I grew up celebrating with family on Christmas Eve--I have no idea why, that's just the way it always was. When I married, my in-laws always went back to their hometown, so husband and I joined my family on Christmas Eve. When DDs came along, I started cooking (Christmas Eve, of course) having my parents, brothers and their families, his aunt and uncle and friends whose families were out of town over. My brothers had to go to in-laws on Christmas Day. Besides, I wanted my kids to have Christmas morning at home so they could play with the toys Santa brought them. When they were a little older, their friends would stop by to play, talk, share. Our friends were also invited; the men watched football together. I always cooked enough to have plenty of left-overs for dinner that day.
My mother died in early Dec. in 1995 and I hadn't had time to get my act together, so one daughter had us all over. I was divorced by that time (although ex was there; we got along well), and I cried all the way home. My other daughter picked up my dad, as he was starting to have problems driving at night. I hated going home by myself to an empty house. Ever since that, I've had everyone here. This year, I suggested just having everyone over for pie and cookies. My daughters nixed that idea. They are cooking at home and bringing everything here. Woo hoo! I have the joy of having family here with no (or very little) work.
I hope you all have a joyous Christmas with your families. After all, family gatherings are one of the best parts of the Christmas season, no matter when it is held.