I wanted to make Christmas eve special, not too hokey, not too serious, but memorable and centered on the Savior.
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching the Relief Society lesson on the birth of the Savior and we discussed family traditions that centered around Christ. I fielded lots of good suggestions but the one that struck me as the most appropriate to my kids age level and maturity was a night in Bethlehem. We all dressed up like shepherds in blankets and towels and dinned on simple foods that could have been eaten back then. This included homemade flat bread, cheese,hummus, olives, and fruit. We ate with our hands by firelight and candlelight to be a little more authentic. At the end of our meal our dinner guest (an older gentleman from our ward who doesn't have any good family connections) dressed up in a sheet like the angel and announced the birth of the Savior. At that point our shepherd-children went in search of the star and the baby Jesus which I had placed downstairs in the basement, a lamp light shining on the paper star to help it "glow." I asked them some questions about how the shepherds would have felt and what they would have done and all the children who were old enough to participate were very reverent. When it was over we dished dessert, sang a song, and read a funny Christmas story. Last year's Christmas nativity was good, this was better. Even if they don't remember it, I will.