The Christmas Season is full of memories and traditions and such a special time of year– especially when you have little ones!
Here are 15 ideas of Christmas Traditions to Start with your Family and enjoy every December:
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Count The Days ‘Til Christmas
Count down the days until Christmas with a fun calendar! Make your own calendar as a fun craft with the kids or buy a traditional advent calendar!
I buy the .99 chocolate advent calendars from Trader Joe’s because it’s easy.
However, there are a lot of non-food advent calendars that you can easily buy if you don’t want to give a piece of chocolate to the kids each day and don’t want to make one:
- Lego City Advent Calendar
- Lego Friends Advent Calendar
- Hot Wheels Advent Calendar
- Playmobil Advent Calendar
- L.O.L. Surprise! Advent Calendar
- Paw Patrol Advent Calendar
- Disney Jr. Advent Calendar
- Disney Pixar Cars Advent Calendar
- Thomas & Friends Mini Trains Advent Calendar
There’s also the Melissa & Doug Countdown to Christmas Wooden Advent Calendar or you could make your own advent calendar!
Here are 35 DIY Advent Calendar Ideas to give you some inspiration of ways of counting down ’til Christmas!
Find “The Elf” Every Morning
The Elf on the Shelf is a fun tradition to do with the kids each year– one you probably didn’t have growing up yourself!
The Elf keeps an eye out for Santa and flies back to the North Pole each night and reports to Santa whether a child was naughty or nice.
The Elf will return in a new spot each night and kids love to find where the Elf ends up!
Some elves are VERY naughty and will get into mischief, but our elf is sort of boring. He usually just stays up high so my little ones aren’t tempted to touch him– since he can lose his flying magic if he is touched.
Here are 70+ creative Elf of the Shelf ideas for some inspiration of fun things to do with your Elf!
Send a Letter to Santa
Write and send a letter to Santa and let him know what you’d like for Christmas!
You can even use a free printable Santa Letter and just fill in the blanks if you have a young or timid writer!
While you are writing your letter to Santa, it’s a great time to make your Santa wish list– an annual tradition!
Make and Decorate Cookies for Santa
We leave out milk and cookies every year for Santa, but we also make and decorate the cookies together!
I usually do a big batch of sugar cookies on the 23rd and we will decorate it then or on Christmas Eve! We make the cookies from scratch and then use our holiday cookie cutters to make fun shapes!
We will then decorate the cookies together as a family! Sometimes when I host Christmas Eve, I’ll leave the cookies not decorated and have the kids decorate the cookies at the party as an easy activity! It’s a hit!
Making and decorating Christmas Cookies is a family favorite! We usually play Christmas music while we bake too!
Make a New Ornament Each Year
We try to make a new ornament together each year to put on the Christmas Tree!
We will also use make a few and give them out to family and friends as a fun present!
We’ve done Salt Dough Ornament for the first few years but I think as my kids become older and more engaged we will decide on an ornament craft together and do a new one each year!
It will be fun to look at back and see how our ornaments grow each year in skill as our kids grow!
Decorate the Christmas Tree Together
Christmas Music. Hot Cocoa. Christmas Tree Decorating!
I love decorating the Christmas Tree together as a family with Christmas music, hot cocoa and family!
We usually decorate the Christmas Tree and the inside of the house at the same time!
We love decorating the Christmas Tree together as well as putting some homemade ornaments on the tree too!
Read Christmas Books at Night
Switch out those nightly favorite books for Christmas books for the month of December.
I know some people have a tradition of having kids unwrap a book every day in the month of December leading up to Christmas.
We don’t do that specific tradition, but I try to break out the Christmas books that we do have and get some others at the library for a good variety.
Some favorite Christmas Books for kids are:
- The Night Before Christmas
- Polar Express
- How to Catch an Elf
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas *has lights*
- Christmas in the Manger
- The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Christmas
- Llama Llama Jingle Bells
Also, don’t forget to check out your local library to check out Christmas Books to help save some money!
We always make sure to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, but I pull out some Christmas Books for the season.
Decorate a Gingerbread House
My kids will usually decorate a Gingerbread House with Dad while I’m out Christmas shopping or doing something else!
I’ll usually just buy the Gingerbread House box kits at Michael’s or Trader Joe’s but maybe we will make better Gingerbread Houses when the kids are bigger!
Take a Photo with Santa
We always try to take a photo with Santa… at least attempt it because with two little ones it doesn’t always happen perfectly– or at all!
We like to find free photos with Santa since we never know how they are going to go. Bass Pro Shops or a local event are good places to look for free photos with Santa– although Bass Pro Shops can have long lines, especially my local one.
A few malls near me, surprisingly, offer free photos with Santa so do some research to see if you can find a free option first! We did PetSmart one year too so our dog could come too!
It’s always fun to meet Santa– even if it doesn’t go perfectly!
Drive and search for Christmas Lights around Town
Make driving around and searching for Christmas Lights a family tradition!
Check the local paper and local boards to see if you can find recommendations of local Christmas light displays too!
We love watching the Christmas Light battles on TV too and wish we had some of these amazing displays in our neighborhood!
However, my kids are so little, they love all the lights and Christmas displays!
Visit an Annual Christmas Event in Your Town
Do you have a Town Christmas Tree Lighting? A Christmas Pageant? Toy Drive?
Find a fun Christmas event and do it every year as a family!
A store near us does a free Christmas display and we see it every year– we even meet Santa there!
Watch Christmas Movies as a Family
Stay in one night and watch a Christmas movie as a family!
You can watch the same Christmas movie each year or discover a new favorite each year!
Open a Gift on Christmas Eve
As a child, we always opened a gift on Christmas Eve and something I now do with my kids!
I will sometimes put a gift to the side for Christmas Eve if I have something in particular I’d like them to open– usually Christmas Pajamas! If I don’t have Christmas Pajamas, I’ll have them open a box of their choice– with some mom approval first.
I love opening a gift the night before Christmas is a favorite family tradition in our house!
Sponsor a Child in Need
If you can, consider sponsoring a child for Christmas and grant some wishes on their Christmas list!
You can also donate toys to Toys for Tots or a local charity to help make a Christmas a little brighter for a child!
We always looked for a “giving tree” at a local church, mall, etc. and selected a child and gift from the tree.
If you can’t sponsor a child, but want to give back this Christmas, you can make it a family tradition to volunteer at a soup kitchen as a family, wrapping presents at a toy drive, or another act of kindness.
Giving back during the Christmas season may be an annual tradition that you’d like to start as a family!
Put Baby Jesus out on Christmas Day
We had a Nativity set in our dining room growing up, and before we started the Christmas morning festivities, one of us would put out Baby Jesus and add him to the Nativity scene.
My kids are so little, I have the Fisher Price Nativity Set, and will upgrade when they can handle a more fragile set.
It was a family tradition that we did every year and it was a reminder what the holiday season was really about.
What Christmas Traditions do you do with your family each year?
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