My favorite Christmas tradition is celebrating Christmas eve with my very big family. Every year, my immediate family, my grandma, my aunts & uncles, 27 first cousins, and now, all the new spouses and babies all gather together to celebrate. I have always loved our Baum family Christmases and I am forever thankful for every single Christmas Eve memory that I have.
With being such a large family, it isn’t always easy to get every person together, but by a Christmas miracle, almost everyone makes it to Christmas Eve. When we were younger, all of the cousins would exchange names around Thanksgiving and every year, I couldn’t wait to get to pick out a gift specifically for one of my cousins and go around the circle to exchange it.
My grandmother still has one of the most AMAZING Christmas trees I’ve ever seen. It looks like the department store trees. It was (and still is) always so BEAUTIFUL, and it created in me a love for holiday decorations and glitter.
My grandparents also started the tradition of having THE Santa Claus come on Christmas Eve to my grandparents house so that all of us kids got to sit on Santa’s lap and receive a gift. Santa knew all of our names, and when I was young it was amazing to think that Santa brought a special present just for me with my name on it to my Grandma’s house. My mom would always play his elf, complete with a hat, and I will definitely try and find picture proof of this. Come to find out years later, my mom was the one whispering the names in his ear all this time.
Now as adults, Christmas Eve is still a time I treasure as a time to catch up with family, especially now that there are so many babies to love on. It isn’t about the gifts or Santa anymore, but to me, it is still one of my favorite nights of the year. All 50 of us in one home, talking, laughing, and just (loudly) celebrating the holiday together is so special. I think all of my cousins will agree that having a big family is the absolute best. Though we might not get to see everyone as much as we would like and despite the fact that there are so many differences between us all, Christmas Eve will always be my favorite day of the year and a time I hold so dear to my heart. My Grandpa loved Christmas and his family. He loved to celebrate his grandkids, to spoil them, to dance with them, and to share his love of the holidays. I am so thankful for the traditions he created and for the love that he put into making it a special day for us. The holidays are never the same without him, but I know he finds joy in Heaven with the fact that his tradition is still alive and that his family is still celebrating together.