As the holiday season approaches, it’s the perfect time to think about starting fun Christmas holiday traditions with your family. The holiday season is a time of joy, family, and creating lasting memories. Embracing it fully sets a tone of excitement and anticipation in your home. Whether you’re celebrating your child’s first Christmas or looking to add more joy to the festive season, this post is filled with fun, family-friendly traditions that everyone can enjoy. Let’s dive into creating magical memories!
1. Advent Calendar Countdown
Use an advent calendar to count down the days to Christmas. An advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. Traditionally, it begins on December 1st and marks the 24 days leading up to Christmas Day. Each day, a door or compartment on the calendar is opened to reveal an image, a small gift, or a piece of chocolate. This adds to the excitement as Christmas approaches. The calendars are now produced in a variety of styles and themes. They can range from simple paper calendars with pictures to elaborate designs featuring toys, chocolates, or other small gifts. Some advent calendars also include religious or spiritual messages related to the Christmas season. You can create your own advent calendar or buy a ready made one which you can customize as a family.
Why It’s Great: It builds anticipation for Christmas and offers a daily moment of family connection. The countdown aspect of an advent calendar heightens the excitement as Christmas approaches. It’s a tangible way for children (and adults) to see how close the holiday is getting. Opening the advent calendar can become a special daily family activity, where members gather to see what each new day reveals. It’s a moment of togetherness in the often busy holiday season.
2. Christmas Tree Decorating
Christmas tree decorating as a family is a cherished tradition in many households around the world. Typically taking place in the days or weeks leading up to Christmas. This activity involves setting up a Christmas tree, either real or artificial, and adorning it with various decorations like lights, ornaments, tinsel, and often a star or angel at the top.
Why it’s great: The significance of this tradition lies in both its festive nature and the opportunity it provides for family bonding. It’s a time for storytelling and reminiscing, as many ornaments often have sentimental value or special stories behind them. This can include handmade decorations, heirloom pieces passed down through generations, or souvenirs from significant life events. For children, it’s a magical experience that builds anticipation for Christmas Day. As for adults, it can be a nostalgic activity that reconnects them with their own childhood memories. The tree itself, once decorated, becomes a central point in the home during the holiday season. It symbolizes warmth, joy, and the spirit of togetherness.
3. Bake and Decorate Christmas Cookies
Spend a day baking various types of christmas cookies and decorating them with icing, sprinkles, and candy. Christmas cookie baking and decorating as a family is a delightful and much-loved holiday tradition in many cultures. This festive activity typically involves the entire family baking a variety of cookies. Often in shapes like stars, Christmas trees, snowflakes, and Santa Claus, and then decorating them with icing, sprinkles, and candies.
Why it’s great: Christmas cookie baking and decorating as a family is a cherished holiday tradition that fosters family bonding, creativity, and the joy of sharing. It’s a fun, inclusive activity that allows family members of all ages to participate in creating and enjoying festive treats. This tradition not only creates lasting memories but also embodies the spirit of generosity and togetherness during the holiday season.
4. Christmas Lights Tour
Take a drive or a walk to admire Christmas lights and decorations in your neighborhood or city. A Christmas lights tour as a family is an enjoyable holiday activity. This can involve driving through neighborhoods known for their elaborate decorations. You can visit specific light shows, or attending community events featuring holiday lights. Christmas lights symbolize hope and happiness. Viewing them together can be a calming, beautiful experience.
Why it’s great: It offers quality time together, away from the usual distractions at home. Families can share the experience of seeing dazzling light displays, fostering a sense of togetherness. Viewing Christmas lights is a way to immerse in the festive spirit of the season. The bright, colorful lights often bring joy and wonder, especially to children. For many families, a tour of Christmas lights is a yearly tradition, creating cherished memories and anticipation each holiday season. Participating in this activity can also mean engaging with the larger community, as families often visit public displays or community-organized light shows.
5. Christmas Movie Marathon
A Christmas movie marathon as a holiday tradition involves gathering as a family to watch a series of Christmas-themed movies. This can be a planned event with a specific selection of films or a more spontaneous activity. Family members choose their favorite holiday movies to watch back-to-back. Choose a selection of favorite Christmas movies to watch back-to-back, accompanied by cozy blankets and snacks.
Why It’s great: It provides an opportunity for the family to spend time together in a relaxed setting. Watching movies together encourages closeness and shared experiences. Christmas movies often embody themes of love, generosity, and the magic of the holiday season. This helps to foster a holiday spirit in the home. Amid the busy holiday season, a movie marathon offers a chance to unwind and take a break from the hectic pace of holiday preparations and celebrations. Revisiting classic Christmas movies every year can evoke nostalgia and create a sense of tradition. These films often hold sentimental value and become an integral part of family holiday rituals. This activity is inclusive and accessible to all family members regardless of age, making it a universally enjoyable experience.
6. Write and Send Christmas Cards
Create or purchase Christmas cards and have everyone write personal messages to friends and family. Writing and sending Christmas cards is a cherished tradition during the holiday season. These cards often contain heartfelt messages, holiday greetings, and sometimes include a summary of the year’s significant events for the sender.
Why it’s great: In an era of digital communication, a handwritten Christmas card provides a personal touch that stands out. It shows effort and thoughtfulness, strengthening bonds with those who receive them. Christmas cards are a way to spread holiday cheer. They convey warm wishes to others, which can be especially meaningful to those who may be far away or whom we don’t often see. The process of writing cards can be a reflective activity. It prompts individuals to think about their relationships and express gratitude and appreciation. In many families, sending Christmas cards is a longstanding tradition. It helps to maintain a sense of continuity and connection with the past. Receiving a card often prompts recipients to reach out, fostering communication and sometimes rekindling relationships.
7. Attend a Christmas Market
Visit a local Christmas market to enjoy festive foods, crafts, and perhaps pick up unique gifts. Individuals or families visit markets specially set up for the holiday season. These markets are often filled with stalls selling holiday-themed items, handmade crafts, seasonal treats, and warm beverages. They are usually adorned with festive decorations, lights, and sometimes feature entertainment like carol singing or live music.
Why it’s great: Christmas markets are known for their vibrant and joyful atmosphere. This helps visitors get into the spirit of the season. The combination of lights, decorations, and holiday music creates a magical experience. Visiting a Christmas market encourages interaction with the local community and supports local artisans and businesses. It’s a way to connect with others in a festive setting. Many Christmas markets have unique cultural aspects, reflecting local traditions, crafts, and foods. This provides an opportunity to experience and appreciate different cultural expressions of the holiday season. For families, these markets offer a fun outing where all members can find something enjoyable, whether it’s shopping, eating, or simply taking in the sights and sounds. Attending a Christmas market is an annual tradition that is eagerly anticipated. It marks the beginning of the holiday season and is a cherished part of festive celebrations.
8. Christmas Caroling
Go singing Christmas carols around your neighborhood or join a local caroling event. Christmas caroling is a holiday tradition where families or groups go from house to house, or sometimes gather in public spaces, to sing Christmas carols. These songs are often well-known and celebrate the themes and stories of the Christmas season. Carolers may also perform at organized events, nursing homes, hospitals, or community centers.
Why it’s great: Caroling is a way to spread joy and festive spirit. The music and collective singing can uplift the mood of both the carolers and their audience, bringing a sense of warmth and happiness. Christmas caroling often brings people together, fostering a sense of community. It can connect neighbors, friends, and family members, and sometimes even brings together strangers. For families with children, caroling can be an educational experience where kids learn traditional songs and the stories behind them.
9. Read Christmas Stories:
Spend time reading classic or new Christmas stories, maybe as a bedtime activity. Gather together to share festive tales, often characterized by themes of generosity, compassion, and the magic of the holiday season. This can take place in the evenings leading up to Christmas, or on Christmas Eve. It typically includes classic stories or family favorites.
Why it’s great: Sharing stories creates a sense of closeness among family members. It’s a cozy, intimate activity that encourages spending quality time together, away from the distractions of technology and the hustle of daily life. Many Christmas stories carry messages about the importance of kindness, the joy of giving, and the value of family and friends. Reading these stories helps instill these values in children and reinforces them in adults. For children, Christmas stories are a gateway to a world of imagination and wonder. These stories can fuel their creativity and deepen their enjoyment of the holiday season. The act of reading or listening to stories can be calming and comforting, providing a peaceful respite from the excitement and busyness that often accompany the holiday season.
10 Make DIY Christmas Ornaments
Create homemade ornaments for the tree using various materials like paper, fabric, or wood.
Making DIY Christmas ornaments as a family holiday tradition involves creating homemade decorations for the Christmas tree or home. This activity can range from simple crafts suitable for young children to more complex projects for adults.
Why it’s great: Making DIY ornaments allows each family member to express their creativity. It’s a chance to create something unique and personal, adding a special touch to the holiday decor. Working together on a craft project encourages teamwork and helps strengthen family bonds. It’s a shared activity that can involve members of all ages, fostering a sense of inclusion and togetherness. For children, this activity is not only fun but educational. It can teach them basic crafting skills, as well as patience, focus, and the value of creating something by hand. There is a special pride in hanging an ornament that you made yourself. It adds a personal and meaningful touch to the holiday season.
11. Host a Christmas Sweater Party
Have a fun gathering where everyone wears festive or funny Christmas sweaters. Invitefriends and family to a festive gathering where everyone wears Christmas-themed sweaters. These sweaters are often colorful, decorated with holiday motifs, and sometimes deliberately “ugly” or over-the-top in design.
Why it’s great: The light-hearted nature of wearing festive or ‘ugly’ Christmas sweaters often leads to laughter and amusement, creating a joyful and relaxed atmosphere at the party. Choosing or creating a Christmas sweater allows for individual expression. People often get creative, sometimes even crafting their own, which adds to the fun and uniqueness of the event. The sweaters themselves can be conversation starters, breaking the ice among guests and fostering social interaction, especially in gatherings that include people who may not know each other well. This tradition is inclusive, as everyone can participate regardless of age or background. It’s about fun and festivity, rather than competition or skill.
12 Volunteer or Donate
Volunteering or donating as a family Christmas tradition involves engaging in acts of charity and service during the holiday season. This can include activities like volunteering at a local soup kitchen, donating to the local food bank, participating in toy drives for children, or helping out at community events.
Why it’s great: The holiday season is often associated with the spirit of generosity and kindness. Volunteering or donating as a family reinforces these values and the importance of giving back to the community.For children, this tradition is particularly impactful as it teaches them empathy, compassion, and social responsibility. It helps them understand the diverse experiences of others and the importance of helping those in need. Participating in these activities can also provide a perspective on one’s own circumstances, fostering gratitude and appreciation for what one has.
13. Gingerbread House Competition
Host a family competition to see who can create the most creative or best-looking gingerbread house. A gingerbread house competition as a family Christmas tradition involves each family member or team creating their own gingerbread house, followed by a friendly competition to see whose creation is the most creative, elaborate, or best captures the holiday spirit. This activity often includes baking the gingerbread, assembling the houses, and decorating them with a variety of candies, icing, and other edible decorations.
Why it’s great: Building and decorating gingerbread houses allows family members to express their creativity and imagination. It’s an opportunity for artistic expression and innovation. Working together on gingerbread houses, whether in teams or individually with support from others, fosters teamwork and collaboration. It’s a fun and engaging way for the family to spend quality time together. The competitive element adds excitement and motivation to the activity. It encourages participants to put in their best effort, leading to a sense of achievement regardless of who ‘wins.’ For children, this tradition is not only fun but also educational. It can teach them basic construction and design principles, as well as patience and precision.
14. Christmas Eve Box
A Christmas Eve box is a relatively recent family tradition where a special box is filled with items to be enjoyed on Christmas Eve. Typically, this box might include things like pajamas, a holiday movie or book, hot chocolate mix, snacks, a small toy, or a Christmas ornament. The contents of the box are tailored to the family or individual, often aiming to create a cozy, festive atmosphere on the night before Christmas.
Why it’s great: For many, especially children, the excitement of Christmas Eve is almost as significant as Christmas Day itself. The Christmas Eve box serves as a delightful way to heighten this anticipation. The items in the box often encourage family activities, such as watching a movie together or reading a story. This fosters family bonding and creates a sense of togetherness. The focus on cozy and enjoyable items like pajamas and hot chocolate contributes to a comfortable and joyful atmosphere, aligning with the festive spirit of the season. For children especially, the wait for Christmas morning can feel long. The Christmas Eve box provides a fun and engaging way to make this wait more enjoyable.
15. Attend a Christmas Eve Service
Attending a Christmas Eve service is a tradition for many families, particularly those with Christian beliefs. This service, typically held at churches on the evening of December 24th, celebrates the religious significance of Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Why it’s great: For Christians, attending a Christmas Eve service is a way to reflect on the religious meaning of the holiday. It’s a time to remember the story of the Nativity and the spiritual messages associated with it. For many families, attending Christmas Eve service is a longstanding tradition that connects generations. It can be a meaningful part of the holiday season that parents pass down to their children. The service often offers a peaceful and reflective atmosphere, a respite from the commercial and busy aspects of the holiday season. It allows time for contemplation, gratitude, and finding inner peace.
16. Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Secret Santa gift exchange is a popular Christmas family tradition where members of a family or a group secretly draw names to determine who they will buy a gift for. The identity of the gift-giver is meant to remain a secret until the gift exchange takes place, often adding an element of surprise and excitement to the occasion.
Why it’s great: Since participants typically have to think about what the recipient would appreciate, Secret Santa encourages thoughtfulness and consideration. It’s an opportunity to show care and understanding of someone else’s preferences and interests. Secret Santa often involves setting a budget limit for gifts, which makes the tradition budget-friendly and ensures that no one feels pressured to spend a lot of money. The secrecy and anticipation involved in not knowing who your Secret Santa is or what gift you will receive adds an element of fun and excitement to the holiday season.
17. Create a Christmas Playlist
Creating a Christmas playlist as a family tradition involves compiling a selection of holiday-themed music that reflects the family’s musical tastes and the festive spirit of the season. This can be a collaborative activity where each family member contributes their favorite Christmas songs, ranging from classic carols to modern holiday hits.
Why it’s great: A customized Christmas playlist allows the family to express their unique holiday preferences and create an atmosphere that resonates with them personally. Music is a powerful tool for setting the mood. A Christmas playlist can instantly infuse the home with holiday cheer, making other activities like decorating, baking, or opening gifts even more enjoyable. Music often holds a strong emotional connection. A Christmas playlist can evoke feelings of joy, comfort, and togetherness, enhancing the overall emotional experience of the holiday season.
18 Christmas Breakfast
Start Christmas day with a special, often indulgent, breakfast prepared and enjoyed together. Christmas breakfast as a family tradition involves gathering to enjoy a special meal on Christmas morning. This meal often features favorite or traditional dishes and is usually more elaborate or festive than a typical breakfast. The specific foods can vary widely depending on cultural and family preferences, ranging from pancakes and waffles to eggs, meats, pastries, and special holiday treats.
Why it’s great: Sharing a meal first thing on Christmas morning is a way to start the day with family togetherness, emphasizing the importance of spending time with loved ones. After the excitement of opening presents, a leisurely and enjoyable breakfast offers a chance to relax, savor the food, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s an opportunity for family members to showcase their culinary skills or share recipes that may have been passed down through generations, thereby preserving family heritage and culture.
19. Ice Skating
Visit a local ice rink or a frozen pond (if safe) for a day of skating. Ice skating as a Christmas tradition for families involves visiting an ice skating rink during the holiday season. Often, these rinks are set up in festive locations, adorned with holiday decorations and lights, creating a magical winter atmosphere. This activity can be enjoyed by family members of all ages and skill levels.
Why it’s great: Skating together as a family encourages cooperation, patience, and support, especially when helping beginners or young children learn to skate. It’s an opportunity for shared experiences and creating lasting memories. The physical activity combined with the often-scenic environments of ice rinks can provide a welcome break from the holiday hustle and bustle, offering relaxation and stress relief.
20. Christmas Crafting Day
Christmas crafting day as a family tradition involves setting aside a day during the holiday season to create various Christmas-themed crafts. This can include making ornaments, designing holiday cards, creating festive decorations, or even sewing stockings. The activities can be tailored to suit all ages and skill levels, making it an inclusive family event.
Why it’s great: Crafting provides a platform for family members to express their creativity. It’s an opportunity to create unique and personalized decorations or gifts, showcasing individual talents and ideas. Handmade crafts often become cherished keepsakes that are used or displayed year after year. They hold sentimental value and can remind family members of past holidays spent together. For children, crafting can be both fun and educational. It teaches them various skills such as cutting, gluing, painting, and more refined crafting techniques, all while engaging in a festive activity.
21. Hot Cocoa Night
Have a night dedicated to making and enjoying hot cocoa with various toppings and mix-ins. Hot cocoa night as a family Christmas tradition involves gathering together to enjoy cups of hot chocolate, often accompanied by various toppings and treats like marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint sticks, or cookies. This simple yet cozy tradition typically takes place on a cold winter evening, adding warmth and sweetness to the holiday season.
Why it’s great: The act of sipping hot cocoa together provides physical and emotional warmth, creating a comforting and nurturing environment, especially during the chilly winter season. Encouraging Family Bonding: Gathering for hot cocoa creates an opportunity for family members to spend quality time together, engage in conversation, share stories, or simply enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed setting. Hot cocoa night is a simple, low-cost tradition that’s easy to organize and can be enjoyed by family members of all ages, making it highly inclusive. This tradition can be combined with other activities like watching Christmas movies, reading holiday stories, or just enjoying the festive decorations and music, making it versatile and adaptable to any family’s holiday celebrations.
22 Christmas Pyjamas
Gift everyone a new pair of Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. The tradition of Christmas pajamas for families involves selecting and wearing special pajamas during the Christmas season, often on Christmas Eve. These pajamas are typically festive in design, featuring holiday themes, colors, or patterns. Families might choose matching sets or allow each member to pick their own unique style.
Why it’s great: Wearing matching or themed pajamas can strengthen the feeling of unity and togetherness among family members. It’s a visual and fun way to feel connected. For many, especially children, donning Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve heightens the excitement and anticipation for Christmas Day. It’s a signal that something special and festive is happening. This tradition also provides an opportunity for memorable family photos that capture the joy and spirit of the season.
23. Create a Family Christmas Video
Record a video with holiday messages or a summary of the year, which can be a fun keepsake. Creating a family Christmas video as a tradition involves recording and compiling video clips during the holiday season to capture special moments, traditions, and family interactions. This could include scenes of decorating the tree, opening presents, Christmas dinner, or simply candid moments of family fun and togetherness. The final video can be watched together as a family, shared with friends and relatives, or saved as a keepsake.
Why it’s great: A Christmas video serves as a dynamic and vivid record of family moments and traditions, capturing the essence of each holiday season that can be cherished for years to come. Collaborating on a video project can bring the family together, fostering teamwork and a sense of accomplishment in creating something collectively. Over the years, these videos become a valuable record of the family’s growth and evolution, capturing changes and developments in the family dynamic, the children’s growth, and even the evolution of family traditions.
24. Visit Santa
Take children to see Santa Claus at a local event or mall for photos and to share their Christmas wishes. Visiting Santa Claus as a Christmas tradition involves taking children to see Santa, often at a mall, community event, or special holiday function. During these visits, children typically have the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap, share their Christmas wishes, and have their photo taken. This experience is often eagerly anticipated by children and cherished by parents as a quintessential part of the holiday season.
Why it’s great: Meeting Santa can be a magical experience for children, filled with awe and excitement. It nurtures their imagination and belief in the wonder of the Christmas season. A visit to Santa is a memorable event for families, often captured in photographs that become cherished keepsakes, marking the passage of time and the growth of the children. Conversations with Santa often involve children expressing their hopes and desires, not just for gifts but also in the spirit of the season. It builds anticipation for Christmas Day and reinforces narratives of goodwill and giving.
25. Special Christmas Dinner
A special Christmas dinner as a family tradition involves gathering around the table to enjoy a festive meal on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. This meal is often more elaborate than typical dinners and features traditional dishes that may vary depending on cultural and family customs. It’s a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate with food that is often prepared and enjoyed collectively.
Why it’s great: Christmas dinner is a celebration, marking the culmination of the holiday season. The act of feasting together holds historical and cultural significance in many societies, symbolizing abundance, gratitude, and joy. Sharing a meal is a fundamental way for families to connect. This dinner provides an opportunity for family members to gather, catch up, and enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed setting. Many families have specific recipes or dishes that are passed down through generations, making the Christmas meal a way to honor and continue family heritage and traditions. The Christmas dinner can also be a time of reflection and gratitude, where family members may acknowledge the blessings of the past year and express hope and good wishes for the future.
Each of these unique christmas traditions offers a unique way to celebrate the holiday season, bringing families closer together and creating lasting memories. Remember, the key to these traditions is togetherness and creating memories that will last a lifetime. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and memorable Christmas season!