Is Football on Christmas Eve Causing Family Fights?


Christmas time is almost here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait for the big day to arrive, so I can leave all the fussing and planning behind to sit back and relax with my family. It’s what the holidays are all about!

But this season there are NFL games on Christmas Eve, bringing “new traditions” for football fans. (Or ruining Christmas traditions for non-football fans).

That’s right, this years the NFL moved most of their regular Sunday games to Saturday (Christmas Eve). I think they were hoping to help husbands and wives avoid fights over watching the games versus spending time with their family on Christmas.

However, the league forgot that Christmas Eve is just as important for most families as Christmas day. And the fighting has already begun for my neighbor and his wife. For this family, the tradition is to attend 4:30 PM mass and then eat a big Italian seafood dinner with Christmas music playing while they enjoy their Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner, all the kids make cookies to leave out for Santa.  The husband is now hoping to replace the Christmas music with the game on while they eat (quickly), and leave store bought cookies for Santa so they can all watch the big game.

For my family, we have Christmas Eve mass at 4 PM where my son is the shepherd in the performance, followed by a huge Italian dinner at my mom’s. This year, my husband’s team plays at 1 PM which means I will be sneaking my phone to check the score of the game before I rush home to catch the second half.

I personally don’t see anything wrong with this. I think that watching football on Christmas and Christmas Eve makes it that much more exciting. It’s already a fun part of Thanksgiving, and if we can plan around it, it could be fun during the Christmas season too. Just like sharing a meal, sports games bring people together….We are just gathered around the television as opposed to the table!

But not everyone has this same “craziness” (as some of my friends have called it) about football. For those that aren’t interested in the games, their feelings are very different.  I completely understand why you would not be too happy to find out your husband is planning on going to the game Christmas Eve, or ruining your yearly traditions.

But in the guys defense (sorry girls, I am breaking girl code just this once!), these games this late in the season ARE really important in determining whether the teams will be in the playoffs or not. Although obviously not more important than Christmas Eve baking cookies with the kids to leave out for Santa, or watching your son singing in Christmas Eve mass!

So I would suggest a compromise: if he agrees not to miss out on the important family moments, then you will allow the game to be on at other points in the day – maybe you’ll even create a new memory with your family watching the game together. No cursing or yelling at the TV he must promise because this IS Christmas. And if his team loses and playoffs go out of reach, there is only positive thoughts, and reactions because it IS Christmas!

Another option is to have your husband DVR the game (some men will not be able to do this so this may not be an option.) But put away all technology so your husband will not know the score from Facebook friends, and when the kids go to bed early because Santa is coming let him watch the game!

Compromise is important during the holidays. We share which families we spend time with – your parent’s or your in-laws. I put candy canes on my Christmas tree because my husband grew up doing so, even though I don’t like the way candy canes look on trees. In the same way, I’m sure you can find a compromise so your husband doesn’t miss the big game, and you have your family time!

Whatever the traditions that you have on Christmas Eve, the bottom line is that the holidays are a time for families to be together… and to the NFL: Please figure this out next year and don’t put any games on Christmas OR Christmas Eve to avoid all this!!



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