We all want to create meaningful memories during the holidays that don’t require a ton of stress or money. Well my friend, today I have just what you are looking for as Santa comes to town! Here are my favorite simple Christmas traditions to start with your family.
Fun Family Christmas Traditions to Make This the Best Christmas Ever!
Here’s the deal – your children will not live in your house forever (at least that’s the plan….)
One Christmas a few years back, I went EXTREME minimalist.
Only a few gifts per child and very few decorations.
That year, it almost didn’t seem like Christmas.
As much of a bummer as it was, it helped me realize that my time with my children is limited.
It also helped me learn how important balance truly is (hence the creation of this site).
Since then, I have made it my goal to create memories and generate the spirit of Christmas in our home through activities that we do together. It’s definitely ok to simplify Christmas, but you don’t want to remove the magic.
And the reality is that we only have a few years to make memories and create traditions as a family.
These experiences are crucial in ensuring that they don’t want to miss out on these traditions when they are older and have the choice to spend the holidays elsewhere.
My hope is that when my children are grown, they carry on these traditions with their families (as well as the fond memories in their hearts)
It’s also important to remember that the best traditions are the ones that are unique to your family. I hope you are able to use this list as inspiration for coming up with your own.
Simple Christmas Traditions to Start with Family
1) Put up Your Christmas Decorations
Play some holiday jams and let the entire family get in on the fun as you all be-bop around the house setting out the holiday decor. Pump up the fun with some holiday snacks and beverages to keep everyone energized and hydrated.
2) Bake Cookies
I like to choose just one special recipe that we only make at Christmastime. This keeps things simple – yet also creates a special memory (the stuff that Christmas traditions are made of)
3) Select a new ornament for the tree
We have a fancy home decor store in our small town that is absolutely stunning during the holidays. Every year we go to that same store and allow the kids to choose one “special” ornament. When we get home, I write their name and the year on the bottom. When they move out (cue sobbing), these will be theirs to take with them.
4) Dollar Store Stocking Stuffer Shopping Spree
Head to the dollar store as a family and give everyone a $10 budget to purchase stocking stuffers for everyone else. It’s a fun lesson in budgeting and also makes for some surprisingly entertaining gifts.
Make the challenge eco-friendly by adding in the rule that no one can choose anything that’s plastic!
Related Christmas Post: Clutter-Free Stocking Stuffers your Kids will Actually Want
5) Cruise the Holiday Lights in your Christmas Pajamas
Everyone loves to look at Christmas lights. For a child, it is magical to see your ho-hum neighborhood transformed into a glowing, blinking wonderland.
In order to turn your average evening of driving around looking at Christmas lights into a magical family tradition, you just need to include a few simple additions; matching Christmas Pajamas, hot cocoa and popcorn to enjoy, and holiday music playing on the radio.
6) Christmas Tree Campout
The first night that the tree is up is the perfect night for a family slumber party. The lights will provide the perfect glow to stay up and read Christmas stories until the children fall asleep. Not only a fun tradition but also the perfect excuse to wear those matching Christmas PJs again!
7) Socks for Seniors
This year we will be collecting “Socks for Seniors” to warm the toes AND hearts of the elderly in our community.
Christmas is the perfect time of year for this because super cozy and colorful holiday socks are available in abundance. We plan to spread the word to friends and family. Any socks that are donated are then delivered to an assisted living facility. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about all the seniors pulling on their fuzzy socks on Christmas Eve 😉
8) Jingle Bell Rock…Out!
Pick your favorite Christmas Carol and record a video of everyone singing it on your phone.
Send it out to friends and family via text, social media or email. BAM – you just zapped some holiday cheer straight to your loved one’s hearts!
Remember those matching Christmas PJs you bought? This is another great way to get your money’s worth from your purchase. They can become your wardrobe for your Christmas Carol music video.
9) Record Your Christmas Traditions
This keepsake family journal allows you to document your holiday traditions and memories, so you can enjoy them and reminisce for years to come.
DIY Christmas Traditions
10) Easy DIY Advent Calendars
Kick off the holidays by getting crafty and making one of these easy DIY Advent Calendars that the kids will love!
11) DIY Christmas Movie Schedule
Simply print out a calendar page, or you can even just use a regular calendar. Sit down as a family and look over the Holiday Movie Schedule together.
Use this time to decide which movies you don’t want to miss. Plug in the name and time into the calendar and you just made your own DIY Holiday Movie Schedule.
*Side note – We actually got rid of traditional television in our house about a year ago and now we rely on our Amazon Fire Stick and Netflix subscription. It has worked out great because now we tend to spend more time selecting programs that we can watch as a family.
In order to create our DIY Christmas Movie Schedule, we do a quick search to see what is available through our Amazon Prime and Netflix subscriptions. Then we create our schedule from there.
12) Make Your Own Custom Christmas Ornaments
This fun and easy tradition is a great way to spend time together as a family. In our house, we try to do this the first week of Christmas to kick off the holiday fun. You can use the ornaments that your family makes to:
- decorate your own Christmas tree
- give to friends and family as gifts.
If you decide to keep them, you will have a wonderful collection of ornaments to send along with your children when they are grown and have their own Christmas trees.
We like to purchase unfinished wooden ornaments and some acrylic paints and spend an evening getting creative. If your children are younger and want to get in on the painting fun, be sure to check out these mess-free, solid paint stix.
Another simple ornament tradition is to get a set of these special photo ball ornaments to place an updated image of each family member.
I have a friend who started doing this with each of her children while she was pregnant by using her sonogram picture. As they grew, it was a good way to use all those school pictures you always order too many of.
As they got older, the children loved decorating the tree each year and looking at the photos of themselves as they grew.
13) Gingerbread House Building Competition
This idea was stolen straight from my child’s kindergarten classroom. It was so easy and so much fun that after she moved on to a new classroom, we continued the tradition at home.
All you need to do is gather up your gingerbread house construction supplies; frosting, sprinkles, candy, graham crackers and small milk cartons (to be used as frames for your gingerbread house construction).
The best part is getting to take it apart and eat it for dessert on Christmas Eve – Hey! That’s another Super Simple Christmas Tradition!
Simple Christmas Eve Family Traditions
14) Holiday Family Game Night
Gather the fam and play one of these super fun Christmas Themed Board Games!
The perfect way to occupy the last few hours before Santa comes!
15) Christmas Soup
My grandma lived to be 98 years old and one of my most cherished memories was eating her “Christmas Soup” on Christmas Eve each year.
We carry on that tradition in our family by always serving soup on Christmas Eve. As our family has grown, it has turned into a soup potluck. Each family brings a crockpot of soup to share. A delicious and easy meal to have together the night before Christmas.
16) Hot Chocolate Bar
Looking for a sweet tradition to start? How about a hot chocolate bar!
We usually make a big batch of hot chocolate in the crockpot (again, we are going for simple here) and then add a few fun toppings. Whipped cream, marshmallows, candy canes -Yum!
17) Light a Candle for Loved Ones
A simple way to honor those who are no longer with us is to light a candle in their memory during your Christmas Eve meal.
18) Track Santa with Norad
Your kids will love watching Santa’s present dropping progress around the world on the NORAD Santa Tracker website.
19) Christmas Eve Bath
Choose a red or green bath bomb to toss in the bathtub with the kids on Christmas Eve to get them ready to have sugar plums dance in their heads.
20) Christmas Eve Pillowcases
Make it a tradition to put on a special pillowcase for Christmas Eve.
Christmas Morning Traditions
21) Crepe Paper the Bedroom Doors
Buy yourself a few extra minutes in the morning and surprise the kids by wrapping their doorway with red and green crepe paper.
22) Christmas Morning Breakfast
My kiddos actually requested this tradition after we skipped our “traditional” Christmas morning breakfast last year. This let me know that breakfast was something that they remembered and was meaningful to them.
I hadn’t thought they would even notice – that is the magic of traditions!
Our Christmas morning breakfasts include an overnight slow cooker breakfast casserole and some fun Christmas-themed pancakes for the kids!
23) Gift and Go Seek
We have yet to try this, but I have heard from lots of other families that they hide one gift that the recipient is left to hunt for on Christmas morning.
24) Christmas Morning Family Skype
So many of us have loved ones who aren’t able to be with us on Christmas morning. Take some time to set up a video chat session to make it feel like you are all together, even when it’s impossible. Let the kids show off their new toys and catch up on all the holiday fun.
25) Make Some Wrapping Paper Crafts
Before you toss all that wrapping paper into the garbage, gather it up and let kids use it to create some crafts. They could make paper airplanes or even use it to create paper snowflakes, It’s a fun way to spend a few hours while everyone recovers from the excitement of Christmas morning.
So there you have it mama! Tons of fun family Christmas traditions that you can start with your family this year. Choose one or maybe even a few. Just make sure you keep it simple and fun!