I know I was already in grade school when I first understood what Noche Buena was. This is not to say that we didn't have a big Christmas Eve dinner with family. It's more it was never quite a term I heard at home. We didn't wait until midnight to eat either - the usual goal was to get all eating done well before that time, exchange gifts with family and then make sure everyone would be safely in bed by midnight so Santa Claus could come and deliver his presents. Kids who didn't go to sleep or managed to see Santa at work didn't get any presents the next day. And that was a pretty serious threat for a kid.
In later years we always made sure to have a game to play on Christmas Day itself. Games have always been a big part of our lives so this always leads to fun times. On the other hand, we weren't quite the family that had big family reunions during the holiday period, so we rarely needed to step out. And thus the games continued whether it was just Monopoly or several rounds of mahjong or Texas hold'em poker.
We didn't have a big dinner yet last night and ultimately my brother and I just played Diablo III on the PS3. This is largely because we were waiting for my sister to arrive from Singapore, so our Christmas festivities were shifted to later today. I know we have trivia game plans today so we'll see how this goes. I know it'll be a lot of fun.
Ever family has their holiday practices and traditions and I think for the most part we all love these special times. Christmas remains to be a special time to be with family. I hope you're having a lovely holiday as well.