Are you looking for traditions to start with your family for Christmas? Today I’m sharing a list of 25 holiday traditions that you can do this year! Even if the family doesn’t get giddy with excitement at first, they do remember these traditions and will enjoy them throughout the years.
- Decorating the Tree
Make it a family event! Turn on the Christmas music and have everyone help set up the tree and get all the ornaments on it. We love reminiscing about all the different ornaments we’ve collected and made over the years.
- Homemade Ornaments
This is one of my favorite things to do. I did it as a child and continue as an adult. The homemade ornaments, of any kind, are fun to make and fun to enjoy each consecutive year as you hang them on the tree. Check out my easy pine cone Christmas ornaments to make as well as this post on homemade Christmas ornaments.
- Gingerbread House
Whether you make one from scratch or buy a little kit doesn’t matter, just enjoy the experience of the family working on building the gingerbread house together. In our house we have on a Christmas movie while we are working on this also.
- Go See the Lights
I adore the holiday lights and love driving around to see them. You can go to neighborhoods around town and see them for free or go to venues that have huge displays. Many displays now have carriage rides or walking nights too.
- Visit Santa
Don’t forget to go and visit Santa at the mall, or wherever, to share your wish list and get a nice (and funny) photo.
- Read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
When my son was young we always read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve before he went to bed. Snuggle up on the couch with the entire family!
- Cookies & Milk for Santa
Another memory that goes back to my own childhood, put out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. We usually put out carrots or apples for the reindeer too. One year we took an apple core and tossed it on the roof and let it tumble down onto the porch. My son discovered it on Christmas morning and was so thrilled that the reindeer at the snack!
- Write Letters to Santa
Make a big deal of it all! Get out the paper, pens, crayons, etc. and have the kids write, and mail, the letters to Santa!
- Adopt a Family/Child
I always make a point to somehow adopt a family or child during the holidays and made my son a part of this. There are tons of places to find families to help this time of year. Giving trees in stores are one of my favorites – you pick an ornament off the tree that has the name, age, and sex of a child and some of their wish list items. Then go in the store and pick up a few presents and drop them off when you checkout.
- Make Paper Snowflakes
I love making paper snowflakes and have as long as I can remember! It’s a wonderful activity for everyone in the family and you just need paper and scissors. Often I cut out lots of them and use ribbon to hang them all around the house to make it even more festive!
- Watch Christmas Specials and Movies
When I was a little girl, it was before VCRs and such, so you only saw the holiday specials once a year and it was a big event. Now we have the option to watch them whenever, but you can still make it an occasion. Let everyone in the family pick the show or movie for one night and do this multiple times to cover everyone in the family! Build a fire in the fireplace, make some hot chocolate and enjoy the quiet evening at home.
- Christmas Pretzels
These little Christmas pretzels are so addictive and became a tradition in my family. It is just mini pretzels, almond bark, and red & green M&M’s. Time consuming, but fun for the entire family to work on together. These also make great gifts for teachers and neighbors – just package them up in little cellophane bags with ribbon.
- Advent Calendar
Even though I’m not religious (yes, I celebrate Christmas though still) I do love advent calendars because it is a special little something each day during the holiday season.
- Kid Shopping
This isn’t shopping to buy things for the kids, but letting the kids shop for gifts for people they want to give a gift to. When I was little we would save Eagle Stamps all year and then my dad would take us to Rexall Drugs and my brother and I would shop using the money from the Eagle Stamps to buy gifts.
- Gift Wrapping
While the kids can’t help with all the gift wrapping (some are surprises for them), still have a time that the family wraps gifts as a group activity. This also is the time to teach your kids how to wrap.
- Attend Christmas Events
Throughout every community there are various holiday events that are open to the public. Pick out a few and attend them to get into the holiday spirit. For us, we love the Historic Main Street Christmas Traditions in St. Charles, MO.
- Christmas Paper Chains
Get red and green construction paper, cut into strips, and staple into loops for a long paper chain. This will keep the kids entertained for a long time and they love hanging it up in the house. If you want to keep it small, do 25 loops and number them and the kids can pull one off each day in December leading up to Christmas.
- Christmas Cookies
My mom would get out all of the ingredients for cookies, generally chocolate chip, and lay out the ingredients and tools on the kitchen floor (it was very clean) and my brother and I would help make Christmas cookies.
- Holiday Family Photo
Get everyone together and take a fun family photo to use on your holiday greeting cards you send out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact, the imperfect ones seem to be the ones people like the best! This one is my favorite of Hubby, T, and I.
- Christmas Pickle
My Aunt Judy introduced us to the Christmas pickle ornament. (affiliate link). You hide the pickle ornament in your Christmas tree and whoever finds it first gets a special gift! We all love looking for the pickle on Christmas day!
- Popcorn Garland
This one takes a bit more time, but get some nylon thread and needles and pop a lot of popcorn. String the popcorn onto the thread and make a garland for your tree. You can add cranberries too, but those are a little messier. If you have pets that get into the tree though you might want to skip this one.
- Christmas Pajamas
There are tons of Christmas pajamas available at the store now, including matching ones for the entire family. Get everyone a fun pair and be sure to capture a photo of the family wearing them.
- Grow Candy Canes
This is new to me, I found it on Pinterest, and thought it was so adorable! Have the kids plant a peppermint candy and then watch the candy cane grow! I plan on growing candy canes once my grandbabies get here!
- Attend a Christmas Concert or Show
Sit in the audience and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Look for music concerts or other shows like the Nutcracker ballet.
- Track Santa with NORAD
On Christmas Eve make sure you visit NORAD to track Santa. This is their 60th year doing this. The website actually has tons of other fun holiday things too so you can get the kids started anytime visiting the site.
Did you find any new traditions on the list? Which do you already do? Do you have any other Christmas traditions you would like to share?[signoff]
© 2015, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.