Growing up we always had the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve and once in a while we were able to talk our parents into opening two (but not very often). The one gift that we always received on the night before Christmas was a new pair of pajamas.
It was so much fun to put on our new comfy PJs in preparation for the exciting sleepless night that was ahead. Once as a teenager I asked for and got a pair of pajamas with feet in them. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I use my foot as my temperature control when I'm in bed. If I'm too warm, I stick my foot out from under the blankets. Then if I'm cold, I pull it back under the blankets. That night when I was trying to sleep, I felt like my feet were in prison and it absolutely drove me crazy! Finally I had to change into some other pajama bottoms just to get to sleep and the next day I cut the feet off my new pajamas so I could use them.
Often when we got up in the morning my mom would have us all sit on the stairs and she would take a picture of us in our pajamas with our hair all wild and uncombed. I have a few of those pictures, but unfortunately, I can't find them right now.
We continued the PJ tradition with our own family and added another one. Each year we buy a unique Christmas ornament for each of the kids and they get to open them on Christmas Eve as well.
We try to find something that symbolizes an activity, interest or accomplishment that they've had over the past year. They run the gamut from a ballerina bear to Marvin the Martian for Amy. Kevin got his share of the traditional sports ornaments (soccer & basketball) to musical instruments, etc. And now we've added Andrew to the list and we're trying to get one for Terry and I together as well. I enjoy searching for something fun and unusual for them and who knows how long we'll continue...maybe when they have kids we'll stop giving to the parents...or maybe before that...we'll see.
I'm not quite sure what we'll do for Kevin this year, since he's in the Middle East and can't really keep an ornament with him traveling around. Maybe we'll get one and hold onto it for him...we'll see.
Since we moved back to Phoenix, we've added the tradition of attending the Christmas Eve service at Open Door Fellowship in the evening. The bonus is that Terry usually gets to play in the worship band at that service too. The privilege of playing music with such a dedicated group of musicians is always an honor for him and the highlight of any week. Truly, if he could only keep one activity in his life, it would probably be his music. He loves it and is honored to be able to share it with others!