Most people probably can name their favorite Christmas traditions from when they were kids. I remember my family always going out to dinner and a movie on Christmas Eve. It helped the anticipation of Christmas morning a little bit.
Now that I have a family of my own, I wanted to start my own Christmas traditions. However, I did not want a season full of “busy” activities, but ones that brought us together, shared in the spirit of giving and made us overall, more intentional.
Whether you are looking to start your own Christmas traditions or are looking for ways to get more intentional this holiday season, I’m sharing my top 10 traditions now.
The Advent Activity Calendar has become our favorite of the Christmas Traditions.
After getting tired of a million pieces from store bought advent calendars, we began the tradition of the advent activity calendar. This practice gave me a way to ensure we were not letting the season fly by without making space for special holiday activities. While it does take a little bit of pre-planning in November, it makes each season much more intentional and special.
Another yearly favorite is matching holiday pajamas.
This may sound super silly. However, it is something that brings me and my kids such joy. (Even my husband joins in on the spirit in our cozy matching holiday pajamas).
I let the kids be apart of selecting the year’s print to put the decision in their hands. Then we get them out on Thanksgiving and wear them all season long.
There is something special about everyone snuggling up on the couch, or by the Christmas tree in matching pajamas.
One of my favorite places to find pajamas for this Christmas tradition is Little Sleepies. They have every size so all of my kids, from tiny baby up through adult can wear pjs. Plus they are extra comfy.
Baking holiday treats is a favorite Christmas tradition in my house.
My family bakes all season long. This Christmas tradition is an easy way to get the kids in the giving mood.
We love to bake yummy treats for neighbors and teachers to spread some holiday cheer. The grandparents also get involved in baking their favorite treats. Further, I arrange a sugar cookie decorating day with friends day each Christmas season.
Driving around to look at Holiday Lights helps with those dark days.
The short days and dark, dark nights, can take a toll during the winter. One year we were feeling a bit of cabin fever. So we packed up the kids and drove around looking at Christmas lights. They loved it and this became another Christmas tradition.
Many big neighborhoods will even put out information with routes to take for a great Christmas lights tour. This makes it even easier to do. Some years, if it is dry, we we head to a big parade and lights show called Snowflake Lane.
The next Christmas tradition is having a few family movie nights.
These are nights where we pop popcorn, get a few treats (maybe even ones we baked), and put on a favorite holiday movie. Usually we get snuggled up in those matching Christmas pajamas, too.
We rotate through our favorite movies, starting with the Grinch, the Star, and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. During such a busy time, it’s always wonderful to slow down and just snuggle up with the kids.
Each year we make and decorate our own gingerbread houses.
Since we are vegan we had to find our own spin on this Christmas tradition. We started baking our own gingerbread houses. The kids love designing, assembling and then decorating (while snacking on the candy) their houses. It has also become part of the tradition that their aunt comes to help.
One evening a year we wrap gifts as a family.
This may sound like a stressful Christmas tradition for you. However, try it, and try letting go a bit. There is so much wrapping to do for the holiday, so we started having the kids help. They only help on gifts for aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the pets. They love getting to help pick out paper, put on tape and write tags.
Is it perfect? No. Is it messy? Yes. But they love it. Plus, they are extra excited to give the gifts they helped wrap themselves.
So this Christmas tradition is one that truly helps build that spirit of giving.
The Giving Manager with Kindness Cards are my favorite tradition to keep my family grounded in the true meaning of Christmas.
Several years ago, a friend shared pictures of her son putting straw into the Giving Manger. I immediately researched what this was all about, and ordered one for our family.
The idea is that when anyone does an act of service for someone else, they place straw in the manger. On Christmas day you place baby Jesus on that straw. The hope is you have a full manager for baby Jesus.
My children love getting to place they straw and spend the month making each other’s bed, making cards for their teachers, helping more in the classroom, anything to get to put in more straw.
From there were added, Kindness Cards to our Christmas traditions. They are from the same company, and provide ideas to inspire kids to do acts of service, acts of kindness, for others.
This Christmas tradition fills my heart the most, watching my children wanting to do for others so much.
Another Christmas tradition in our home is taking photos by the Christmas tree at night.
As a family photographer, I love to find ways to document my own family through the season. Taking photos by the Christmas tree has become a special tradition. Instead of making them pose for a photo, I keep it quick and fun. We read a Christmas book, or have a candy cane, or play I-Spy with the ornaments.
Learn a few of my tricks, with my article of photo tips for taking photos by the Christmas tree.
Last, but not, least, holiday puzzle night is a favorite tradition.
This is a newer Christmas tradition. I found a few of the cutest holiday puzzles and thought it would be a fun activity to included in our advent calendar. It became and immediate hit.
At least one evening during the season, we all work on puzzles together. With kids of all ages, we have from very basic 9 piece puzzles, all the way up to a 300 to 500 piece to do together. The festive designs make it even more fun for everyone.
That’s 10 Christmas Traditions that helps us be more intentional as a family.
It may sound like a lot of activities, however, many do not take major planning. With the days being dark, cold, and rainy in the PNW, these activities give us more than just binging TV. (Yes, we have a few movie nights.) However, the other traditions keep us busy, grounded in the meaning of Christmas, and spending quality time together as a family.
Try adding one of these activities to your own family’s Christmas Traditions. Let me know which one is your favorite, or if your family does any of these.
Looking for more holiday inspiration? Head to the blog below.