16 Simple Family Christmas Traditions

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Start New Family Christmas Traditions this Year

There isn’t much that I enjoy more than celebrating Christmas with my family. Remembering the birth of our Savior surrounded by hot cocoa, pjs, twinkle lights, presents, and people that I love is difficult to beat. 

In years  past we have tried a few different Christmas activities, but most have faded from our holiday routine. The birth of our third child sparked a fire in me to give some new family Christmas traditions a shot and now we celebrate throughout the whole month of December!

16 of the Best Simple Christmas Traditions for the Family

These Christmas traditions are easy to implement and fun for every family member. Making them stick in our holiday routine should be a piece of cake:)

 1) Read 25 Books of Christmas

I love this idea because it makes my kids so excited about reading time! Each night they get to pick one wrapped book from under the tree. They open it together and we read it as a family before bedtime. 

You can choose to pick these Christmas books up at your local library, use books that you already have at home, or purchase new books to use each year. These are a few of our favorite options…

25 Books of Christmas | Books wrapped under the tree

2) Pack Christmas Eve Boxes

On December 24th each member of my family will open a Gift Box with his or her name on it. These boxes contain gifts for us to use on Christmas Eve during our family celebration time.

This year I switched from individual boxes to a family basket.

Christmas eve basket with pajamas, hot chocolate bombs, books, and a game

The boxes are loaded up with Christmas Pajamas, snacks like- homemade sugar cookie mix, m&m candies, hot chocolate packs, popcorn- books, and sometimes we do personalized ornaments.

After opening the boxes or basket we will change into our pjs, eat the snacks & hot chocolate, hang our ornaments and watch a Christmas movie. 

I also wrap a game for the family to open (I have done games like Pie Face and Upside Down Game) that we will play that night as well.

 3) Complete an Advent Calendar

This Christmas tradition started a couple of years ago for us.

I knew that I wanted to have something that we could see each day to remind us to take time as a family to slow down & be thankful… I also knew that I wanted to teach my kiddos about Jesus’ birth and the events leading up to it.

Advent Calendar Cards with clothespins and twine

The cards include verses of Scripture to read each day and fun ideas for family Christmas activities. If you want to try this one for yourself, but you don’t want to make your own cards then you can check out this Advent Countdown Card pack!

Advent Cards Preview Images

4) Make Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Making ornaments together is a true bonding experience. 

Parents learn to be patient and give up a little control while the kiddos learn a new skill and have fun with mom & dad. There are tons of different homemade ornament tutorials, but these are my favorites…

Salt Dough Ornaments

My kids love making salt dough ornaments! They get to help mix the ingredients, shape using a cookie cutter, and paint!

Salt dough ornaments in front of a Christmas tree
Cinnamon Stick Ornaments

Simply wrap a few cinnamon sticks up with twine and you have a new Christmas ornament!

Cinnamon Stick Christmas Ornament | Simple Christmas Traditions
DIY Dried Citrus Christmas Ornaments

To make dried citrus ornaments, simply slice up some oranges and grapefruit, dehydrate them for 4-5 hours at 180 F, and string them up!

Orange slice ornament hanging on a Christmas tree
Felt Tree Ornaments

Let the kids choose their own color of felt for this project.

Icicle Ornaments

You only need two ingredients for this ornament–> Borax & Water! This one also doubles as a science experiment!

5) Bake Cookies and Other Christmas Treats

My kids love this time of year because they know that one of our Christmas traditions is to get in the kitchen and bake!

Little girl rolling dough for almond sugar cookies

Here are some fun recipe ideas for you to try:

6) Go See Christmas Lights

Find a business or neighborhood that really goes all out with Christmas lights and do a drive-through “show” for the kiddos. If you can walk through the lights and decorations, that is even better!

Drive-through Christmas lights

7) Build a Gingerbread House (or chicken coop Or Barn)

Sure, this one is an oldie, but if you let your kiddos run with it and don’t worry about how it looks, it can be really fun for them! We made a Gingerbread Chicken Coop last year and a barn this year!

Christmas tradition- Gingerbread barn and silo

8) Play Secret Santa

Let the kids shop for a small toy for each other’s stockings in secret. They won’t know who shopped for them until Christmas morning. This is a great way to foster thoughtfulness in your kiddos.

9) Shop for a Food Bank Donation

Take the children to buy non-perishable foods for a local food bank. If you are able to serve food at a mission, that is a wonderful idea as well. 

10) Create a Hot Chocolate Bar

Gather all the ingredients that your family might enjoy in their hot chocolate and let them mix and match! You can snag a pre-made hot chocolate bar set here!

hot chocolate bar- 4 cups of hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream

11) Make Homemade Christmas Cards 

Give the kids some crafting supplies and let them get creative making homemade Christmas cards for family and friends.

12) Go see a Christmas play

Many local churches and schools will perform Christmas plays for the public. Take your family to see one…or five.

13) Make a Happy Birthday Cake for Jesus

This is my children’s favorite family Christmas tradition! Make a simple birthday cake, let the kids decorate it, and then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Be sure to discuss the reason for doing this so they begin to connect the Christmas season with the birth of Christ.

14) Shop for kids in Foster Care

Many foster care associations will have Amazon Wish Lists for the children in their care. You can shop for them via the wish lists or through a local Angel Tree or a toy drive.

15) Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

Take the family to a Christmas tree farm. Even if you aren’t purchasing a tree there, you can show the kids how the trees grow and talk about the importance of replanting them after use.

16) Add Reindeer Food to Santa’s Cookie Plate

Don’t forget about the reindeer when you set out treats for Santa Claus. Mix up some oats and sprinkles for the reindeer, too!

Get this Christmas Countdown Calendar for FREE by using the form below!

Merry Christmas!

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  1. I love your Christmas Eve boxes! That is such a great idea and it’s a fun way to start an evening of family fun where the kids won’t just be focused on the presents they’ll get to open in the morning. 🙂 It sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful family Christmas this year! 🙂

    Jess | jessedelblut.com

  2. I agree with Jessica about the Christmas Eve Boxes. It’s a fun way to make the following Christmas morning more exciting with surprise outfits and whatnot! Your fifth idea about making treats reminded me of what I did last December. I organized a cake baking activity with the kids and each of them had to crack hazelnuts for ingredients. Know what they used? Traditional nutcrackers! I came up with the idea upon reading this article: https://www.cuckooforest.com/blogs/cuckoo-forest-blog/nutcrackers-that-actually-crack-nuts. It really set the bar high for this year’s holidays.

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