Arguably the most exciting night of the year: Christmas Eve.
But what is there to do while you await Santa Claus' arrival? Plenty.
Here are some of Patch's favorite Christmas Eve traditions. Make them your family's new 'night before Christmas' traditions, and add your own Christmas Eve rituals in the comments box below!
Have fun, but remember to get to bed early....Santa's on his way!
1) Leave Santa a Treat
Flying a sleigh all over the world, delivering Christmas gifts, surely becomes a bit trying at times. And all of Santa's hard work on Christmas Eve deserves some appreciation. What better to fuel Santa's energy levels than a tasty holiday treat? Before your family heads to bed tonight, have the children pour a glass of milk and arrange a plate of cookies. Leave them under the tree, and—if mom and dad play their cards right—your family will wake up on Christmas morning to find crumbs and an empty glass. Santa will thank you!
2) Reindeer Get Hungry, Too!
Sure, Santa will be thrilled to find the cookies and milk your family left for him, but what about the reindeer? Santa's duties are no doubt exhausting—climbing up rooftops and shimmying down chimneys can't be easy work—but his reindeer work hard, too. They fly all over the world, pulling a billion-pound sleigh through the night sky. And a task of that size works up an appetite. But since cookies and milk isn't really a favorite reindeer dish, have your family arrange something special for Dasher, Dancer, and the others. Help your children slice up carrots, and place them on a separate plate next to Santa's cookies. Chances are—if mom and dad are still paying attention—those carrots will have nibble marks all over them on Christmas Day.
3) Make Reindeer Dust
Santa and his reindeer must wait until the dark of night to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve, so that no human child can witness such magic. But sometimes—even with Rudolph's bright, glowing red nose—the nighttime path can be difficult to navigate. Help lead Santa and his reindeer right to your house, by whipping up a batch of Reindeer Dust. First, help your children make a bowl or two of instant oatmeal. Complete the concoction by adding glitter and stirring it into the oatmeal. As a family, head outside and sprinkle the Reindeer Dust along the path in your front yard, leading up to the house and onto the front stoop. Santa may just find your navigational help worthy of an extra gift or two.
4) Use Santa Radar
How does Santa calculate the most optimal route for stopping at every child's house in the whole world? Find out for yourself! Gather your family around the computer, and visit the Santa Radar _website_. You'll be wide-eyed and amazed by this real-time Santa tracker, which shows your family exactly where Santa is at the current moment, and what path he's next taking.
5) Notes for Santa
Even with Mrs. Claus and the elves hanging around, it sometimes gets lonely for Santa, living at the North Pole all year. He always appreciates little human contact. So this year, before your family goes to sleep on Christmas Eve, hand the children pencils and paper. Ask them to write a note to Santa—they can simply thank him for bringing their gifts, wish him luck on the rest of his night's travels, or ask him a burning question about life at the North Pole. And—if mom and dad know what's good for them—on Christmas morning, your children will squeal with delight when they find Santa's written response to their notes. Don't forget to leave a pencil and paper out on Christmas Eve, so Santa can write back!