Everyone has traditions for the holidays.  Christmas Eve is a big one for a lot of people in Western New York.  But one of my favorites was stolen from Nashville.

Christmas is a holiday that is drenched with tradition.  Year after year we do the same things that our parents passed down to us.

When we were kids we used to go out to dinner every Christmas Eve then we would come home and open one present before we headed off to midnight mass.  We loved it.  As our family grew, more people joined us for the tradition and of course, it grew.

When we had kids of our own, I wanted to carry on the "fancy" tradition but we couldn't afford to take everyone out for dinner.  So we would cook fancy dinners.  We've done steaks and had shrimp appetizers and really started to spend some money just on Christmas Eve.

Until I saw this tradition that Luke Bryan from American Idol said he does in his house...

Yup...you got it.  Chili dogs.

It wasn't that I was trying to copy him or anything, but it just sounded brilliant!  You get a little bit of summer in the middle of winter.  We would start a pot of chili early in the day and let it simmer, then when we were ready to eat, I would bring out the grill and grill up some dogs.

It's relatively cheap.  It's laid back.  It doesn't require a lot of energy and we all have fun with our own little "Chili dog topping bar" adding whatever we wanted.  I love that not a whole lot of people do it so even though Luke does it, it kind of feels like our own tradition.  It's one of my favorite things to do on Christmas Eve.

You just want to make sure the chili is a little light on the beans...Christmas morning comes early, after all.

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