The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. I love decorating the house, getting the mail, and shopping for just the right gift for that special someone. And I love honoring the nostalgic Christmas traditions from my childhood as well as beginning new ones with my family. Traditions give kids a sense of belonging and strengthens the family bond. They are a great way to connect generations, create lasting memories and give kids something to look forward to.
This time of year it’s pretty standard to visit Santa Claus at the mall, bake cookies, and send out Christmas cards; but if you are looking for some unique things to do with your family this year, here are some of our favorite Holiday traditions that you can do too:
- Have a Christmas carols karaoke contest
- Bring hot chocolate and popcorn while you drive around looking at Christmas lights (or go through the drive-thru). Since we try not to let our kids eat in the car on a regular basis, they LOVE this one.
- Find another family to join you and have a Christmas Lights Caravan. Decorate or number your cars so everyone knows you are together.
- Take hot chocolate or coffee to those Salvation Army bell ringers on a cold snowy morning.
- Write a surprise Christmas greeting in the snow at a friends house using Sno-Markers.
- Go shopping with your children to buy something for Toys for Tots or for a family in need (if you don’t know someone, most malls have an Angel Tree or Giving Tree)
- Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Include a letter and picture of your family and track your package so you know where it ends up.
- Have a Holiday movie marathon.
- When you get Christmas cards in the mail, let your kids open some of them (this is hard, I know). Talk about the sender at dinner and how you know them, sharing a fun story or memory you have with your kids.
- Give your kids a small Christmas tree or some decorations for their own room. Waking up to Christmas lights is pretty special.
- Make a Christmas countdown chain, follow a new Advent calendar or build this Lego one.
- If a daily countdown is not enough for your time-oriented child, buy a digital countdown clock.
- Wrap 25 Holiday themed books and let the kids open one each night. Read them as a family under the Christmas tree.
- Take your puppy with you to visit Santa.
- Make figgy pudding, fruit cake, or roast chestnuts. They really exist and are not just urban legends.
- Go to a Christmas play or Christmas concert, and invite grandma. Trust me, she will love it.
- Visit a live nativity.
- Dig up old Christmas photos from your childhood and look at them with your kids. My kids were SHOCKED to see my Santa Meltdown.
- Together with your child, take a plate of holiday goodies to your child’s day care center or school. ALL the teachers will LOVE you (and your kid).
- Santa-fy as many foods as possible.
- Instead of a traditional gingerbread house, choose a unique theme. Last year we made gingerbread stadiums in honor of the new Vikings stadium.
- Have a special meal every Christmas Eve. Some families do appetizers, we like to make fondue.
- Open 1 present on Christmas Eve. For our kids it’s always a pair of pajamas and a new family board game. We then play games in our new jammies by the Christmas tree. (Best part of this tradition is you have picture worthy pajamas when opening gifts the next morning).
- Go to the dollar bins at Target and buy inexpensive Santa hats. Spread Christmas cheer at the grocery store, nursing home, or even the airport.
- Pick up some antlers and give your kids Reindeer names for the season. This year I have a Flasher and a Blaster.
- When putting the decorations away for the season, have your kids write a letter to themselves with goals they have for the New Year. Place them directly IN the stockings to store until you get them out again the following year.
All of these images came from my Instagram account, which has actually become another opportunity for a fun Christmas tradition. In early December, I make calendars and photo books for the grandparents using all the photos I have shared that year. These have become a treasured gift that will be passed on to future generations.
Feel free to share…I would love to hear about your family’s traditions and how you commemorate the holiday season.