I do not recall what year this family tradition of ours officially started, but since it has we have not missed one year. My parents were both educators and were the entire time I was growing up. My father was a high school teacher teaching several subjects including English, Poetry, American Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Enrichment, and yes the list does go on, believe it or not. If you are wondering... no, never play Trivial Pursuit with the man because you WILL lose. My sister-in-law while she was living with us for a short time challenged him every night for I think a month and still never beat him. Probably the closest anyone HAD come but it still didn't happen.
Anyway, my mother was an elementary teacher teaching 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th. She taught 1st grade the longest and that was truly her favorite age. I say they did teach, as in past tense, because my mom is currently an elementary school principal and my dad is an Instructional Facilitator for the high school.
Okay on with the tradition... since our family was absorbed in education, every year for Christmas my parents would end up buying everyone a book. Somehow (I was too little so I don't remember exactly how) we ended up unwrapping these on Christmas Eve instead of waiting until Christmas morning. I think because we really wanted to open something and my dad usually wanted his book so he could stay up reading it Christmas Eve night waiting for us kids to go to bed so he could put out all our toys! However it happened, my mom would wrap up the books and place them on our plates for our Christmas Eve Dinner. This was a big deal - the good dishes, candlelight, the works! And before dinner we would open our books, ooh and ahh and flip through them, reading the beginning to perk our interest, and then we would have to put them aside while my dad read from THE BOOK: the Bible. My dad would read the Christmas story from one of the gospels (we would mix it up every year) while the rest of us took the Nativity pieces and the first mention of the name of the character we had we would place them in the middle of the table in its right spot! Once books were opened and THE Book was read, then dinner would officially begin! My request was always Cherry Glazed Ham, yum yum!!
Even though both my brother and I are both grown and have families of our own we ALL still do the Christmas Eve Book Dinner!
Photography by Heather for this post...