Christmas is the time when we genuinely are trying to be and do better as Christians. It is the time when old traditions remind us of the fundamentals truths in life, and new traditions teach us to enshrine family values.
Christmas eve and Christmas day are the holidays when we can allow ourselves to be all cute and fuzzy, to be corny and imitative because let’s face who doesn’t like to be happy during the magical holiday season? Here are some popular Christmas traditions that I love and that I am trying to keep alive 🙂
- Gathering around the table on Christmas eve. As Christian orthodox, I was raised to anticipate the birth of Jesus Christ at home with my closest family and friends. We would put 6, 9, or 12 lent dishes. My personal favorite that I always prepare for the holy night is bean salad with chopped steamed carrots, pickles, and onion. Easy and delicious, as well as lenten, this salad is perfect for the table on Christmas eve. The key ingredient for that salad is to use Bulgarian lutenitza instead of dressing.
- Waiting till midnight to open the Christmas gifts. After weeks of piling up presents under the Christmas tree, the best moment is, of course, to open them and see what Santa got for you 🙂 If it gets too late and everyone is sleepy, better wait for Christmas day to unwrap the shiny boxes.
- Pancakes and hot chocolate early on Christmas day. There is something special about cooking breakfast on Christmas day, even though we all splurge from time to time, or every Sunday. But wearing pajamas all day and eating in front of the TV is true #christmasdaygoal. Combine with hot chocolate or cappuccino finished with nondairy whipped cream and cinnamon!
- Watching “Home Alone”. Ok, I know this is cheesy, but don’t take it literally. You can always substitute the movie with a recent version of Christmas Fairy tail production. No guarantees that it will be that good, though.
- Going for a walk on Christmas day. Even when everything is closed, taking a walk on Christmas day could be amazing if the weather is pleasant. The Christmas lights are much more romantic without the crowds on the streets. Even better activity is to go for a skate if there is a place open during the day.
- Sending Christmas wishes. Make a list of all the people who have positively touched you during the year and send them Christmas cards. Every year I take an hour to sit down and send emails (of course prepared in advance) & messages to all associates, business partners, colleagues, and friends. No better way to reflect on the past 12 months but thanking them and wishing for better prospectives in the years to come.
- The Law of attraction. If you believe in the Law of attraction like me, you probably know the concept of visualizing. What better way to combine the Christmas miracles with your most profound dreams all in one sock? Get yourself a Christmas sock with your first letter or name, or initials and write a little piece of paper with your most sacred wish in it. Leave it there till after NYE and meanwhile concentrate your thoughts and prayers on that wish.
- Give back to others. If you haven’t started a month ago, its never too late to do a good deed and donate or make someone’s day special. I usually choose events in which I can participate according to my schedule. This year I decided to organize the event mysels. It takes little to no effort to collect old clothing and home goods and give them to people in need. Weather in the USA where I reside or in my native Bulgaria, many people live in miserable conditions. It’s our obligation as Christians to find a way and help them. Check for activities on Facebook or Google, join a toy drive, or connect people that are willing to give with people in need. I assure you this tradition will be the most rewarding for you.
- Bring yourself some cheer(s). If you are a fan of eggnog, please feel free to knock yourself out. I am more of a wine person, so I like pleasing myself with a nice bottle of wine. You might say that it is not a tradition if it happens often, and you will be right. But on Christmas, we drink with our loved ones around the fireplace (preferably) and share stories that warm our hearts. At least I do — highly recommended Christmas tradition.
- Game time! If you cant, agree on a movie, and you still wonder what to do Christmas days off a perfect for challenging your knowledge and having fun playing a game. For old fashioned folks, monopoly or twister might be the best pick. I personally like a challenge like Cards of Humanity.
To make the holiday atmosphere more joyful and magical, make sure your home smells like Christmas – with aroma candles, peeled oranges, and lots of popcorn. Play Christmas songs that bring you in e better mood. You can’t go wrong with all-time favorites like Mariah Carry’s “All I want for Christmas is you” or George Michael’s “Last Christmas.” I like Dave Koz’s collection of Christmas Jazz and Michael Buble’s concerts.
Merry Christmas, all!