We typically do presents and a nice family dinner at my place Christmas Eve, a tradition started after I became a single parent. Christmas Day the kids go to their mom's in the morning to do prezzies and then I show up there in the afternoon to join them for dinner, with some wine and a dish. Of food, not a date. For the first couple of years their mother wanted them for both days, so we did Christmas Eve a week early. We were all OK with that, just another new tradition, but is was nice to get back to the real date. I think we may have done it early once or twice after that too, to fit in various holiday plans, as our extended families grew.
So this year, as my daughter and her fiance were going to go to Waterloo for Christmas, we did Christmas Eve the week before (last night), with tourtiere, eggnog, stockings, and presents. Grandma was there too this year, surprisingly. it gets to be harder on her (and the whole support team behind her) every time she travels but she gathered her strength for yet another Christmas. She and I didn't do a lot, we talked, read the papers, ate, napped, talked, ate - she gets tired out easily, but she did get lots of time with my kids and little Noah. Actually, since she's 4'11'' and shrinking still, he's not that much smaller than her. And of course we had my grandson Noah here - we just hid the calendar so he wouldn't know the date. Noah is more mobile and inquisitive this Christmas, challenging and amusing the new parents with his toddling about and exploring, but he still enjoys the wrapping as much as he does the presents. And typically he can get "stuck" on one present, quite content to play with that one and ignore everyone else pleading for him to open theirs. Not that he needed many gifts- he has no shortage of toys. In fact, I've ended up with extras here, along with a few other boxes. the "empty nest" only refers to the kids leaving, not all their stuff. Another parent and grandparent role I guess, keeping treasures for a while - was likely in the small print in the guide book. Keeping them not only for personal nostalgia, but for the kids, they may want some of those things as they grow up. I remember that when my mother downsized to an apartment I was also downsizing to University residence, so a lot of mementos either got chucked out by her, or I had no room so had to throw them out myself. Back to dinner, we had the usual Christmas eve fare, but after presents this time so that the pie could cook. Was a little late for Noah, I'd forgotten that when kids get hungry it's NOW. But a few munchies (grandparents can spoil all they want, remember?) and he made it fine. I even cleared off the dining room table, for the first time in months, so we could all have a spot. Noah was happy to be able to sit up at the table and stuff himself with tourtiere. He did make an honest effort to try the plate and cutlery route but found fingers much more effective. I think his dad - or maybe me - had encouraged him to not worry about being formal at the dinner. Another grandparent role encouraging positive thinking, creativity and experimentation, as food not only is nourishing it can also be fun. Not that kids need much encouraging I guess. No food fights so far, I don't want to get into too much trouble.