New traditions: Christmas Eve Party

Can’t help starting this post with the latest addition to the family, Ms. Maggie and her pretty Christmas bow. 

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My parents explained to my brother and I that the Newc family (dad’s family, see where I get my blog name from?) had a wonderful Christmas Eve party every year. Thinking back on my childhood, I remember getting all dressed up and going to grandparents in Wilmette on Christmas Eve and hobnobbing with my family and their friends. Mixing of memories or my true youthful Christmas Eves – not sure…

My grandfather owned a boat with a wonderful man that taught himself seven languages who I remember being fascinated by as a kid. My grandmother is a silhouette artist and the house was always full of her work and sailing antiques. We would change the ink in the barometer (maybe? Papa – correct me here!) and eat cheese and crackers and drink rootbeer – soda was a treat we didn’t have often at home. Haven’t thought of these things until my parent’s Christmas Eve party this year!

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There is something wonderfully relaxing about spending the day before Christmas with friends, new neighbors and old, and family, sharing in family food traditions and holiday cheer without the pressure of a format sit down dinner. Crowd favorites were baked brie with orange marmalade, homemade Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches, spiral ham and Waldorf salad. Cheesecake from the store and homemade brownies rounded out the evening and everyone left full, happy and in good spirits for the holiday ahead. 

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Now possibly the best part to all of this — Christmas Day had zero pressure. No rush to get ready for fancy dinner, no rush to do anything except reading the books left under the tree by Mr. Clause. This is the first year that I can remember that we didn’t have my dad’s famous lasagna on Christmas Day, but he made it the day after so all is forgiven. This might be my new favorite holiday tradition – a Christmas Eve party followed by a relaxing Christmas Day spent in pajamas. 

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We’ll wrap this with Mr. Calvin, the king dog in the house. What are your favorite traditions? How are they evolving as you grow up?

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