Many families have unique Christmas traditions that have been handed down through generations. Traditions make the Christmas season seem much more meaningful and can bring you closer together as a family. They are a way of expressing the things that are important during the holiday season.
The fond memories of our Christmas traditions from when I was a child have stayed with me to this day. I have even continued some them now that I have a family of my own. My husband, children, and I have also started new traditions that make the holidays a special time for us. I love the way that the traditions I grew up with have merged with the new ones I have created with my own family.
The traditions on this list are perfect for families at all different stages. Start some new traditions with your family this year and make it a Christmas you will never forget!
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Cut Down a Christmas Tree
There is something so special about having a real tree. Not only do they smell amazing and look beautiful, but half the fun is finding one and cutting it down.
The tradition of going to a tree farm to hunt down the perfect tree is one that my family has been doing for many years. We love walking up and down the rows searching for the perfect Christmas tree in the cold, crisp weather. When we finally agree on the right tree, my husband cuts it down and we haul it back home.
The pictures featured in this post are from this year’s trip to the Christmas tree farm. It was quite muddy but we still had a blast!
Decorating the tree is just as fun as cutting it down. Christmas music plays in the background and we drink homemade hot chocolate while we string the lights on the tree and hang the ornaments. Each child gets to choose where they want to hang their own ornaments which they love. We all enjoy spending time together and getting in the Christmas spirit.
The whole experience is festive and sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season.
Advent calendars are a super fun tradition that children really enjoy. Young children love the excitement of counting down the days to Christmas. My grandma would always buy us the traditional punch out chocolate calendars every year when I was a child and I always looked forward to it. The chocolate may have played a small role in that!
There are a wide variety of different advent calendars to choose from. These are a few fun options:
Christmas Movie Night
Get comfy in your Christmas jammies, grab a bowl of buttery popcorn, and snuggle up together for a fun movie night featuring Christmas movies. Some great classic holiday themed movies that my family enjoys include Home Alone, The Polar Express, Elf, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My personal favorite Christmas movie is White Christmas. I have been watching it since I was a teenager but this may not be one that young children will find entertaining.
Read Christmas Books
Reading aloud to children is so important and a great way to spend quality time together. Choose a few Christmas books to read every year during the holiday season. Some fun ones are The Night Before Christmas, Room for a Little One, The Christmas Wish, and God Gave Us Christmas. Also, reading a verse from the Bible each night in December is a great way to incorporate the story of Jesus’ birth into your nightly routine!
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
One of my favorite traditions is attending the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church with my family. The ambiance of candles glowing in a dark church, singing Christmas carols, and reading the story of Christ’s birth are a beautiful way to honor the true meaning of Christmas.
This service is special, memorable, and and important part of our Christmas celebration each year.
Buy Gifts for Those in Need
Teach your children the spirit of generosity during the holiday seasons. Take them shopping specifically to pick out toys for other children. There are many different programs, such as Toys for Tots, that distribute gifts to children from low income families and children in the foster system. Many churches also organize gift giving outreaches during the holiday season.
Wear Christmas Pajamas
Christmas pajamas are a must in my family! My grandma started the tradition of giving us pajamas on Christmas Eve when my siblings and I were very young. My mother has continued this tradition with the all the grandchildren. We get a group picture with all the cousins wearing their new pajamas every year on Christmas Eve.
The women in our family join in on the fun as well. We all change into our Christmas pajamas later in the evening on Christmas Eve. Who doesn’t like to be comfortable on Christmas??
Set up a Nativity Scene
A nativity scene is a wonderful way to offer a hands on learning approach to teach children about the true meaning on Christmas, the birth of Jesus. Show them the different characters in the nativity scene and talk about each one’s role in the very first Christmas. You could also read aloud to them about Christ’s birth from the Bible or a children’s book.
Allow them to play with the pieces, move them around, and play creatively with them. This is of course assuming that your nativity scene isn’t breakable. Ours is made of wood and is very sturdy so I set it out within reach and let them play with it whenever they desire.
Bake Christmas Cookies and Deliver to Friends/Family
Baking Christmas cookies is a long lived tradition in many families and for good reason! My children love helping bake cookies. They especially enjoy frosting and decorating sugar cookies. While it is more effort on your part to include them in the baking process, it is well worth it. They will remember special traditions like this for their entire lives.
This year, we are trying something new and are going to deliver plates of cookies to our neighbors, friends, and family. It was actually my daughter’s idea and I think it will be a fun tradition for us to begin.