One of our Christmas Eve traditions is to stop preparing for Christmas.
That may seem like an odd thing to most folks. And, in truth, our way of stopping is very energetic. But consider what is going on Christmas Eve, all over the country.
People are frantically racing about making those last minute purchases. They are assembling bikes, swing sets, or any number of things with insufficient instructions. Preparations for a feast are underway in most homes. And everyone is in turmoil facing the impossible deadline of FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! Oh, wait, that's 5am on Christmas Day.
It's as if we've all lost our minds! Gift giving is an awesome way to celebrate the birth of our Savior. But it is only part of the celebration. By January first, many of those gifts will be broken, returned to the store, or forgotten. There is no Golden Threshold volume of gifts that will make the day magical. And there is no satisfaction in rushing about for days preparing for a half hour of ripping paper off of presents.
So we celebrate starting on Christmas Eve. At the chosen time, we quit preparations and anything not done can simply wait. We gather for a special feast … this dad makes Reubens for everyone. Then we have a “Night Before Christmas” poetry contest.
That may sound a bit aggressive, but it is neither a contest, nor is it restricted to poems. I write multiple poems for Christmas Eve each year. Some of the kids also write poems. We have also had Karate demonstrations, photo slide shows, songs written and performed, songs interpreted in sign language, and I'm sure more that I am forgetting at the moment.
There is no scoring or judging. We just share our creative offerings and laugh and share some more. It turns out to be a great time and the memories are priceless.
Maybe I'll get a chance to share some more of our eccentric traditions. Meanwhile, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.