Happy Holidays
Step-by-Step Preparation for Christmas Eve

Step-by-Step Preparation for Christmas Eve

Before starting the steps, let me tell you about my Christmas this year. Like any other year, my family gathers at my parents’ house, kids and adults, around a large table next to a buffet where food is presented.

Before dinner, when the kids were younger, we asked Santa and his elves to join us and entertain us with Christmas songs before giving away the gifts. Now that the kids have all passed the phase of believing in Santa, gifts are given among each family before going to my parents. But, let’s not forget the gifts offered among each other as siblings. We usually get small presents to our nieces and nephews, it’s priceless seeing the excitement on their face. Who doesn’t like to open gifts!

As for dinner, the dishes are usually the same each year. The turkey, in our case the chicken cause my mother says the chicken is juicier, is presented with rice, meat bits, different nuts and most importantly, chestnut. Another dish on our table is meat Roti with vegetables and puree (delicious). Pizza bites are always on the table, two types of salads, any type of quiche as a starter, and other amuse-bouche platters.

After dinner, my dad prepares a Christmas tree for the kids and hangs on it small white envelopes filled with a small amount of money attached by a playing card. Each kid picks a card from him and takes the envelope with the similar card. Kids love this game as they get to save some money from their grandparents. As for us adults, after the kids’ turn is over and it’s bedtime, we get the punch we prepared and there begins our Christmas night.

This year, I’m going to add the White elephant game to our Christmas eve. Everyone will play and it will be so much fun.

As for my family’s gifts, I’m changing the tradition this year. We used to open the gifts before going to my parents for dinner. This year, it will be on Christmas day, and I will prepare a riddle map for my kids to search for their gifts. I’m going to get them several small gifts to look for. It will add some fun to our Christmas day.

Here are the steps you can do to prepare for Christmas and avoid forgetting anything:

#1 Gifts

Gift ideas need some heavy brainstorming, at least for some of us. This is why, when the calendar strikes the first of December, I make a list of the people I want to gift. It would be a nice gesture to include in your list a gift for someone who doesn’t expect anything from you. It might be a colleague, a teacher or a friend. It can even be the postman or the person who helps you at the grocery shop.

So, set your list, think of a thoughtful yet cute gift, don’t shop the last days before Christmas; the massive number o f shoppers is unbearable, unless you want to feel the Christmas spirit and have no problem with jammed malls. If you don’t finish your gifts early, Christmas eve will come in no time and you will find yourself loaded with holidays errands.

P.S: If you think of getting your wife something useful for the like, like an iron for instance, I advise you to stay safe, you idea is very bad.

#2 Dinner

Well, where should I start. Although Christmas is all about caring and sharing, attending mass and family gatherings, whoever tells you food is secondary is definitely not being honest with you. Dinner IS in fact essential on Christmas especially if you’re hosting the whole family at your table. Make sure you choose dishes that are liked by almost everyone. To prepare for it ahead of time, you need to do the following a week before Christmas Eve:

. Set the menu

. Make a list of the groceries and ingredients. Don’t forget the beverages and the booze.

. Set a plan for the table decoration (after having the exact number of people at your dining table)

Some dishes can be prepared three or four days prior to Christmas and heated later. You won’t have much to prepare on Christmas Eve other than the presentation of your dishes and few last minute cooking platters. For special treats, you can add eggnog tasting to your set menu with different varieties. For main dishes, some follow popular traditions like the dish of the seven fishes which is originally American-Italian.

As for the table decoration, this can easily be done a day or two before Christmas Eve. First, you have to set the exact number of chairs. Then set the plates and the silverware (for different courses), the napkins, the glasses, and of course set the table Christmas decoration.

#3 Arrange Santa’s Visit

If there are kids in the family, Santa’s visit is essential. You either have to talk to a member of your family who can remain incognito, or contact an entertaining company beginning of December and book ahead of time Santa and the elves too. It will be a nice surprise for the kids. I wish Santa existed, at least I make sure I receive a gift every year.

#4 Hot Cocoa Station

Arrange everything you need to enjoy a mug of hot cocoa in a small bar set aside the Christmas tree or next to the dining table. To do so, you need the following:

. If you are many, you can find online carton cups with nice Christmas drawings. If you are few, you can personalize mugs specifically for each invited person. It would be considered a nice Christmas present. By the way, you can also personalize carton cups if you’re on a tight budget.

. You need coffee stir sticks or small spoons, but it would be more Christmassy if these spoons are wooden. It feels more the warm and cozy.

. You need mason jars in different sizes for the add-ons. Some need to be tall, others need to be shorter and larger. Decorate these jars to feel more festive, and label them to avoid too many questions.

. As for the toppings, there’s a long list, but these are what I suggest:

Marshmallows
Cinnamon powder or sticks
Whipped cream
Toffee bits
mini chocolate chips
crushed peppermints or candy canes or soft peppermint sticks
milk chocolate truffles
dark chocolate syrup
Grated white chocolate

It’s not the right time to watch your calorie intake. Enjoy the holidays. You’ll have time to get your sexy body for summer.

#5 Decoration

Do you want to prepare the perfect Christmas dining table? You need to follow these steps to avoid missing items.

. Tablecloth – If you have it in a plain color without any Christmas drawing, you can lay a long Christmas runner in the middle of the table. It gives good vibes and protects your table from wine spilling.

. Christmas tableware – The most appealing decoration on the table is usually the Christmassy plates and cutlery, you will be using them all night. Don’t drain yourself by matching bowls with the plates. You just have to keep the colors homogeneous, and this won’t be difficult as the colors of Christmas are common.

. Placemats – These are essential for placing hot dishes on your table without any damage. Round ones are advisable, they take less space than squared or rectangular shapes, especially that you’ll be needing space for your dishes and plates on the same table. As for the color, since the plates and tablecloth or runner might be colorful, it’s better to stick to the calm tones, like gold or silver.

. Napkins – Set on each dish, the color of your napkins should fit the whole setting of the table. Stick to the same tone of color. To place your napkin, the ring is the most common way to set it in. Choose rings with the Christmas theme. Make sure it gets along with the shade of your cutlery, that is, if your cutlery is silver, the ring better hold the same color.

. Table Center Decoration – And here comes the decoration we all wait for and which can be the most fun… the decoration of your table. You can set small Christmas accessories all over the tablecloth, next to the main dishes, and put a large centerpiece in the middle of your decorated table.

#6 Write a Letter to Santa

Christmas is all about the gifts when it comes to children. Even if they doubt the existence of Santa, the tradition of writing him a letter is for two reasons; First, you get them the gift they really want and watch them unwrap it eagerly . And second, to keep the letter a souvenir.

Can I write a letter to Santa? But not any Santa should read it.

#7 Chocolate Advent Calendar

Who doesn’t love chocolate? That’s another tradition the kids enjoy during the month of December. The advent calendar is used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. It’s a piece of card consisting of 24 (or 25) small numbered folds, one of which is opened on each day from December 1st till the 24th (Christmas eve) or 25th (Christmas day) to reveal a picture appropriate to the season with a small piece of chocolate. This calendar adds joy to Christmas for the kids. The advent calendar has no age restriction, so if your kid is crying coz someone ate all the chocolates of his calendar, we know who.

#8 Candy Stockings

Legend says that children put their stockings next to the chimney and fill it with carrots and sugar candy for the reindeer when they drop out of there. And in return, the reindeer reward them with gifts and presents. That’s what the legend says. But in our culture and many others, candy stockings are placed by children before their bedtime and wait for the next morning to see what their stockings are filled with. Usually, they are stuffed with succulent sweets and chocolate, but some like to fill it with small presents. They are traditionally hung over the chimney. If you don’t have one, you can either hang them on the Christmas tree or just lay them below it. Please choose clean socks if you don’t have Christmas stockings.

#9 Santa and Reindeer Treats

Santa’s reindeer need to keep going, they have a long night. Help them by preparing them food. It can be carrots anything else in your store room to gather a sack for Rudolph and his friends.

If Rudolph and his friends were late to arrive, please don’t eat their cookies.

#10 Say Hello to the Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Tis the season of the ugly Christmas sweater. On Christmas eve, family members vote anonymously, and the person with the ugliest or cutest Christmas sweater wins a candy prize. If they offer me a thousand bucks, I might consider wearing one.

#11 Secret Santa

This game is one of the best (at least for me). Besides playing it with your family members and friends, it can also be among work colleagues or classmates. Each of the members who would like to participate write their name on a piece of paper and put it in a bowl closed. Then everyone draws randomly a paper and keep it to himself. The name they get is the person they are bound to get a gift for on Christmas eve. This game is played a week before Christmas, and during this week, small surprise gifts and candy are secretly offered to the person each one has. What makes this game interesting is that this whole week, you’ll be waiting for a surprise on your doorstep or your desk, and you’ll be anxious for Christmas eve to know who’s the one sending you those Christmas presents.

I wish someone generous withdraws your name.

#12 Ice Skating and Snowman building

If you live in a city where your Christmas is white, add ice skating to your to-do list every Christmas day, unless you’re the pajama-all-day-stay-at-home kind of person. Christmas and snow are usually associated to give you the Christmas vibes (unless you’re in the land down under). Building a snowman with your kids is another activity which includes the whole family, it’s another way to feel the Christmas spirit.

#14 Attend a Christmas Eve Service

Attending a midnight or Christmas morning mass is a beautiful way to welcome the holidays and feel the real Christmas spirit. After your dinner and exchanging presents, church mass is a nice way to wrap up this special evening.

#11 Matching PJs

Matching pajamas can go beyond kids. It can include the whole family. You take a PJ family picture every Christmas to keep the tradition going and end up with great memories. The whole family wears matching Christmas pajamas and watch a Christmas movie altogether to end the evening.

#12 Craft Christmas Cards

You can create Christmas cards with your kids on Christmas eve for your family and friend. DIY cards are more personalized and much appreciated than store-purchased cards. Make sure to buy everything needed beforehand. You’ll be spending quality time with your kids, and at the same time, keeping them busy and entertained on Christmas eve.

#13 Prepare Christmas Activities

Arrange some Christmas games which entertains the whole family before and after dinner for young and adults. Here are the most common activities that come to mind:

. Christmas heads-up – Write names of Christmas characters on a stick note and paste it on each one’s forehead. Everyone has to guess the name from the hints you give them without mentioning directly who it is.

. Family Trivia – Each family member writes something about themselves on a piece of paper and put it in a basket. After dinner, pick a random paper, read it out loud, and family members have to guess who this trivia belongs to. Or you can just ask questions about Christmas.

. Scavenger Hunt – This game involves teams, and these teams have to find or do what is written on the list you give them. The team who first digs up the items or accomplishes the request on the list is the winner. Items to find may include old video tapes or a blue round item. As for your to-do things, it might be taking a picture of something specific or inventing a rhyming poem.

. Oven mitts game – It’s challenging to unwrap your gifts while wearing oven gloves, and it’s so funny when you can’t tear the paper with those large mitts.

. White elephant game – If you have a big family, this game is so entertaining especially that it involves all ages. Each family member has to buy a funny or cute gift and wrap it. The presents are gathered in a basket. You write the number of your family members starting from 1 on small separate papers and fold it. The numbers are put in a bowl for a random draw. The person who gets number 1 withdraws the present they freely choose. Number 2 can either take number 1’s gift from them or withdraw a gift from the basket. The fun of this game is that men can get sexy lingerie or spatulas, and women can get a box of cigars or card decks.

. Gingerbread house making – Host a competition of who can make the best gingerbread house from their favorite movie. Try not to eat much of your house before it’s done.

. Candy Cane hunt – With same rules as the egg hunt on Easter, hide candy canes around the house, and whoever finds the largest number of canes wins.

. Holiday Songs Pictionary – Pictionary in general is always interesting throughout the year, but playing it with Christmas songs is more entertaining as everyone knows the traditional Christmas songs. The family is divided into two teams. May the team who guesses the most songs win.

. Stacking Cups game – Have some red Santa plastic cups prepared. Players have only one minute to stack 10 cups in a pyramid, take them out in a diagonal shape, and stack them again but in reverse. If their pyramid falls, they have to keep on trying until it is complete. Who finishes first wins.

. Start a Story game – You start with a Christmas story by creating one sentence, and each family member has to add a sentence to the story until it is created. All the family, from the youngest to the grandparents, can participate.

. Reindeer Toss game – Get perfect V-shaped sticks to use as antlers, fix them next to the wall, and let the kids toss rings on the sticks.

. Holiday Bingo – Print snowman or Santa bingo papers and play bingo with marshmallows. The fun part is that you get to eat the marshmallows at the end of the game.

. Would You Rather game – Prepare a jar with questions of “would you rather…” Some questions can be: “Would you rather get one amazing gift or many small normal gifts?” Or “would you rather be an elf or a reindeer on Santa’s sleigh?”

. Marshmallow Cup Toss game – Same concept as the beer pong game, you place red plastic cups on a table and try to toss marshmallows in the cups.

. DIY Pinatas – Pinatas are not just for birthdays. All ages enjoy hitting pinatas and showering with candy. Create pinata ornaments filled with Christmas candy. Adults, watch out for your cholesterol levels..

. Rudolph Pin the Nose game – Blindfold the player, spin them around and lead them to the poster. Now let them try to pin Rudolph’s nose in its place.

. Hang the Ornaments Hands-Free game – Without using your hands, you and your partner have to hang a Christmas ornament on a thread. The faster wins.

#14 Take a Walk or a Nighttime Drive in the Festive Streets

What’s more joyous than driving around the brightest and best decorated houses in the neighborhood and listening to Christmas songs on your car radio. But these days, with the high prices of gas and fuel, I guess you’ll reconsider that idea.

#15 Donate

Donating is an important gesture that one can do on Christmas. You can donate clothes that you don’t need anymore and are in good condition. You can buy small gifts and offer them to orphanages. Preparing a basket of primary ingredients for a Christmas dinner (turkey or chicken, veggies, rice) and sending it to needed families is another way of donating.

#16 Volunteer

Do you want to be part of giving and sharing happiness with others? Participate by offering a hand at a charity dinner in homeless shelters.

#17 Prepare a Christmas Playlist

Add spice to your Christmas eve ambiance by playing Christmas carols during dinner and games. Prepare your playlist before Christmas eve to avoid wasting time changing the songs manually. You have lots to do besides music. It starts with Christmad carols before the kids sleep. After their bedtime, with punch going around, you’ll go with any kind of music.

#18 Read a Christmas Classic or Watch a Christmas Movie

After a long Christmas night, send everyone to bed by reading them a Christmas classic book like Uncle Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. All these classic books can also be found in movies. Imagine yourself sharing a soft warm blanket with your loved ones and enjoying a Christmas movie before falling asleep. In my case, The Grinch movie is suitable for my family cause we call my husband The Grinch ( yes, the Christmas spirit hasn’t yet visited him to change his grumpy mood on such holidays).

#19 Don’t Forget the Mistletoe

If you’re having a Christmas party at your house, add some excitement to the ambiance by hanging mistletoe here and there. Who’s gonna kiss who?

#20 Yearly Christmas Family Picture

You like memories? Who doesn’t! Take the same family picture in the same place every Christmas. You will see how kids are growing. Although it’s the era of Facebook and Instagram and.. and.., don’t count on keeping these pictures in just posts. Print it and save it in a special album for memories. Don’t be shocked with how fast we are growing! I don’t wanna see that.

#21 Buche De Noel

It’s a French tradition, and we can’t miss a buche de noel on Christmas eve. A white chocolatty one with crushed hazelnuts or almonds, or milk or dark chocolate with chocolate chip bits. Besides it’s festive decoration, it’s so yummi. I always encourage my family to eat well and get full, this way when it’s time for Christmas dessert, I’ll be the only one with some space in my tummy.

#22 Christmas Karaoke

It’s another way to entertain the family by gathering them around and playing Christmas tunes on Christmas eve. People will enjoy singing and others listening to their loved ones. Good luck with the ugly voices.

#23 Write a Christmas letter to your future self

Write yourself a letter saying what bothered you and what made you happy this Christmas, and what you hope to have next Christmas. You’ll open this letter next year on Christmas eve.

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