Did you have Christmas traditions growing up? We did in my family. Traditional recipes, such as mince pies, trifle, and fruitcake, were prepared and served. Every year we made paper chains and simple decorations. We had a Advent calendar with little windows to open each day. There was a special outing to pick holly and Christmas movies to watch. Christmas Day was always spent at home and followed the same routine. On Boxing Day we visited my grandparents.
All these things were part of my Christmas growing up. It wouldn’t have been Christmas without them and they will always evoke very happy memories for me.
That is the beauty of family traditions isn’t it? Those repeated rituals that create closeness and foster a feeling of belonging.
I loved how excited my boys got for the traditions we created for Advent and Christmas. We lit Advent candles, made gingerbread houses, enjoyed favorite snacks as we decorated the tree, played a special Christmas play list over and over, and had bedtime stories next to the tree with the lights twinkling. It made the season truly magical and built memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Any Advent or Christmas activity can evolve into a wonderful family tradition. You can build upon them as your children grow, but often the best ones are really simple.
Two things to keep in mind
- A tradition doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. It is just something you do every year.
- Choose traditions that you will enjoy as much as your children, so that it doesn’t become a chore for you.
I have gathered together 25 really simple ideas to inspire you. December is usually a hectic month, so I have tried to choose things that require little to no preparation. Most of them won’t cost you anything either! You may realize that you are doing many of them already!
25 Simple Traditions
- Turn off all the lights in the house, except for the tree lights, and have a sing-a-long with your favorite holidays songs.
- Create a holiday playlist with your kids that your family listens to in the car or at home.
- Drink Hot Chocolate and listen to your play list!
- Put a blanket under the Christmas tree. Lie on it with your kids and look up at the lights.
- Read a Christmas story while you snuggle under a blanket.
- Cut out paper snowflakes or make paper chains.
- Go for a walk (or drive) to admire the lights.
- Have your nightly story time next to the Christmas tree.
- Have a family dance party with lively Christmas songs
- Listen to an audio version of the Christmas Carol or the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. (You can listen for 15 minutes each day and stretch this out over a week.)
- Find Rudolph’s nose! Hide a small red ball in the house. The person that finds it gets a small treat and hides it the next day!
- If you have a nativity scene, set up the stable in a central location on December 1st. Retell the story of the journey Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. Start Mary and Joseph on their long journey by placing them some distance from the stable. Every day have your children move the figures closer to the stable, until they arrive on Christmas Eve.
- Go shopping to buy items for the food bank. Let each child pick out several items.
- Watch a favorite Christmas movie
- Have a Christmas picnic! If you live in a warmer climate, have your picnic outdoors, and if it’s snowing where you live, picnic by the fireplace or another warm place indoors.
- Wrap up warmly and go stargazing.
- Get a few bottles of shaving cream and have family members make a Santa beard on their face. Crazy right? Don’t forget to take pictures!!!
- Have a decluttering session to make room for gifts. Give everyone a box and ask them to fill it with toy, book and clothing they don’t use anymore. Donate anything that is still in good condition.
- Hang Mistletoe and use it often, especially when your kids are watching!
- Make up a Christmas story round Robin style. Sit in a circle and start telling a story, bring it to an exciting point then pass it on to another family member. The story is then passed in a circle to all members of the family. For example, the story could start: “It was the night before Christmas. Everyone was asleep except for (child’s name). Suddenly he/she heard a strange noise downstairs. She/he crept quietly down the stairs and saw ..”
- Play a round of Holiday Charades.
- Set aside the Christmas cards you receive and open them as a family each evening. When you have finished reading all the greetings invite children to cup their hands together in front of their mouths and whisper, “Christmas love. Christmas blessings.” On the count of three everyone blows the blessings out to all the people who sent cards.
- Tell the kids a story about one of your special Christmas memories.
- On Christmas Eve pile up blankets, pillows and sleeping bags near the Christmas tree. Read your favorite Christmas story and turn off every light except for those on the Christmas tree.
- On Christmas Eve, just before bedtime, take your children outside and look for the Christmas star (just so you know it’s the brightest one in the sky). When you spot it excitedly exclaim, “Now we know for sure that Christmas is almost here.”
I hope that this list has given you some ideas that will be easy to implement. Maybe you can choose a few to add to your family memory-making activities this year. Have fun!
Now it’s Your Turn
Help me add to this list. What Christmas traditions do your family enjoy each year? What family traditions do you remember from your childhood?
Want more Ideas?
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