Solving the Christmas eve ‘how to’

Christmas in our home

Me and Pristine attempting to stay up until midnight. Pardon the unkempt hair, etc.

People celebrate Christmas differently around the world. In the Philippines where I spent 18 Christmasses,  we would stay up until midnight on Christmas eve to wait for the date to change to December 25 then have our Christmas dinner together with the whole family, exchange gifts and a lot of stuffs including fireworks, video games, karaoke – fun things to do with all the family.

In Japan, everybody basically just sleeps on Christmas eve. I found it strange that Christmas is a day not just for overly expensive Christmas cakes (which tastes superb, in fairness to being pricey) but also for lovers! You didn’t see that coming, did you? Hotels, from the posh to the ones in dimly lit streets are fully booked on December 24-25. It’s such a shame why Christmas day seems to be shag day in Japan. Excuse me for the lack of better word. *cough*

In the US, I guess people also sleep on Christmas eve with everyone celebrating it tucking their children to bed so parents can get busy playing Santa. Then they wake up on Christmas morning to open presents. To most, it would be cold and snowing outside. I like the sound of it – just like Christmas in the books.

So how do I spend Christmas with my family? My husband is not Christian and don’t know how to spend Christmas himself. He’s Japanese and I’ve convinced him since we got together that hell no, Christmas is not shag day (not that he insists). Basically, I man how Christmas would be spent in my house. The huz and kiddo are waiting for my instructions, so to speak. Do we stay up until midnight? Do we sleep ala silent night and open presents in the morning (minus the snowy scene outsde the window)? Of course the husband is resisting the idea of staying late until midnight to catch the date change to December 25th. When Pristine was a baby, it was pointless and I thought, the only way I was able to survive staying up late until midnight while I was in the Philippines was because EVERYONE in my house did, as the people all over the neighborhood, town, city. The whole place is celebrating. There’d be countdown to Christmas on the TV, fireworks at the strike of midnight whereas in Japan and here in Dubai, there’s nothing.

So, I’ve decided we’d do the silent night-open presents in the morning type of Christmas celebration. Staying up late on Christmas eve won’t work for me anyway because Christmas day December 25th is normal working day (we’re just lucky it was Friday this year – the usual weekend in the UAE so I got to stay at home) and I won’t function properly sleep deprived. Christmas day is also a normal working day in Japan.

This year we slept through Christmas eve and woke up to open presents. That would be our kind of Christmas from now on. No more attempting to stay up until midnight, no more looking like a Panda the next day.

How was your Christmas?

14 thoughts on “Solving the Christmas eve ‘how to’

  1. Merry Christmas to you and yours from N Ireland.

    We too had a lovely day (traditional here – Christmas advent candles, Christmas movie and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve, presents on Christmas morning, family here, and huge Christmas dinner) and are now enjoying a quieter Boxing Day.


  2. My Christmas is spent a little differently…On Christmas eve we eat really good food for supper (think lobster and smoked salmon…mmmm) and then we open all our presents! (except stockings..) Then we head to a big family reunion for a Reveillon. Reveillon is usually celebrated with French families, where they party after midnight mass…we do the same, save no one goes to midnight mass. Most go to mass at 9 or 10. Anyway, we just go to party and do a gift exchange. We head back home and open our stocking Christmas morning with brunch…I love our Christmas!
    Merry Christmas from Canada!


  3. So interesting to read about Christmas traditions (or lack thereof) in other countries! And you’d be surprised how much of the US doesn’t get a white Christmas or it’s hit and miss from year to year! 😉
    We sometimes would open one present on Christmas Eve after going to a Christmas Eve service. Then the majority of them would be on Christmas morning. Family lunch and relaxing to follow.
    Now we have 2 Christmases since my parents and in-laws are too far apart to see them all in one day.
    And this year we had a nice trip to the ER on Christmas night since Cory got a very high fever. He seems better now, but we are keeping a close eye on him. Joy!
    .-= Krista´s last blog ..Housing Adventures =-.


  4. Hi Grace, of course, we celebrated Christmas just like how we did in the Philippines. Me and my husband went straight to my parents house after our mini-vacation in San Diego. My niece and nephew couldn’t wait until midnight. They kept counting down the hours so I just ended up playing some Wii games with them 🙂 It was fun. I don’t think I can wait until the next morning to open my presents…LOL.

    .-= Anna @ pathtofatloss´s last blog ..Elimination Diet: The Conclusion =-.


  5. I make sure my girls are in bed early on Christmas Eve only because I still have to wrap Santa’s gifts. I usually spend the night with the lights off, listening to Christmas music, and admiring the tree. It’s my one last moment of peace and quiet before all the chaos of Christmas morning starts.
    .-= kailani´s last blog ..PatientStyle Socks =-.


  6. That’s very interesting because I had no idea that people stay up until midnight and celebrate Christmas when the date changes from eve to the actual day-I’m know that I would be able to do that because I normally stay up until all hours in the morning anyway(non voluntarily I might add).
    Our Christmas was a very laid back and relaxed one-We did the sleep and the open up presents in the morning which is our tradition.
    It was very nice 🙂
    .-= Kayla´s last blog ..Merry Christmas Everyone!! =-.


  7. We caught the 25hth at the beach. Sadly, our tent had to be disassembled and grilling had to be stopped prematurely. It wasn’t allowed, unknown to us. We still had the dinner there and our kris kringle. Twas different from what I have had in years. I got tired and had a good night’s sleep after. The trip was quite long for me.

    Nice photo of you & P there.
    .-= rose´s last blog ..catching the Eve outdoor =-.


  8. Hi Grace,
    oh such a beautiful picture! I love your daughter’s name, Pristine, so pretty.
    I loved catching up on all your recent posts. I didn’t know that about certain Christmas traditions and found it very interesting.
    I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and the Phillipines. My neighbors just moved to the Phillipines where she was from and all her family are there. She will be so happy back there.
    I find the Japanese alphabet (as you mentioned) so beautiful and I have always admired it. It sounds like your daughter will learn. Which reminds me, that was funny what you wrote about having patience and where to find some. Too bad we can’t bottle it up and sell it somehow!
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..I’m Dreaming…… =-.


  9. I missed the Philippine way of Christmas too. Here in the US we go to church at 10pm on Christmas eve then sleep through the night. We’d wake up on Christmas day to open presents.

    After 10years in the US, I still long for the jolly midnight mass and the fireworks at 12midnight when Dec. 25th starts. I do plan to go back to the Philippines on Christmas… well someday.

    Merry Christmas my dear friend!!! Maybe we can plan to spend Christmas in our home country together and have a big reunion. Oh, that would be a gigantic fun!


  10. I think I would LOVE to spend Christmas as they do in the Philippines – I’m like a child when it comes to Christmas… I hate to wait until the morning. 🙂
    I would find it so enjoyable to go to church together as a family have a party and a big meal and fireworks at midnight, then open the gifts. Sounds like an exciting rime.
    We oopened our gifts around 8:30 AM drinking coffee and eating Christmas cookies, then I made Mickey Mouse waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for brunch. Then we took a nap! 🙂
    .-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Good Will in a Box – at Crazy Adventures in Parenting =-.


  11. Merry Christmas from snowy Canada! Unfortunately it was not so snowy on Christmas day…it actually rained! Our day was, have breakfast, go to church for our special Christmas service at 10pm, after which we sang some traditional Christmas carols, then it was home for lunch (and a nap 😉 ) and then in the afternoon we gathered with DH’s parents, siblings, and all the nephews and neices for a nice turkey dinner!
    This year, instead of a gift exchange, we all put together a huge gift hamper for a needy family in our city through a evangelical outreach program.
    .-= willowsprite´s last blog ..Merry Christmas =-.


  12. It is quite amazing the variations of the Seasonal Chrismas holiday across the world.

    In Portugal, depedending on who you are and where you live (also for everyone round the world, not just by location) the 24th December is mostly celebrated and like so you wait until midnight to open presents, and then the 25th December is treated like a regular day.

    My mother’s birthday falls on Christmas Eve, so we tend to incorporate the seasonal value to make the most of the food and presents that are shared during the Christmas holiday.

    Surprisingly I don’t believe in Christmas, only in people during this occasion and the thought behind their festivity and exchange is always worthwhile.

    A very happy new year to you.

    Many new experiences await. 🙂

    It’s nice to find your blog. I found it over at
    .-= Ana Goncalves´s last blog ..Love is truth guided by you =-.


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