“So maybe Christmas”, he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, … perhaps… means a little bit more.” – The Grinch
There are so traditions that we feel we obligated to do. It might be tempting to do all of them, but just say no to the non-essential. Instead of filling your days and evening with tons of traditions focus on the 2 or 3 that really matter; will bring you closer as a family; and help you remember the true meaning of Christmas. Traditions don’t have to be over the top. It can be as simple as decorating your tree together. Don’t have any traditions yet and need some suggestions? I’ve gotcha covered with these 15 ideas.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
Bake or purchase sugar cookies and decorate them. You can give them as gifts to neighbors and friends or eat them all yourselves. I’m not opposed to eating them all myself.
Gingerbread Houses or Christmas Trees
Growing up we always made gingerbread houses. It actually became a competition on whose house was the best. If making gingerbread scares you buy the premade kits. You can even use graham crackers instead of gingerbread.
When my kids were little we made Christmas Trees instead. You just put green icing on a sugar cone and let the kids decorate. Simple and easy.
Tour Christmas Lights
I love driving around looking at Christmas lights. Honestly you don’t have to go to a paid light set up. You can tour your neighborhood or one near by. San Antonio has beautiful lights at the Riverwalk. Check out local lights at the park, city building, or downtown. You can add more to this tradition by having hot chocolate or cookies are a snack.
Decorate the House Dec 1st
Enjoy the decorations all month long. Your kids will never question WHEN to decorate. They will know you always get the tree and all the lights on as soon as December hits.
Ditch the Gifts
Every Christmas I look in my kid’s rooms and realize they already have too many toys. Instead of getting them more “stuff” take a vacation instead. Go to Disneyland, head to the beach, or head to the mountain for a weekend of skiing. Memories you’ll make will last far far longer than legos you buy, and YOU’LL actually enjoy the break too!
Christmas Movie Night
There are so many great Christmas movies. I love Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, Elf, and so much more. Make a tradition out of it. You can have popcorn and watch together as a family. If you like to have a popcorn garland on your tree, this would be the perfect time to do that together.
Christmas Tree Ornament
Pick out one new tree ornament, and add to your growing collection of “special” ornaments. Or better yet, MAKE a tree ornament every year. You could make salt dough hand prints and paint them (these will be precious forever), cut a ring off the bottom of your tree and date it, or dip pine cones in glitter!
Christmas Tree Decoration
My husband’s birthday is in December. We have made it a tradition to decorate the tree the day after his birthday. Pick a day and make it a tradition to decorate your tree together as a family.
We also have a family tree and a kid tree. My kids like to decorate their tree and put it in the hallway leading to their room. This tree is filled with their favorite homemade and store bought ornaments.
Family Christmas Party
This time of year is filled with so many parties. Why not have a party where everyone in your family can attend. If you enjoy throwing parties you can make this one of your family’s traditions.
I feel like this tradition is one that is fading. As a youth we would get together and carol to families we knew who had just lost a loved one, didn’t have family near by, or we just felt needed some extra love. As Buddy the Elf would say, “The best way to send Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Christmas Eve Present & PJ’s.
This is the one tradition I loved as a kid. We were allowed to open up our Christmas pj’s and one present from a sibling. We all know kids are so excited to start opening up presents. I think this helped us not drive my parents crazy.
Christmas Day Breakfast or Christmas Eve Dinner
Do you have a favorite breakfast item? Make it the official breakfast of Christmas. Growing up we always had breakfast tacos on Christmas Day. This breakfast always brought back memories of living in Texas.
Christmas Eve my mom would get out her good China. We would have ham and other amazing sides. I know some families have turkey or other dinners that are special to their family.
Acts of Service
Volunteer together at your local food bank, animal shelter, homeless shelter, , etc. If your kids are a bit young to help there, you can always donate a toy to a local shelter, put together stocking stuffers for those in need, take treats to your local police officers or firefighters, make cards for our veterans, or go visit a nursing home.
Christ Centered Advent Calendar
Each day read a scripture about the birth and life of Christ. The “25 Days of Christ” is a wonderful ornament kit that will help you remember Christ. He is the reason for the Christmas Season. This is the perfect time to remind our kids the real meaning behind our celebrations.
As a child we had a tradition of secret daily acts of service for someone in the family. My mother had a manger by the tree. The idea was to fill the manger with straw so that when Christmas Eve arrived Baby Jesus would have a soft place to sleep. We drew names. That week we had to do something nice for the person we drew. When you did your act of service or something nice, a handful of straw would be put in the manger. As extra fun, at the end of the week when it was time to redraw names, we would try to figure out who had who. It was a great reminder to be kind to one another; embrace the meaning of service, and remember to be like Christ.
I think making a point of creating family Christmas traditions is one of the most “on purpose” things we can do for our families – these are the things that will stand out in our kids minds when they look back on their time at home. (And remember, their time at home is brief!) Making the time to enjoy the holidays together is something you will NEVER regret.
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