Christmas Eve at Midnight Tradition

Our Over-the-Top Outdoor Display

All photos in this article: copyright Liz Elias 12/5/2010
All photos in this article: copyright Liz Elias 12/5/2010

A Magical Hour

Midnight is the halfway point between what was and what will be. It is the perfect time for reflection and new beginnings shared with old traditions. We observe several holiday traditions at the Yuletide season.


I eagerly embraced these traditions that were old to my current husband, but new to me. In the years I spent with my ex, he was not at all impressed by the Christmas/Yule season, and would just as soon have hibernated.


Growing up, though, there were traditions in my parent's household, and I missed them sorely. That is why I was so willing to embrace new ones with my new hubby. ;-)


We go all-out with the decorations--it takes us almost 3 weeks starting the day after Thanksgiving--to get all of it done, both indoors and out, working on it in our spare time.


It is a childhood dream fantasy come true. I used to love going on rides with my folks to see all the holiday decorations around town, but they never did any outdoor display, and I always wanted to do that.

The Tree Village

Nope--no gifts go under our tree.  The cats would unwrap them and create mayhem, spoiling surprises.  We have trouble enough keeping them out of the village!
Nope--no gifts go under our tree. The cats would unwrap them and create mayhem, spoiling surprises. We have trouble enough keeping them out of the village!
Note the out-of-scale pine cones.  They are new this year--heavily fragranced with clove and cinnamon, it serves as a partial deterrent to at least one of the cats, who cannot stand that smell.
Note the out-of-scale pine cones. They are new this year--heavily fragranced with clove and cinnamon, it serves as a partial deterrent to at least one of the cats, who cannot stand that smell.

A Bite to Eat

While some put out milk and cookies for Santa and carrot sticks for the reindeer, those traditions are reserved to households with young children.

Our tradition is a warm fuzzy one that is adult in nature, only because it is about together time and relaxation after the hustle and bustle of the decorating, partying and shopping leading up to the holiday. Also, if there are youngsters in the house, by midnight, they should have long since been tucked into bed to ensure 'no peeking' when Santa arrives.

Cookies are still present, and yes, a present--pun intended--but they are for the grownups to enjoy in that special space between the days.

Enter the serving tray, bearing large, soft, chewy, iced molasses cookies and steaming mugs of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Throw in soft music and toss a Yule log in the fireplace if you have one. (We have to settle for a fake electric one these days.) Cuddle up on the couch in the dark and enjoy the decorations with only the tree providing light.

The Final Touch

As we sip our hot cocoa, or maybe afterwards, we join in our own new tradition of hanging the last ornament on the tree.

When we met, we bought a special ornament for our first Yule together, and every year since, we buy a single, special ornament.

We take that ornament, and together hang it front and center on the tree, and that completes our decorating.  It is our moment of togetherness, peace and quiet before the mad dashing around that occupies Christmas day, and we cherish it to the fullest.

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Comments 10 comments

Christine B. profile image

Christine B. 6 years ago from Medina, Ohio

I love this idea--thanks for sharing it. Christmas Eve was our favorite time of the year with our family, as well. We all gathered at my grandparent's home to eat until we exploded and then opened our gifts. The entire family would be there... and although there might have been mini feuds during the rest of the year, everyone got along on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Eve I remember most was the year I was in the 10th grade and dating Andy Ryba. He was the boy who lived down the street and we were attracted to each other for years before we began dating. We spent the holiday at my home in Parma with my family that year, and then he and I went to midnight Mass at St. Charles. It was a special Christmas that I will always remember. Andy has passed away, but he and all the members of my family who have joined him on the other side will always remain alive for as long as I cherish their memory.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thanks, Christine! Glad you enjoyed this bit of fluff. Your story is great, as well. Thanks for adding it!


sagebrush_mama profile image

sagebrush_mama 6 years ago from The Shadow of Death Valley...Snow Covered Mountain Views Abound!

What a sweet way to finish decorating the tree together! I love it!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 6 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@sagebrush_mama

Glad you liked the hub! Thanks for stopping by!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

LOVE the holiday village under the tree! Just perfect Lizzy! Merry Christmas to you and yours.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 5 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thanks, stephhicks68--

Glad you enjoyed it!

Oooopss... my bad. Senior moment, there I guess, forgetting to give you the link. :-O

A very merry holiday to you and yours as well.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

What beautiful traditions, and that village is simply amazing. Your cats are indeed well behaved not to venture in the midst of it and plop right down where they can enjoy it better up close (where mine would be). I like your over-the-top outdoor decorations, too. I've always wanted to do that.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello again, FlourishAnyway!

Thank you so much. But don't kid yourself--the cats (all 6 of them) do make regular forays through the village. Miss Fuzz and her sister are the main culprits, and will sneak in to lie under the tree. Tigger (the largest kitty) also likes to lie under the tree, and usually sneaks in after we've gone to bed. Jigsaw Puzzle steps through very carefully, merely on his way to his accustomed perch on the windowsill. (After all, they have access the rest of the year, when the small couch is there instead of the tree.) But, as it's a very low windowsill, they can easily get there from the floor, and will not be deterred.

However, there is sometimes mischief involving the lower branches of the tree and ornaments, so the squirt bottle is always at the ready....and all the lowest ornaments are plastic ones...a lesson learned the hard way. Knock wood, none of them have ever attempted to climb the tree! This year, with a juvenile kitty just over a year old, and the two trouble-making sisters, we omitted the figurines (seen in these photos) that usually add to the village ambiance. ;-)

I'm glad you enjoyed our decorations...we do have fun, but it's getting very physically challenging, and this year may be our last hurrah. (The photos are from a couple of years ago.)


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

I love the business about the new ornament. When you get them one at a time, each ornament takes on meaning. I feel like almost every ornament on my tree has a little story.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello there, Dolores.

Thank you very much. And yes, every ornament is special.

It has been a fun tradition, though this year, we got a bit impatient, and did not wait for Christmas Eve. Hee hee. I guess the t-shirt my husband received as a gift applies. It reads, "I'm not old, I'm a recycled teenager!" Thanks much for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed this.

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