When I was young, Christmas Eve in our house, as well as in the homes of friends and acquaintances, was nearly a non-event. Sure, we might sit around by the fire and eat hors d’oeuvres, but if it didn’t happen, no biggie. Sure you might go to church, but the big deal was the midnight mass… that technically took place on the 25th. Christmas Day was the big seller. Everyone collected, we opened gifts, we had a big dinner. This was the day that couldn’t be missed.
Here in Brazil it’s a bit different. The 24th of December is the big day. The big Christmas meal occurs on this day. People even OPEN THEIR GIFTS on the 24th (blasphemy!) at least those not delivered by Santa.
As described by my Brazilian sister-in-law, the tradition is that you, with your husband and children, visit the woman’s family on the big day, the 24th, because traditionally the wife is closer to her family. Then, on the 25th, you visit the man’s family.
So what does that mean for us, as I am the woman and my family is thousands of miles away buried under snow? That means that we are… FREE. Yee ha! FREE… whoo hooo, haa, haa. Totally free to do what we want. (Insert more insane laughter.) Free as birds!! Free from all responsibility! We might visit the family in Rio. Or, we might just do this…