The Night Before

For the last ten or fifteen years, my favorite part of Christmas has been our family’s Christmas Eve meal.

We call it our “Shepherds’ Meal” and we have a very simple dinner – soup in bread bowls and sparkling cider (the only occasion in my life that there is actually enough sparkling cider to drink as much as you want). We sit on the floor near the fireplace. We wear various costumes, mainly of the bathrobe and towel variety, although my Aunt Miriam really helped us step it up a few years ago with a large box of Biblical costumes.

Afterward, we recite the Christmas story from Luke (years ago, my parents assigned each of us a verse or two and we memorized them. Even now, only doing it once a year, we can recite our parts without mistakes on that evening).

This has been a terrific part of our Christmas celebrations for all these years. It is a low-stress, low-preparation meal, it’s quiet and low-key at the end of the day, and it focuses on the birth of the Savior, and away from the frenzy of gift anticipation and Santa and the other fun, but ultimately non-central parts of Christmas, which sometimes can become just overwhelming, especially for kids, on Christmas Eve. 

It’s a tradition that I love, and one that Bart and I plan to carry on with our own children someday. 

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  • Reply Melanie December 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Sounds fun. A few years ago we started having soup and salad as our Christmas Eve meal with just my immediate family. It gives me a chance to get creative in cooking new soups and compiling new salads (my extended family is picky, so we have the same old boring Christmas dinner each year), and it's light enough to leave room of all of the Christmas treats that are invariably sitting around the house.

  • Reply Marie December 20, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Wonderful tradition. Just curious – who took the picture in your post?

  • Reply Kimberly December 20, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    That's really neat! I'm always looking for some ideas to steal.

  • Reply Peaceful Reader December 20, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Nice tradition! Growing up we had oyster stew and cider every Christmas Eve.

  • Reply Bean December 21, 2009 at 5:13 am

    I like it! We always do chili and bread sticks and play games.

  • Reply hollyhs December 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    love it!!! what a great tradition!

  • Reply Merrick December 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Guess what? I get to be pregnant mother Mary this year 🙂

  • Reply Yankee Girl December 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm


  • Reply Noelle January 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I think I want to start this tradition in my little family 🙂 Thanks for the idea.

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