Memory making Family Christmas Traditions to start this year
The Holiday season is here, and shopping guides start showing up everywhere. We start thinking about the perfect gifts and looking for the best deals, basically getting drawn into the materialistic side of Christmas.
The truth is, the best gifts you can give your kids are the memories you have created together and the time you spend as a family.
In some years, they will probably forget about that trendy toy you got them, but will for sure remember the fun time you spent baking cookies on Christmas Eve.
And I know you are busy, being a mom is not an easy job and you probably don’t need an extra checkbox on your list. That’s why I have included mostly easy ideas that don’t need a lot of time to prepare. I promise it will be totally worth it.
As Caroline Kennedy said:
“Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, you’ll find you’ve created family traditions and lasting memories. Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul.”
These Christmas traditions will bring your family together and help you connect and spend quality time with your kids.
Use this list to pick one project for your family, complete your checklist, get some ideas for your own holiday bucket list, or pick activities to fill your advent calendar.
Just remember to select what feels right for your family.
Feeling inspired already?
Let’s take a look at the best Christmas traditions for your family!
P.S. There is a small list of Christ-centered ideas too. 😉
The Best Christmas Traditions For Families
Here are 20 family traditions that focus on what Christmas means to us: spending time with those we love and helping others without expecting something in return.
1. Start a Christmas Advent Calendar
The best way to kick of the holiday season is with a Christmas Advent Calendar. If you don’t already have one, or if you’ve never used one before, try crafting your own this year.
This DIY Printable Advent Calendar is super cute and can be started any day of December, as it doesn’t have any numbers.
There are 25 doors that can be opened in any order, and you can pick 2 or more every day depending on how many days there are left for Christmas.
We like this calendar because it is filled with fun and easy activities instead of candies or trinkets.
2. Decorate the Christmas Tree
Crank up your favorite holiday tunes and decorate the Christmas tree together as a family.
3. Make a Christmas Bucket List
Get your family together, pick things you’d like to do together during this holiday season, and schedule them.
Here you can find a printable Christmas bucket list filled with fun ideas like going ice skating, painting snow, decorating gingerbread houses, and more.
You can also find an empty list to fill with your own ideas.
4. Go On a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt
Go on a drive around your town to look for the cutest and funniest Christmas lights.
Bring popcorn and hot chocolate in travel mugs, and use this Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt to make it a little more exciting.
5. Have a Christmas Movie Night
You can plan a night (or even a week) to watch your favorite Christmas movies. You can watch the same every year or pick new titles each time.
Get these free Family Movie Night printables to make the night even more magical and sweeten the deal with some hot chocolate and popcorn.
6. Make a Hot Chocolate Bar
Talking about hot chocolate, why not make a hot cocoa bar?
Prepare hot cocoa and arrange lots of toppings and treats to go with it, think chocolate chips, marshmallows, whipped cream, etc.
Then, get these free printable templates to decorate your station and cozy up on a cold wintery day. Your kids will love this idea after a day of playing in the snow!
7. Make a List Of Things You Are Grateful For
Christmas is the perfect time of the year to think of all our blessings and be thankful for them.
You can use this gratitude tree and then hang it in a place where everyone can see it.
8. Start a Christmas Giving Jar
Start a Christmas giving Jar by simply finding an empty jar at home and filling it with change throughout the year.
The following Christmas, you can donate all you have collected to someone in need or buy supplies for a local shelter.
9. Host an Ugly Sweater Party
It can be a small party with just family and close friends. Doesn’t need to be fancy, as the focus should be on having some laughs, and of course, picking the ugliest sweater.
10. DIY Gifts For Your Neighbors
If you are super crafty, I’m sure you might already have some ideas in mind, but if you aren’t, don’t worry! You can make your own treats or put together some candies.
Bake cookies or cakes, put the ingredients of your favorite recipe in a mason jar, make some candles, craft your own ornament, or arrange your own gift box.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be beautiful and memorable!
11. Donate Food To Your Local Food Bank
Food banks are always busy this time of the year, so consider donating your time by volunteering or non-perishable items that can help others during this time.
12. Write a Letter to Santa
If your kids still believe in Santa Claus’ magic, then you can make them write a Christmas Wish List with all the goodies they hope to receive under the tree.
Don’t forget to keep a copy before mailing it to Santa! 😉
13. Make Reindeer Food
Talking about Santa’s visit, if your kids are excited to catch a glimpse of Rudolph on Christmas Eve, then they will love preparing a special treat for him.
All your kids need to do is mix oats and edible sprinkles in a bowl and leave it next to the milk and cookies for Santa.
14. Take a Picture With The Christmas Tree
To make this tradition even more fun, you can take a picture in the same poses every year. It would be wonderful to have a photo series of your kids growing up.
15. Make Handmade Christmas Cards
Send handmade Christmas cards to those who mean a lot to you.
You can make easy cards with your kid’s handprints, a simple family photo stuck on cardstock, or something more elaborated like this explosive Christmas card.
16. Get a New Christmas Tree Ornament
Get a new ornament for each member of the family every year.
Try to pick ornaments that reflect each family member’s interests or milestones.
If you have kids, you can take them to the store and let them choose their own.
Or better yet, if you like to craft, make a new family ornament each year. Don’t forget to write the date on the back!
17. Get Crafty!
If getting crafty is your thing, let your children select an idea they like and get creative!
As mentioned above, you can craft ornaments, make a winter wreath, DIY some decorations for your home, or simply have a good time with a craft for kids (check this section for some ideas I’ve shared on my blog!).
18. Get an Elf on the Shelf
Invite Santa’s little helper to your house and track if your kids are naughty or nice.
Each day, your kids will have to find their Elf in a new location doing something different but equally fun.
I know it can be a little tiring for parents, so I recommend bringing out the elf only 15-12 days before Christmas. You can also find many printable elf kits to make this cute tradition easier.
19. Track Santa’s Flight
There is nothing more exciting than tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. You can do it with NORAD Santa Tracker, available on multiple devices.
20. Make a Christmas Activity Book
Make your own Christmas activity books with these free printables.
This idea comes in handy when your kids are getting anxious about the holidays and need extra entertainment.
21. Have a Christmas Talent Show
Have a Christmas talent show where every family member shares a talent like singing, dancing, or doing magic tricks.
You can also have a team competition where kids can sing carols, perform the Nativity story, or do a Christmas skit.
22. Build a Gingerbread House
Building gingerbread houses has been a tradition for years. You can start from scratch and bake your own or buy those pre-made kits to make everything easier.
In the end, what kids enjoy the most is decorating and having a great time.
Alternatively, if you are not a fan of candies and wasting food (after sitting out for weeks, the cookies can get gross), you can make these gingerbread houses with popsicle sticks. They are equally cute and can be used as ornaments.
23. Have a Christmas Baking Day
Have a Christmas baking day by brushing off your family’s sugar cookie recipe, or simply bake cookies with pre-made dough.
If you are not into cooking, you can have a Cookie Decorating Day by using pre-baked cookies.
Then, invite your kids, friends, or family to decorate them, and send everyone a batch.
You can also assign each person an ingredient with their invitation.
24. Have a Cookie Exchange Party
If you don’t want any mess from the previous idea, then have a Cookie Exchange Party.
Every guest has to bring their favorite homemade cookies to share with everyone else, and after tasting them all, you can vote to crown the best.
If you are doing this activity just with your kids, you can let each one pick a recipe and help them bake it.
25. Make a Family Time Capsule
Making a family time capsule is a fun family project that helps you preserve some memories for your loved ones in the future.
Kids love getting involved, thinking of what to put inside, and filling questionnaires with important information about the current year. And they will be eager to open it in 5 or 10 years to see how everything has changed.
Christ-Focused Christmas Traditions
We should not forget that Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. Here are some Christ-centered activities you can try:
26. Attend Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Teach your children the reason for the season by attending a candlelight service.
Candlelight vigils are about bringing people together and focusing on what really matters, the coming of Jesus Christ.
It usually features great Christmas worship music, activities for the family, treats for all the kids, a few special surprises during the service, and of course, a candle to light as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
27. Read the Christmas Story
Another way to remember the real reason we celebrate the holidays is by reading the Christmas Story.
You can do this on Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or read a small part every day before Christmas.
28. Craft Your Own Star
Craft your own star and place it on top of the tree as a reminder of the star that led the Wise Men right where Jesus and His family were.
29. Visit a Live Nativity Scene
Remember the reason for the season with a visit to a live Nativity scene.
Live nativities provide unique experiences where your kids can visit real people and animals to see a performance of Jesus’ birth.
Check your nearby churches to know if they host this kind of event. Some do it for free, while others request food donations.
30. Create Your Own Nativity Set
Craft your own Nativity to retell the Christmas story with your kids.
We love to make our nativity set with paper rolls and always wait until Christmas Eve to put baby Jesus on his manger.
31. Go Christmas Caroling
Go Christmas caroling and bring holiday cheer to all your neighbors. Here is a playlist with worship songs.
32. Have a Family Coloring Night
Have a family coloring night with these Nativity coloring pages. They are perfect for kids and adults to gather around the table after dinner and color while listening to carols.
33. Sponsor a Family in Need
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that there are families struggling to share a meal or buy gifts this season. That’s why I recommend talking with your church and getting the whole community involved in sponsoring families in need.
Helping others is what Christmas is all about!
One Last Note on Christmas Traditions For Families
Christmas Traditions are meant to bring your family together. If you tried one and didn’t like it, you can replace it with another one.
Remember that there are no rules when it comes to spending time with your loved ones.
Family Traditions can help you teach your kids what Christmas is really all about: creating long-lasting memories and bringing lots of joy to your home.
Why not try them!