The holiday season is fast approaching and there are plenty of Christmas traditions you can start this year to help you create the magical festive spirit we all love.
Because Christmas really is one of the most magical times of the year. It’s steeped in the classic Christmas traditions that have evolved over many years, whether in your family, your community or even your country.
Christmas is about more than just presents. We want to create memories with our loved ones, memories that we can look back on in future years. Memories that are filled with joy and a touch of nostalgia.
That’s what your favorite family Christmas traditions will do for you, fun-filled nostalgia to look back on fondly.
We all have our favorite Christmas customs, but if you want to create some of your own family traditions this year then these 20 awesome ideas are what you want to get started.
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What are family Christmas traditions?
Family Christmas traditions are the things you look forward to doing each year, things that don’t always make sense but give great pleasure.
You do the same thing, in the same way year after year. Introducing your children and extended family to your family customers as a way to celebrate Christmas.
Why do people start Christmas traditions?
People often carry on the family christmas traditions that they experienced as a child. When you join forces with your partner, there are more traditions to factor in.
But often you dream of creating a Christmas tradition of your own, something unique for the two of you and your new family.
Why bother with starting family christmas traditions?
We all want to re-create the magic we felt as children on Christmas morning. Most of us look back at our childhood through rose tinted glasses and we want the fun times for our own family.
You want your kids to feel that special magic in the air at Christmas time, which is why so many of us spend time and effort on both old family traditions and new christmas traditions to start.
What is the meaning of christmas?
For those who are not overly religious, the modern meaning of Christmas is all about love, family and friends. It’s about giving to others more than receiving yourself.
The true meaning of Christmas doesn’t just involve presents, Santa Claus and a big roast dinner. It’s about love, kindness, charity and hope for a happier future as you look forward to the new year.
5 Christmas traditions for Christmas eve
Christmas Eve is all about the anticipation of the next day dawning. And it’s often the first day when the whole family is gathered around, without folk being at work all day.
Creating new Christmas traditions to start on Christmas Eve can help everyone get into the festive spirit and tire out little people who might otherwise stay awake too long.
1. Attend christmas eve candlelight service
Christmas Eve candlelight service is a wonderful family tradition. If you’ve never experienced one, then I highly recommend it!
It’s an opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones and remember the reason for this special season.
I’m not a churchy person but the Christmas Eve services really are quite magical. Kids love them and they set you up for very happy holidays.
2. go for a christmas lights drive by
This is a Christmas tradition that my husband and I started when our girls were younger. Some streets really make a show of their magical Christmas lights and it’s a joy to see them.
Although it’s lovely to have your own home all lit up with beautiful holiday lights, there is so much pleasure in looking at what other people have done!
It’s also fun to see the different themes that others decide on such as nativity scenes or winter wonderlands. Pick the streets where many of the houses are lit up and then take a drive or walk around together.
The best street in our area has charity collection boxes left out. You get to enjoy the beauty of the Christmas lights and give a little money to a worthy cause at the same time.
We like to go on Christmas Eve and drive to where we know the best Christmas lights are. Go once it’s dark so you get the pleasure of seeing the tree lighting and displays in their full illuminating glory.
3. Hang up christmas stockings
Whether you have a real fireplace or not, hanging up a Christmas stocking is an integral part of Christmas Eve that doesn’t take long but everyone enjoys.
It’s a very special part of getting ready for Christmas Day and one that your kids will look forward to every year. Why not make it a little more magical by reading a Christmas story and having a cup of hot chocolate.
4. Christmas eve Cookies and reindeer food for santa and his reindeer
This one has to be the most popular Christmas Eve traditions of all with kids. Every child loves waking up on Christmas morning and knowing that Santa has been during the night!
Let them put out a little something for both the reindeer and Father Christmas. A couple of carrots and some oats for the reindeer. A few cookies or a mince pie for Santa.
Once the kids are safely tucked up in bed on Christmas Eve make sure to sure to sprinkle reindeer food about, as if they’ve made a mess eating it.
You could also create snowy footprints by sprinkling fake snow around your feet as you walk backwards from the food. Watch their faces light up with surprise and joy!
5. Sing Christmas carols
There’s nothing like a little Christmas carol singing to get you and your family in the mood! Carry on with this tradition by choosing an evening where everyone can gather together and sing songs.
It doesn’t matter what age or how well someone sings as it is all about having fun, enjoying some time together and feeling the Christmas cheer.
Christmas Eve is the perfect time to have a sing song. Pop on some Christmas pjs, grab a hot chocolate and relish the time spent together.
Making memories with these fun family Christmas traditions ideas
The whole point of having awesome Christmas traditions is that they are fun for the whole family, adults and children alike. You don’t need children to create your own fun Chrismtas traditions.
My husband and I have created a few of our own traditions that don’t revolve around the kids. After all it’s our Christmas too!
1. Have a Christmas movie night
You don’t need a big budget to create your own family traditions. This is one of the best Christmas traditions you can start because it’s fun and free…and there are lots of great movies worth watching!
All you have to do is make sure everyone has their favorite snacks, grab some warm blankets and settle down for an evening full of festive cheer. A perfect way to spend Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day!
2. Make a Christmas playlist
Personally I love making a Christmas playlist that’s filled with both cheesy classics and modern tunes for this time of year.
Come up with your own playlist full of classic festive songs as well as some newer tunes too. It doesn’t take long once everyone gets involved adding their favorite Christmas songs from years gone by.
It will be an eclectic mix but it’ll create great memories so switch off the music every now and then for sing-a-longs which are always fun at any age!
3. Treat yourself to hot chocolate by candlelight
There’s something magical about hot chocolate by candlelight, especially on a cold winter’s night. As you sit around the fire toasting marshmallows and singing carols, there will be no need for an alarm clock come Christmas morning!
Take time out of your daily routine to make this fun family tradition happen. It’ll give everyone a chance to relax and reconnect as you drink hot chocolate and enjoy being with each other.
4. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies
The smell of freshly baked cookies is one of the best smells to fill your home at Christmas time. There’s something about using all the same ingredients and following the exact recipe that takes you back in time.
Get everyone involved by letting them choose their own cookie shapes, picking out decorations, cutting out dough and decorating with sprinkles and icing.
It doesn’t have to be perfect or even look like anything special but this is just another way for you to enjoy festive cheer together.
5. Have a just for the two as a couple unique Christmas tradition
I love doing something special with just the two of us at this time of year, without the kids or extended family to have to worry about.
It can be difficult to make time for each other at Christmas with everything else going on but this is your chance to create a special memory that’s all about the both of you.
You can get away for a few hours together and enjoy some peace and quiet while you also get into the festive spirit.
Maybe watch a romantic movie and snuggle up in front of the TV together on Xmas Eve once the kids are in bed. Or go for a moonlit walk somewhere that holds special memories for you both?
6. have a Family game night
A fun family Christmas tradition that many families enjoy with the kids is playing board games.
It’s a lovely way to spend some family time together, especially when they get older and don’t want to sit around watching the same Christmas movie as you.
Depending on the ages of family members you could play Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble or any other games you used to play as a family when the kids were younger.
There are lots of great traditional games you can find at your local toy store that made perfect new christmas traditions for families.
7. Write letters to Santa Claus
This is probably the family tradition that won’t happen until you have kids even though you enjoyed it when you were younger. It always amazed me how excited my kids got about writing letters to Santa Claus every year.
In the UK you can post your letters to Santa and receive a reply, from the man himself! The Royal Mail LINK offer this free service. Write your letters to Santa and pop it in the post box with a stamp.
The address you need is: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ.
Maybe your local postal service offers something similar?
8. Countdown to Christmas with an Advent Calendar
When I was younger I never had an advent calendar. So when my kids were born I made sure they did. An advent calendar helps children to count down the days until Christmas Day.
You don’t have to spend much on an advent calendar either. You can buy a cheap and cheerful one with a chocolate in each window from the supermarket.
Or if you want a more traditional, Christmassy calendar like this one, then Amazon or Etsy is your friend.
9. Decorate the house on December 1st
Decorating the house ready for a family Christmas is something we all do, but not on the same day. In some countries it’s one of the fun Christmas traditions that everyone does to decorate as soon as December hits.
For me I always waited until schools finished and then decorating the house helped the whole family get into the holiday spirit. And I know other family members who don’t get around to decorating until Christmas Eve.
If you’ve got children, you definitely want them involved. Although you might have to help with the high up decorations.
10. Trim the Christmas tree as a family
Decorating the Christmas tree is a special family tradition for most families. If you buy a real Christmas trees every year, then you might have to wait a little longer to get your Christmas tree up and decorated.
Purchase your tree on December 1st and it might look a little sorry for itself by Christmas Eve. If you have a fake tree then you can start the holiday tradition of decorating the tree any time you want.
Make it a more festive experience by playing some Christmas music and have the whole family sing a long!
11. Make homemade Christmas cards
If you want to make your own Christmas cards from scratch then it pays to start a little early. Family portraits can be done professionally but these days you can do it yourself leading up to Christmas. Or perhaps use a cute holiday snap?
You can buy packs of ready to assemble Christmas cards like these or create you own using websites like Pinterest for inspiration.
12. create a family holiday bucket list for wonderful december memories
If you are looking for inspiration on new Christmas traditions to start, why not create a bucket list of fun things to do together?
Maybe you could:
- go to a Christmas concert
- Make a Christmas pudding
- read Christmas stories
- watch your a favorite Christmas movie on Christmas eve or,
- take part in some festive activities like ice skating
The possibilities are endless!
So once December hits get creating your bucket list and tick off everything as you achieve them! Next year you’ll have a load more traditions that you know you’ll enjoy together.
13. Bake or make gingerbread houses
Who doesn’t like gingerbread! A family tradition that is just the right amount of sweet.
You can buy gingerbread house kits but to get the full effect you will want to decorate it with candy canes, marshmallows. sprinkles and other colorful sweet things.
This gingerbread house recipe, not only has the recipe, it has loads of ideas for decorating it too. Perfect for children who love decorating sweet things!
Even if your gingerbread house doesn’t turn out perfect (ours never did) then don’t stress about it – no one will care once it’s decorated!
14. make (or buy) a new christmas tree ornament
This is such a simple Christmas tradition, but it can be one of the most fun.
You could start this tradition with your partner and young children by making their first ornament together. Then every year they add to the collection until you have all these beautiful ornaments that tell your family’s story over time!
It doesn’t feel the same making ornaments when your children have grown up so now we love to buy a new ornament every year.
Whether it’s an expensive one from the Christmas market or something handmade by your children, there are so many gorgeous decorations to make your Christmas season so very special.
15. have Christmas crackers at christmas Dinner
Christmas crackers (known as party favors in the US) are almost an essential part of every Christmas dinner and holiday table layout in the UK. Along with a table runner and centre display they make your table look extremely festive and fun.
Pulling crackers is a fun way to get your Christmas meal started. You do need to quickly tidy up the rubbish otherwise it takes over the little space left on your table!
Depending on how many people you have you could get everyone to link arms and pull their crackers together. Or at least have fun trying.
And of course, everyone needs to wear their hat and read out the cracker joke during your meal.
You can make your own crackers/party favors or buy packs of ready made ones like these from most stores.
16. Have a Christmas family outing
This is a great way to get your family excited about Christmas and create some fun memories.
Holiday outings are so much more special when you have been planning them for weeks. You can go on walks in the snow, visit Santa at his grotto or even watch a pantomime together!
Make sure to keep it all reasonably inexpensive so you all enjoy it without it putting a strain on your Christmas budget.
17. Elf on the shelf and the kindness elves
Every year you can expect to see the Elf on the Shelf taking up residence in your home. You might be familiar with this one already or not, but it’s a tradition that has quickly taken off over the last decade!
The Elf is thought to watch children and report back their behaviour before Santa arrives. They are also used to encourage children to have fun and be kind.
The Elf then moves around the house in secret so they are always watching! There are several different types of elf including ones with a Christmas outfit, warm pyjamas or cool Christmas pajamas.
They can come holding signs saying things like ‘wash up’ which is very funny when your kids find them!
You can also encourage acts of kindness during the festive season with an elf called a ‘Kindness Elf’. This is another fun way to encourage children to help around the house and spread joy.
A great idea would be for everyone in your family to write down something that they are grateful for on little slips of paper every morning, then they can place it around the house on a special ‘gratitude tree’.
Another idea is to encourage acts of kindness by having your kids find an old toy or piece of clothing that they no longer use and donating it.
Every time they do this, have them write down what makes their heart happy about doing something nice for someone else!
18. Give the gift of Homemade
There is nothing more special than receiving a handmade gift. Instead of secret santa which still involves buying a present or two, make your own gifts instead. Given the festive season why not try your hand at making this Christmas pickle recipe?
Making gifts can be really fun for adults and children alike,
If you are looking for some simple ideas then keep an eye on Pinterest or pop into your local craft store to see what inspires you.
Start preparing ahead of time so you can put together some beautiful homemade gifts in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
These posts have lots of amazing ideas for Christmas gifts:
Choose your favorite Christmas traditions to start this year
The key thing about creating Christmas traditions is using what works for you and your family. Some people prefer to stick with the classics while others like to try to create unique Christmas traditions for their family. It’s all about enjoying time together as a family.
Be creative! ! It doesn’t have to cost anything or take up too much of your time either. After all this is meant to be fun!
Make sure everyone gets involved by letting them choose their own favorite Christmas traditions and games instead of telling them what they’re expected to do. They’ll find out soon enough which ones work best for everyone when we get into December!
It’s always nice creating new traditions that are unique to your own family unit too. So make sure you give some of these ideas a go this year for beautiful memories that will last forever!
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Last Updated on 8th October 2021 by Emma