Can you believe it is almost December? That is very exciting! You know why? Because Christmas is almost here! And Christmas just happens to be my favourite holiday - especially since becoming a mom. It’s so much more magical now. I get giddy with excitement for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
A tradition I have always loved has been celebrating Christmas Eve with my entire family. Every year since I can remember, we hang out at my parents house in front of the fireplace, drinking and eating appetizers, as Greeks do any day of the week, watching Christmas movies on TV and getting into heated discussions about Greek politics. And we've even had a few unexpected visitors on Christmas Eve, too, from the nice folks from the local fire department!
At 11 p.m., we get dressed and head to church for midnight mass - there is something so beautiful about this, I think, and to me, it's the true meaning of Christmas. After midnight, we go back to my parents house where we eat a huge dinner that lasts until well after 1 a.m.
Dinner consists of lamb, potatoes, Greek chicken rice soup, tiropites (cheese pies) salad, bread, cheese, araka (a pea dish) and of course, wine. A little heavy for a midnight dinner, but one that is enjoyed very much! Oh, and of course, dessert and coffee, because we need that caffeine fix!
After we eat, we make our way, with great difficulty, to the living room, where we open presents like crazy people. Gifts are being tossed here and there, and all you can hear is 'Thank you!' 'I love it!' and from my sister, 'Loukia got more presents than me!' and 'What? That's not for you, there must be some mistake... where is the coat I bought your father? Oh, shoot, I forgot to wrap it!' There is mass confusion, a lot of laughter, and a lot of noise.
Now, this tradition has changed a bit since I've had my children - we do the dinner early, and then open the presents so the boys can fall asleep before midnight. They'll enjoy midnight mass when they're a bit older!
Adding two little people into the Christmas Eve tradition is even more crazy, if you can believe it... imagine a lot of loud toys, giggles, tantrums and the pitter-patter of little feet searching for batteries!
It's a tradition like no other, a family tradition that I look forward to every single year - it's the most beautiful time of the year, made more lovely by the falling snow, the glittering lights, the lit candles, the beautiful Christmas tree and the nicely wrapped presents - and all my loved ones together, celebrating.
The next morning, we celebrate at home with our children, where they open even more presents, including "Santa's" big gifts, and their stockings, hung by the fireplace.
We then make our way over to my in-law's house, for another huge Christmas Day feast, and yes, more presents. The festivities last all day, and that evening, the thing that is on everyone's mind? Sleep... blissful, wonderful, much needed sleep.
And of course, I start planning my diet yet again, because in those two days alone I'm sure to have gained at least 5 pounds!
Ah, yes... traditions are the best!
In keeping with the Christmas theme, a fabulous interview with some of my most favourite awesome bloggers will be up on my blog very soon - so stay tuned! You'll love their answers!