When growing up, I remember how exciting Christmas Eve was, it was almost just as exciting as Christmas and it still is something I look forward to every year. My Mom and Mother-in-law that bring Christmas to an whole nother level, it’s that these women are INCREDIBLE cooks! In my parents household, my mom fills the island with savouring hors d’oeuvres like cold pizza, water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, jalapeno poppers (my hubby’s fav), franks buffalo wings and a zillion nacho dips… the smell lingering through the household is pure heaven! As a family we crowd around the island, stuffing our faces and reminiscing about the good old stories growing up, lots of embarrassing moments that make all of us squirm in our chairs, but those are our favourites! Christmas Eve is the least bit of fancy as far as setting the table, all that really matters is filling the chairs with our loved ones and indulging in the the endless amount of comfort foods. Just thinking about all the warm food makes my heart a little toasty- cheesy I know, but food is always a way to anyones heart in my family!

Spending Christmas between both Brent’s family and my own has always worked for us. Brent and I will spend a few days before Christmas at one of our parents and then travel onto the next. Thankfully our families only live less then an hour from each other so it always works out to spend Christmas with both sides. Christmas dinner at the DeKoning household is very traditional. Brent’s mom always has the table is set so beautifully with Christmas poppers and we always have to wear our goofy hats that come from inside those festive poppers. All of the adults and children pray and eat dinner together at the same table and the kids love sitting beside one another laughing at each others jokes or something funny Papa does or says. Grandma Frieda always has a little story to share after dinner as the little ones surround themselves around her. It’s a special tradition because Grandma Frieda used to do the same with her kids when they were little.

I love seeing how us kids growing up have our own traditions and how we get to share them with our own children- it’s one of the best feelings knowing that our children get to experience a little piece of our childhood. My husband, Brent, has a few siblings that live out of province or in another country. Every few years, the DeKonings have a house full to the brim with all of the kids and grandchildren home, it’s a bit chaotic, but it’s an overwhelming amount of happiness. We are so thankful we can spend Christmas all together every few years. Even though we may not live as close as we would like too, we are all still so close to one another!Now that Brent and I have created our own little family, we plan to carry some of our families traditions into our own. Our children are still fairly young, but I want my kids to grow up knowing what our traditions were and new ones that they will carry on to their own families. I will always have the same Christmas Eve filled with savouring hors d’oeuvres and Christmas movies like my parents have done. On Christmas day I will have a big traditional meal at the dining room table where I will bring out the fancy dishes, making the table feel extra festive. We will share silly stories about growing up and we will start new traditions like spreading feed around the house for Santa’s deer or opening up one present the night before Christmas. To me Christmas is about the traditions we carry, how each family has their own unique way to celebrating the holidays and how we combine traditions to fit within our own little families. It’s about sitting around the table, eating with one another and enjoying each others company. It’s about showing hospitality and inviting others to the table. It’s about making each other feel welcomed!
How do you spend your Christmas Eve, does it consist of your favourite holiday foods!?


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