parenting

17 Christmas Traditions to Share with Your Kids

Growing up Christmas was always my favorite time of year as a child. Now that I have children of my own, seeing Christmas through their eyes is even better and I wanted to continue the magical experience. Over the last decade, things have changed and some of the traditions that were popular are no longer an option now.

It makes me sad that some of my favorite Christmas traditions have started fading away over the years. As a parent, I have tried to find new memories to create with my children so that they have their own Christmas traditions to pass to their own children. Here are our favorite Christmas traditions to pass onto your children.

Decorate the Christmas Tree

Decorating the Christmas tree and putting out Christmas decorations is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Grab your kids and let them help you decorate the tree even if they put all of the ornaments too close together. You can fix the ornaments that are too close together when they aren’t around so that you don’t hurt their feelings.

Schedule a Race During the Holidays

Find a Christmas themed race, a great way to kick off the season with a new Christmas tradition, to sign up for this year. We suggest finding a fun run, 1 mile, 5k or even 10k race. Do schedule the race in advance so that you are able to find one that suits your families fitness level. With all the treats that your kid’s will consume between now and New Year’s eve, you will want to find activities to burn off their excessive energy.

Make Homemade Gifts Together

Making homemade gifts to give to loved ones is a great way to spend time together while creating lasting memories with your kids. Each year, I usually get at least one homemade gift for Christmas.

Receiving a homemade gift is special to me because I know that whoever made it put a lot of thought and effort into making it for me. You can even make homemade gifts to take to the nursing home. This is an excellent Christmas tradition to start with your kids and remember some residents don’t have family members come for visits. Then give the gifts to the nursing home residents. If you don’t have any ideas, we love Pinterest because it is a great place to find the perfect homemade gifts. Check out these ideas here.

Buy Christmas Pajamas for the Entire Family

This is a fun Christmas tradition that has been circulating Instagram and Facebook for the last several years. It isn’t a Christmas tradition that I have started with my kids but it one that I know they would enjoy. Last week when we stopped at Target, we saw a huge selection of Christmas Pajamas for the entire family. You can wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree to open on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to take family photos too.

Watch Christmas Movies Together

We love putting on our PJs and building a blanket fort on the floor and we watch our favorite Christmas movies. The kids usually want popcorn or candy to munch on during the movie. Here are some of our favorite movies:

Elf on the Shelf

We love our Elf on the Shelf in our house. It is a fun Christmas tradition that the kids enjoy. Each morning, they love finding our Elf to see what Rascal (our Elf’s name) got into during the middle of the night. You can find plenty of Elf on the Shelf ideas on Pinterest if you are struggling to figure out what he/she can do next.

Have a Family Game Night

Pick a evening have a family game night. Game nights are a great way to connect as a family and unplug for a few hours. Set out your family’s favorite snacks and drink hot chocolate.

12 Days of Christmas Countdown

One year a friend of my grandmother brought over 12 wrapped gifts for her to open on a daily basis. The gifts weren’t over the top and probably came from the Dollar Tree or even Target’s discount section at the front of the store. You can buy a calendar for the next year, notepad, holiday plate for leaving Santa cookies, pens, magnets, Christmas ornaments, a coloring book, or even favorite children’s books.

Wrap each one the gifts and open them with your family every day, you will start opening the gifts 12 days before Christmas so you open the last gift on Christmas Eve. The last gift could be the Christmas PJs mentioned above.

Look for Free Christmas Events in Your Community

Last year, our community started displaying Christmas lights around the park. It was neat that they had the walkway lights that danced to the Christmas music playing. The event was free and they even had a family night with other free activities for the kids to do. We plan on going again this year as a family.

Bake Cookies Together

Every year we make cookies on Christmas Eve, we have always left Santa Claus fresh chocolate chip cookies. Santa Claus loves them when they are fresh. Baking Christmas cookies and other goodies were one of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up.

Each year I would help my mom make cookies and candy. Getting your kids to help you bake cookies is a great way to get the kids in the kitchen. Try getting them to help make cut-out cookies and they can decorate them once they have cooled off.

Build a Gingerbread House

Pick up one the gingerbread house kits next time you are at the store. It is a great task for spending time with each other without being attached to a screen. They even have different varieties of gingerbread kits that you can put together too. We have built a gingerbread house before but my little one hasn’t participated in this Christmas tradition.

Make Reindeer Food

Reindeer food is a fun craft that the kids can make with a few ingredients that you have in your kitchen. If you plan on making a batch before the kids are out of school for Christmas break, you can send everyone in your child’s class reindeer food. On Christmas Eve, your child can sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn to attract Santa’s reindeer to stop at your house. My son loved this Christmas tradition last year.

Count Down the Days Until Christmas

As Christmas gets closer, they start asking how much longer so we are starting a new Christmas tradition. The kids thought it would be fun to count down the days until Christmas was here.

We recommend using an advent calendar, Christmas countdown calendar or make a chain using construction paper strips that you can tear off for each day. The kids will enjoy crossing off the day and see how many days are left until Christmas day.

Give Back

Christmas time can be difficult for some families. If you are fortunate, we suggest showing your kids how to give back to those in need.

Go Look for Christmas Lights

Getting in the car and turning on Christmas music was one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Find the perfect neighborhood to take your family to view the twinkling lights and decorations. If you can’t find any good places to look for Christmas lights, look for a drive through park with lights and other attractions. The drive through parks often charge a nominal fee but I’ve heard it is worth the expense. I want to start this Christmas tradition this year.

Photos With Santa

Make time to take photos with Santa Claus when your kids are little. This is a Christmas tradition that I have tried to do every year with the kids. It is fun seeing how much they have grown over the past year. You can usually find Santa at the mall or places around town.

Last year, Santa Claus was at one of the community events that we went too. Snapping a photo with your own camera or cell phone is free so don’t let them pressure you into buying their expensive photos if you don’t want too. No sense in spending a ton of money on Christmas traditions.

Take Them to a Christmas Eve Service

Growing up, we would always go to the Christmas Eve service at church. We feel it is important to teach our children that the reason why we really celebrate Christmas. Christmas has turned into a huge commercial holiday and kids feel that they are owed expensive gifts.

The gifts seem to get more expensive as they grow. So the service helps us remember that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. After all, this is the true reason families celebrate and came up with Christmas traditions.

Your kids will look back on these Christmas traditions and they will remember the magical moments as they were growing up. As a parent, each year I reflect on the memories of my past Christmas’s with family and I want to ensure that I help create lasting memories for my own children.

Do you have have any Christmas traditions that I missed? What are they?

icecreamnstickyfingers

Christy has three children. She has over 22 years of parenting experience, including parenting as a young mom, a single parent, and dealing with chronic illness/pain. When she isn't writing, you can find her coloring, playing Candy Crush, and listening to Taylor Swift.

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14 Comments

  1. I love Christmas traditions! We do most of these things. Now that my kids are all grown, we take the grandkids to get their photos made with Santa every year. It’s a family tradition.

  2. Victoria says:

    These are some great Christmas traditions. I already do a lot of them with the boys. Our favorite Christmas tradition is the Christmas Eve Box though.

  3. These are all such lovely ways to spend time as a family during the holidays. I’ve loved doing them all with my kids over the years. My oldest is off to college and we will only see her Christmas day this year, which makes me a bit sad, but we’ll still squeeze as many of these activities in as we can with our 16 year old.

  4. I do most of these with my kids every year. One of the biggest traditions is watching Rudolph together every year. I have watched that movie every year of my life, with my parents and siblings when I was growing up, and now I do it with my husband and kids. It’s something that we all look forward to. There are a few other classic Christmas movies that we watch as well, like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Frosty, but Rudolph is the most important one. We have the DVD so we can watch it whenever we want!

  5. Ruth I says:

    These are great Christmas traditions to pass on. Opening gifts I think is the one I should say on top. I am super ready for the holidays!

  6. Monica Y says:

    We try to decorate together and bake together. Christmas is one of our favorite holidays

  7. Catalina says:

    These are things that my kid will be happy to do on Christmas! Thanks for sharing it!

  8. We do a lot of these. We’ll skip the race though. We aren’t into running and stuff. We used to do Elf on the Shelf! I still put her out, but she rarely moves.

  9. My kids are in the twenties and we still stick to many of these traditions. I hope they never feel too old and keep them going!

  10. I like going matchy matchy in pajamas with my sister. Whenever we open our gifts on Christmas Eve, we like taking photos of our family wearing pajamas.

  11. We do a bunch of those things already. One of my favorite traditions is Christmas pajamas. We typically don’t do matching ones but the kids love opening new jamies on Christmas Eve.

  12. We do most of those. I wanted to do Elf on the Shelf before when my son was little, but he said no because it was scary for him. LOL. Can’t wait for Christmas!

  13. I love Christmas traditions! I think it’s a special time for the kids and it’s definitely nice to share these with them!

  14. Christmas is my fave holiday. I had pneumonia last year, we didn’t get to do these things. This year, it’s on!

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