Friday, December 26

A Burning Question

Growing up my family opened all of our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve and then Santa would leave his gifts on Christmas morning. My husband's family opened all of their gifts on Christmas day. For the past 15 years it has been our tradition to open one gift on Christmas Eve and all the rest on Christmas day.

My husband claims that my family is 'unique' in their tradition and no one else opens all of their gifts on the 24th of December. So I thought I would ask all of you to tell me your tradition. I have set up a poll to help settle this friendly dispute and please feel free to leave your comments, I do love hearing from all of you!

32 comments:

Kris said...

Growing up, we opened gifts only on Christmas Day, and went to Church on Christmas Eve. This year, since we don't have kids yet, we opened everything on Christmas Eve. We just couldn't wait! I think opening one gift Christmas Eve is a great compromise. Every family does Christmas in their own way - it's doing the same things each year together that makes it special.

An Aesthete's Lament said...

During my child, in our family, it was permissible to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and so we did, for decades. Once I became a parent, however, I nixed that as infringing on the element of surprise. Consider the dispute over. However, I offer you more evidence weakening your husband's case. Here is what Wikipedia states: "Christmas Eve is also seen as the night when Santa Claus (or some variant thereof) makes his rounds delivering gifts to good children. In the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary, where St. Nicholas (sveti Mikuláš) gives his sweet gifts on December 6, the Christmas gift-giver is the Child Jesus (Ježíšek in Czech,Jézuska in Hungarian and Ježiško in Slovakia), also known to most as Christkind. In Argentina, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay and Sweden, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th—this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry—while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia mostly on the morning of Christmas Day. In Finland Joulupukki and in Sweden Jultomten personally meets children and gives presents in the evening of Christmas Eve. In most parts of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Christmas presents are opened in the evening of December 24th ('Bescherung') and are brought by Christkind or Christchild (or alternatively by the Weihnachtsmann), who leaves the gifts but is never seen doing so. In Spain gifts are traditionally opened on the morning of January 6, Epiphany day ("Día de Los Tres Reyes Magos"), though in some other countries, like Argentina and Uruguay people received presents both around Christmas and on the morning of Epiphany day; there are also some countries, like the rest of Latin America, where people stay awake until midnight, when they open the presents. In the Netherlands gift giving on Christmas day is a fairly new phenomenon, because of the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas on December 5th".

kate (pm) said...

We opened everything on Christmas Day growing up (also b/c the 24th is my birthday, so it kept separate so only my b-day were opened on Christmas Eve). However, we shared the holidays with another family who opened family exchanged gifts on the 24th, and the Santa & the rest on Christmas Day.

pve design said...

Each family tradition evolves. Growing up - we opened on Christmas eve. My husband's family would open one on Christmas eve, drawing a name to have the name, and then preparing a poem for that person along with one gift. Your husband is right, that your family is "unique!'

Joyce said...

Growing up we actually opened our gifts as you do with your family. We would open one gift before we attend our church programs (sometimes p's sat through 3, make stops at 2 friend's homes, before stopping at our grandparents. Christmas Day we had our gifts waiting from Santa.

Micaela said...

We open our gifts on Christmas Day. No matter how much i begged to open ONE gift on christmas eve, it never happened. lol Also, we wait until after we eat to open gifts. As kids we HATED this but it always worked out for two reasons: My older siblings (there's 6 of us kids) had time to go to their bf/gf's houses to spend christmas with them since we were THE ONLY FAMILY (it seemed) that opened gifts late. The second reason I didn't get til I got older... that Christmas lasts longer that way. This year, me and my bf got to enjoy an afternoon movie (beat the crowds) and hold on to the magic of Christmas longer.

Either way, I like your "compromising" tradition ;) xo

ps. thanks for letting me ramble! ha

Anonymous said...

We celebrate Christmas Eve (Nochebuena in Spain) with my father´s family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins), and Christmas Day with my mother´s family, so we open gifts in Christmas Eve and in Christmas Day.

Plus, in Spain we celebrate "Reyes Magos" on the 6th of January. Being a catholic country, los Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Kings) have brought the gifts in Spain, on the 5th of January as children are sleeping. Most families celebrate Papá Noel (Santa Claus) with one family, and Reyes Magos with the other. I celebrate Reyes Magos at home with my parents and my brother. So we open gifts three times in Christmas Holidays :)


¡Feliz Navidad!

L said...

Our family tradition was like yours, Ronda, opened wrapped gifts Christmas Eve and awoke to unwrapped gifts under the tree from Santa on Christmas morn.

Ivy Lane said...

We do not open anything on Christmas Eve. We go to my Husbands family on Christmas Day and open our gifts, and then to my family the Saturday after Christmas due to traveling siblings!

I think lots of people celebrate on Christmas Eve. though..

Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

Anonymous said...

When I was a child we would one up one on Christmas Eve. Now we go to my parents and they open all the gifts from that side of the family. We open all our gifts and Santa gifts Christmas morning. Then go to my husbands parents in the afternoon an do all the gifts from that side. I don't really help your cause either way. :} Susan

Karena said...

Ronda, my family still has Traditional Christmas Eve at my parents. We all bring food, libations, have an adult exhange.The grandchildren/nieces/nephews have their gift exchange (they draw names on Thanksgiving) That way my large family can each open Santas gifts in the morning and go to their inlaws on Christmas Day.

Melinda said...

Growing up, we opened all of our gifts on Christmas Eve and then awoke to the gifts in our stockings...usually our nicest gift. Since my children still believe in Santa, we wait and open everything on Christmas morning. Our tradition is to give them a Christmas Book and an ornament to open on Christmas Eve.

While I love the excitement of the whole "Santa" thing. I think it will be fun to someday return to my family tradition of Christmas Eve exchanging.

Hope you had a lovely Christmas!!

My Wonderworld said...

In Norway everything happens on Christmas Eve - all the presents are opened etc.. :-)

ALL THE BEST said...

I LOVE all of these stories! Thank you for sharing them with me!!

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...

Ronda, we were allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve too! We looked forward to this more than I can tell you!!!! Hmmmm.... on what basis does your husband think this is unique? Because his family or friends never did it, or because he conducted a nationwide poll to find out what the national findings were? lol!

Happy Holidays!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

We did the exact same thing as you did - all gifts on Christmas Eve except stockings from Santa. Maybe it's a Texas thing? - my parents are from Texas.

We made the crab recipe you posted and it was loved by all - thank you!

Anonymous said...

When we returned from the Christmas Eve church service, we were each allowed to choose one gift to open. The rest had to wait until Christmas Day!

Tina said...

Growing up, if my family was at my grandparents house we would open them up on Christmas eve. The theory behind this was that it gave more room for Santa to leave presents. (there were usually 5-15 grandkids staying at the house). As we got older, we started opening them early (like 4 am) christmas morning. As our kids are getting older, it has progressed to this years 9 am. Personally I like the christmas eve opening the best.

Jackie Von Tobel said...

We've always opened one gift on Christmas eve ad it is always new pajamas and slippers to wear that night. The rest of the gifts are opened on Christmas morning. I think however your family has done things in the past it is natural to continue that tradition. There's no right or wrong way.

Happy Holidays

Patricia D said...

My family is from Quebec, and we always open our gifts on Christmas eve. We're supposed to wait until midnight (when baby Jesus is revealed- i.e. we remove the tissue paper that was hiding him in the manger!) but as kids we usually managed to beg our parents to allow us one gift an hour starting around 9 pm, and eventually just had everything open by 11! :) Another strange tradition is that we had stockings on New Year's, not sure if anyone else does that!

tcs said...

We did exactly the same as your family. It's a European custom.

Marnie said...

We opened one present on Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas morning - of course there was not much to choose from on Christmas eve because it was just presents from godmothers and grandparents under the tree and our presents to each other. We also picked a name at Thanksgiving - and only gave one present to one sibling - there were six children in our family - we tried to limit the spending and volume of presents. Our parents told us the best present to them was something homemade.

We just learned recently of two families that open presents from each other on Christmas Eve and presents from Santa on Christmas morning.

Best wishes for peace, health & happiness in 2009. I enjoy your blog

halcyon said...

My family always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa came on Christmas Dad. We would have a buffet supper and then open our gifts, and then later we would go to Midnight Mass. All the ladies wore long gowns and the men wore suits. My Mom and Aunt were both seamstresses and they would try to outdo each other.

Shelby said...

My family opened all of our gifts on Christmas Day. My husband's family opened most on Christmas Eve, with Santa gifts on Christmas Day. My father's family also opened on Christmas Eve. So I'm thinking your family's tradition is not as "unique" as Chris thinks! Bottom line - all family traditions are cool. :)

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, my family did the same as yours; we opened family presents on Christmas Eve to make room for Santa to leave wrapped presents under the tree to be opened by the children on Christmas Day. We always had Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve and a big special breakfast on Christmas morning. It made Christmas last longer.

ALL THE BEST said...

Again, many thanks for sharing all of these great stories! You all are the BEST!
Ronda
xoxo

Anonymous said...

We opened all gifts on Christmas Eve. Un-wrapped Santa gifts were for Christmas morning. Wrapped Santa gifts seems weird to me...

Edi Style said...

One every hour starting Christmas eve at 8... no :-)
My scotch sir will torture us first then let us pick one on Christmas eve

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, we were strictly Christmas morning people. I have always thought it a bit romantic to open one gift on Christmas Eve and my husband and I tried that a couple of years, but soon went back to our childhood traditions of waiting until Christmas morning. I must confess, the anticipation did make it rather hard to get to sleep on Christmas Eve when I was little!!

Anonymous said...

We open all gifts on Christmas morning (as did both my and my husband's family when we were growing up). It seems like there is the same split here in Canada between Christmas Eve and Chrismas morming, although I think the majority open gifts on Christmas morning.

cheers,
Blueberry

Angel said...

We also opened all of our wrapped presents on Christmas Eve before church and got Santa gifts on Christmas morning. I read another comment that said maybe it is a Texas thing. Could be! I also grew up in Texas and most of my extended family does it the same way.

Meander said...

I was actually at a Christmas party a few weeks ago and a friend of mine said that his family has always opened Christmas gifts (ALL of them) on the 24th. His father was a minister and perhaps he wanted Christmas day to center around Christ instead of material things, I'm not sure.
However, my family - nope, my Mom ADORES suprises, so nothing was opened or even peeked into until Christmas morning.
Fun times.