Christmas Eve Dinner Tradition

by Rebecca on December 22, 2011

Are you ready for the best, sure to become your most favorite Christmas Eve dinner tradition?  A warning from my mom: once you start this tradition, nobody will let you stop.  But I say, why would you want to?

Step 1: Get a small present for each person in your family.  In our little family, the present is an ornament.

Step 2: Wrap the presents — don’t attach any visible identifying name tags, but you’ll probably want to mark the bottom of each present so you know who they all belong to as you set things up — and place them in the middle of the dinner table.  Don’t let the kiddos see you doing any of this.

Step 3: Attach a ribbon to the bottom of each present, and lead it back to the plate of the person who the present belongs to.

But this is the tricky part: you have to wind the ribbon around the presents and the centerpieces, so that when people sit down to eat, they can’t tell which present the ribbon under their plate leads to.

I’m a horrible decorator, and awful at taking pictures of tabley things, but this gives a decent idea.  See how the ribbon all wraps around, and you can’t tell where it is or isn’t attached to the presents?

After dinner is over, clear the plates while everyone holds on to the ribbon that was under their plate.  On the count of three, have everyone gently pull their ribbon towards them until their present is in their spot!

My mom did this for our family for as long as I can remember, and even when I was home from college, I still requested (or demanded) she continue the tradition.  When I was little, I loved sitting through the meal, staring at the presents and trying to guess which was mine.  It’s the best tradition ever.

Because of messy schedules, we already had our Christmas Eve dinner this year.  This was the first year Lydia cared about this tradition, and she loved it.

Her ornament:

When I saw the ornament, I thought the little girl was singing, although I suppose she could just as easily be reading.  At any rate, Lydia loves to do both things — sing and read.  She’s a darn good singer, and sings all the time, so I told Lydia this ornament reminded me of her beautiful voice.

She said, “Oh,” and then eyed Daddy’s ornament that was a guitar-like instrument you can really play.

“Hey Dad, we can share your ornament,” she ever-so-kindly offered while her own adorable, chosen-with-love-and-care ornament lay discarded in a pile of wrapping paper.  Oh well.  One day, when she’s a famous singer, she’ll look at this ornament and actually like it.


Christy December 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

SUPER cute idea! I’ve never heard of this before but I totally want to do it. Lydia’s ornament is really cute, and original…I’ve never seen an ornament like that before :)

Emily December 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I love that tradition! What a great idea! (And she will love her ornament the most once Daddy’s loses its “new toy” appeal.) ;)

Diane Wright December 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I use to have a tradition kind of like that. Everyone got a little gift, wrapped and sitting on their plate (usually and ornament) which they opened before dinner, but now I have cut costs and no longer have a lot of my traditions, but Christmas is still magical.

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