Guest Post by Jen Malik

I love Christmas Eve. It’s a relaxing night (well, compared to the chaos of tomorrow morning) and offers a little time to reflect while the wee ones sleep. They’ll be jumping on my bed at the crack of dawn (or earlier), so now’s my time.

We usually have a simple dinner in the evening. It’s often our family tradition of fish. On more elaborate evenings, that might mean breaded and fried sole with homemade tartar sauce. On more tired ones, it’s Highliner fish sticks and chips for the crowd. Interestingly enough, both are met with equalled enthusiasm.

After dinner, we get the cookies and milk ready for Santa. And of course, carrot sticks for the reindeer. I never get tired of seeing the look of satisfaction on the kids’ faces when they see they gobbled up their snacks. Funny thing is, they often check the treat dishes before they even look at the presents.

Then the kids are off to bed, but of course, there are a few starts and stops along the way.

“Mommy, I can’t sleep.”
“I’m hungry.”
“When will it be morning.”
“I’m thirsty.”

You know the drill, but eventually, they drift off to sleep and it’s quiet once again. With a glass or red wine, I settle down to last minute wrapping and getting presents under the tree. And of course, the stockings need stuffing too.

I often look through the old photo albums…you know, prior to the digital age…and see how everyone has grown and changed. I think about Granny, who isn’t with us any longer and a few friends that have been lost along the way, but overall, it’s positive thoughts and remembering the good times we had.

Cap it off with a Christmas movie favorite and the night is golden. I can’t let a year go by without watching A Christmas Carol. My favourite is still the 1951 version with Alistair Sim (although I am considerably younger!). I’ll save the hilarious A Christmas Story (remember, Peter Billingsley) for a fun night with the kids and remind them, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” over and over again. They love this, or so I convince myself.

That’s pretty much for me. How does your Christmas Eve go?