It’s true, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Okay, don’t hate me. I’m one of those people who starts playing Christmas music the second Halloween is over! I feel like the season goes by too quickly and it brings me joy when dealing with the cooler weather and darker days.
Now that we have three kids we’ve started thinking more about family Christmas traditions! I didn’t realize how many traditions we had growing up until I got married and learned about the different ways my husband celebrated Christmas.
It’s been so much fun creating our own family traditions together. And it’s never too late. If you don’t like your traditions you can change it up. We are doing this with our Thanksgiving traditions this year. I wasn’t a fan of what we used to do so I decided it was time to mix it up.
So what about you, do you have a special book or activities you do with your family around the holidays? Hare are 10 fun family Christmas traditions we use in our house. BONUS! At the bottom of this post I share some of YOUR favorite traditions that you shared with me on Instagram. I hope these inspire you and bring some cheer to your holiday season.
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#1 Sing Christmas Carols
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is sing Christmas carols. We were married in December and at the end of our reception we gave everyone candles to hold. The guests sent us off singing to the tune of Joy to the World. It was amazing. So every Christmas Eve we light some candles and sing our favorite songs together as family. If you aren’t into REAL candles with little kids, I get it. Here are some fun battery operated candles to try.
#2 Create a Hot Chocolate Bar
My kids will LOVE this tradition. We usually drink hot chocolate after a day playing in the snow, but I am definitely considering jazzing it up and creating a hot chocolate bar either on Christmas Eve or for the afternoon of Christmas Day. We love using this dairy free hot chocolate recipe in our house. For the hot chocolate bar we may add fun toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, peppermint and chocolate drizzle!
#3 Christmas Pajamas!
My roommate in grad school told me her family gifted each other Christmas pajamas every Christmas Eve. I immediately fell in love with the idea and as soon as we got married we made this a new Gaines family tradition. Now that we have kids it’s even more fun! Some years I can’t wait and gift the pajamas on December 1st. Other years I’ve waited until Christmas Eve.
Either way, it’s such a fun and sweet way to get into the spirit of Christmas. The last few years we’ve worn Hanna Andersson’s family pajamas. In my opinion, they have the best quality and their organic cotton is so cozy! We’ve also gone with Burt’s Bees Baby family pajamas and this year I’m considering these from PajamaGram.
#4 Plan a Themed Christmas Day
This can be as simple as watching your favorite Christmas movie in your cozy holiday pajamas or as complicated as planning a trip somewhere. Last year we were in Walt Disney World right around Thanksgiving. It was so magical waking up to see the Christmas decorations up in our hotel and around the parks. It definitely put us in the holiday spirit. Then after Christmas we went to the Woodloch in Hawley, PA. It’s a GREAT family friendly place filled with lots of fun activities.
Other years we’ve visited Hershey Park’s Christmas Candylane and it’s so fun seeing all the lights and going on rides at the park.
It’s nice having a day in December decided to family time and doing a fun activity together.
#5 Drive Around Looking for Christmas Lights
When my husband and I were first dating he took me on a date to look at Christmas lights. He said he often did this with his family growing up. We turned on some Christmas music and drove around trying to find the BEST house.
Last year our daughter always wanted to find “MORE LIGHTS” when we were driving in the car. It was so fun for each of us to pick our favorite house and vote on people’s holiday decorations. This such a simple yet fun and affordable family date idea.
#6 Read Your Favorite Christmas Books Together
We love reading books with our kids and each year I try to find 1 or 2 fun holiday themed books. Last year our son was obsessed with the Little Blue Truck so I couldn’t wait to give him the Little Blue Truck’s Christmas book.
Reading Christmas books together is a simple yet fun family Christmas tradition. We purchase a few new books to read together, but it doesn’t have to be a new book. It can be an old family favorite or even a holiday book you find at the library.
#7 Read the Christmas Story in the Bible
Every Christmas Eve we read the nativity story found in Luke chapter 2. Sure candy canes, gingerbread houses and Christmas trees are amazing, but we also want our children to understand why we celebrate this holiday, the birth of our Savior!
#8 DIY A Tree Ornament Together
My sister surprised us at our wedding and asked guests to bring a Christmas tree ornament. It was such a personal and special gift idea! Each year when we hang the ornaments on our tree we are reminded of all our family and friends.
We’ve also taken up crafting tree ornaments with our kids. On both of their first Christmas’ we made salt dough ornaments with their handprints. Our daughter also loved making these Sesame Inspired Christmas Balls and she already asked to do it again this year!
#9 Do an Act of Kindness
Growing up my parents taught us to give to others in need. At my dad’s work they had a Christmas tree with tags and on the tag it listed gift ideas for a child in need. I remember doing this every year and going to the toy store to pick out the perfect gift for another boy or girl. I definitely want to do this with our children as we believe it’s so important to teach kindness and generosity to our kids.
#10 Make Gingerbread Houses
Last, but certainly not least we make gingerbread houses! Growing up we always did this on Thanksgiving Day and kept them as decorations until Christmas. We loved picking out the candy and make unique designs on our houses. Our kids now look forward to this tradition each year.
BONUS TRADITIONS FROM YOU!:
#1 Open a present on Christmas Eve! With jammies and a Christmas movie.
#2 Play the Saran Wrap ball game (see details on how to play here)!
#3 Shepherds meal on Christmas Eve! We turn off all the lights except the tree and candles – Ashley from thelittlesandme.com.
#4 Making Christmas cookies at my in laws (baking and decorating sugar cookies) – Amy from thegildedwife.com
#5 My mother in law gets a birthday cake and we sing Happy Birthday to Jesus!
#6 Vacation at a resort. It’s the best and we love our time together!
So what about you? How do you celebrate Christmas? What are you favorite family Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!