by Laura Sussely-Pope
"Ho Ho Ho!" or "Bah, humbug!" One of these probably describes your house on Christmas Eve.
Do you line up the kiddies on Christmas Eve with hot cocoa and blankets to read "Twas the Night before Christmas" and then rush them off to bed so Santa can visit?
Do you just go ahead and open gifts on Christmas Eve because you're not comfortable deceiving the kids and who in the world would believe in something as crazy as a jolly old elf if you didn't?
Or you may be one of those families that play the Santa game but make sure the kiddos know that you and your spouse are the jolly old elf.
We tapped our members on this festive and sometimes touchy subject. We asked, "Does Santa visit your house?"
100 percent said, "Yes, absolutely! I was very 'good' all year!"
0 percent replied, "Alas, no! I'm on the 'naughty list. Seriously, no, we don't celebrate Santa."
The tradition has been passed from generation to generation throughout the world. You'll hear a slightly different story in almost every language.
Like our members, most American households go along with the myth about Santa. It's fun to see the excitement in your little ones' eyes on Christmas morning when they find out that Santa really did come!
Okay, so it's not really that fun for the parents who spend half the night wrapping presents, putting together bikes or waiting out the non-sleepers.
Finally, you fill the stockings, stick everything else under the tree, drink the warm milk with stale cookies and grab a few hours of sleep.
If you simply keep your Christmas Eve traditions focused on family and friends with no mention of Santa, that's okay as well. Some families prefer to focus on religious beliefs during the season. Others simply don't want their children buying into the whole Santa gimmick.
To many, it's all about giving rather than receiving. They may choose to surprise a child whose name is on the community tree as their gifting tradition.
Some families take a bit from both worlds in the Christmas celebrations. While they do play the Santa game, their children are in on the ole elf. They might even help out by suggested gifts for siblings or adding a treasure to the stockings that evening.
Among the many different ways to celebrate the upcoming holidays, you won't find a "right" or "wrong." It all comes down to your family traditions.
Whether passed down from days of past or made up when you started your own family, tradition and ritual emphasize the togetherness and love this season brings.
It's not the gifts you receive; it's the time spent building memories with family and friends. Enjoy each other and choose the tradition that's best for you all.
What traditions help you celebrate the winter holidays?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.