When I was in college, I was lucky enough to spend a semester in London studying British literature and art and seeing firsthand the country of my ancestry. It was a very special time for me, and one that I hold dear in my memory.
My semester finished up in December, and a few days before returning home, our hosts, a lovely couple named Tony and Tina, treated us to a special Christmas dinner, complete with a pile of Christmas crackers and a special Christmas pudding. I had never seen a Christmas cracker before my time there, but it was so fun to pull it open and reveal it’s hidden treasures. It’s a simple thing, but so much fun! One of my very favorite photos of my whole trip is of a group of us posing in our tissue paper crowns.
Years ago, back in the States, I was thrilled to find a large selection of beautiful Christmas crackers and couldn’t resist buying some for our family’s Christmas celebration. Since then, they have been a constant part of our Christmas Eve tradition that reminds me of my time in England and that my kids love as well.
Games, crafts and sweet treats have always been a part of our Christmas Eve traditions, and I love that I can easily incorporate some of my favorite British traditions into our evening to make the night extra special.
Since we always do a big meal on Christmas Day, we like to keep our meal pretty simple on Christmas Eve. Usually we pick up take out, and for treats, I like to pick up a couple of traditional English puddings, some shortbread cookies, and hot chocolate.
The Sticky Toffee Pudding is one of my very favorite things, and it pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We love to play games, and I was so excited to see that Cost Plus World Market carries sets of crackers that double as activities and games. I picked up this adorable set of crackers that contains a penguin racing game!
I also picked up a set of more traditional crackers that contained jokes, crowns, and small games and toys.
A few years ago, we started the tradition of decorating stockings on Christmas Eve. I just pick up blank stockings and pull out some paints and fabric markers, and everyone enjoys the creative outlet. The natural burlap stockings are perfect for decorating.
I also picked up a box of small wooden snowflakes to paint and add to the stockings.
All of these traditions make our Christmas Eve so much fun, and they help me celebrate and remember some of the most special moments in my life!