It was our ninth annual international Christmas Eve at our house just a few weeks ago.
That's right, for the past nine Christmases, we have chosen a country or region for our Christmas Eve dinner and had food, dress and decorations in keeping with the theme.
It started the year Wife, who felt she had just finished preparing Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, dressing, etc.), asked if anyone would object do doing something a little more non-traditional for our food at Christmas.
We ended up having a Christmas Eve dinner of Mexican food, a Christmas morning breakfast/brunch that I prepared and, later in the day, a fairly simple -- but delicious, of course -- Christmas dinner.
We all decided we liked this just fine. But we especially liked the Christmas Eve Mexican food, made more festive by stringing pepper lights in the dining room and playing "Feliz Navidad" over and over . . . and over.
A new tradition was begun, and since that year, we have had Italian, Greek, French, Asian, Caribbean, German and British Christmas Eve dinners.
It has expanded greatly, and Wife has outdone herself with food and decorations in keeping with the year's theme. We have an inventory in the basement of each year's props, and there is talk that one year we'll have a "festival of nations" where we'll pull it all out and have samples from each year!
This past Christmas Eve was Brazil, and it was another grand occasion. Wife chose the "Carnival" theme for decorations, and costumes (which are optional) included a Carmen Miranda look-alike, an Olympic 2017 athlete and some other Brazilian-themed adornments. At the table, as you'll see below, Wife provided a mask for each person.
Wife chose food similar to what one might find at a Brazilian steak house. I grilled an assortment of meats and there were various salads, vegetables and desserts.
For the past three Christmases, we have had our Christmas Eve dinner as usual. On Christmas Day the married ones have gone to the respective in-laws' homes, then we have come back together on the 26th to have our Christmas celebration.
This has worked well. Wife and I have committed to flexibility as our family changes and grows, and we know that sometime in the future, the international Christmas Eve might have to give way to an international December 23rd or some other date. Again, Wife and I have committed to ourselves that it's not so much about the date as getting together when we can.
And speaking of change and growth, we learned just before Thanksgiving that we will become grandparents in 2017! Daughter and SIL are expecting in July and we are over the moon!
Our Christmas Eve was great fun, once again, and a tradition we hope to continue.
Here are some highlights from Christmas Eve 2016, and a family picture outside on a very balmy December 26:
Daughter and SIL