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6 Sweet Family Christmas Traditions You Can Start Now

A Dad, Mom, and little girl lying on the floor by the Christmas tree drinking from mugs.
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Christmas is all about the memories! It’s never too late to start your own special traditions to help you bond as a family. Here are some popular ideas other families enjoy.

The goal is to focus on something besides presents, presents, presents. It’s the little things that stand out, especially as your children grow up. Perhaps you all had matching pj’s or made a special dessert on Christmas Eve when you were a kid.

It doesn’t matter which tradition you establish, as long as it’s meaningful to your family.

Slumber Party

The anticipation of Christmas day can be so exciting for kids they struggle to fall asleep on Christmas Eve. So, why not roll with it and channel all that energy into a fun-filled slumber party?

If they don’t already, perhaps your kids can share a room for the night. Or maybe they can all pile into your room or bed for a giggle-fest. Pull out the sleeping bags, sprawl out any- and everywhere, and read some Christmas books while you all snack on cookies.

Don’t worry, they’ll fall asleep eventually, and then you can sneak out and do the Santa thing.

Tour the Lights

There are so many spectacular Christmas light decorations these days—on houses, in town centers, and at malls. It can be quite magical to spend some time just admiring them. Bundle everyone up and walk around your neighborhood, or hop in the car, and ooh and aah at all the displays.

This can be a great way to slow down as a family, especially if everyone is frazzled from traveling  (holiday stress is real). Take some deep breaths, admire the beauty of the lights, and be “in the moment.”

Building these family memories, even in the crisp cold air (if anyone complains, just remind them it builds character), will last a lifetime.

Movie Night

Great Christmas movies like  Frosty the Snowman, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (for ages 13+) are just a few of the classics.

If there’s a flick your entire family loves, make watching it a yearly tradition. Prepare some special treats for the night, like candy popcorn, reindeer cookies, or a big pot of hot cocoa.

Matching Pj’s

If your family likes to relax in pajamas, this is the perfect tradition for you! You’ll find tons of choices our there, but, for the sake of inspiration, here are some of our favorites:

If someone doesn’t like traditional pj’s, that’s okay. You can wear matching t-shirts, socks, or slippers instead.

It’s a fun tradition to break out your matching duds and wear them on Christmas Eve. If you want to get more use out of them, go ahead and wear them all week!

Don’t forget to get a few family pics—these years fly by, so you’ll be glad you preserved the memories.

Reverse Advent Tree

For this tradition, you give away one thing every day. You can specify what kind of item by opening an envelope with specific instructions, such as, “Give away a piece of clothing,” or, “Donate a puzzle you don’t use anymore.” You can also donate food.

The idea is to get your kids into the Christmas spirit of giving. You can pack up all the items at the end of each week and make a trip to your local thrift store. You can also wrap and give them to organizations that give gifts to children in need.

Another plus is this makes room for new toys if your family is hoarding them—it’s a win-win!

Homemade Christmas Cards

There’s nothing quite like making or receiving a homemade card, especially in this digitized era.

You can save all your traditional Christmas cards from the previous year, cut out the cool pictures and designs, and paste them on construction paper. Fold the paper in half, sprinkle on some glitter, and you’re good to go!

Another idea is to print your favorite family pics and use them to make personalized collage cards.

If you don’t have much time, your kids can make colorful bookmarks or decorate an index card instead. It doesn’t take long to make these little cards, and they’ll warm many hearts this Christmas.

When you create family traditions, it makes Christmastime extra special. It doesn’t matter which activity you choose, as long as it works for your family. The goal is to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy this holiday season.

Jill A. Chafin Jill A. Chafin
Jill A. Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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