You’re walking down the street and feel a slight chill. You see an orange leaf falling from a tree. You can faintly smell a Pumpkin Spice Latte in the distance. That’s when you know it’s time to start getting ready for the Holidays!
If you’re anything like me, the first little hint of fall will send you spiraling into an unstoppable holiday obsession. Your family can spot the signs from miles away. They know what you become when the holiday season approaches. They also know that you can’t be stopped and have given up trying to change you.
To make the holiday season even more special, start these memorable Christmas traditions with your family. These fun traditions will become beautiful memories for your family and make Christmas in your home the most magical time of the year!
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The holidays are always a big deal in my house. It starts with a little fall breeze and ends with me pulling all the stops for Christmas because it is the most magical time of the year and no one can tell me otherwise. Anyone who disagrees can fight me (okay, don’t fight me because I’m terrified of pain).
The tree, the decor, the food, the ambiance. You’ve got it all covered. Of course, nothing compares to the smile on your children’s faces when they rush by you and annihilate you’re impeccable gift-wrapping to ensure that Santa brought them the goods, ignoring all the effort you’ve put into creating the holiday experience for them.
Nonetheless, you know that your family looks forward to you being as extra as you are because, without you, Christmas wouldn’t be as magical. Obviously.
So how do spread even more Christmas cheer during the holidays? You create the best Christmas traditions! These traditions will create beautiful memories that you and your family will remember and maybe even pass down to future generations.
Your kids might not remember all the presents or the decor, but they will always remember the traditions you started that made Christmas extra special for them. These are the times that our littles will look back on when they are not so little anymore (omg, crying) with love and warmth.
Let’s start making some memories with the best Christmas traditions for all ages!
25 Christmas Traditions Your Family Will Love!
1. Matching Pajamas for the Family
Need I say more? This tradition is even more fun if you have a pet and get them a matching outfit too. Cuteness overload!
We started this tradition for Leo’s first Christmas and it’s one of my favorites. This is a great way to bond as a family as everyone unwraps and changes into their PJ’s for Christmas Eve. Take candid pictures on Christmas morning with everyone wearing their PJs. You’ll love looking back on them! This set is so cute and you can mix and match for the whole family. Adorable.
2. Read a Christmas Story Every Night
This is a great tradition because it encourages bonding, reading, and learning. Your kids can even take turns reading to the family.
You can read Christmas classics or add some new literature to your collection. You can read a book every night starting December 1st or you can start a week or two before Christmas if you are still growing your collection.
This tradition is timeless because your kids can still participate as they get older and read their favorite classic stories for years to come. Taking the time to read Christmas storybooks together is such a great way to pause and bond as a family.
If you’re looking to start a timeless collection, some very well-loved classic Christmas stories are A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
3. Watch Christmas Movies
Love Actually always gets extra screen-time in my house during the holidays but I am an avid lover of pretty much all Christmas movies. You could watch classics or watch some of the newer ones on Netflix. I just watched the Princess Switch and thought it was so cute!
I also shamelessly watch Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, they are corny AF but I’m no longer embarrassed to admit that I watch them all. Sorry, not sorry.
As your kids get older, they will probably have a few movies that they just love and rewatching them over and over again will be a treasured memory. Watching Christmas movies is also a great way to wind down with hubby. You could have some movie nights just for the two of you to relax.
I just watched The Holiday for the first time ever! I’m not sure why I never got around to watching it. It’s definitely being added to the holiday movie rotation.
Do you have any favorite Christmas movies that you simply must watch every year?
4. Take a Christmas Family Photo
You can either do a formal holiday photo or just take pictures on Christmas morning with everyone in their PJs, opening gifts. There is something so magical about holiday pictures. You can just feel the love simply by looking at the photos.
I love this set of Christmas Photo Booth Props. I’m sure Leo would love being silly and taking pictures with props when he’s a little older. These would also be fun if you’re hosting Christmas and would make a perfect keepsake for your holiday guests!
5. Get a Fun Advent Calendar
Who doesn’t want a special surprise every day for almost an entire month?! This is a Christmas tradition you can continue for many years and start very early with your kids. Since Leo is still very little, I am eyeing this Melissa and Doug Wooden Advent Calendar.
We are a huge fan of M&D and I love that Leo can learn his numbers and pick different ornaments to put on his “tree”. This Fabric Advent Calendar is also too cute for words and now I may have to get both because I can’t decide.
Since Leo is still just a toddler, I would probably give him a small treat every night such as a little orange, a small bowl of mixed berries or a “Christmas muffin”. There are so many great ways to have fun with advent calendars and you can switch the treats every year so it’s always a surprise!
6. Make A Gingerbread House
Gingerbread houses are simply delightful. You can even bake little Gingerbread people that “live” in the houses. Bonus points because they’re edible!
7. Bake Christmas Cookies
Christmas cookies are life and should be available year-round. Am I wrong? I love making Christmas cookies and Leo loves helping. We get messy with the flour and dough. The experience is fun but also exhausting (real-talk).
The best part is everyone gets to nibble on cookies in the end. This is a Christmas tradition your family can enjoy forever because what kind of monster doesn’t like cookies?
This year for Christmas, we are actually getting Leo a learning tower so that he can help us in the kitchen. Apparently, learning towers are a huge hit with the littles because they can help in the kitchen which is great for their development and motor skills.
I think we will give Leo his gift early so that he can help us make Christmas cookies. I also love this adorable set of Christmas cookie cutters. The festive colors are so cute!
8. Pick a Special Ornament
Or better yet, make one! I get a special ornament every year and whenever I take it out, I’m instantly taken back to that year and the special memories from that time in my life. Ornaments are such a special way of commemorating the year you had and you can even pass the ornaments to your kids when they have their own trees (crying, again).
Hand-made ornaments are just the cutest and you will surely look back at them and ugly-cry.
If you don’t have the time to get ~crafty~ then make a day out of going to the mall and picking out a special ornament that symbolizes something your kids love. It can be a sport or instrument they are playing, a hobby they have, maybe an ornament with their name and age on it or anything that’s going on in your lives that you want to commemorate.
9. Want, Need, Wear, Read
This one of the newer Christmas traditions that I can definitely get behind. The idea is that you get your kids a gift they want, a gift they need, something to wear and something to read. This helps keep junk and overspending at bay while ensuring that your kids still get useful and meaningful gifts that they will love.
I love the idea of investing in quality over quantity and being more intentional with our gifts. Marie Kondo, anyone? If it doesn’t spark joy, then pass!
Is this a tradition you would try? If yes, what would be your four gifts?
10. Family Game Night
There are so many great board games to play for this tradition. You can stick with classics like Uno or Monopoly or play Christmas themed games Christmas Bingo or the Santa Claus Game. I think I’m going to get Leo this deck of Santa Claus GO Fish cards as he’s obsessed with memory games right now.
These would also make a great stocking stuffer or a perfect addition to Christmas Eve boxes.
11. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
Most Christmas Tree farms have hot cocoa and wagon rides. Think Pumpkin Patch but Christmas! I can’t wait to take Leo to a Christmas farm and let him run around.
This is a great tradition because it allows your kids to run around and burn off their never-ending energy. Mom-win! Even better if you are actually cutting down and taking home your own tree.
We aren’t brave enough for a real tree but maybe one day! Do you have a real or fake tree?
12. Decorate your Christmas Tree Together
Our tree goes up the first week of November because I like to stretch out the holiday spirit for as long as possible. I’m extra and I don’t care (shrugs).
Make a day out of putting up the tree with your family! Hot chocolate is obviously necessary to fuel you through this very important task. I used to put up the tree by myself but now that Leo is older, he enjoys helping decorate the tree and we have a great time.
It’s so much fun to decorate the Christmas tree as a family while listening to Christmas songs and eating Christmas cookies. Delightful!
13. Make a Night Before Christmas Box
This is such a cute tradition and doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate at all. I think I will put Leo’s favorite cereal bar, Christmas pajamas, a new pair of slippers and a book in Leo’s Christmas Eve box.
Some other ideas are socks, candy canes, a new toothbrush, a coloring book, stuffed animal, popcorn, treats, an ornament, Christmas crafts, a puzzle, hot chocolate, reindeer food, stickers, a new mug, a card game or a Christmas movie.
Some parents tell their kids this is a special gift from the elves or even include a letter from Santa. There are no rules. Get creative!
14. Make a Video on Christmas Morning
We started this tradition on Leo’s first Christmas. We set up our tripod and filmed ourselves unwrapping all of Leo’s gifts. Seeing his eyes light up and his little expressions and movements still make me sob uncontrollably.
Pictures are obviously necessary but videos are also great because you can capture your children’s personalities and the funny things that they say and do. You can re-watch the videos from previous years and relive those incredible moments!
15. Give Special Gifts
To people who need them most. Pick out some gently used or new toys that your kids have outgrown or you can make a box filled with supplies such as socks, and gloves or even non-perishable food items. You can make some treats and stop by an elderly home or an animal shelter. Switch it up and try a few different ways of giving.
Your kids will feel great knowing that they put a smile on someone’s face. Getting your kids involved in the process of choosing the “gifts” will make them excited and teach them just how good it feels to help others.
This tradition will teach your kids the most valuable lesson of all; that the best gifts are actually the ones we give.
16. See Christmas Lights
Beat the daylight savings darkness by going out and seeing some beautiful lights. It could just be a particular house that goes all out every year or you could attend a Christmas festival. Seeing Christmas lights is such a fun tradition because it can be enjoyed at every age, starting at infancy.
I especially love this tradition because I hate going out in the cold but I am actually excited to get out of the house to marvel at the stunning lights. You can also incorporate a scavenger hunt into this tradition. Fun!
17. Go Ice-skating
A Christmas movie classic activity made even better if applied in real life. I do not know how to ice-skate which is just embarrassing as a Canadian but my husband will be teaching Leo.
I’m too old to risk breaking any bones. My plan is to drink hot chocolate and cheer on the people who can ice-skate without breaking anything.
Even though I can’t skate, I love watching other people skate and choose to live vicariously through them. Does your family go ice-skating or do any other slightly dangerous outdoor activities during the holidays?
18. Have a Christmas Dance Party
By November, Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” was already at the top of the charts. I suspect this trend will continue until the world ends. You know what, though? I’m not mad.
We usually have a dance party every Saturday morning while making breakfast but during the holidays, we always play our favorite Christmas songs. Such a sweet way to add a little Christmas magic into your days!
Also, is there a single person on this planet that does not enjoy Michael Buble’s angelic voice singing your favorite Christmas songs? If yes, I would like to speak to that person directly.
19. Special Treats or Food on Boxing Day
Since Christmas meals are usually very decadent, it might be nice to do something different for Boxing Day. Leftover sandwiches work really well or just nibbling on hors d’oeuvres all day. I love the idea of having a lighter meal on Boxing Day because let’s be real, I have probably eaten enough for the remainder of the year.
A simple breakfast, a festive fruit and cheese platter (green grapes and different cheeses would be so easy and fun) for lunch and some apps for dinner sound amazing to me.
Alternatively, you could serve special treats or bake something just for Boxing Day to keep the festivities going!
20. Have A Christmas Campout or Slumber Party
Grab some blankets to build your tents or forts, add some delicious snacks and fun games and you’re all set! You can even read Christmas books or watch Christmas movies. Snacks are mandatory, though.
This is a great way to spend a lazy day or evening enjoying your family and cherishing the precious moments that just go by way too fast.
21. Make a Special Christmas Breakfast
Most people already have this tradition but I’d love to hear what you make for breakfast on Christmas morning? Pancakes? Waffles? Omelette bar? Pizza? All very solid options.
22. Take a Family Holiday
This is still a fantasy tradition for me but we are eagerly planning a holiday getaway within the next year or two. There are so many fantastic destinations you could explore during the holidays. You won’t even feel like you’re missing out on Christmas!
Of course, you could go to Disneyworld which I am sure would be equal parts magical and horrifying during Christmas.
You could also go skiing at a fancy chalet or maybe go somewhere warm and sunny. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a family vacation. The adventures and memories will be well worth it.
23. Make or Write Christmas Cards
Get the kids involved when it comes to Christmas cards. I love receiving handmade cards from the littles in our family and I love it even more, when the messages are written by the kids. This is a great tradition that your kids can continue once they are adults.
24. Get Ready for Santa
Whether it’s the classic cookies and milk or a bit more elaborate like making Santa footprints on Christmas Eve, every family has a unique way of preparing their home for the arrival of Santa Claus.
I also love the idea of leaving reindeer food out for Rudolph and his friends.
I think I will use the same Christmas paper to wrap “Santa’s” gift ever year. Maybe I will leave a note out from Santa to Leo on Christmas Eve, telling him to sleep early so that he can unwrap his special gift in the morning.
What do you do at your house to get ready for Santa’s arrival? What are some creative ways you keep your children believing in Santa?
25. Make a Hot Chocolate or S’mores Bar
As a bit of a hot chocolate connoisseur, I seriously can’t wait to do this once Leo is older!
This would also be a huge hit if you were hosting a Christmas party. You can set up the cocoa bar with cute mugs or paper cups that everyone can write and draw on. Serve the toppings in cute mason jars wrapped in twine or festive ribbons.
Toppings can include Pirouette cookies, toffee bits, chocolate shavings, sugar cookies, candy canes, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and of course, marshmallows! I’m sure you could find even more ideas to make the perfect cocoa bar.
A s’mores bar would be equally amazing! I think I saw some S’mores kits at my local grocery store but it would be ridiculously easy to buy in bulk and assemble your own. Your kids and holiday guests will rave about you for being so epic.
So, there you have it! 25 Christmas traditions to start with your family this holiday season! I hope you get to try out a few. Maybe you’ll do all 25. That would be extremely impressive and you may win some sort of award. Please let me know if you do!
Be sure to let me know what your family’s Christmas traditions are and if you plan on starting any new ones from this list in the comments below.
I would love to know what traditions you follow and if you have any unique Christmas traditions that are extra special to your family.