which I loved to watch. As they grew, opening one present became an opportunity to savor a special gift on its own without the clutter and chaos of Christmas Morning.
I encourage you to start a new tradition in your family this year. Invite over close friends, play a new game together, or transform your Christmas Eve dinner.
Tonight, you can do whatever you want.