Families in Tri Cities embrace Christmas Eve Traditions

Families in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia embrace their Christmas traditions on Christmas Eve.

For Melissa McCroskey, the plans for Christmas Eve dinner start coming together after Thanksgiving Dinner.

A family vote is held to determine the meal to be served.

"“This year we’re doing Mexican with all the trimmings," says Melissa McCroskey. "Everyone will bring something different. We usually have a large spread of food."

Megan Carrier, her husband, and son Emmitt put shoes under the tree.

They are the fourth generation to do this. Shoes get filled with goodies and candy, which serves as a substitute for stockings.

"It started with my mama’s dad and her older sisters" Carrier says. "She did it with all her seven kids which was my mom included. So then my mom did it with me. And I’ve done it with [Emmitt] so far.

Brenda Martin's tradition giving pairs of socks to family started as an accident.

When I was in the third grade, we had a gift exchange at school" Martin says. "All my friends had their Hot Wheels and their Barbies, and I got a pair of yellow socks. So years later, I told my niece, who was in the third grade, the story and she laughed and thought it was the funniest thing she ever heard. So that Christmas, I found the ugliest pair of yellow socks I could find, stuck them in an envelope and mailed them to her."

One thing all of these people have in common, is their traditions bring their families closer together.

Sixteen year old Myranda Harris and her family organize a scavanger hunt to look for Christmas Lights.

"I don’t even remember the first year doing it," Harris said. "When we did it, we had so much fun doing it."

While Christmas is lots of fun and games, Alexa Daugherty and her husband Aaron try to keep things in perspective.

They buy a balloon every year that says Happy Birthday to remember the real meaning of the season.

"My mom always wanted to stay true to the real meaning of the Christmas season" Alexa says. "She decided when I was born that she was going to buy a birthday balloon every year for Christmas. On Christmas Eve we would read the Christmas Story out of the Bible and then release a Happy Birthday balloon to Jesus."

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