I love Christmas Eve so much that I have tried for years to get others to pick up on my habit of celebrating the many “Eves” that receive much less notice throughout the year. Much to my dismay, it hasn’t caught on.

My children, husband and friends go ahead and humor me when I announce with glee, “Wake up, today is your Birthday Eve!” or answer the telephone, “Happy Valentine’s Day Eve.” It’s my way of celebrating a little early.

Naturally, I consider Christmas Eve to be the ultimate “Eve” by far. The air tingles with the excitement of children all over the world anticipating the arrival of Santa. Then, there is the added fervor of grown-ups who still get so “into” the holiday, they act like kids, fighting over last-minute bargains and buying enough wrapping paper to cover the state of Texas.

Even more than the excitement in the air or the Christmas carols playing on the radio, I love Christmas Eve for the sense of hope that leads right into the wee hours of Christmas Morning and lasts as long as you let it.

That package Ron snuck under the tree with my name on it could be jewelry instead of yet another appliance designed by George Foreman. It’s unlikely, but I can always hope because it is Christmas Eve and anything seems possible, at least to me it does.

No special surroundings are required to catch the Pam Zich Christmas Eve spirit. You don’t have to be surrounded by family, drinking hot chocolate while the snow falls softly outside.

Even sweating under the desert sun while sharing something that faintly resembles a holiday feast can be a memorable experience if you allow just a teensy-bit of my Christmas Eve exuberance to spread your way. I have plenty to share and it’s yours for the taking.

This year, the same Ebenezer Scrooges that appear every December will cite everything from war to the price of gas as reasons NOT to celebrate anything. If our world is in such a desperate state, then we definitely have to start celebrating Christmas right now, on Christmas Eve, when anything is possible.

A jolly old elf will ride through the night on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Christians worldwide will gather to celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth.

Maybe you don’t believe in Santa or Jesus, but you can still join in the festivities and feel the holiday cheer in the air…no matter what the temperature might be.

However you choose to spend Christmas this year, my wish for all of you is to have a day filled with laughter and love.

For once, I’m going to suggest you follow my example on something. Begin celebrating on Christmas Eve and by tomorrow, you’ll be overflowing with holiday cheer.

Merry Christmas to all of you, from our home to yours…And a great big Happy Christmas Eve, just from me!

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at or find the Zichs online at

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now