Family Christmas Traditions Your Kids Will Love!
With my family growing by another little this year, I’ve been wanting to start more family Christmas traditions – just for our little family.
As a young family, my husband and I have been so used to carrying on our parents and grandparents Christmas traditions – and those have been wonderful!
BUT….we definitely think it’s time we start to create some of our own holiday traditions that our baby and toddler will grow up loving.
So whether you have little babies like us, older kids, or even adult children – these fun family Christmas traditions might be just what you’re looking for to create some great memories.
Don’t forget – even if you’ve never had a family Christmas tradition before, it’s never too late to start!
Related: Best Stocking Stuffers for Babies
Related: Best Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers
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35+ Fun Family Christmas Tradition Ideas to Start This Year
1. Put Christmas Lights Up Together
Starting to decorate for Christmas can help put everyone in a festive mood. Put Christmas lights up around your house, inside your house, or on a tree or bush outside. Or – do it all – and channel your inner Clark Griswald.
2. Decorate Your House for Christmas (Stockings, Lights, Signs, etc.!)
I loved hanging the stockings for Christmas at our house. Create a Christmas playlist (using Amazon Music is my favorite way) and make your home feel like it’s bursting with Christmas cheer.
3. Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree
Bundle up the whole family and head to your local Christmas tree farm to find that perfect tree. Many Christmas tree farms have hot cocoa and cider to enjoy as well!
4. Decorate Your Christmas Tree
Once you have your tree home, dig out all those special ornaments and spend time decorating your Christmas tree together to make a new family tradition. You can rotate who puts the star or angel on top or maybe every year it’s “dad’s job”. You decide!
5. Make Christmas Cookies
Snickerdoodles? Spritz? Sugar cookies? Ginger cookies? How about a little of everything? Put on that Christmas music playlist and spend the afternoon baking and creating together.
6. Do a Cookie Exchange
Get together with friends, family, or coworkers for a cookie exchange. You never know what yummy treats you might end up getting and loving!
7. Go to ToyLand (hey, Fleet Farm!) and Make Wish Lists
I used to LOVE the huge JCPenney Christmas catalog that would come out. We’d circle all our favorites and give it to mom and dad. It was a yearly family Christmas tradition that we loved. Another option is to head to your local ToyLand – whether it’s Fleet Farm, Target, or wherever and let your kids see all the fun and make a Christmas list!
8. Write Letters to Santa
Spend time helping your little ones write letters to Santa Clause to get in the spirit of Christmas. What you decide to do with them is up to you, but one idea is to get a letter back from Santa! Just send your letter to:
NORTH POLE POSTMARK
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
You’ll have to include a letter back from Santa when you send it, but it’s a fun way to get a letter from the North Pole! USPS has all the details here for you to check out.
9. Go Meet Santa
Want to have a real meet and great with Santa? Take your whole family for pictures with Santa and Mrs. Clause.
10. Give Gifts to Those in Need – We Love the Angel Tree!
This is one of our favorite family Christmas traditions: giving to those in need. We love to grab a name from the angel tree at church and pick out gifts together for another special boy or girl in need.
11. Go Caroling
Go caroling at your local nursing home, hospital, Veteran’s home, or around the block together. Bonus points for dressing up!
12. Introduce Elf on the Shelf
Some families LOVE Elf on the Shelf. The idea is that Santa has sent his special helpers to help him who should be added to his “nice list”. Each morning your Elf is somewhere new in the house, and your kids can race to find him!
13. Drive Around & Look at Christmas Lights
Spend time together in the care driving around and looking at all the Christmas lights in your neighborhood.
14. Open One Present Early on Christmas Eve
Let everyone choose one present under the tree to open a day early.
15. Open a Gift of Christmas Jammies & a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve
This is another one of my favorite family Christmas tradition ideas. Make Christmas Eve extra special with a gift of Christmas Jammies (matching is optional!) and a Christmas movie. That night, the whole family can watch together in your new pajamas.
16. Let Everyone Pick Out One New Ornament
Gazing at Christmas ornaments can be a special, festive time for little ones. Let them pick out one new ornament for the tree each year, or pick one out together as a whole family.
17. Go Shopping & Donate Food to the Local Food Shelf
Spend a day shopping together and donate food to your local food shelf or pantry.
18. Have a Gingerbread House Competition
I love a good competition. Give everyone a chance to get creative with this family Christmas tradition, by building the best or most creative gingerbread house! If you have lots of people, get on teams and get building!
19. Go to a Christmas Play
Whether it’s The Christmas Story, A Christmas Story, A Christmas Carol, or another family favorite, attend a Christmas play together to get in to the spirit of Christmas.
20. Go to a Christmas Concert
Whether it’s a local college putting on a Christmas concert, or your son or daughter’s school Christmas concert, there’s just something about being together and hearing holiday music to get you into the Christmas spirit.
21. Have an Advent Calendar
22. Light an Advent Candle Each Week Leading to Christmas
Set up a special place in your home for an Advent wreath. Light a candle each week leading up to Christmas. Amazon has some beautiful options to help you remember the real reason for the holiday season.
23. Create a Paper Chain Countdown to Christmas
This family Christmas tradition is especially popular for families with young children. Let everyone pitch in to make a paper chain counting down until Christmas, and then take turns taking links off each day.
24. Make Homemade Christmas Cards
Get out all the craft supplies and make fun, unique, homemade Christmas cards. You can send them to family, friends, teachers, soldiers, to the nursing home, or hospitals.
25. Give a “Christmas Experience” in Place of Gifts
Not sure what to get your children? Or maybe you feel like they have enough stuff? Give them a fun family experience instead. Here’s a few fun ideas:
- Go to a waterpark together
- Go on a family vacation
- Have a staycation
26. Create a Family Bucket List to do During the Christmas Season
Once December 1st hits, create a family bucket list. Spend the next 24 days checking off all the fun things on your list together! This is another great family Christmas tradition idea, as it focuses on spending time together and creating special memories.
27. Have a Family Game Night
Designate one night (maybe Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) to have a family game night! No electronics, just your family playing fun games together.
28. Have a Night of Fun Foods (Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) – Think Appetizers or Fondue!
Do you have a favorite special meal? Maybe you love appetizers or want to dip everything in cheese or chocolate? Have a special supper together with fun foods to celebrate the Christmas season.
29. Play the “Dice Game”
Bring gifts and play the Dice Game! There seem to be lots of variations of this game, but the rules below are my favorite.
30. Do a Gift Exchange (Regular, “Secret Santa”, or White Elephant”
Host a family gift exchange. Draw names in secret for a secret santa exchange, buy funny gifts for white elephant, or do a regular good ol’ everybody likes what they get exchange (personally, this is my favorite type!).
31. Go Play in the Snow and Come in for Christmas Music and Hot Chocolate (Don’t Forget the Marshmallows!)
If you’re lucky enough to have snow for Christmas, take advantage of it! Go play in the snow, build a snowman, or just go for a walk together. Then come inside and enjoy some Christmas music and hot chocolate together.
32. Hide a Christmas Pickle
Oh, the Christmas Pickle. How it always seems to elude me! If you haven’t heard of this game, every Christmas someone hides the pickle. Then everyone else has to try and find it (either on the Christmas tree, or anywhere in the house! You make the rules.). Whoever finds it first is the winner. Maybe they get a lottery ticket, a small gift, or they get to be the first to open a gift!
33. Attend a Christmas Eve/Day Service or Mass
Go to a Christmas Eve/Day Service or Mass together as a family.
34. Read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” Before Bed on Christmas Eve
Read a Christmas book together, like “Twas the Night Before Christmas” before bed on Christmas Eve.
35. Read The Christmas Story and Remember the Reason for the Season
Spend time reading The Christmas Story together on Christmas Eve.
Creating Fun Memorable Family Christmas Traditions
To me, the whole idea behind family Christmas traditions is to build fun memories together.
Whether you do something big or small, your children are likely to remember it for years to come, and possibly even implement it into their family’s Christmas traditions one day.
Do what you can, and don’t forget that even if things don’t go as planned, your little ones will probably think it’s all magical.
Am I forgetting any great family Christmas tradition ideas?
Do you and your family do something that’s not on this list? Write me a comment below, I’d love to see your favorite Christmas traditions!