For us, Christmas Eve involves Lasagna and seven-layer salad with Garlic bread and andes mints or mint fudge brownies for dessert.
This year we'll be singing in the Christmas Eve service, which I haven't done in many years but it used to be a given each year growing up.
Christmas morning I make cinnamon crumb-top strawberry muffins before we open presents. Then we usually spend a quiet day at home or got to my parent's house nearby, where every other year we do a hidden message hunt around the city that my dad plants clues and puzzle messages for all over town days in advance.
Each year I also organize a caroling ministry at our church, assembling gift bags and then visiting some of those in our church who are suffering or experiencing some difficulty. We sing them a few carols, and give them a bag of baked goodies, and for some reason I can't explain, God seems to use it on a very powerful way. ALmost every year I come away with a new story of how someone became more engaged with the church because of our visit, or finally began the grieving process for their recent loss because of our visit, or who was praying and morning their inability to attend and worship in song in church moments before our surprise arrival. For such a "cheesy" thing, God continues to orchestrate things I never expect. As a result it's become a vital component to my Christmas experience each year.
Leading up to Christmas we've started some advent traditions, including a daily calendar with a different activity each day. They are mostly for the boys and are often very short (sing Christmas carol, read picture book). Although it adds a bit to our schedule I like it because it spreads out and prolongs the experience while also giving opportunity to talk about the significance of the birth of Jesus slowly and casually, rather than trying to force a "teaching moment" on our boys or a "reflective moment" on ourselves on one or two days when Christmas comes around.
I also make a point of not listening to any music but Christmas music from Black Friday to New Year's Eve. (Strange, I know) I'm a big fan of 181.fm (website) and their Christmas Classics channel. Sounds great while playing Fallout, too!
Speaking of, I've also started a tradition of keeping a small candle in my office that I light each night while playing video games and sometimes during the day while working. Just a nice little atmospheric touch that inexplicably relaxes me an extra drop.
So how about you guys? What does Christmas look like for you?