21 Fun Family Christmas Traditions to Create Everlasting Memories
If you have been looking for fun family Christmas traditions to start implementing this holiday season, I’ve got you covered.
Christmas is our family’s favorite holiday.
Even before my husband and I had children, we knew we wanted to create everlasting Christmas traditions with our kids.
So, once our first child was born, we created a list of fun Christmas traditions that we could all do together as a family.
Two kids later, our Christmas traditions list keeps on growing every year as they now have their very own ideas and preferences.
We have been able to merge some family traditions from my husband’s and I upbringing and new traditions we have created as a family along the way.
Some people think of Christmas as a one-day event, however the celebration of the birth of Jesus in our home starts many weeks in advance.
That is why next, I will be sharing with you Christmas traditions and activities you can start creating with your family on the days leading to Christmas, on Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Fun Family Christmas Traditions
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Leading Up to Christmas
1. Create a countdown calendar
The very first Christmas tradition that takes place in our house is creating a Countdown to Christmas Calendar.
How far back you want to start counting is up to you.
In our house we start our Christmas countdown early-mid November. That way, we have plenty of time to complete all of our fun family Christmas traditions and start enjoying the holiday season sooner.
You can opt to make you Countdown to Christmas Calendar from scratch as an art project, or you can purchase one of the following:
2. Buy a real Christmas tree
Following our countdown to Christmas calendar we set out to buy our Christmas tree.
Although we don’t have a Christmas tree farm here in South Florida, we do like to go buy our Christmas tree at a local Christmas tree stand.
We have made it a tradition to go to the same Christmas tree stand for the last 5 years where our Canadian friend Jean Paul brings his beautiful trees from his home country.
At his Canadian farm is where him and his family have planted and harvested their own Christmas trees.
We love the “from our family to yours” feeling we get every year when we visit Jean Paul and his beautiful family at his Christmas tree stand.
Plus, nothing against fake Christmas trees as they can be very convenient, but nothing beats the fresh smell of pine all over our home for the weeks to follow.
3. Decorate your Christmas Tree
Once you have your beautiful Christmas tree is time to decorate it.
To prevent chaos if you have more than one child assign decorating tasks to every child.
For instance, one child can put the red Christmas ornaments, another child can put the green ones and so on.
The goal is to do it as a family and enjoy the moment.
To make the Christmas tree decoration even more special put on some Christmas music in the background, make some hot cocoa, and bake fresh cookies.
4. Decorate an ornament
Another special and memorable Christmas tradition is for everyone to decorate their own Christmas ornament.
They sell ornament decorating kits you can purchase and let the decorating party begin!
Remember to play Christmas music in the background to set the mood.
5. Decorate the House
Another beautiful and fun family Christmas tradition is to decorate the house inside and out.
Have the kids be involved in the picking the decorations and putting them in place.
Christmas outdoor light and blow up Christmas decorations are some our family’s favorite.
Related Article: 50+ Christmas Decorations for the Entire House
6. Hang Christmas stockings
Hangings stocking for Santa to fill is another exciting fun Christmas tradition.
Traditionally, stockings are hung on the fireplace mantle. However, if you don’t have a fireplace you can hang them on the wall next to your Christmas tree.
If you don’t have stockings yet, purchase one for each member of the family and personalize them having everyone decorate them. That way you can reuse them over and over every year.
Here are more stocking selections and stocking stuffer ideas for kids and teens.
7. Christmas Lights Display
Another fun Christmas tradition is to go watch the Christmas lights display around your neighborhood.
Whether you go walking or on a car ride, take the time to stroll around and watch the Christmas magic reflected through every glistening Christmas light.
8. Write a letter for Santa
Another big memorable Christmas tradition is writing a Letter to Santa. Have all of your younger children write a Letter to Santa with their Christmas wishes for this year.
Put in an envelope, place a stamp, and send it to:
NORTH POLE POSTMARK
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
Walk with them to the mailbox and voila!
To make it extra special check out these beautiful and fun “Letter to Santa” template printables. They come with a bonus “Letter from Santa”.
9. Picture with Santa
Taking a picture with Santa is another Christmas tradition for many families. Although I must confess my children aren’t too fond of the whole picture-taking situation.
I am hoping this year will be a better experience for the kids… and Santa! Haha
Look for a “Picture with Santa” photo stand at your local mall or department store. Check online for local times and locations.
10. Donate and Volunteer
The heart of Christmas is the birth of Jesus, kindness, love, and family.
Take this time to teach your kids about gratefulness and humbleness by donating things for the less fortunate.
Depending on your finances, set a budget, and go shopping for inexpensive gifts for children and other families in need.
If you don’t have the money to spare, as a family go through your things and donate items that you no longer use.
Have your children go through their toys and pick a few that they will like to donate to less fortunate kids.
This activity is especially beneficial for children to learn and understand the meaning of caring for others, compassion, and gratefulness.
In addition, clearing out old toys and items will make room for the new Christmas gifts.
- 15 Super Cool and Trendy Christmas Gifts for Teens
- 23 Best Christmas Gifts for Toddlers for All Developmental Stages
11. Secret Santa Gift Exchange
If you are going to get together with your entire family for Christmas, arrange a Secret Santa gift exchange.
Ensure you do this a few weeks ahead of time so that everyone has time to buy their gifts.
If you have a large family with a lot of kids and adults consider doing 2 separates gift exchanges (one for kids and one for adults).
12. Gingerbread House
Oh, this is such a fun Christmas tradition!
Gather everyone around the table and let’s get building.
You can opt to buy a big Gingerbread House making kit that everyone can contribute to building, or you can buy a mini houses kit for everyone and make a super fun Gingerbread House competition out if it.
13. Christmas movies
I love, love, love this Christmas tradition, and is one that my family and I look forward to the most.
Nothing sets the mood leading up to Christmas than watching Christmas movies as a family.
For 7 days leading up to Christmas watch a movie every night before bed. Don’t forget the hot cocoa and some cozy Christmas blankets.
Having a Christmas movie collection makes it easy to carry this tradition through every year.
14. Elf on the Shelf
I have personally not started this Christmas tradition with our kids yet, but I know many parents that have and the kids LOVE every minute of it.
Basically, Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition where a special undercover Elf is sent to your home on Santa’s behalf from the North Pole to encourage kids to behave themselves.
The idea is that Santa’s Elf watches the children during the day and at night he/she returns to the North Pole to tell Santa if the kids were naughty or nice.
As an added twist to this fun Christmas activity, every morning the Elf can appear in a different spot of the house. It not only makes the kids super excited to find the Elf every morning in their new mystery location, but it also encourages good behavior leading up to Christmas.
And after Christmas… well, you’re on your own Mama! Haha
15. Christmas Eve Dinner
In the Hispanic culture “Noche Buena” is a really big deal. Christmas Eve is such a special day for our family.
There is something so magical about Christmas Eve. I think is a combination of love in the air, being with family, the yummy food, the anticipation of Santa’s arrival, and the meaning behind it all.
Whether you choose to have family over, or just keep it intimate with your kids and significant other, make it extra special by doing some of the following:
- Make a special dinner
- Play Christmas music
- Sing Karaoke
- Dress up
- Let the kids open ONE gift before midnight (for older kids)
16. Christmas Eve Prayer Night
Another memorable and significant Christmas tradition is to be thankful for your blessings and saying a family prayer at the dinner table.
To remember “The Reason for the Season”, read a few verses from the Bible out loud about the birth of Jesus and His gift to the world.
There are also great children’s books that explain the true meaning Christmas and are a great read before Christmas morning.
17. Cookies and Milk for Santa
Baking cookies for Santa is another favorite Christmas tradition in our house.
They love to help make and decorate Santa’s cookies and they also love to put the cookies in Santa’s special plate, serve a glass of cold milk, and leave carrots for Santa’s reindeers.
18. Matching Pajamas
Before you go to bed make sure that you have your matching pajamas on. It is so much fun to wake up with matching Christmas Pajamas.
Here are some great options:
It makes the kids so excited to match our outfit. Plus, they are perfect for Christmas morning pictures.
19. Christmas Morning Pancake Breakfast
Making a special breakfast on Christmas morning is another Christmas tradition we all look forward to.
We have tried to make breakfast before we open presents but that hasn’t worked out too well. So now we open presents, then we eat a delicious freshly made pancakes breakfast!
20. Neighbor’s Love
Another Christmas tradition we have adopted and love to do is to give our immediate neighbors a gift. It is nothing fancy, but it is full of love and gratitude.
We usually buy a few boxes of Christmas cookies or chocolate, put a beautiful Christmas bow, and Christmas card.
We take the time to write personalized messages for each neighbor and have the kids draw a little something as well so that it is a family activity.
21. Christmas Getaway
Another family Christmas tradition we also want to start adding to our list is a Christmas getaway. If your budget permits, book a trip to a favorite location and leave on Christmas day.
You can even book it as a surprise and tell the kids Christmas morning! That would be the surprise of a lifetime.
We live a few hours from Orlando, so going to Disney World on Christmas Day and as staying for a few days would be amazing.
Think of cool places that your family would love to enjoy together and consider including it to your list of family Christmas traditions.
There you have it, my friend!
21 fun and memorable family Christmas traditions that are sure to create beautiful and everlasting memories.
Remember to make a list and include whichever of these family Christmas traditions match you and your family and check them off as you move along them to keep you accountable.
What family Christmas traditions do you have, and which one is your family’s favorite?
Don’t forget to pin for later…
Here are a few additional family traditions that I’d love to share, too: 1) Pick a Christmas book (or two or three) to read every year together. Growing up we always read, “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” each holiday season. Now, with my own kids, I have many books that I pack and unpack with the holiday decorations. 2) LEGO has Advent Calendars. My kids look forward to them every year 3)Holiday Charades – a fun game that we often wear sticker mustaches to play, too.
Great ideas. Thanks for sharing. 🙂