20 Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year


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Since tomorrow marks the 1st day of December, today I’m sharing 20 Family Christmas Traditions to help inspire you to get out and enjoy this wonderful holiday season with your families and friends. The Christmas season is always such a fun time of year and making traditions and creating those life long memories is what it’s all about.

I still remember all of the fun traditions I used to do each year with my mom and dad and brothers, and it’s nice to pass along a few of those traditions now that I’m a mother and wife. But what’s been truly magical is creating those new traditions with my family and making our own unique yearly rituals.

Now that my kiddos are getting past the toddler years, involving them in more and more family activities is so important to me. Having them help decorate the house, put ornaments on the tree, and help wrap gifts for others is so special. Not only do I want my kids to know the real meaning of Christmas, but I also want to instill kindness in their hearts and ensure they always remember it is better to give than to receive

20 Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

family christmas traditions

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Make Homemade Ornaments– Sure, you can buy a new ornament every year for the tree, but that can get expensive real quick. Instead, why not make special ornaments each year that family members can personalize themselves. With Pinterest, the possibilities are endless. I love these scrabble ornaments, these snowflakes made out of clothespins, and I’m kinda obsessed with these wood slice ornaments made with recycled Christmas cards.

Create a Christmas Playlist– I always like creating a playlist of my favorite Christmas songs and then jamming out to them the whole month of December (and parts of November). Try listening to Frosty the Snowman or Jingle Bells and not being instantly put in a better mood- I dare you!

Sponsor a Child/Family in Need for Christmas- Whether it’s through your workplace, church, or you do it on your own, what better way to spread kindness and love than ensuring another person has a special Christmas. There are all kinds of local organizations who do Christmas programs for those in need each year including Salvation Army, Operation Christmas Child, and White Christmas to name a few. We adopted two families in need at my workplace this year and it has been so much fun shopping for gifts for them. Check around your community and find a way to give back if you can!

Donate Non-Perishable Items to a Local Food Pantry– How many of us have a few extra cans of corn just sitting in our pantry? I know I always have extra items on hand, and as a Mom I know how expensive the grocery bill can get when kids are home for Christmas break. That’s why I always love gathering up extra pantry items or stocking up on items when my local grocery store has a sale, and taking them to our nearby pantry to give to those in need. Trust me, it’s appreciate more than you ever know.

family christmas traditions

Bake and Eat Holiday Cookies- No Holiday is really a holiday without baking (and eating) some delicious cookies with family. My personal fave are of course my Mom’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies  but I also like making these Kiss Cookies, and decorating Sugar Cookies like these.

Make and Drink Hot Cocoa– This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I mean how can you not drink hot cocoa during the cold months? This tradition gives you a good excuse to purchase some cute mugs like this adorable chalkboard countdown one. Extra marshmallows for me, please. πŸ™‚

Send Christmas Cards- Christmas cards are a great way to show people you care. I always like either creating a photo Christmas card using Shutterfly, Minted, or Tinyprints, or buying some store-bought ones and writing in a special handwritten note. It’s a great way to keep in touch with those who live away from you, and it’s nice to get a stack of Christmas cards from family and friends you don’t get to talk to everyday.

Look at Christmas Lights– There’s almost always that one gorgeous neighborhood in every community that has the most beautifully decorated homes, and on a pretty evening our family loves driving around and looking at them. We almost always make a visit to Bristol’s Speedway in Lights, which is about a 45 minute drive from us and it is always a lot of fun.

family christmas traditions

*photo credit

Watch Christmas Movies Together as a Family- Nothing makes me happier than watching classic Christmas movies with my boys for the first time. It’s always nice to curl up on the couch under a warm blanket and relax watching something light-hearted and funny. My personal favorites include Jack Frost, Santa Clause, Elf, and Home Alone. I’m also a sucker for those cheesy Hallmark movies lol.

Read a Story Each Night Leading up to Christmas Day- Our boys have a huge stack of Christmas themed stories, so we set aside a special basket in their bedroom and each night leading up to Christmas we read one. I like that it makes my boys excited about Christmas the whole month long and especially enjoy reading about Jesus’ birth with them and hearing their questions.

White Stocking– I found this idea on Pinterest the other day and want to add it to our traditions this year. You simply hang a white stocking beside all your other regular stockings. The white stocking is different, though, and instead of putting gifts in it you fill it with notes of thankfulness all December long, then on Christmas night read all the notes aloud. I can see this being really fun with kids and heartfelt for adults.

Take A Family Picture– Whether it’s in front of the decorated tree, on the staircase, or outside in your backyard, I’m a fan of taking a yearly family photo. So much changes in a year time, and it’s important to capture those memories.  I always love looking back at years past and seeing how much each person has grown and changed.

family christmas traditions

*photo credit

Cut Out Paper Snowflakes to Hang on Your Windows- This is a tradition we used to do when I was a child on snow days. Now that my kids are of the age they can safely use scissors, I hope to help them create several designs to hang on our back patio doors. They’re so pretty and always make me wish for a snow day. If you need help with templates, this website has great tutorials.

Write a Letter to Your Significant Other- This is a new tradition I plan to start this year with my husband. I’m such a fan of handwritten notes and letters and I don’t think there’s anything more special than putting your love into words and giving it to the person who means the most to you. Hope you’ll hop on board and write a letter to your love too!

Make Christmas Candy/Fudge and Deliver to Someone Unexpected- A tradition my Mom and I started a few years ago is making yummy Christmas candy and fudge to put into little gift boxes and tins for giving to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. It’s always a lot of fun making the treats and taste-testing them out and then spreading the love by giving them to others. It’s a nice gesture that goes a long way.

Play a Favorite Board Game– I don’t know about you all but I love a good board game, and it seems like amidst all the hustle and bustle throughout the year, playing games always gets put on the back burner. We always try to make it a point to play our favorite games during the holiday months and it’s always nice to make it part of a fun night in. Scrabble and Yahtzee are mine and my husband’s favorites, and my boys are obsessed with Pop the Pig, and Go Fishin’.

family christmas traditions

*photo credit

Have Breakfast for Dinner on Christmas– This is a new tradition my husband started for us, and what can I say I’m 100% onboard with it. I absolutely love Brinner and his pancakes and bacon are the best. Try it one time and trust me you’ll never go back to traditional Christmas food. πŸ˜‰

Buy a New Pair of Pajamas to Wear the Night Before– We started this tradition when we first moved into our new home and I love it. There’s something so special about getting a new pair of comfy jammies to sleep in the night before Christmas. We don’t necessarily go as far as getting the matching ones for photos (I haven’t convinced the hubs), but I do think those are totally adorable.

Open One Small Gift on Christmas Night- This is another tradition that my parents started when I was little. I know a lot of people love to open up stocking stuffers or small presents on Christmas Eve, but instead we always waited until Christmas night. It just made the day that much more special and made the fun last longer. We still do that with my boys and they love it!

Laugh and Have Fun– Last but not least, this is my reminder to you that above all this Christmas season remember to have fun. Life goes by so quickly, so savor every second and have a blast with your loved ones! πŸ™‚

So there you have it- 20 amazingly fun traditions to start this Christmas with your family! What other traditions does your family do? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!- Cara


  1. Pingback: DIY Scrabble Mason Jar Lid Christmas Ornament - Kindly Unspoken
  2. This is a cool list of Christmas traditions, Cara! What I loved the most is sponsoring a child/family in need for Christmas. I believe that this season is the best time to give back and help those who are in need. Aside from this, it’s also a good idea to help your local soup kitchen or nursing home. My favorite is watching Christmas-themed movies!

    I’ve created a short list of activities too that families can do this holiday season, including our grandparents. Watching movies is on my list, party games and my grandmother’s favorite, singing Christmas carols. Here’s my list of safe activities for seniors during the holidays: http://www.altcp.org/gift-ideas-safe-activities-seniors/. I hope this helps!

  3. I have never heard of a white stocking. That sounds like a wonderful tradition to start! One thing I always make sure to enjoy during the Christmas holiday is any Rudolph movies I can! I just love that little red nose! πŸ™‚

  4. Christmas traditions are so absolutely wonderful, and something that kids look forward to every single year!! I love the idea of sponsoring another child/family for Christmas, what an incredible way to give back! Thanks for sharing <3

  5. SO many sweet traditions! My favorites are sending and receiving Christmas cards, baking treats, Christmas movies and books and driving to look at Christmas lights with hot chocolate for everyone. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚ It’s going to be a fun month!

    1. Oh gosh me too girl! It’s a pretty competitive game in my family lol I’m thinking of gathering the materials up today to make them this weekend with the kiddos. πŸ™‚

  6. I love of all of these! Brad and I sat down the other day and discussed what traditions we want to start now to get ready for kids!

    1. Aw, yay! It’s so fun to create traditions once you get married, and then once you start having kids! Such a special time of year! πŸ™‚

  7. MY husband absolutely loves Christmas traditions! We will definitely be doing several of the items on this list! I’m so excited!

  8. We’ve been doing several of these every year but I’m definitely adding a few to our list! So many wonderful ideas!

  9. I love Christmas and this list is great! I think having traditions in a family is so important and teaching about giving and not just receiving is necessary. Good list!

    1. I thought so too! And you could totally put a spin on it to where everyone shares their funniest moment of the year, or something like that to make it a bit more light-hearted. πŸ™‚

  10. I have always loved Christmas and it has always been a huge holiday in my family. My mother makes a giant breafast/brunch on Christmas morning which she has done since I can remember (and my grandmother did before that when she was alive). I spend Xmas even with my dad and his family. I always feel like a kid around the holidays and love watching xmas movies, decorating, shopping for people and just getting into the spirit. As an adult I love giving back to people in need. I can’t wait to have kids as I think it will make this time of year even more fun and exciting. I love the ideas of making your own ornaments and the white stocking. It will be really cute to watch my nephew open gifts this year as he just turned two so it he gets it a little more this year. Thanks for sharing Cara!

    1. Aw I love all those traditions, Tanya! I think that’s one of the best parts about Christmas is watching the little ones’ eyes light up when they see the Christmas tree and open gifts. It’s such a fun, special time of year! πŸ™‚

    1. Love it! I’ve had my radio stuck on an all-Christmas music station since a couple days before Thanksgiving and it’s been amazing! I feel like it puts you in such a good mood! πŸ˜‰

  11. I love to make food donations and sponsor a child. My husband and I will have to start writing a letter to each other, that sounds so nice!

    1. My husband and I used to always write little love notes to one another when we were dating, but then after marriage and kids it fell by the wayside, so I thought this might be a good way to reflect on the year together. πŸ™‚

  12. What a sweet post friend! This is our third Christmas since we got married and we have yet to make a tradition. I really like the PJ’s haha. I remember our first Christmas together we kept trying to think of a tradition to start but we never got around to it. All great ones!

    1. Every year when we hang up ornaments they each have a special meaning/story connected with them, which is nice. πŸ™‚

  13. These are so nice traditions! I love Christmas because that is time when family spends time together and they do interesting activities. I love watching Christmas movies and I love to visit little outside shows which we have for Christmas in my city (Belgrade,Serbia). I wish you all the best, and thank you for sharing this amazing post with us.

  14. Love the white stocking idea and breakfast for dinner!! We may need to add those to our families! Traditions with kids are the best. I just wrote a post on some of ours and one of my favorites is cutting down our own tree!

    1. Aw, I’d love to do that too- my grandparents always did, but I was always worried I wouldn’t be able to find one that would fit lol.

  15. My kids and I pretty much do all of these and love them; exceptions being “significant other” as there isn’t one and have never done the Brinner on Christmas Day but, I am open to it especially the years it stays 90Β°F… ugh, hate cooking all day in that heat!

  16. I love the white stocking idea! I’m always up for family traditions that increase our thankfulness and make us cognizant of our blessings. There are a ton of these that we are already doing but I may have to add this one as well. Thanks for the great idea!

  17. I love traditions and think they are one of the best ways to create family unity and special memories. We do some of the ones on your list already but there are a few new ones I’d love to start. Thanks for inspiring me!

  18. These are such sweet ideas!! I love the ideas involving crafting with the family. Sounds like a fun way to spend an evening together! And that white stocking idea is awesome. I’m pinning to remember in the future. πŸ™‚

  19. Love this! Christmas movies are a must! I really like the idea of DIY ornaments – the Scrabble ones look awesome!

  20. Cara, I love these ideas. You’ve got a great list gong here. Traditions are such an important part of the holidays, and these are all such great ones. As Ben gets older some of these things get more and more fun. I bet your boys are at such a good age for all of this!

    1. Thanks Jennifer! It gets more fun every year! Now that the boys can help do crafts it’s really special to create their own little ornaments. πŸ™‚

    1. I do too! That’s the one thing we really don’t do, as we don’t do the Santa Clause thing in our household, but I know lots of families do and love it! πŸ˜‰

  21. Our dating and engagement anniversaries are in Decemer so we always do Christmas themed dates. We also ALWAYS watch home alone about 30 times haha

  22. I really love hearing about Christmas traditions. It puts me in a Christmas spirit. I can’t wait to have my own family and start my own traditions. This year my boyfriend and I are going to start buying Christmas PJ’s and watching Christmas movies together on Christmas Eve. I really like the idea of making your own Christmas decorations every year! It sounds like an awesome way to add a little extra character to your tree πŸ™‚ LOVE IT!

  23. I love love love Christmas traditions and all of these are wonderful!! My sister and I always opened gifts to each other on Christmas when we were younger in our new PJs and it was always so fun! Jack Frost is one of my favorite Christmas movies!!! And I am with you on wanting to make all the cookies and candies around this time of year.

    1. That movie literally always makes me cry lol and my husband always gives me that look, like really why are you crying? But nonetheless it is my favorite! πŸ™‚

    1. Which network is it that does an all day marathon of the movie on Christmas day? TBS or TNT I think lol

  24. These are all great traditions! We have been watching Christmas movies non stop. Hallmark channel sucks you in. I of course have to have a Christmas playlist to get in the holiday mood. Last year my company did Operation Christmas Child. It was so nice to be able to give back to those children. Of course baking Christmas cookies and drinking hot cocoa is a must! I love the idea of a white stocking.

    1. What is it about Hallmark movies? They’re so cheesy and far-fetched sometimes, but so good and you can’t stop watching lol.

  25. I love giving back during the holiday season!! I want to help with our local food pantry! Such a great way to teach kids how to have a giving heart.

    1. I do too! A lot of them will let you volunteer your time to help package the boxes with food for delivery too, and that’s always a fun experience. πŸ™‚

  26. Breakfast for dinner is a must! This is truly one of the best lists I’ve seen! Precious ideas to capture the warmth of the season!!

    1. Thanks Andrea! There’s something so heartwarming about the month of December, and it’s just a fun time to make memories! πŸ™‚

  27. Love these ideas! My little girl is old enough to start doing homemade ornaments and I cannot wait to do that this year! Love your idea with the scrabble tiles!

    1. I thought those were so cute! And I’m betting you could find most of the supplies at Dollar Tree, so it would be pretty inexpensive. πŸ™‚

  28. Such a great list of Christmas traditions. I can’t wait to go looking at Christmas light this year, it’s one of my favorites.

  29. Loved all these traditions you listed, Cara! I especially love the idea of making your own ornament for each year. Then you’re building a collection together and they’re all personal, and each one will have its own story! So perfect!

    1. Thanks Kiara! Just the other night when we were hanging ornaments, each one had their own little story and meaning behind it, and it was fun telling my kids each one.

  30. I was JUST telling my husband I wanted to go for a drive and look at holiday lights this past weekend! I used to do that as a kid and loved it πŸ™‚ GREAT LIST!

    1. Thanks Steffanie! It’s always a lot of fun, plus sometimes you find places in your community you’ve never seen before! πŸ™‚

  31. A really great list of possible traditions. You totally reminded me that I want to make sure to get some family pictures this year instead of me always being the one behind the camera!

    1. I’m super excited to do that one this year! I bet it will be so fun to read on Christmas day! πŸ™‚

  32. So fun & festive. Love the ideas.
    I want to do the breakfast for dinner thing πŸ™‚
    I’m all about the cookie baking & then eating them warm with a good Christmas movie

    1. Yes! Warm cookies and milk is the best! And trust me once you do Brinner, you’ll never go back! πŸ™‚

  33. Thanks for such great ideas. I am always looking for new ideas to try with the family. Now we have an elf on the shelf and we also give the kids new pajamas and a movie on Christmas eve. Sponsoring a child is a great idea too.

    1. Oh I like the idea of giving a new movie on Christmas eve! Sponsoring a family/child is so special to me, I really enjoy doing it.

    1. My mom seriously has mad snowflake cutting skills lol so we always made them when I was little. Plus they look so pretty! πŸ™‚

  34. These are such great ideas! Some of them we already do like going out to look at Christmas lights and getting new pajamas on Christmas eve but there are some others that i’ve never thought of before. I love the white stocking idea! That’s a sweet and special way to celebrate the Christmas season!

  35. I love the idea of white stockings, so neat and different! I have tons of ideas for future traditions I want to begin once we have children….I guess my husband and I can start them too, huh?
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lilyο»Ώ

  36. Oh my goodness I make my family watch Jack Frost EVERY single year (and I still cry every single time) love this!

    1. Thanks Jamie! Buying them can get really expensive after awhile, plus I think it’s more special making them! πŸ™‚

  37. Every year I plan on having the kids put on their pj’s, and take them in the car to look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music and drinking hot chocolate. Never happens. This is the year!!

    1. Haha, you just gotta do it! I’m pretty sure last year we didn’t even plan it, it was just one of those spontaneous let’s go look at the neighbor’s lights moments..lol

  38. since my daughter was able to hold things (pencils, brushes etc), we’ve been painting christmas ornaments every year! it’s a tradition that I love and i look forward to it again this year πŸ™‚

    1. Oh I love hearing that! There’s something so fun and special about doing crafts together as a family. πŸ™‚

  39. Oh I love the White Stocking idea!!! What a special way to look back on all the special moments in December!

    1. I’m super excited about it! I bet you could even switch it up to make it more lighthearted and ask everyone to put their favorite funny moment or something. πŸ™‚

  40. Love your brinner tradition…so cute πŸ™‚ When I finish exams next week I plan on ALL of the Christmas activities commencing. First up is making ornaments! Thanks for sharing this list, girl!

    xo, Jess

  41. Watching Christmas movies all together and decorating Christmas cards to send out are my favorite family traditions!

  42. All such lovely ideas! I moved to a different country last year so I feel that when I go home for Christmas we have an even bigger family time than we did before! I’ll try to get them to do some things on your list, but usually when we start making cookies I end up being the only one making them (the downside of being a food blogger πŸ˜‰ ) Good on you for supporting local food, I wish more people did this!

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