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25 Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

25 Family Christmas Traditions to Start This Year

Every family has Christmas traditions they pass down through the ages. But if you want to start some new ones of your own, you can find plenty to choose from. Make this holiday season more exciting and enjoyable while you celebrate as a family. You will make memories you’ll never forget that your children will look forward to every year.

Get Matching Christmas Jammies

Every year, buy a new set of matching pajamas for all of the kids and even the parents! If you’re an Elf on the Shelf family, you can even have the Elf leave the pjs as a gift on Christmas Eve so everyone can wear them to bed. The kiddos love it, and it brings everyone together through this fun fashion tradition. Target has a great selection every year, or you can buy them online.

Watch Christmas Movies on Christmas Eve

There’s nothing better than snuggling in to watch a Christmas movie with the family on Christmas Eve. You can find your favorite to watch every year, or change it up to watch something different each year. Whatever you choose, make sure you have plenty of popcorn and assorted snacks. Chocolate is always a good move, too!

Check out Rotten Tomatoes list of the 63 Best Christmas Movies if you need some suggestions.

Open One Gift on Christmas Eve

This is a tradition for many families. Let each person pick one gift to open on Christmas Eve. It makes things even more exciting than they already are, bringing more magic to the holiday. You can put guidelines on the size of gift they may choose if you want to, or even keep specific gifts ready to hand out on the night. However you choose to do it, it’s a great holiday tradition.

Get Crafty Together!

There’s nothing like family crafting to really bring people together. So buy your crafting supplies and make some holiday decorations. Need some ideas? Check out the projects below!

Christmas Craft - Holiday Sled Ornament
Simple Decorative Yarn-Wrapped Christmas Tree Craft
Christmas Craft - DIY Candy Cane Mason Jar | A Mother Thing
DIY Decorative Paper Christmas Trees | A Mother Thing
Simple Decorative Styrofoam Snowman Craft!

Have a Cookie Exchange

One of the most fun and delicious holiday traditions is a cookie exchange! Invite family and friends to join in – the more, the merrier! Everyone bakes delicious Christmas cookies to swap with others. You can exchange whole batches or a few at a time. Either way, you get to try new cookies and enjoy yummy treats. And bonus – you get to see your friends and family during the holidays!

Try these 7 Layer Cookies for a decadent treat. Or these Snowball Cookies for a fun theme! These Mincemeat Cookies with Lemon Glaze are a unique offering that most people won’t have tried. Or you can bake these traditional Gingerbread Men with a foolproof recipe that you just can’t mess up!

Trim the Tree Together

There’s nothing quite as exciting as putting on some Christmas music and decorating a tree together. Give the kids permission to let their creativity shine as they place ornaments, tinsel, colorful garlands and twinkly lights across the tree. Don’t forget to trade off who gets to place the star on top of the tree each year!

Go Christmas Caroling

Maybe you are the type who has gone caroling every year. Maybe you’ve never gone in your life. Whatever the case, there’s nothing like going Christmas caroling with your family. It’s a tradition that’s been around for centuries, but not many are brave enough these days. Bring it back to life by going out with your kids and partner and singing your hearts out. Then come back and enjoy a nice cup of hot cocoa!

Invite Everyone to a Christmas Eve Potluck

Sure most everyone is busy at Christmas, but why not try your luck with a Christmas Eve potluck? Send out the invites a few weeks early, and invite friends and family for a fun meal together. Everyone brings a dish to pass – mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, lasagna, pumpkin pie. It doesn’t have to be traditional holiday fare. Remember to reach out to those who don’t have anywhere to go at Christmas – they’ll appreciate it the most.

Make Homemade Hot Chocolate

This is a tradition that kids will remember forever. Create a hot chocolate station full of real bars of chocolate, chocolate syrups, sprinkles, marshmallows and whipped cream. Let them get fancy as they add their toppings and make their perfect cup of cocoa. They will LOVE it.

You can buy hot cocoa at if you want to get REALLY fancy!

Check Out a Local Light Show

Whether you live in a small town or a big city, you’re sure to have a light show somewhere nearby that you can check out. There are different types available – some you walk through, while others you get in your car and drive through. Check reviews online to find the best one in your area, then grab the kids and head out to see those beautiful Christmas lights.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

On the off chance that you can’t find a professional light show in your area, you can always take your kids on a drive through the different neighborhoods to check out how they have decorated. You KNOW that some people take the holidays very seriously and are bound to go all-out in their Christmas decorating.

Bake Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon scent is already associated with Christmas, and cinnamon rolls are a great Christmas treat. But take it up a notch by adding red and green food coloring to your glaze before drizzling it over your cinnamon rolls. It adds festive flare to your otherwise plain treat.

Organize a Game Night

Family Game Night should just be a THING that everyone does once in a while. But Christmas is a perfect opportunity to get together and spend some quality time playing a fun game. Try and grab something that’s more cooperative than competitive if you can. Or at least something with lots of laughter involved. Kids Against Maturity is a great game for a Family Game Night, and the kids will LOVE it. Beat That is also tons of fun! Whatever you choose, keep lots of Reindeer Chow nearby to keep everyone’s energy up. They’ll need it!

Make a Gingerbread House

Make some homemade gingerbread or buy a gingerbread house kit, and put it together with your loved ones. Get creative adding different candies and frosting to make it look exactly like you imagine. Don’t worry if it turns out wonky or weird. The fun comes from everyone adding their own flair. Besides, it’ll just get eaten in the end!

Go Ice Skating

If you have an outdoor skating rink nearby, there’s nothing more fun. But if that’s not possible, find a local indoor rink you can enjoy. You don’t have to be a professional skater to have a great time. Be careful if you have little kids – they may need a rolling skater aid to help them along.

Attend Christmas Eve Church Services

If you are religious, you may think about attending church services on Christmas Eve. Even if you don’t regularly attend, there’s something magical about this particular night. It’s one of the best times to attend, with special performances often included.

Chop Down Your Own Tree

If you want a fresh Christmas tree, take the family to visit a Christmas tree farm to chop down your own! You can wander around until you find your perfect tree. Then you can chop it down and take it home knowing that this tree was meant for your family. Be sure to keep it fresh and taken care of so it will last until the big day!

Decorate Stockings

You can buy plain stockings from the Dollar Tree or other stores to decorate any way you want. Dig out some fabric paint, fabric glue and felt for a ton of fun. You can either use the stockings yourself or donate them to a local charity for those who need them.

Upcycled Dollar Store Stocking | A Mother Thing

Make Care Packages for the Homeless

A great tradition is to teach your children to take care of others who are less fortunate. Often younger kids aren’t allowed to volunteer in shelters or other places, so creating care packages to donate is a great way to teach them how to give back. You can buy toiletries and other needed items from the dollar stores to create care packages easily, and they are sure to be appreciated.

Make Christmas Dessert Together

Let the kids help make Christmas Dessert. Whether it’s rolling out pie crust, whisking eggs or pouring fillings, they will love being involved in the “main event” of the day.

Deliver Gifts Together

If you make neighbor gifts, or if you have friends and family you need to get gifts to, grab the kids and have them help get them delivered. Bundle up and go door to door to make sure those thoughtful gifts get to the right people in time for the holiday.

Do a Secret Santa

If you’ve got a big friend group or a large family, it can sometimes be cost prohibitive to buy gifts for everyone. So why not organize a Secret Santa? Get everyone’s names in a hat (or a digital equivalent) and make sure each person buys just one gift for someone else. Have a big exchange reveal so everyone can thank their Secret Santa for their lovely gift.

Make “Magic” Snow

Whether or not you live in an area where you’re guaranteed a white Christmas, making “Magic” snow is always a fun time for the kids. Going out in the cold can sometimes be too overwhelming, so bringing the fun inside is a great way to keep the kids happy. There’s nothing like adding a little magic to your holiday, is there? Get the super simple 2-ingredient recipe here.

children's hands playing with a magic snow craft

Make Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly Christmas Sweaters have become a super fun tradition for some people. So join in the fun by making your own! Buy a plain sweater or sweatshirt, then use fabric paint, glue and whatever craft supplies you have on hand to make the ugliest Christmas sweater you can.

Alternatively, you can find the perfect Ugly Christmas Sweater in stores, then vote on whose is best. Either way, this is sure to be a hilarious tradition your family won’t forget.

Decorate the Windows

Get some Christmas window clings or better yet some washable window markers to decorate your windows for the holidays. You can go wild or find a theme to stick to, but either way, the kids will love the chance to let their creativity shine.

Collect Logs for the Fire

Go out together to collect logs for the fireplace. It will even keep your family all warm and cozy while snuggled up close to the fire this Christmas. To make it easier on yourself, encourage your kids to help with collecting the firewood.

You can start plenty of fun Christmas traditions with your loved ones. If you take the time to start new traditions, you can make countless memories while giving your children the best childhood ever.