Christmas is the best time of year. People are happy and generous (most of the time) and festivity is in the air.
I love the food, presents, family and traditions of Christmas.
We have created many traditions for our family throughout the years, all year long. Things like going to church, saying prayers, playing sports, taking family vacations and mom taking lots of pictures are traditions our kids probably take for granted.
But when it comes to Christmas, we have many traditions with our kids that will be hard to let go as they grow up and leave the house.
If you are just starting your family or are looking for something new and different to do, look no further. I am going to share some of our favorite family Christmas traditions here, and also some new ones we want to try.
It’s never too late to bring your family together by starting new family traditions. So try something new this year!
10 Fun Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year
We went to a friend’s house for Christmas one year, and they had an interesting tradition I had never heard of before. The Christmas Pickle.
Basically, you buy an ornament that looks like a pickle. You can get one on Amazon (affiliate link) here —> Pickle Glass Blown Ornaments for Christmas Tree
You hide it somewhere in the Christmas tree. Whoever finds the pickle first on Christmas morning gets a special gift before everyone else opens presents. It’s kinda cool and different.
We haven’t adopted this tradition ourselves, but it seemed like a fun idea.
2. Live Nativity
Every year (except when we travel for Christmas) we participate in a Live Nativity on Christmas Eve with our church.
People take turns dressing up as the Bible nativity (Mary, Joseph, shephards, wisemen, etc) and stand out in the cold waving to people as they go by the church. We usually have some live animals with us (sheep or donkeys) and we stand under a large manger.
I love this tradition because it helps all of us remember what the season is all about and why we celebrate it.
You could do this at your own house or encourage your church to start something similar.
3. A book a day
Christmas books are fun to read, but can often get misplaced throughout the year. So gather them all up, wrap them up and put them under the tree.
Then each day (depending on how many you have) as Christmas gets closer, unwrap a book and read it together as a family.
You might want to wrap them all in the same paper so you don’t confuse them with other presents!
4. Wrapping paper for each person
If you have lots of family members or lots of presents, it might be fun (and easier) to give each person their own wrapping paper for their presents.
That way, when Christmas morning comes, it will be easier to know who’s is who’s. You also won’t have to put labels on them, so the kids won’t know which one is theirs until Christmas morning.
It is up to you when you reveal who’s is who’s. Just don’t lose the key or it will be Christmas pandemonium!
5. Ornaments from family vacations
We have bought ornaments from every family vacation (and some work trips) since our honeymoon 20 years ago.
We lost 15 years worth of these ornaments when our house burned down 5 years ago, and honestly they were some of the things we missed most. For a little while, we weren’t sure if we would start the tradition back up again!
But we decided we didn’t want to forget our vacations, so we started buying ornaments again.
Each year, as we put up the ornaments old and new, we remember each vacation and how much fun we had. It really brings our family together!
6. Make a Christmas bucket list
There are so many things we want to do with our families over the holidays, but sometimes we just get so busy they don’t get done.
That is why I encourage you to make a Christmas bucket list and hang it somewhere prominent in your home (maybe the refrigerator)!
If you need some help getting started, check out this blog post where I have a free printable of a Christmas bucket list I made —> A Country Christmas Bucket List to Bring Your Family Together.
It’s so fun to do the activities together as a family and check them off as you go. This will help you be more intentional with your family and the memories you make with them.
7. Make cookies for others (mailman, fireman, policeman)
We love to make Christmas cookies, but we don’t love to have them around all month long (maybe that’s just me).
So put together some goody bins full of cookies and take them to people that serve your family all year long. This could be your mailman, fireman, policemen, hairdresser, teachers, pastor, etc.
I’m sure they will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you will enjoy the baking with your family as well.
8. Christmas movie marathon
Our family loves movies and Christmas time is no exception.
If you like movies too, try an all day movie marathon with your favorite Christmas movies. Add pajamas and some treats and you’ve got a hit. Your family will love this tradition!
If you need some ideas for Christmas movies, check out this blog post —> My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies We Watch Every Year.
9. Volunteer as bell ringers
Christmas is about the Spirit of Christ and nothing is more Christlike than service.
So get your family together and sign up to be Salvation Army bell ringers for an afternoon.
Depending on your weather, this may be more of a sacrifice in some areas. But your family will feel blessed as they ring the bell and say Merry Christmas to those that walk by.
10. Want, need, wear, read
I saw this concept taught on Pinterest a couple of years ago and I just love it.
Our kids seem to get so many Christmas gifts and most of them aren’t really necessary. It is nice to think we can buy our family fun things, but how much of it just goes to waste?
So this year, buy each family member 4 gifts:
- Something they want.
- Something they need.
- Something to wear.
- Something to read.
That just about covers everything and keeps the gift giving under control.
Where is the elf?
You might have noticed that I didn’t include Elf on the Shelf as one of the holiday traditions.
Why? I’m not an Elf on the Shelf fan. Don’t shoot me! Let me explain:
- He takes up too much time.
- I don’t want to be creative every day.
- I’m a terrible tooth fairy, so I’m not confident I could pull it off.
- To be honest, the whole concept seems a little creepy.
- If I were to do this type of daily activity, I would want it to be Christ centered.
- My kids are teenagers, so it wouldn’t really work. They missed this craze (darn!).
But if you love Elf on the Shelf and your kids do too, by all means add it to your traditions list. It could be a great addition if done right.
Why should we create family traditions?
As I said above, traditions are things that bind families together. They are the things kids will remember long after they move out of the house and when they start their own families.
The holidays can be such a busy time for families, so I don’t want you to feel overwhelmed with more things.
But maybe we should take some things off our plate to make room for the fun holiday traditions our family loves.
And don’t forget to take pictures of these activities to jar your memory in years to come.
Good luck to you and your family during the holiday season. Merry Christmas!
What holiday traditions does your family love? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!