Fun, Family Christmas Traditions

I have said it before, but I am a sucker for family traditions!  And when you add in Christmas, the best holiday ever, you better bet I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE some awesome, fun filled, Christmas traditions!

Funny little smiling kid boy driving toy car with Christmas tree. Happy child in winter fashion clothes bringing hewed xmas tree from snowy forest. Family christmas tradition, holiday

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The over-achieving, idealist in me wants to plan EVERY crazy craft, party and recipe that Pinterest has to offer!  However, after a few years where I have crashed, burned and didn’t enjoy Christmas much because I didn’t check everything off my list, I have once again decided that simpler is better!

I love bucket lists for the ideas they have, but when I see all of those little check-off boxes?  My stress level rises 5 times it’s norm!  My I have-to-do-it-all gene kicks in and I lose the fun part of making memories and having special traditions!

So, I decided to make a giant list of ideas for fun Christmas Traditions to do with your family. My goal was to include as many SIMPLE (not a lot of planning require) ideas as possible. Having said that, my word of caution is to use this list for ideas! Pick one or 2 (or 5 if you can swing it and want to) and try them with your family this year. If your Wonder Woman, go for it and do the whole list! Lol! But in my home we’ll be enjoying some down time between the baking and movie watching! Lol!

Simple Christmas Traditions At Home

New PJs

Lots of people give their kids new Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve and I think this is such a great tradition!  But I really like to give my kids their Christmas PJs at the beginning of the season (often the 1st day of Advent or December 1) so they can be cute and Christmas-y thru the whole month. (And if you happen to see my kiddos still wearing Christmas PJs in August…. Don’t judge!).

Pile of Christmas Books

I can get really carried away buying kids book for my little ones!  And when they are Christmas books, oh my, I’m in trouble! I can easily get swept up in the busyness and not take the time to read to them!  However, having a small basket near your tree with some Christmas Books is a great way to set yourself for success. 

Most of us have several in our collection already, but if not check out these great options!

If you have older children that will sit for a little while to listen to a chapter book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (this is the picture book edition & this is the chapter book one) is so funny and the play of it is often running around Christmas in many areas!  

Hot Chocolate Bar

Gingerbread man in hot chocolate

I’ve mentioned before that my boys are crazy for hot chocolate!  So last year, I made a little hot chocolate bar on my tiered metal stand (it kind of doubles as decoration IMO)!  I added all kinds of marshmallows, sprinkles, cookies, and each child had their own snowman mug!  It was a hit! You could have a little basket on your kitchen counter with some hot chocolate and a few marshmallows or go as all out as you want!

Christmas Trivia each night at dinner

Family at Christmas dinner

I think trivia at dinner could be a go for any holiday or season!  Check out this list of Christmas trivia questions with varying levels of difficulty.  And this list of 121 questions will keep you busy for a while!!!

Christmas Playlist

So, when I was a kid, we make mixed tapes…. fast forward about 30 years and all you have to do sit in your recliner and press a button or two and you can fill a whole playlist up with various song!

So share with your kids some of your favorite Christmas song that maybe they haven’t heard before!  Here are a few of my favorites!

  • I Want A Hippopatomas for Christmas
  • Christmastime is Here (another Peanuts fav!)
  • It’s A Marshmallow World
  • Run, Run Rudolph
  • Christmas, Baby Please Come Home
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You

You might even choose to have 2 playlists, one for fun, festive Christmas music, and one with more sacred-Christ centered Christmas music!  I know that I would love for my children to grow up knowing a lot of the old Christmas music that isn’t often sung in Church. A few of my sacred favorite Christmas songs are:

  • Now Is Born The Divine Christ Child
  • I Wander As I Wonder
  • One Small Child
  • Good Christian Men Rejoice
  • O Come O Come Emmanuel
  • What Can I Give Him?
  • Born That We May Have Life (not an old song, but SUCH A WONDERFUL, UPLIFTING, this is the reason we celebrate song!)

Advent Calendars or Christmas Countdowns

Christmas presents for kids. Advent calendar.

I LOVE Christmas countdowns and I’ve passed that on to my kids!  We have several and we add to our collection each year!  

Advent calendars are also a wonderful way to welcome in the season with Christ at the center.  Many advent calendars that you find in stores just have a piece of candy in them. However there are many other that you can find or make that you can add scripture in to, or even different pieces of a nativity set so that you can talk about the role each person (or animal) played in the birth of Jesus!  What an awesome, hands-on Christmas tradition to teach kids the real reason for the season!

Stay tuned for my Advent Calendar post that is coming up very soon!

Christmas Baking

Colorful Christmas cookies on a plate

Cookie Swap

I love baking and I really love Christmas baking, but once again, this is an area that I can get easily overwhelmed!  I get so excited and I want to bake a little bit of everything…. and then it just becomes too much!

So, a fun idea it to have a cookie swap!  Invite some friends over and ask each one to bring enough of one type of cookie so that each guest can have 2-4 cookies each (or more if you want!). So if you have 12 guests and you want each one to leave with 4 of each type of cookie, each person would need to bring 4 dozen of their cookies.

You could also ask them to bring copies of their recipes so they can share!  This way, you can bake a large batch of one treat, but bring home 12 different kinds of goodies!  This is such a great way to make Christmas baking fun and interactive!

Be sure to provide cute boxes, like these or these bags. Be sure to plan on enough boxes so that your guests will be able to transport their goodies home without any trouble!  

Simple, Festive Recipes

happy family mother and children bake cookies for Christmas

If you have read many of my posts, you know that I have a love for cowboy cookies!  Not just because they are delicious, but they can also be changed up for different tastes and holidays.  Check out my recipe here, and think about adding red and green M&Ms, nuts of your choice and maybe even chopped up peanut butter cups!

Peppermint Melting Moments- This recipe for  looks delicious!

Funfetti Christmas Cookies- Try these  simple and YUMMMMY treats!

Candy Cane Oreo Cookie Bars– need I say more?

Make A Gingerbread House

For years, I have bought inexpensive store bought kits for Gingerbread Houses, trains and barns.  My kids had so much fun butting them together each year!  However last year, I decided that I really wanted to make my own gingerbread house!

But I didn’t want to just put all of that time into making a gingerbread house just to have it fall apart, so I started researching how to make a gingerbread house for a beginner.  And thankfully, I happened onto this awesome Gingerbread for Beginners Ebook!

Preparing a gingerbread cookie house

I was able to make a beautiful gingerbread house with the help of my boys, and we have new tradition to carry on! So if you have ever wanted to make your own Gingerbread house from scratch, be sure to check out this E-book! >>>>   Buy Now

It is so thorough that it will have you making a truly impressive gingerbread house in no time!!

Christmas Traditions: Decorations

Decorating As A Family

Decorating for each season has become something that my children really enjoy!  And of course, with tons of Christmas decorations to put up, this is the biggest decorating days of all! Turn on your new playlist (from above!) and go to town!

When I was in college, they always served donuts and hot chocolate at the tree lighting, so this is something that I like to continue.  One year is was so hot on the day we were decorating that I had to make this frozen hot chocolate!!! If you haven’t ever tried it, you should!

Finding simple little special traditions that are unique to your family is what it is all about!  It doesn’t have to be elaborate!  Just stop by the grocery store or donut shop and mix up some Swiss Miss!

New Ornament

My kids love picking out an ornament each year to add to their tree!  While this can get pretty expensive if you are shopping at a boutique, there are great deals to be had atplaces like Hobby Lobby, Target, and other big box stores!  

You could even check out local crafters or craft fairs to see about getting personalized ornaments.  

One of our very favorite Christmas traditions is that one of our sweet church members gets our family a new personalized ornament each year with each of our names on it and a cute Christmas scene!  We absolutely love them, and I find my boys lining them up on the table by year all thru the month of December! 

Toddler-Friendly Ornaments

Before I was married, I started a collection of Christmas ornaments.  Some of the first ones I bought were soft, stuffed bears and other baby friendly ornaments.

These soft ornaments, along with some jingle bells have become our standard “bottom of the tree” standard ornaments.  And although they get taken off and played with and the bottome ⅓ of our tree is often bare, I can feel good about my little ones not breaking special keepsakes and they feel like they can still play!

Kids Tree/Decorate Kids Room

Now, my husband would be very content with one, rather small Christmas tree in our house, I LOVE CHRISTMAS and I want the Christmas cheer EVERYWHERE!  

So, our children have small trees in their rooms. The boys have a tree with lots of cowboy santa & their handmade ornaments and our daughter has a slim tree with ballarinas, snowmen and bright colored garland! We also have  snowmen & santa figures that we put on their dressers that adds an extra festive touch to their rooms!

Display Christmas Cards

I love all of the sweet Christmas greeting that we get each year from friends and family!  However, over the past years, we’ve received so many that I find it difficult to find a way to display them!  This year, I am thinking of using pretty ribbon to tie the christmas cards to the garland going up my banister.  Also, you can create a simple display by running garland around a doorway or even hanging a long piece of ribbon along a wall and clipping your Christmas cards along it!

Embracing parents and kids at Christmas time

Grinch Night

One thing we like to do each year with our extended family is Grinch Night!  Usually my mom cooks for the whole family every week or so and sometime during December we like to have a night with green punch, green cookies, maybe even “roast beast” and the kids watch Grinch Who Stole Christmas! 

Rudolph Night

Each Christmas season, most local TV stations play the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  This would be a great time to add a little special touch to your family’s evening.  Make these fun Rudolph Milk shakes from The TipToe Fairy for dessert!  I bet that will be a major mom-score and your kids will talk about them forever (insta-tradition)!

Christmas Outings & Activities

We love to go out and do special holiday activities, but with 4 kids, going to 4 or 5 outings that each person cost $20-$30 isn’t really in the budget!  Look around at your community and nearby towns. Find one or two fun activities that you can do as a family that is affordable. You may even find some great events that are happening for free!  In our nearby Franklin, TN, there is a Dicken’s of a Christmas in their downtown each year that is a fun, free outing!

Girl ice skating at Christmas rink on cold snowy day.

Since our family is always looking for ways to focus on Christ during Christmas, we have attended live Nativities and Bethlehem Marketplaces in the past!  You can usually look around at different church events in your community and find some great Christ-centered traditions!

We are also very blessed to have a small, but active church that puts on a Christmas program at our church.  If your church has a Christmas program, you might volunteer to help and get your children involved.  Be sure that you talk to your kids about what the program is about and how we can show our love to God by telling of His birth!

Simple Christmas Crafts for Kids

My kiddos really enjoy doing all kinds of craft projects, and I like the ones that I don’t have to feel guilty about throwing away in a few weeks!  Here are a few fun, simple ideas that will make great keepsakes!

Sock Snowman

Check out this cute sock snowman from Easy Peasy and Fun that you can make with your kids! I love that you can let each child show their personality with the extras that you use to dress up their snowman.  They turn out adorable and are cute enough for your kids to use to “merry up” there rooms! 

No-Sew Sock Snowman Craft

Photo Courtesy of Easy Peasy and Fun

Grinch Slime

What is it with kids and slime?  But this Grinch slime is SO fun and sparkly, even I want some!! And it would be a great craft for your family’s “Grinch Night”!!

DIY Ornaments

I am completely in love with these adorable truck popsicle stick truck ornaments from Fun Loving Families!!! They would be fairly simple for kids to make, and you could even add your child’s photo and year on the truck!

Let’s face it, there are 5 million Christmas crafts for kids (and adults) on Pinterest… and I REALLY want to do them ALL!!!   But don’t overdo it and don’t get overwhelmed looking thru all the cute crafts!  Give yourself 10 minutes (or just pick one from the list above =) and pick a craft, and then? Go make memories with your little ones!!!

Christmas Traditions: Gifts & Real Giving

One thing that I would really like for my children to grow up thinking about during the Christmas season and all throughout the year is being generous to others!  This can be difficult for little guys that get SO EXCITED about ALL THE THING that they might GET!!!  Here are a few ways that we try to help teach them about giving.

Buying Presents for Siblings 

For my daughter’s first Christmas, my boys wanted to buy her a gift! They wanted her to have her own pillow with her name on it, just like they all had!

It was SO SWEET!  It really melted my heart that they wanted to do that for her.  Then we started talking about each of them taking a few dollars of their own money and buying small gifts for each other!

Loving siblings with big Christmas presents

Well, this has turned into one of their favorite things to do at Christmas.  They talk about what they want to get each other for months ahead of time. And it does my mama heart good to see them thinking of someone besides themselves during this holiday when it’s easy to get Me-itis!

Now, do they get a little greedy, or ungrateful at times throughout this process?  Of course, but it is still good practice for them to give instead of just receiving!!

Acts of Kindness

Show some kindness to others in your town or community by taking homemade treats to the fire department of police department. You could also take socks to a nursing home or shop for Christmas gifts for a child in need.

It can be such an eye-opening experience for children to buy things for others realizing that many other adults and children may not have as much as they do.

Christmas Goodies to Neighbors, Family & Elderly

Think of people that you know don’t get a lot of Christmas goodies and take them some treats.  Be thoughtful of any dietary restrictions and maybe ask family members before you take your treats!

Child with white Christmas heart

Mom & Dad Date

My husband and I are not the best at picking out things that each other will like.  So, several years ago, we went to a Christmas Concert and dinner and decided that would be our Christmas gift to each other!

This is a fun, relaxing activity that we can do together without kids.  We often finish a little Christmas shopping, and just enjoy some much needed alone time! You might consider planning a Christmas date or even gift each other with a weekend away for Christmas!?!  Even if you can’t get it in thru the holidays, it could be a fun time to look forward to in the new year!

Mom & Dad Stockings

For several years, my husband and I just bought gifts for our kids, but didn’t really have anything that we open with our kids.  And it wasn’t until our oldest son was about 5 years old that he started to notice and he didn’t like it. He wanted mama and daddy to have presents like the kids (and maybe he was a little worried about what that meant for him in the future! Lol!)

So, we started filling each others stockings! Well, in honesty, I usually fill mine mostly too, but it still works out pretty good!  Our kids get to see mom and dad giving to each other and they like that!

Christmas Traditions: The Real Reason for the Season!

An empty manger at night under the fog.

As Christians, we know the real reason that we celebrate Christmas!  I hope that we each one can slow down and really allow Jesus to come into our hearts so that we can pour out His love to others this season!  It’s easy to get busy doing what seems like the right thing, and lose sight of what our real purpose is, celebrating Jesus’ birth and spreading His love and message to others!

I hope that you and your family discover some special Christmas traditions this year, and that you make wonderful memories! Whatever you do have lots of fun, snuggles and meaningful time together this Christmas season!!!




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