Christmas Eve Cinnamon Rolls: My Favorite Way to “Love Thy Neighbor” During the Holidays

December 24th is my absolute favorite day of the whole year. 

I love everything about the day before Christmas. Beginning the moment my eyes fly open on Christmas Eve morning, I relish in the hustle and bustle of finishing up the gift wrapping, the frantic activity in the kitchen, the “I’m so excited I’m about to bust” excitement from the kids. And I even love the nonstop Christmas movies on television. #youllshootyoureyeout

Then, once the sun begins to set, I love the calm that comes over the house. I love our reverent candlelit Christmas Eve service at church when we stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends and family before heading home for our gift exchange and diving into our appetizers/hors d’oeuvres spread. Then, before you know it, it’s time to get Santa’s snacks in order and send the kids off to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. 

A few years ago, my husband—the amateur baker in our home—decided that he’d like to try making homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas. As it turns out, the recipe that he used made an overabundance of the rolls, so faced with eating four dozen pans of cinnamon rolls ourselves, we made an on-the-fly decision to package up the extras and deliver them to our neighbors on Christmas Eve.

Thus, serendipitously began one of my very favorite family Christmas traditions: our Christmas Eve cinnamon roll delivery.

My husband uses The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe to make the dough and icing. Insider tip: follow the recipe to the letter, especially the icing recipe (that brewed coffee flavor is the best!). Then we carefully package up the raw cinnamon rolls, along with a tub of the homemade icing, and deliver them to neighbors. The idea is to deliver cinnamon rolls that can be baked on Christmas morning, washed down with a cup of life-giving coffee, for those who might’ve stayed up late the night before watching for Santa. 

The making of the rolls takes some time and turns my kitchen into a temporary disaster area (gritting teeth), but it’s fun for my husband, and the whole family typically gets in on the job at some point. 

The overall cost of this endeavor is minor. We use disposable aluminum cake pans to deliver the rolls; I attach cute gift tags with some twine and, if I’m feeling especially crafty, perhaps a sprig of fresh evergreens or rosemary tied into the bow. The best part, though, is delivering the cinnamon rolls. 

As we knock on front doors and stop in for a quick visit while making our deliveries, it’s fun to get a glimpse inside the homes of our neighbors and see how similar their Christmas Eve looks to ours, regardless of their religious beliefs, what their family looks like, or how they celebrate the season. I also get a kick out of the idea of my family’s cinnamon rolls being enjoyed in many homes over the Christmas holiday—as if we’re right there with our dear friends and neighbors. 

In this day and age, when it’s so easy to judge our neighbors by their social media posts and sometimes really hard to “love thy neighbor,” I cherish this tradition that puts us face to face and hand in hand on the front porches of our neighbors and friends and gives us pause to appreciate the wonderful people in our lives.

Through our cinnamon rolls, we get to let the people in our lives know how much we value their friendship, while also helping to warm their hearts and fill their bellies at Christmastime. 

Do you have any special traditions that your family practices during the holidays? Share in the comments!


Jenny is a 40-something, married mother of two (Anna, 2007 and Jack, 2009), who migrated to the Hill Country after doing a 14 year stint in Houston. When Jenny isn’t walking her slightly neurotic (and completely beloved) rescued Weimaraner, she enjoys writing, making to-do lists, and folding laundry (and sarcasm). Jenny holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi, and completed graduate coursework in Guidance and Counseling. She is a freelance writer who writes a weekly pet column for a Houston newspaper, and is a contributor at Dog Friendly San Antonio, New Braunfels Monthly and San Antonio Woman, as well as assorted other publications. You can also find her on Instagram (introvertsguidetosobriety). Favorite Restaurant: Bohanan's Favorite Landmark: The Alamo (duh) Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Wurstfest (not technically SAT, but closer to Jenny's stomping grounds).