Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year
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Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year

Family Christmas traditions can be something as simple as a store-bought advent calendar, to over-the-top gifts such as unwrapping a new Christmas book every night leading up to the special holiday. Make this season fun for the whole family by trying out some of these popular traditions.

Christmas traditions are a great way to encourage family bonding and create happy memories that will last for a lifetime. Whether it's buying a themed advent calendar every year, or going on a Christmas lights adventure, or doing something special and unique on Christmas Eve, there are many fun ways that families can celebrate this enchanting holiday season and create traditions that help bring them together. 

Family with gifts on Christmas evening

If you're looking for some great new traditions to start this year, check out this list of our favorite ways to celebrate the holiday season!

Traditions for December:

  • Do a "secret Santa" with friends or family members. 

Celebrate loved ones by doing a "Secret Santa" gift exchange. Draw names out of a hat (or use an online system) and pick out a special gift to secretly send to someone. It doesn't have to be an extravagant gift, and even young family members can play along!

  • Make handmade holiday cards.

Sending out holiday cards can be fun, but making homemade cards can be a great family tradition as well. Get out the construction paper, stencils, stamps, glitter, paint, and stickers, and create some adorable holiday cards together.

There are many adorable ideas for handmade holiday cards online, so a quick search will bring up lots go ideas to get you started. Always supervise a young child using scissors, tape, and glue. Children might also enjoy going house to house delivering their homemade creations during the holidays, and Christmas art projects also make great gifts for family.

  • Get Christmas family photos done. 

Holiday photos can be a fun tradition to do every Christmas season. Whether you dress up and go see Santa, take photos by the Christmas tree, or book a professional photoshoot, these pictures are ones that will be treasured for years to come. These photos can also make wonderful decorations to display during the holidays.

  • Write a letter to Santa.

    Help the kids write letters to Santa Claus ---------

  • Cut down your own Christmas tree.

Cute baby girl in red Scandinavian dress

One of the most popular family Christmas traditions is going to cut down a Christmas tree. Visiting a Christmas tree farm can be an exciting adventure for kids of all ages, and picking out a special tree bring home is a great way for the family to spend time together during the holidays. The beautiful, fresh-cut tree will serve as the focal point of the decor and be a great reminder of the fun time everyone had picking it out! 

  • Have a gingerbread house decorating competition.

Gingerbread house kits are popular this time of year and come in all shapes and styles. Host a gingerbread house decorating competition with the family and make this a fun holiday tradition. Everyone can decorate their own house and then vote on whose they like the best. The winner gets some sort of prize, like Christmas cookies, a festive ornament, or a new holiday movie.

  • Create a hot cocoa bar. 

Hot Chocolate with Candy and Cookies

One of the cutest Christmas traditions is to set up a hot cocoa bar in the house. Create a hot chocolate station and include individual packets of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, syrups, and whatever other toppings you'd like to include. Pick out some new Christmas mugs or plastic cups and create an adorable station to enjoy this classic holiday treat.

  • Go on a holiday scavenger hunt.

A unique Christmas tradition that can be fun for the whole family is to create a holiday scavenger hunt. This fun family activity can be done in the house or in the car. Type up a list of some common Christmas items, and then see who can find them the fastest! Some ideas to include are ornaments, candy canes, Christmas lights, nutcrackers, Christmas cookies, presents, elf-themed decor, gnomes, stockings, and more.

  • Learn some new Christmas carols.

Move beyond Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and learn some lesser- known Christmas carols! Singing holidays songs together can be a fun tradition to start as a family. Gather your loved ones together and sing songs like I Saw Three Ships Coming Sailing In, Do You Hear What I Hear, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and O Come All Ye Faithful.

  • Craft ornaments for the tree. 

DIY Christmas ornament KeaBabies Baby Handprint and Footprint Keepsakes

Homemade ornaments are a sweet way to celebrate the holidays. Creating a new ornament every year can be a sweet tradition to carry on as a family. There are many cute ideas for Christmas ornaments available online, and ornament-decorating supplies can be found at most local craft stores.

    Even a young child can participate in creating a special ornament. Finger paints or salt dough mixes are a great way for young kids to design a cute ornament for the tree.

    • Come up with unique elf-on-a-shelf ideas. 

    Pinterest, Facebook, and other websites are full of great Elf-on-a-Shelf ideas! Kids love to watch the elf move from place to place, creating havoc all December long as he keeps watch over the children and reports back to Santa!

    Some fun elf activities include:

    1. Drawing faces on bananas

    2. Making a snowman out of toilet paper rolls

    3. Using marshmallows for a snowball fight

    4. Hiding in the silverware drawer

    5. Swinging from the Christmas lights

    6. Going "fishing" for fish crackers

    7. Stuffing Oreos with toothpaste

    8. Rolling down the stairs in a toilet paper roll

    9. Hiding in a hot dog bun

    10. Making snow angels in a tray of rice


    • Pick out toys for children in need.

        One of the best family Christmas traditions is to give back to those in need. Instead of focusing on the presents they're going to receive, help your children appreciate the joy of giving gifts to others. Help your kids pick out a few simple presents and drop them off at a donation station or reach out to local families who might need some extra help this holiday season.

        Traditions for Christmas Eve:

        • Make cookies for Santa Claus. 

        Whether you choose a homemade recipe or buy premade cookie dough at the store, baking cookies for Santa is a fun Christmas Eve tradition for families. Kids will delight in creating holiday treats and setting them out on a special plate for Santa (and his reindeer) to nibble on.

        • Wear matching Christmas pajamas.

        Create happy family memories by wearing matching Christmas pajamas the night before Christmas. Pick out some cozy matching outfits, grab some blankets, and play board games or watch movies long into the night as you anxiously await Santa's arrival.

        • Stay up late watching Christmas movies.

        Children will cherish memories of watching classic Christmas movies as a family. Pick out a family-friendly Christmas movie, pop some popcorn and make some hot chocolate, and enjoy an evening of fun (and this works well to distract the kids from asking too many times when Santa will come!).

        • Go caroling at an elderly family member's house.

        Going caroling is one of the most classic, unique Christmas traditions that not many people do nowadays. It can be a fun tradition to choose an elderly family member to go visit and sing Christmas songs to. Christmas carols bring holiday cheer to those who are lonely or facing tough times! If you don't have relatives nearby, consider bringing the family to a local convalescent home and singing songs and visiting with the patients there.

        • Deliver a Christmas card to each neighbor.

        A sweet Christmas tradition to do as a family is not only make holiday cards, but deliver them to each of your neighbors! This is one of those traditions that can be a great activity for years to come. Your neighbors will love receiving special cards on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

        • Have a Christmas Eve party.

        A Christmas Eve party can be a great tradition to look forward to every year. Celebrate with friends and family by hosting a fun get-together with snacks, music, games, movies, crafts, and more. Many people enjoy having themed Christmas Eve parties, such as an ugly sweater party or white elephant gift exchange party.

        • Cook Christmas-themed food.

        A fun family tradition to do on Christmas Eve is cook holiday-themed recipes together.

        Here are some easy Christmas food ideas:

        1. Christmas tree vegetable platter

        2. Strawberry, marshmallow, and whipped cream Santas

        3. Crispy rice cereal Christmas trees

        4. Sliced tomato and mozzarella candy canes

        5. Melted snowman cookies

        Traditions for Christmas Morning:

        Family Christmas traditions can also include Christmas morning. Wake up the family with a big pancake breakfast, turn on a classic Christmas movie, have a picnic by the Christmas tree, go on a morning walk or hike, play a card game or board game, listen to festive music, or open gifts one by one.

        One of the best Christmas traditions for Christmas morning is to host family or friends to exchange gifts. Get out some snacks, turn on some lively music, and enjoy opening presents with loved ones.

        Traditions can be simple or unique.

        Family traditions are an amazing part of the Christmas season. From December festivities, to the night-before-Christmas fun, to Christmas morning surprises, incorporating traditions into your family's holiday routine can be a wonderful bonding experience! 

            Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez

            I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.

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