I love making the holidays special in little ways. The things I remember about the holidays growing up aren’t the fancy things. It’s the simple Christmas traditions I cherish.
Many of those Christmas traditions I’ve carried on with my own kids, and new ones have been added over the years. Below are 100 simple Christmas traditions to start this year with your family. I can’t wait to add some of these into our holidays!
100 Simple Christmas Traditions
#1 Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve
#2 Christmas Book Countdown
#3 String popcorn or make paper chains to string on the Christmas tree.
#4 Drive around looking at Christmas Lights and take along this Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt.
#5 Hang a Pickle Ornament – we’ve done this since I was a child except with a twist. The tale is told that whoever finds the pickle ornament on Christmas morning gets an extra gift from Santa. In our house, whoever finds it gets to open a gift first.
#6 Holiday Baking Day
#7 Set up a Hot Chocolate Bar with delicious toppings. This is a great addition to Holiday Move Night!
#8 Start a Christmas book you can read as a family each week. On Christmas Eve by Ann Martin is one that we read in case you need an idea.
#9 Volunteer as a family to serve meals, ring bells, or help at a toy drive.
#10 Christmas Crafting Day – make DIY Christmas Ornaments, decorate stockings, or find some easy ideas on Pinterest.
#11 Make Gingerbread Houses
#12 Go Ice Skating
#13 Build a snowman if you live in an area that gets enough snow.
#14 Go caroling – Pick a few easy songs even the kids can sing and surprise your neighbors!
#15 Host a Cookie Exchange
#16 Visit Santa
#17 Visit a Tree Farm – even if you are not buying a real tree there often other fun activities to enjoy. Christmas Tree Farms in our area have sleigh rides, visits with Santa, holiday shops, and even light shows.
#18 Christmas Coloring Afternoon – pick up holiday color and activity books or print off coloring pages and spend the afternoon sipping cocoa and coloring.
#19 Send Christmas Cards
#20 Take Holiday Family Photos
#21 Elf on the Shelf , Reindeer In Here, or other similar Christmas tradition of moving something around each night.
#22 Sibling Shopping Day – spend some time with each sibling while they shop for their siblings. I look forward to this each year because I get one on one time with each kiddo and it is fun to see what they pick for their siblings.
#23 See a Holiday Play
#24 Holiday Family Bucket List – while talking about what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving, also talk about things you would each like to do in December. Plan a holiday family bucket list around those ideas.
#25 Adopt a Family to give gifts to
#26 Christmas Morning Breakfast – make special breakfast like Overnight Casserole, cinnamon rolls, or snowman pancakes.
#27 Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve
#28 Write Letters to Santa
#29 Christmas Advent Calendar – funny story about ours. Growing up we always used an old fabric Avon Advent Calendar with a little mouse you moved from pocket to pocket. A few years after I moved out I found the same exact one at a garage sale! Then a few years later my mom found another one at a sale for my sister! Now we just need two more for my brothers lol!
#30 Set out milk and cookies for Santa and maybe carrots for the reindeer.
#31 Go Sledding
#32 Before opening gifts on Christmas morning, have everyone say something they are thankful for.
#33 Buy a New Ornament – I do this for each kid every year so they will have a nostalgic collection to start their own tree with.
#34 Hide Stockings with a Christmas Scavenger Hunt
#35 Play a Present Game – Right/Left Passing Game, White Elephant Gift Exchange, etc.
#36 Family Holiday Minute to Win It Games – there are tons of these on Pinterest!
#37 Have the kids (siblings, cousins, etc) put on a little play for the family on Christmas.
#38 Start a Christmas Family Journal that everyone writes in each year. Share favorite memories and special things that happened for you to look back on each Christmas.
#39 Wrapping Paper – use different paper for each child, use craft paper and decorate yourself, put bows on, make handmade tags, or other things that you can continue each year.
#40 Plant Red Hots in the snow that turn into Candy Canes overnight. Sorry mom and dad, you have to make this happen but think of those amazed faces in the morning!
#41 Track Santa on Christmas Eve
#42 Leave Santa’s footprints using boots and powder.
#43 Have a family slumber party around the Christmas tree.
#44 Bake Gingerbread Men
#45 Drink Wassail
#46 Make a special holiday treat as a family on Christmas Eve.
#47 Make Pomanders
#48 Hang Mistletoe
#49 Use Christmas dinnerware or mugs.
#50 Attend holiday events in your area that happen annually so you can make them a Christmas tradition
#51 Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt – Hang them around the house and yard for the kids to hunt down.
#52 Make a Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt and add to it each year.
#53 Christmas Eve Boxes – this is how I gift my children their pajamas and annual ornament.
#54 Themed Holiday Night – does your family have a favorite Christmas movie or book? Plan a themed night around it!
#55 Wear Ugly Christmas Sweaters in honor of National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on December 20th.
#56 Visit a Live Nativity Scene
#57 Go to a Christmas Eve Service
#58 Swap gifts for experiences and take the family somewhere for Christmas. This is something I would love to do once my twins are a bit older.
#59 Take a picture in front of your Christmas Tree each year.
#60 Go to a tree lighting ceremony.
#61 Decorate little trees in your kids’ bedrooms.
#62 Make Magical Reindeer Food to leave out on Christmas Eve.
#63 Something to Wear, Something to Read, Something you Want, Something you Need – This tradition has picked up steam over the last several years when it comes to gifting.
#64 Breakfast with Santa – Many places offer Breakfast with Santa events like restaurants, churches, and community centers.
#65 Handprint Christmas Ornament – My son made one for me as a gift in kindergarten and I wish I had done this each year for all my kids!
#66 Bake and deliver cookies to your local fire station and police station.
#67 Giving Jar – During December have your family place their change in jar. Right before Christmas, cash it in and donate it as a family in a way the is important to you.
#68 Annual Christmas Puzzle Night – There are tons of Christmas themed puzzles and this is a tradition you can start at any time!
#69 LEGO Christmas Countdown – Grab a printable LEGO Christmas Countdown Calendar of different Christmas themed things to build with LEGOs.
#70 Paint easy Christmas Canvases – Here are 15 DIY Christmas Canvases the whole family can do.
#71 Make Paper Snowflakes
#72 Have a snowball fight.
#73 Attend a Christmas Parade
#74 Make DIY Christmas Snow Globes
#75 Wrap Santa’s gifts differently. Use special paper, Santa’s sacks, or leave them unwrapped like we do.
#76 Stocking Stuffer Traditions – Fill stockings with their favorite candy each year. Other things I always tuck in are some kind of little game like a wood puzzle or mind bender, something fun for bath time, and something artsy.
#77 Christmas Game Night – Pinterest has lots of Christmas printable games like trivia, bingo, Christmas Charades, and more.
#78 Put Christmas themed lunchbox notes in your kids’ lunches.
#79 Attend a Christmas concert.
#80 Decorate the house for Christmas and/or Christmas Tree as a family.
#81 Make handmade gift tags.
#82 Shop local for holiday gifts.
#83 Holiday Tablecloth – Buy a fabric tablecloth and fabric markers and decorate the tablecloth year after year with holiday drawings and messages. I’ll be honest, my twins would probably have the whole thing covered in one Christmas lol!
#84 Celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6th by having children set their shoes out and then fill them with candy and fruit before they wake. Psst…use up that Halloween candy if you still have some.
#85 Display Christmas Cards – set up card tree on the wall, line them on the mantle, or stick them in the tree.
#86 Write Christmas letters to soldiers who are deployed over the holidays.
#87 Celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas – gift little candies each day, different holiday activities or even assign each day a holiday movie or book to read together.
#88 Turn your fridge or a door into a snowman. This is great if you have little kids or are a teacher who can decorate their classroom door!
#89 Have a Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon!
#90 Make classroom treats for holiday parties. Reindeer pudding cups, snowman donuts, Christmas trees made with mini chocolates, or Gingerbread Girl Oatmeal Cream Pies.
#91 Plan a sugar cookie decorating day at Grandma’s every year!
#92 Matching Clothes – Christmas pajamas, funny family shirts, Christmas aprons, and even matching holiday socks are great options!
#93 Learn about a different countries Christmas traditions each year. How do they celebrate, what do they eat, what is their holiday called. You may even be able to find a holiday festival themed to that country in your area.
#96 Start using a Christmas Planner to help make the holidays less stressful. This DIY Christmas Planner is adorable and super organized!
#97 Make snow angels
#98 Christmas Karaoke – Put on your favorite Christmas tunes and grab the mic for what is sure to be a memorable tradition!
#99 Holiday Family Movie Nights
#100 Plan a special holiday date night with your significant other. Make it the same place every year or do something different but make each other a Christmas tradition too!
Start your own simple Christmas Traditions with the ones you love. Maybe it is a special family recipe you always make or a certain decoration or ornament collection you add too, or other sentimental tradition you carry on.
What are some of your families Christmas traditions?