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.
Simple Christmas Traditions for Families
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.
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)
A Stress-Free Christmas
As important as it is to create these special memories with our families – I also know that the holidays can be a stressful and pressure-filled time if we allow it to be.
The holidays tend to be a time that we:
Unfortunately, this sucks all the fun right out of what Christmas is supposed to be.
My goal in sharing this list is that you find creative ideas that you can do with your family that are affordable, fun and stress free.
The holidays aren’t about everything being perfect (or expensive). It all comes down to spending time with the ones we love.
Also, remember that the best traditions are the ones that are unique to your family. Use this list as inspiration for coming up with your own.
Simple Christmas Traditions to do with Kids
Put up your Christmas decorations play holiday music and let the entire family get in on the fun!
Bake some cookies – I like to choose just one special recipe that we only make at Christmastime.
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.
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.
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.
Fun and Easy Christmas Traditions
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 PJ’s again!
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 and then deliver them to our assisted living facility. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about all the seniors pulling on their fuzzy socks on Christmas Eve 😉
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 PJ’s 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.
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
DIY Christmas Cards – Friends and family will be so excited to open a card that one of your family members has colored themselves. Using a set like the one below makes this a super simple activity.
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.
Customized 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.
(Almost) 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!
Christmas Eve Traditions
Holiday Family Game Night – Since no one is able to go to sleep on Christmas Eve anyway, you might as well stay up late playing Christmas themed board games.
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.
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!
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.
Track Santa with Norad – http://www.noradsanta.org/
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.
Christmas Eve Pillowcase – Make it a tradition to put on a special pillowcase for Christmas Eve.
Christmas Morning Traditions
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.
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 my husband’s grandmother’s Maple Ring and an overnight slow cooker breakfast casserole – super easy!
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.
Looking for more ways to simplify the holidays?
- 30 Fun and Clutter-Free Gifts for Kids
- The Best Minimalist Gifts for Her This Year
- Clutter-Free Stocking Stuffers Your Kids will Actually Want
So there you have it mama! Tons of super simple Christmas tradition ideas 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!
We would love to hear from you! What was your favorite super simple Christmas traditions? Please comment below.