The holidays are upon us! For many of us (me included!), this season can quickly and easily ricochet from exciting and joyful to stressful and chaotic with balancing travel between families, fighting mall traffic for gift shopping, hosting company in your home, cooking the perfect meal, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, hosting parties and more. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the chaos of the holiday season.
But what if we used those same activities to instead create meaningful traditions and lifelong memories with your family and friends? Last week I shared our Christmas card and asked about your favorite Christmas traditions. As the emails poured in I got more and more excited to read about how you make your gatherings with loved ones extra special, ways you celebrate Jesus, how you decorate your tree, gift opening techniques and so much more.
For those of you looking for more ways to make your holidays meaningful, I compiled a list of your traditions passed down from families for kids from 1 to 92! Enjoy!
Holiday Food Traditions
- Share a huge Christmas morning breakfast. Add special treats like cinnamon buns or baked eggs!
- Host a cookie swap party. Ask everyone to bring their favorite holiday cookie recipe.
- Eat the same meal every Christmas Eve. Can be anything from the Feast of Seven Fishes to a cheese plate or Chinese food that becomes the yearly tradition, even if it’s just for laughs.
- Bake and decorate cookies or a gingerbread house with your little ones.
- Serve a special cocktail such as spiked eggnog or gluhwein for the adults.
- Ladies only allowed in the kitchen to cook and bond together.
- During your Thanksgiving meal each person takes turns saying what they are thankful for.
Holiday Card Traditions
- Have a photographer (or your tripod) take your family photo for your Christmas card.
- Add a handwritten note to the back of each card.
the cards you receive each year in a small book and go back through
them to see how much everyone has changed through the years.
- Frame your Christmas card each year as part of your holiday décor.
Holiday Activities Traditions
- Go see a local production of The Nutcracker or another holiday-themed show.
- Take your kids for a drive to check out the Christmas lights. Make some hot cocoa to-go and blast the Christmas music.
- Find a local Festival of Lights, A special Christmas Tree lighting, etc. to visit.
- Watch the Thanksgiving Day parade as a family.
- Visit and take a photo with Santa!
- Go Black Friday shopping with the family.
- Volunteer your time as a family at a soup kitchen or a food bank that hands out food to families in need.
Traditions in Your Home
- Start or continue the ‘Elf on a Shelf’ tradition to keep kids on their best behavior.
- Read holiday books before bed each night and The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
- Visit a tree farm to cut down the perfect Christmas tree as a family. Decorate it together to a holiday playlist.
- Each year cut a piece off the bottom of your tree to create an ornament.
- Use an advent calendar to count down to Christmas. You can find a variety of advent calendars, from candles that are burned daily to boxes of chocolate you open daily.
- Write a letter to Santa.
Christmas Eve & Day Traditions
- Open one gift on Christmas Eve – matching pajamas for the whole family. Wear them and take a photo!
- Get both sides of the family together.
- Open stockings on Christmas Eve.
- Throw a birthday party for Jesus! Eat cake and sing “Happy Birthday.”
- Let all the kids sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve.
- In the middle of the night, set out all of the presents under the tree “from Santa,” even if your kids are now adults!
- Attend church together. Some churches even offer a candle Christmas service.
- Track Santa’s progress across the globe on NORAD.
- Make and set out cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer.
- Read The Night Before Christmas at bedtime.
- Watch Christmas movies such as Elf, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, etc.
- Color in Christmas coloring books on Christmas Eve. Find an adult version here.
- On Christmas morning no one is allowed downstairs until Daddy checks and confirms Santa came.