Why Christmas Eve Is My Favorite Day Of The Year

In my book, there's no denying that Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I'm known for rocking my reindeer antlers around Brooklyn, decorating my apartment the moment the clock strikes midnight on November 1 and listening to Kelly Clarkson's holiday album 24/7 throughout the final quarter of the year. But despite Christmas' status as my favorite holiday of the year, I have a secret... I actually find December 25 itself to be kind of a drag. That's because the best day of the year isn't Christmas Day. It's Christmas Eve.

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You see, Christmas celebrations to me are all about the preparations. Decorating my Christmas tree, watching cheesy Lifetime movies with a glass of riesling and searching around the city for the perfect gifts for my family and friends just fills me to the brim with holiday spirit. All throughout the month of December (and November, let's be real), there's an excitement in the air with the feeling that something big and exciting is coming: Christmas.

And that energy, at least for me, maintains through Christmas Eve. My family is of German descent, so December 24 has always been the bigger celebration for us. The entire gang gathers, plays a rather intense game of Yankee Swap and eats classic recipes straight out of my family's cookbook.

As a child, I loved this day because I got to open presents from my grandparents, aunts and uncles. But today, I love it because it's the only day of the year when my entire family is back together in Akron, Ohio.

Christmas Eve still has the electricity in the air, at least for me. And while I love my Christmas Day traditions of going to my in-laws' house, drinking mimosas, eating cinnamon rolls and opening gifts, once breakfast is done and the final stocking has been emptied, Christmas is pretty much over. I have to wait another 365 (or 300) days to celebrate again.

After, like, 3 p.m. on Christmas Day, what do I have to look forward to? A long, gray winter. And that's no fun. "Oh, there's New Year's Eve," you say. Well, don't even get me started on that crappy holiday.

Carolyn Menyes is the entertain editor at The Daily Meal. Her favorite Christmas movie is "Christmas Vacation" and her favorite holiday cookie is her mom's cutouts.