The holiday season is a time for joy, happiness, love and FUN! This year, consider trying one or all of these Fun Family Christmas Traditions.
There are some great ideas – some might be familiar but others may be new to you. Pick and choose the ones that fit your family the best.
Fun Family Christmas Traditions
FOUR GIFTS IDEA
Do one gift in each of the following categories: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
This is a great way to have a more minimalist Christmas while ensuring that your kids get a nice variety of gifts. And it’s fun to try to find just the right items for each category.
When it comes to our home, Santa only brings 3 gifts – one for each of the Wise Men. (Yes, we know that there is no proof there were three of them but this focuses on that traditional view). You could even ask Santa to give 3 different kinds of gifts – 1 “bigger” gift, 1 game, and 1 book, for example.
There are a few different ways to incorporate Secret Santa into your celebration. If you have a large enough family, draw names and have each person give gifts and perform tasks for the person they draw. For example, maybe you draw your oldest child’s name and one day as their Secret Santa, you make their bed for them. Another day, you give them their favorite treat. And another one you decorate their door for Christmas. These can be fun, expensive, and creative ideas!
Another idea is to visit an angel tree or other organization during the holidays where you can pick out someone to buy gifts for. Since this is someone less fortunate, it will help teach your child to be kind, compassionate, and generous.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
Come up with some creative ways to pass kindness around to others. You could draw slips of paper out of a bag and perform whatever it says on it, set up a calendar of ideas, or simply sit down each week and come up with a list for that week.
One year when we did this, we ordered a delivery of coffee and donuts for the bank we frequented to thank them for their fantastic customer service. We wrote notes of praise about workers we encountered at stores and restaurants and gave them to the managers. We bought trays of cookies for the staff at the local school (they don’t accept homemade items but that’s another possibility if yours does). The kids drew pictures and cards for the neighborhood nursing home.
For something simpler, consider making a point of doing things like letting a person go ahead of you in line at the grocery store. Hold the door open for someone. Smile at strangers. Wish them Happy Holidays. Bake an extra dozen cookies and drop them off on your neighbor’s porch. There are lots of ideas you can use there!
COOK AND BAKE TOGETHER
Teach the kids how to make some traditional holiday dishes and baked goods. Make it a family activity. You might even want to get some special Christmas kitchen helper aprons for everyone.
DO AN ADVENT BOOK “CALENDAR”
I’ve been doing this since Sam was about 2 years old. Gather up 24 Christmas books (if you’re just getting started, thrift stores are a good source for inexpensive books) and wrap them. You can use cheap dollar store wrapping paper, plain brown Kraft paper, tissue paper, or even newspaper (if you still get those – we read online!). Wrap all of them and every day from December 1st to 24th, your child gets to choose one to open and read.
We currently have so many Christmas books that we actually start on December 1st and go all the way to Epiphany!
HAVE A COOKIE OR GINGERBREAD HOUSE DECORATING COMPETITION
Make a big batch of cookies and invite friends and family over to decorate them. Or if you’re really ambitious (or have a smaller group) use premade gingerbread houses. Have a friendly competition and vote on the favorites. You can even post photos of them on social media and get people to vote there too!
DO VOLUNTEER WORK TOGETHER
You could pack food at the food bank, help serve at a soup kitchen, hand out candy canes at an event, or wrap gifts to raise money for charity. There are lots of ways to help if you look around. If you belong to a church or community group, ask if they have anything you can help with!
GO OUT TO LOOK AT THE HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOGETHER
When I was a child, we always took the long way home from church on Christmas Eve. We would drive around and look at the holiday lights in the neighborhood. I continued this tradition with my daughter and if we found a display we really loved, we would write a note and leave it in the mailbox to thank them for giving us such joy through their decor.
You could also decorate your house together as a family. If you are brave, make the lights twinkle to the beat of some fun Christmas music too! Let your child get creative and design the whole thing. Not only will they feel important, but you will draw closer as a family.
HAVE A SLEEPOVER BY THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Get out the sleeping bags and have an evening of fun by the tree. You could watch movies, eat popcorn and gingerbread cookies, drink hot chocolate, and play board games.
DONATE OLD TOYS
A tradition in our home is the Santa sack. In preparation for the arrival of Santa’s elves on the night before St. Nicholas Day, we would go through the toys and pick out ones we could get rid of. The elves would take them back to the North Pole and fix them up so that Santa would have even more gifts to hand out (and children who might not usually get as many gifts as others could receive more).
The bonus to this? If your children receive gently used gifts themselves, they will know that these came from someone else’s Santa sack and that Santa fixed them up just for them.
You could just go house to house around your neighborhood or ask about carolling at a local seniors’ home or hospital.
HAVE A WHITE ELEPHANT SERVICE EXCHANGE
Instead of doing gag gifts that don’t last, have a white elephant service exchange. Have each person write down a service they will give someone. Exchange like you would with typical gifts and then enjoy the service you receive!
A NEW ORNAMENT EACH YEAR
Get your child a new ornament each year. Then, when they become an adult and move out, they will already have their own set of ornaments. Enjoy finding unique and decorative ones! They will be wonderful memories to pass down through the family.
We love to look for ones that reflect something important that happened that year (we went skiing, for example) or a special interest of that person (they love dinosaurs, for example). Another idea is to make ornaments for each other. The handmade element is especially sweet and sentimental as you put them on the tree each year.