When I was a child Christmas Eve was pretty uneventful. What I remember was my mother preparing for Christmas Day. We really did not go anywhere, at least not that I remember.
When I met Chuck I was delighted that his family celebrated Christmas Eve. We always got there early and waited for his chronically late brother to arrive. We would eat cold cuts with cheese in sandwiches. Perhaps a side dish or two. I would make cookies to take alone and possibly a cake.
After we ate and it was then close to midnight we would open the gifts and then drive home in the wee hours, it was only a half hour drive. The roads we quite still and we would go to bed and wake up to go to my moms for dinner.
I miss the Christmas Eve get together, and wish we had a celebration and tradition like the Italian traditions of the Seven Fishes. I went to my sisters one Christmas and enjoyed the fish tradition.