Do you want to make Christmas memories that last? Do you want your kids to enjoy Christmas with every ounce of their soul? You need the best Christmas traditions in place to really build anticipation and joy during the holiday season. This article includes a list of the best Christmas traditions, common Christmas traditions, Christian Christmas traditions, and traditions you can start with your baby right now. Read so you can spread the holiday cheer in your family!
What are some of the best Christmas traditions?
Make a special meal for your family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Christmas for our family is about Jesus being born, but whatever it’s about for your family, food is almost certainly involved! Plan a Christmas meal you know everyone in your family will love.
It doesn’t have to be the “traditional Christmas food” either. It doesn’t even have to be the same meal every year. Favorite foods might change. (Ours always did growing up!) The point is to make it special. We always ate on our fancy dinnerware and ate by candlelight. Simple touches make it feel special, even if it’s not the exact same food every year. (One year we had steak, the next we had chicken parmesan. It’s just whatever floats your boat.)
Growing up, we would always make a wide variety of Christmas cookies and treats. We would put them on little Christmas platters and give them to family and friends. (Of course, we kept some for ourselves too!) Some years the trays of cookies would go to neighbors, sometimes they would be for our teachers. It just depended on our life stage at the moment.
Get the kids involved with putting up decorations all around the house to spread the holiday cheer.
I love helping my kids get excited for Christmas by having them help me put up the decorations. You can put on your favorite Christmas music and go crazy! You can even have some kid-friendly decorations that your kids keep in their rooms.
Create your own Christmas tree ornaments with your children.
You can choose a different type of ornament to make every year, meaning you will have plenty to decorate your tree! It’s so fun to look back at past Christmases and see what you’ve made! Check out these ideas from Busy Toddler. You are sure to find some ideas you will love!
Get a real Christmas tree.
If you are up for it and have the room, real Christmas trees can be real fun! There is something magical about getting a real Christmas tree, especially if you get to go to a tree farm to pick out your favorite one. This can be a super fun holiday tradition involving the whole family!
What are some common family Christmas traditions?
These Christmas traditions are “common” for good reason-they are super fun! From looking at Christmas lights to doing a Christmas countdown, there’s something here for everyone!
You can make this as fancy or as plain as you like. On Christmas Eve, make sure the jolly old guy feels welcome when he stops by your house to give everyone presents.
Make decorating your Christmas tree a festive event.
Crank up your favorite Christmas tunes (I love NSync Christmas, Mariah Carey, and Michael Buble), and get out the decorations. Whether you have a real or fake Christmas tree is up to you. Let everyone help as much as they can by choosing which ornaments they place where.
Bake tons of festive Christmas treats.
You might try white-chocolate pretzels, fudge, sugar cookies, or these great chocolate crinkle cookies that are a Christmas favorite at our house! It’s always fun to try some new recipes, too! If you are wondering how to include children in baking, check out my post about it here!
Most families have some kind of gift exchange on Christmas.
It might be a combination of gifts from Santa, you as the parents, and siblings. You might give just a few gifts, or it might be tons. It’s whatever you and your family want to do.
The best part of a gift exchange is that you can do it in so many ways. Feel free to get inventive with the whole ordeal! If you need some inspiration, here are some different ways to make the gift giving and getting process a little more exciting.
- Let your kids open one gift on Christmas Eve, and the rest on Christmas Day.
- If you leave out your presents before Christmas, consider using a funny naming system for labeling the presents. In my husband’s family, his mom would make up silly code names that only she knew. Then she would put gift labels on each present with the silly names. That way, none of her kids could guess whose present was whose. And when it was time to open presents, she pulled out her code sheet so she knew who to give the present to. Half of the fun was how silly the names were (think “Huffledy Buffledy” or “Yimyam”). The kids absolutely loved this silly tradition, so much so that she still does it for the whole family as adults!
- If you are going for more traditional, have the kids open their presents from youngest to oldest.
- In my family growing up, we took turns giving gifts instead of getting gifts. The idea was to emphasize how fun it is to give other people gifts, not just getting new things.
- In my dad’s family growing up, it was a free-for-all. Everyone grabbed their own gifts, and opened them at the same time. This style makes things really exciting, but a little chaotic.
The choice is yours, so pick whatever makes the most sense for your family!
Watch Christmas movies as a family.
There are so many options for great Christmas movies! You can go for the classics like “A Christmas Story” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”. There are also great options for younger kids like “Elf” or “Charlie Brown Christmas”. Whatever you fancy, it’s up to you. Choose a movie, make some hot chocolate and enjoy some fun Christmas movies.
Lots of people enjoy getting together with family or friends for Christmas.
Christmas is a time to be with those that you love and cherish. You can offer to host a get-together or join in on someone else’s party. Either way, enjoy the festivities together!
If you don’t have family around or no obvious friends to invite over, consider inviting someone else who might be in the same boat. Think of coworkers, people from the gym, or those at your church who may not have anywhere special to go for Christmas. By inviting them over for Christmas you have company and so do they! It’s a great way to spread a little extra Christmas cheer and show your family the importance of being generous and thoughtful.
Make gingerbread houses together.
It can be so fun to create gingerbread houses as a family. You can get lots of different candies to make it look great and add to the fun. If your kids are older, you can make it into a contest and give out prizes for different areas, like “Most Red and Green”, “Most Realistic”, or “Best Creativity”.
What are some Christian Christmas traditions?
Read the real Christmas story on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Bring home the real meaning of the season by telling the real Christmas story. You can do it in a number of ways-read it straight from the Bible or get a kid-friendly version. The “Story Book Bible” is a great version of lots of wonderful Bible stories, including the Christmas story!
It can be fun to make this a big deal. Have everyone gather around and designate someone to read it every year, or maybe make it an honor by switching who gets to read it every year. Don’t just brush by this tradition, make it fun and special.
Put out a nativity scene for your children to play with.
It’s such a great way to get your child involved in an age-appropriate way with the Christmas story. You can snag these great nativity characters and let your child help you act out the story with these little characters. We leave our nativity scene out all Christmas season and our kids love to play with it!
You could also get a few simple dress-up clothes that you put out so your kids can dress up and act out the manger scene!
Complete an Advent calendar or devotional together.
I love helping our children learn the true meaning of Christmas and celebrating the time leading up to it. Advent is a beautiful time of expectation for Christmas. Sometimes your local church will have an advent calendar or devotional to go through for your whole family. Otherwise, you can find some online or at a Christian bookstore.
Light an Advent wreath and candles every night.
It can be so fun to eat dinner by candlelight after you’ve done your devotional together and light the appropriate number of candles for the day you are on. We did this growing up, and it was so fun! The candles remind us of the Light of the World coming to us. You can get this cute one right here!
Attend a Christmas Eve church service as a family.
Going to church together on Christmas Eve can be something you build into your tradition. It’s a wonderful way to help kids get excited about Jesus being born while singing together and hearing the wonderful story of Jesus. Most traditional churches have some kind of Christmas Eve service that you can attend, offering different times to go.
Read the book of Luke together, 1 chapter for every day starting December 1st and leading up to Christmas.
What a beautiful way to learn more about the Jesus that we celebrate by reading an entire gospel! I would recommend this tradition for families with older kids because toddlers are going to have a really hard time reading whole chapters of the Bible.
Go Christmas caroling with your family, friends, or church.
Spread Christmas joy by singing to neighbors about Christmas and the reason we celebrate. You can just sing to one special neighbor, or you can make a whole night of it by spending lots of time caroling around town. When I was growing up, we would always visit the Nursing Home in our town and serenade them with lovely Christmas songs. It put a smile on everyone’s face!
Celebrate Jesus’s birthday with a birthday cake.
Remind your kids that Christmas is really about Jesus by baking a birthday cake and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior. Making a birthday cake for Jesus makes the reason we celebrate more tangible for children. And who doesn’t love a good birthday party?
What are some Christmas traditions to start with my baby right now?
Give your children Christmas Eve boxes.
On Christmas Eve, let your child open one present-their Christmas Eve box. In the box, you can include a Christmas book, Christmas pajamas, and maybe even a Christmas movie to watch before they go to bed. This fun tradition can start when they are just babies! The magic of Christmas Eve boxes helps to build anticipation for Christmas.
Get everyone in the family matching pjs or Christmas outfits.
Lots of families have started getting matching PJs for Christmas, and that’s because it’s so darn cute! Everyone can get cozy together and relax in their PJs while you take Instagram-worthy pictures of the family (or at least grandparent-worthy!). If PJs aren’t really your style, you can also get coordinating Christmas outfits that are a little fancier. The choice is yours!
Find Christmas events in your town like a live manger scene or a visit to Santa.
Make Christmas interactive by finding events put on by your town or local companies. There is so much fun to be had while petting a real donkey at the live manger scene, or meeting Santa. Finding this kind of activity makes Christmas come to life!
Go on a Christmas lights tour.
Even little ones can enjoy a car ride around town while you look at all the lights together. Those twinkly, moving lights just might grab the attention of a baby. On the other hand, the car ride might lull them to sleep too, but that’s still a great night!
Give them a Christmas ornament every year.
Each year, you can give your child a Christmas ornament to add to the tree. You can make them unique every year so the kids will really enjoy them. Then every year when you are decorating the tree, your child will fondly remember the ornaments they have gotten in the past.
Adopt a family during Christmas.
Getting Christmas gifts is so much fun! But help your children recognize how much fun it can be to GIVE Christmas gifts, too. If you are financially able, you can adopt a family and have your child or children help pick out and deliver the gifts. This is a great way to remind your kids that Christmas isn’t all about getting presents. When your kids see you being kind and generous, they will be more likely to want to be kind and generous to others.
Enjoy this Holiday season to the fullest! Celebrating Christmas with your family can be such a joy, and making some of your own traditions just highlights what a special time it is. If you have any other great Holiday traditions to share, I’d love for you to drop your ideas in the comments!