33 Family Christmas Traditions to Make the Season Memorable

Christmas time is a wonderful, magical time of year. Make it even more magical and memorable with these family Christmas traditions that will last for generations.

Family Christmas Traditions


1. Decorate the house on Dec 1st

Decorate the house with Christmas decorations on the first day of December. Play some Christmas music and drink hot chocolate while you do it!

2. Make a Christmas playlist

Make a list of your family’s favorite Christmas music. Get ready for the holidays by playing it all day long in your house. Put a playlist together with music from different decades and genres so there’s something that everyone will enjoy!

3. Make homemade Christmas cards

DIY your own Christmas cards and send them to friends and family. They’ll know how much you care about them and it’s a great way to show your creativity.

4. Decorate a gingerbread house

Bake and decorate a gingerbread house with your children and then have them decorate it with icing, frosting, candy canes, or other decorations. Don’t forget to sprinkle some ground cinnamon on it for extra flavor!

5. Make a Family Holiday bucket list on December 1st.

Make a Christmas bucket list for the whole family with fun things to do during the Holiday season, such as skating, exploring a Christmas lights display, or watching movies.

There are so many things you can do with your family this Holiday season, and it’s important to try as many new traditions as possible!

6. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies

Bake and decorate Christmas cookies together as a family.

  • Add a little bit of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the dough for some extra flavor.
  • Use sprinkles or sugar crystals to decorate your cookies with Christmas colors like red, green, and white!
  • You can also use different cookie cutters in the shapes of numbers, snowflakes, trees, and reindeer.

7. Have a family slumber party

Enjoy a family slumber party during the holiday season!

  • Build a tent in the living room with blankets and sheets.
  • Play board games together, sip hot cocoa, or play Christmas music.
  • Make sure to turn off your phone before bedtime!

8. Have a Christmas movie night

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Enjoy a family movie night for the Holiday season!

Pick a Christmas movie that everyone likes, or watch the one you haven’t seen in years! Make sure to eat some popcorn and candy canes while watching the film.

Movie suggestions: Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street.

Watching these movies is a great way to capture memories!

9. Family game night

Pick a night to play (board) games together as a family. We love games like Rudolph Monopoly, Life, and Scrabble and always make some Christmas snacks and hot chocolate to go with it!

10. Attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service

On Christmas Eve, go to a church with the whole family to attend a mass. Light candles and sing Christmas carols as you celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.

This is an annual tradition in most Christian families, so make sure to do it every year with your family!

11. Look At The Christmas Lights At Night

Drive around the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights and decorations.

This is another tradition that a lot of families do every year, so it might be nice to show your kids the fun and pretty lights.

They will probably love looking at all the different colors on their houses- some have golden-colored bulbs while others are blue or green!

You can also create memories by taking pictures with them in them and adding them to your scrapbook.

12. Christmas Morning Music and Hot Chocolate

This is a tradition that many families do every year and it’s really fun. You can enjoy the tunes while unwrapping your presents, which will make for an awesome Christmas morning!

Having hot chocolate with the family in bed on Christmas morning also would be nice because you’ll all get to relax together before getting up to start making breakfast or going out to see other relatives.

13. Have a Christmas cookie exchange party

Let everyone bake their favorite cookies and then everyone exchanges cookies with each other.

The great thing about this tradition is it’s a win-win for all involved because the person who made your favorite cookie now has yours too.

A well-known Christmas Cookie Exchange party in the United States is held annually by Martha Stewart and her family.

14. Go Christmas caroling

Spread Christmas cheer by singing Christmas carols on your street. This is a fun family activity that can be done for any occasion, not just the holiday season.

It’s also low-key and easy to do with younger children who might get too tired or bored easily if you’re out doing something more involved like going shopping in malls etc.

The best part of this tradition? You’ll meet people from all over town and have an opportunity to share some laughs with them as well!

And it may provide an excellent opportunity for families to create new friendships outside their usual circles at school or elsewhere around town following the Winter Holiday Season.

It could even become a yearly December event between households visiting each other’s homes every year during December!

15. Elf on the Shelf

Santa’s little helper is a cute elf that has been around for years. It’s a fun family tradition to let the kids believe in magic during December, as they watch their new friend move from place to place all over the house throughout this month.

If you want your Elf on the Shelf Christmas Tradition to last even longer than one season, try adopting an Elf every year and passing it off onto another family member or close friend at Christmastime each time!

16. Pick out a new ornament for each child

Pick out a new ornament for each child every year and wrap them in tissue paper to open on Christmas morning. Ornaments can be anything from family photographs to souvenirs from places visited around the world, or simply your children’s handprints!

If you want something more personalized than an engraved nameplate, try painting the kids’ fingerprints onto some glass globes with paint markers. You can often find these at craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby!

The best part about this Christmas family tradition is that it will grow and change as they do throughout their childhoods.

It makes a great keepsake long after they’ve grown up!

17. Write letters to Santa

Write letters to Santa with your kids and tell him what they want for Christmas. Then add that you’re going shopping this week, so if he has any ideas, please let us know!

18. Make some Christmas fudge

Kids love Holiday fudge!

It’s so easy to make and also makes a perfect gift for people at work, teachers, or friends. It will make their day (and yours!) when they open the jar to find some delicious fudge inside!

This can be done in batches and frozen, so your kids have something festive to eat all season long.

19. Hide a Christmas Pickle Ornament

Hide a Christmas pickle ornament in the Christmas tree for your kids to find.

This is a great family tradition because you can have the whole family involved in finding it, and the person who finds it gets to open the first gift.

20. Christmas Eve Gift

Open up 1 gift on Christmas Eve, which can be a gift for the whole family or a family member.

This is a fun way to remember the anticipation and suspense of opening gifts on Christmas morning!

21. Wear Matching Christmas Pajamas

Slip into matching family Christmas pajamas and have a good laugh with the family. And don’t forget to take some pictures for memories!

22. Have a Christmas BBQ

Get the family together and enjoy a Christmas BBQ. Cook hotdogs, and hamburgers with other meat choices to please everyone’s taste buds. Add corn on the cob and baked potatoes too!

23. Read The Night Before Christmas

Get everyone to read the classic Christmas story “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. One of our family traditions is that we have a countdown to Santa’s arrival each night, and one of the kids has to keep watch while reading this book.

24. Read the Nativity of Jesus from the Bible

Turn on the Christmas tree lights and candles, then read Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth from The Bible.

25. Hang the Christmas Stockings

Each family member can hang their own (personalized) Christmas stocking on the first of December. They make great Christmas decorations, so you only have to fill them on Christmas Eve.

26. Wear Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Get out your ugly Christmas sweaters and wear them with pride! This is a tradition that’s been around since the 1980s.

Everyone can have their own style and wear what they want to fit it, whether it be ugly Christmas sweaters or those tacky holiday-themed shirts with Santa Claus on them.

It may not sound like much, but many people look forward to this time of year just so they can get out all their old clothes from last December and show off how festive they are!

It also helps when you’re family members make fun of your weird sweater choices because then you know you found something worth wearing.

27. Hang up mistletoe

Hang mistletoe in an obvious location, like the doorway to your living room or kitchen.

For many families, this is another tradition that’s been passed down for years.

The kids will love it too!

28. Count down with an Advent Calendar

On December 1st, start an Advent calendar! Each family member can get one, or you could also do this with just the kids.

Make your own Advent calendar or check out these wooden advent calendars toy advent calendars for the kids or this list of advent calendars for adults.

29. Christmas Morning Family Picture

Put on your best clothes, Christmas PJ’s, or ugly Christmas sweaters and say cheese! You’ll have a family picture to cherish forever.

The other great thing about this tradition is that you can do it on any special morning like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Mother’s day, not just December 25th!

30. Visit Santa Claus at the mall

Santa is a busy guy, so plan accordingly.

Check the mall’s hours and decide when you want to visit him.

31. Listen to Christmas Classics

The Christmas classics by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Dean Martin will put you in the Christmas spirit.

Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and Frank Sinatra’s Let It Snow are among our favorites!

32. Christmas Crafts

Kids will love making their own ornaments for the tree.

Put them on a string and hang them from the branches or use small boxes with holes cut out of the top to create your own DIY Advent Calendar!

33. Christmas Campfire

Light the fireplace and share memories. Make S’mores and hot chocolate to enjoy.

Family Christmas Traditions Wrap Up

The best part about Christmas traditions is how easily we can start them with our own families and/or friends – but also how easy they are to keep going once you have established them.

Maybe you have some old holiday traditions that just need updating so they become more meaningful.

So keep your family Christmas traditions going year after year and start adding some new ones while you’re at it!

We hope you enjoyed these family Christmas traditions ideas and we wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

More Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions for the Family

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