The past few years, I've driven my parents to my brother's home on Christmas Eve morning. It's about a four-hour trip which gives us plenty of time to listen to Christmas Carols on the way. We always leave early, between 6 and 7 am to beat some of the traffic.
My brother closes his dental office at noon and we meet at a favorite Mexican joint for lunch. After lunch, we deliver pound cakes my mother bakes to about a half dozen family friends. The visits are short but meaningful.
After a rest, we head to church service at 6 p.m. And the back to my brother's for soup and sandwiches.
My sister-in- law fore all out in decorating her home. It's fun for me to see where she places her figurines and different decorations each year. She and my brother are 11 years older than me, and each year since 1977 when I was in the third grade I've given her a different decoration. She uses many of them to this day.
Sometimes my niece will play a few Christmas Carols on the piano, which is fun before we settle in to watch a movie of some sort. Egg nog, hot chocolate and popcorn is always on hand.
We all generally doze off during the movie. Before bed, I usually a chapter or two from Jeff Guinn's book "The Autobiography of Santa Claus." It's an excellent book that intertwines the history of Christmas with many of the legends involving Santa Claus. The book has 25 chapters, so I try to read a chapter a day in December. I usually fall behind at some point in the month, but it's easy to catch up.
It's really a good family day that I cherish more each year.