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Celebrating Christmas

It's Christmas!  Time for family, friends and favorite traditions. Here's what some of the Kids in the Capital contributors will be busy doing the next few days. Amy I've been married for three years now and this will be our first Christmas with our own child, so we're still spending time trying to figure out what our traditions are going to be. Joe's family is spread out across the country, and mine is a bit, well, complicated.

We have decided that watching A Muppet Family Christmas while decorating our tree is going to be one of our traditions. We have also adopted one of my favourite of my family's traditions - Christmas Eve used to be my favourite day, especially as I got older, my Grandparents would stop at our favourite Chinese restaurant and get takeout before heading over to our house where we would eat and open a few of our presents that night. Stockings were the main thing on Christmas morning, and then a turkey dinner that night.

Boxing Day things switch to my Dad's house, and there are a lot of us - Dad has five kids and nine grandkids - we do another gift exchange, have another turkey, and try to keep up with the score if there's a World Junior hockey game on. Because the World Junior Hockey Championships are one of my absolute favourite parts of the holiday season.

This year will be a bit different, we're heading to Northwestern Ontario to spend Christmas with Joe's family, so we'll be taking part in different traditions and missing a few things that I'm used to, but probably adding a few to our own list as we decide what Maggie is going to remember as 'Christmas.'

Lara We like to start our traditions on Christmas Eve when the kids get to open one present - a pair of Christmas PJs that they get to put on right away.  Then we set out cookies along with Santa's beverage of choice... a beer.

Christmas morning begins with the opening of stockings which are left in the hallway outside bedrooms.  Generally they are opened on mom and dad's bed before we all head down to see what else Santa brought.

Around 9:30 the real chaos begins as the first set of grandparents (and aunt) arrive for more presents and Christmas lunch, and then off we go to see the other grandparents for more presents, and more eating.

It's a busy day but fun. And I'm hoping to make @missfish's 12 hours of Christmas a tradition with hourly iphone photos to commemorate the day!

Sara Our traditions start on Christmas Eve with dinner at my parents house.  When we arrive home the boys put out cookies and milk for Santa as well as reindeer food, carrots, and a magic key, outside.  Our Santa comes in the front door using his special key instead of the chimney.  While the boys are in the bath a mysterious little pajama elf hides matching pajamas and a Christmas story somewhere in their bedrooms.  The firefighter is absolutely fascinated by the elf and looks around in wonderment trying to figure out how he got into the house without anyone noticing.  He will cup his hands to his ears to see if he could hear him tip-toeing.  The pajama elf is actually a tradition we've borrowed from my best friends family.  Apparently it gets harder each year for the pajama elf to sneak into the kids rooms.

Our Christmas mornings with our boys resemble, very closely, the Christmas mornings I remember as a little girl.  Whoever wakes up first comes into mom and dad's room until the entire family is awake.  One of us heads downstairs to get the camera and video camera ready (and turn on coffee!) while the boys wait (impatiently) to come down the stairs.  In our pajamas we open our stockings, taking turns so that we can open boxes and admire every-one's gifts.  We make Santa Claus oatmeal (whipped dream hat and beard with raisin and cherry eyes and nose) for breakfast and my dad is always kind enough to bake a braided wreath.  Since the year I was pregnant I have cooked Christmas dinner and our entire extended family starts arriving in the late morning.  This is the first Christmas we'll celebrate in our new house and we can't wait!

Sasha In our house, Christmas morning always started with stockings, followed by breakfast of peameal bacon and pancakes. Then, after opening presents we would pack-up and ship off to Grandma & Grandpa's house for the traditional turkey dinner.  With a family so new, and extended family now far away, I hope be sowing the seeds of some new traditions this year: if the weather is good I want to take the girls out to P11 in the greenbelt, where I am told the chickadees are so forthright that they will land on your hand, even if you don't have any seed with you!

Brie Christmas Eve dinner will be the beginning of much food and merriment over the next twenty-four hours at our house. That night we will eat, drink and the kids will open three presents (a holiday book and pjs for each of them) before bed.

But it won't be until the kids go to sleep that any actual presents will appear under our tree. This is partly due to the awesomeness of seeing the kids surprised faces when they suddenly see presents under the tree and partly because I know my kids. My 4 year old in particular would want to open them all immediately. This is the kid that opened the present she bought me from the school store while standing in entrance hall the moment she arrived home.

Stockings will be opened Christmas morning, but since my kids wake early (hello 5am) presents will have to wait until everyone is awake. We will probably make our now traditional walk to the local Starbucks for more coffee and some fresh air. This year we will be having a big dinner with our visiting family, as well as a friend and her family.

This is how we'll be spending our Christmas. What will you be doing?