I have always enjoyed Christms Eve. For my family, it is on Christmas Eve that we had a formal meal, usually something quite different from what we had normally--like cornish game hens. We also opened a present on Christmas Eve. We used to pick one at random, but later, my parents got us pajamas that we always opened and then promptly put on and went to bed. We're continuing that tradition with our kids. I'm looking forward to it. Growing up, I sang in our church choir so I always participated in our Christmas Eve service. The choirs would stand at the back of the church and the girls from the youth choir would begin the service by singing the first verse of "Once in Royal David's City." The rest of the service was a series of carols and lessons, quiet and unassuming, about the only time I ever really liked church. I sang my first solo at a Christmas Eve service to a packed church. I think I was in 7th or 8th grade. I was a tiny person, 4'11, less than a hundred pounds. My mother was terrified my voice wouldn't be loud enough to fill the church. It did. The service always ended with the congregation singing Silent Night while holding candles and then processing out of the church. As we milled around the hallways, still hearing the music, we would wish each other a Merry Christmas. The kids would exchange their hopes for what Santa would bring. I felt very much a part of a community then.
I miss this aspect of Christmas Eve somewhat, but I still try to maintain the unassuming and quiet manner of the service. We will spend the day relaxing, working on a jigsaw puzzle, watching Christmas movies, and drinking hot cocoa by the fire. After dinner, the kids will open a present and after they go to bed, Mr. Geeky and I will share some champagne before putting out the presents. It will be a quiet day and evening.