The Christmas Eve traditions of some News-Sentinel staffers:
Dan Evans, photo chief: Every Christmas Eve I plop down in front of the TV at 8 p.m. and begin the most important 24 hours of TV-watching in the year — 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.” The best holiday movie ever made plays back to back for 24 hours. I will watch it over and over, repeating my favorite lines. “Fragile. It must be Italian.” “Noddafinga!” And the word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. “Oooooh fuuuuuudge!”
Sara Jane Pohlman, education reporter: Growing up, my brother and I could open only one present on Christmas Eve, and we picked the one we got for each other. As a little kid, I was sent to bed early so Santa’s elves had enough time to finish wrapping gifts. Up until the year they each got married, all five siblings would sleep over at my parents’ house. In hindsight, this was probably to keep us out of the way until Christmas morning officially began. Now I stay up with my older sisters to help make Christmas special for my niece and nephews, and to call dibs on my favorite candies for my stocking.
Maggie Creamer, city hall reporter: On Christmas Eve, we would gather with my aunts, uncles and cousins on my dad’s side. We’d have dinner, and I always remember eagerly waiting to open a couple gifts as a warmup to the big day. We would then head home and my dad and I would watch “It's a Wonderful Life,” which I can quote almost every line from! Then, my mom and I would always get dressed up to go to our church’s 11 p.m. service, where my aunt sings in the choir. It is peaceful, relaxing and a time for reflection. My favorite part is when the choir surrounds the church with candles and sings “Silent Night.”
Jerry Tyson, photographer: We gather with my wife’s family on Christmas Eve with at “Granny’s” for a traditional Polish dinner. The main course is mild white fish which is prepared with a light batter and pan fried in a very minimum amount of oil, and is not greasy at all. There are several other dishes, such as soups and breads. Some of them are quite good and there are others that I stay away from!
Kyla Cathey, news editor: My sisters and I head up to my parents’ and watch “Elf” and gorge on baked goods.