If you happen to step outdoors in Olivia, Minn., this Christmas Eve and hear the sounds of voices lifted in a very, shall we say, unusual chorus, don't worry.

It's just Shanon Gass and her family, taking part in their annual tradition.

"After we eat and before we do presents, we all — parents, kids, grandparents — run and romp around the block no matter the weather, off-key singing Christmas carols," said Gass. "If we are each singing a different one at the same time, all the better."

As the holiday approached this year, Gass was one of many Minnesotans who shared their Christmas Eve traditions — from silly to sentimental — with the Star Tribune.

Whether it's been 50 years or five, doing (and eating and watching) the same things each holiday becomes an anchor of sorts — a moment of connection to look forward to all year. Gathering to eat tamales, or Swedish meatballs, or potato soup or ravioli made from scratch.

Or, if you're a member of Kelli Snyder's family, it'll be homemade pizza with a "ton" of choose-your-own toppings.

"It started back in the early 1990s when my mom burnt the real meal," said Snyder, who is from St. Paul. "I don't remember what we were supposed to eat, but it was probably some sort of meat-and-potato dish. At the time, no stores were open Christmas Eve night, so my dad went to a convenience store to see what he could scrounge up, and he found a homemade pizza kit. The rest is history."

Solveig Kleven of Minneapolis spends Christmas Eve at her grandma's house, where they have a lefse party, with the whole family pitching in to make the potato flatbread, which they eat that very night.

For Brianna Kocka, Christmas Eve with her mom's side of the family is a night for Boston clam chowder, Latvian pīragī and deviled eggs. She always tries to recreate her late grandma's punch, even though she never gets it quite right.

"We re-live our family memories, from Christmas plays the cousins put on as kids, to watching old slides from family vacations, to reminiscing and laughing about when one of us fell into the Christmas tree and knocked it over one year," said Kocka, who lives in Columbia Heights. "It's so special to be able to live into the memories of the past, while making new memories together as well."

Olivia Suddath, whose parents own the local chain of Mallards seafood restaurants, spends the holiday in the kitchen. Inspired by an Italian tradition, her family serves a multi-course Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Fishes."

"For us, it's like opening our home to other families and we all get to celebrate together," she said. "My dad spent some time in Italy and fell in love with the culture, so this was one of many things he came back excited to try."

Growing up, Suddath got Chinese takeout, listened to Nat King Cole and watched the same movie year after year with her family.

"As far back as I can remember, we've always been watching 'Christmas Vacation' as a family, because there is no better Christmas movie," she said.

Movies were a common thread for many. In addition to the 1989 Chevy Chase classic, Christmas Eve favorites include "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story," the is-it-or-isn't-it holiday fare "Die Hard" and, for at least one horror film enthusiast, "Christmas Evil."

Linda Middendorf and her family alternate between "A Christmas Story" and "Christmas Vacation," but only after church.

"Following that, we have steak and shrimp fondue, along with potatoes, rolls and salad. Christmas cookies or grasshopper pie for dessert," she said.

They also have another tradition: "The men in the family do the dishes afterwards."

Like most everyone who shared their traditions with us, Middendorf and her family open presents on Christmas Eve. That would lead us to believe Minnesotans buck the national trend of waiting until Christmas Day, according to a 2022 Statista survey.

Sometimes, families suddenly take up new traditions — granting a child's request to roast hot dogs in the fireplace, hosting a holiday music dance-off or practicing the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflód, exchanging books and chocolate and reading the night away.

Before they were married, Kate Nyquist and her then-boyfriend went on a Christmas Eve date to Welch Village near Red Wing to go downhill skiing. They've gone nearly every year since, she said, and this holiday they are bringing their 9-month-old along.

Others keep up traditions that stretch back from before they can remember. Singing "Silent Night" by candlelight at church. The whole family playing cards. Reading "The Night Before Christmas" out loud.

When Justine Vance and her family gather in Brainerd on Christmas Eve, Santa always stops by before bedtime — and sticks around for a visit.

"Santa reads the story of Rudolph, the kids tell him what they want, and then he hands out the Christmas presents," she said. "It's pretty extravagant, but we have been doing this tradition since before I was born, so it's pretty special to my family."