Christmas Day Checklist

shallow focus photography of religious figurines
Photo by Jessica Lewis on
  • Wake up way too early because the kids didn’t sleep at all
  • Open presents, either from Santa or hard-working parents who paid for them
  • Eat breakfast – We make a sausage egg and cheese casserole.
  • Jump in the car, take off (drive about 2 hours with no traffic)
  • Arrive at first stop
  • Open presents
  • Eat lunch
  • Jump in the car, take off (30-minute drive)
  • Arrive at second stop
  • Open presents
  • Eat dinner
  • Collapse in exhaustion
  • Wonder how the kids are still going strong.

This is the short list, it used to be much longer and cover a much longer distance. Between the food, fun, family, and yes sometimes fighting, don’t forget about Jesus during this time. It’s the whole point of it all.

Christmas Eve Traditions


My Christmas Eve traditions have evolved over the years. Long story, bear with me.

Grandparent Traditions

We used to wait for my Dad to get off work and ride to my paternal Grandparents house. We would usually be one of the last to arrive since my father worked for Federal Express helping Santa’s sleigh finish it’s route. Upon entering their home, you would be greeted by the warmth of the floor furnace. It was a open grate that continuously pumped heat. I’m not sure how that was safe and that we didn’t get roasted as children. I swear you could smell your shoes melting.

There was plenty of food and it all tasted fantastic. However you couldn’t smell any of it. All the adults smoked cigarettes which built a nicotine barrier that food aromas couldn’t break through. Christmas Eve always felt like the longest evening. We would stare at the mountain of presents under a 3 foot tall already decorated tree that was erected before the evening and taken down the next day. The grown ups wanted to sing by the piano but we wanted to see what was under all those wrappings. Once we started opening presents (after a few 10 minute delays) it didn’t take long before the night was over and we were on our way home.

Starting our Own

We live just far enough where we have to do our own thing for Christmas Eve. Otherwise we would have to spend Christmas morning at someone else’s place. I want my kids to wake up in their own house on Christmas morning. We keep it pretty simple. We watch Christmas movies and bake treats. We have a nice steak dinner at a restaurant and then attend a Christmas eve service at our local Church. We then drive around and look at Christmas lights. We come home, open one gift and then put the kids to bed. We then watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation while we wrap and assemble the kids gifts.

It’s important to start and keep traditions, but also remain flexible. Someone in your family is always going to be unhappy, don’t let it be you.

Text message reply time.


  • Your spouse: Immediate.
  • Your co-workers: 15-20 minute delay if you are dumb enough to give them your personal cell phone.
    • Don’t set expectations too high for your availability
  • Family members
    • Parents: within the hour, or next day, depending on the guilt trip that’s attached
    • Siblings: 1 day
    • Cousins: 2-3 days
  • People who want a favor: delete immediately and never respond.
  • When someone is in the same room: shout across the room your reply
  • While driving: Whenever a police officer is not looking.

What is your standard text message reply time?