The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. And I think the main reason is because of all the family Christmas Traditions I grew up with. My parents always made sure that Christmas time was a season and not just one day, so the joy was spread throughout the whole month.
Some of our Christmas traditions are/were cheesy and some we just can’t go a Christmas without.
Now being newly married, we’re navigating a new way to have Christmas Traditions for Couples, and also figuring out what we will want to do when we have kids of our own.
B and I come from very different traditional backgrounds, so meshing our traditions together can be a lot of fun. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Christmas traditions along with ones we have heard of friends and family doing each year as well.
Adopt one, two, or twelve of these ideas to add to your Christmas traditions!
Family Christmas Traditions – For The Whole Season
Again, Christmas doesn’t have to be just one day! It’s Christmas season for a reason…didn’t mean to rhyme that!
Here are some awesome traditions to enjoy for the whole month of December:
New Ornament for the Christmas Tree Each Year
Each Christmas, add a new ornament to your tree. This can be done in so many ways too…
To Commemorate the Year
Buy an ornament that represents something big that happened in your year. Graduation, Wedding, New baby, new house? Get an ornament that commemorates the biggest thing that happened that year.
Does your Christmas tree have a theme? Maybe it’s all gold ornaments, or all round ones? You can stick to your theme but also spruce it up a bit with a personalized ornament.
Our family tree was definitely a “random ornament extravaganza tree”! We had ornaments with our favorite Disney characters, ornaments we made in school, and ornaments that commemorated a specific event, or place we traveled.
How about picking up an ornament on all your travels throughout the year as your unique souvenir idea. You’re sure to find some unique ones that will have your tree showing your bucket list checks each year.
There are several shops online and in the malls that now do personalized ornaments. Get one that has each family members name on it, or one that says “first Christmas Married”, etc.
Homemade Ornaments can be a great idea too. Make some with your significant other, your kids, or make one for each of your family members to hang.
Below are some fun examples we’ve seen this year!
Hallmark Christmas Ornaments, Disney The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington in Santa Outfit OrnamentGrantwood Technology Personalized Christmas Ornaments Family KIT- Pajama Family of 5 KITWillow Tree hand-painted sculpted Ornament, Angel of FriendshipLEJHOME 2 Pcs Our First Christmas in Our New Home Key Wood Christmas Ornament 2019 Christmas Gift for Housewarming and Holiday DecorationHallmark Christmas Ornaments, Peanuts Charlie Brown Christmas Tree OrnamentChemArt USA License Plate Map OrnamentHallmark Christmas Ornaments, Disney/Pixar Toy Story 4 Forky OrnamentHMK Hallmark Graduation Cap Dated 2019 Tree Trimmer OrnamentHallmark Keepsake Ornament 2019 Year Dated Our First Christmas Heart Photo Frame1 X Commercial Airliner Resin Hanging Tree Ornament – Size 4.25 inch by Midwest-CBKCalliope Designs Camping Family Personalized Christmas Ornament (Family of 4) – Handpainted Resin – 4
Advent Calendars are always a fun treat! It counts down the days until Christmas starting on December 1st. Each box contains a treat for the kids or adults too!
Looking for ideas to fill your Advent Calendar? Depending on the size of your calendar, you can add small candies or treats, little toys and bows, or even fill them with notes or sayings.
Our favorite is to fill it with experiences for the holidays.
“Go Look At Christmas Lights”, “Movie Night with The Grinch” as some ideas.
You can even do advent calendars for adults too! Maybe fill with their favorite drink, a movie night of their choice, a new ornament, and snacks they love.
Go Pick Out a Christmas Tree Together
These days, there are lots of artificial trees so you don’t need to go out every year to get one. But for those who are still holding on to the fresh Christmas Tree tradition, heading out with your family to get your Christmas Tree each year can be a fun tradition.
Being a SoCal girl, we never had farms where you could go cut down your own tree, so our family would head to the Christmas Tree lot and try to pick the tallest, fluffiest Christmas tree on the lot.
It’s a bucket list thing for me to go cut down my own Christmas Tree at a farm, so we’ll see if we can make that work this year now that we’re in Texas.
Bundle the family up in warm clothes, pack a picnic lunch, and make a day of it to head to the Christmas Tree farm and cut down your own tree!
Matching Christmas PJ’s
Matching Christmas Pajamas is a tradition several families love each year. You can decide the theme of the PJ’s, when to gift them, and when to wear them as well!
Grab silly onesies, Christmas themed jammies, or even non-Christmas PJ’s so they can wear them all year ‘round.
Gift them on December 1st, so they have all season to wear them, or on Christmas Eve as their one present for the night.
How Awesome are these Family Matching PJ’s?!
Yaffi Family Matching Christmas Pajamas Set One Piece Striped Hooded Sleepwear Santa Claus Elf Cosplay Outfit for Kids Adult Men: M GreenPlaid Bear Cheeks Flapjacks Kids Flapjack Onesie Pajamas by LazyOne | Adult Kid Infant Dog Family Matching Pajamas (3T)PajamaGram Matching Christmas Pajamas for Family – Santa, Red, Women’s, S, 4-6Matching Family Christmas Pajamas Women Men Pjs Girls Handmade Bear Sleepwear Baby Boys Clothes 2tPajamaGram Fun The Grinch Pajamas – Family Christmas Pajamas Set, Gray, Mens, LGSleepytimePJs Matching Family Christmas Pajama Sets, Blue Penguin Onesie, Kids – (STM17-3019-K-8)SleepytimePJs Matching Family Christmas Pajama Sets, Grey Snowflake Onesie, Men’s – (STM17-3052-M-LRG)PajamaGram Family Christmas Pajamas Set – Soft Family Pajamas, Gray, Toddler, 2TMatching Family Pajamas Christmas Tree Boys and Girls Pyjamas 2 Piece PJs for Kids Size 3Burt’s Bees Baby Family Jammies, Holiday Matching Pajamas, 100% Organic Cotton PJs, Red Rugby Stripes, Sleeper: 18 Months
Add To Your Collection Each Year
Similar to the Ornament tradition, you can start a collection of something you get each year for the holidays. Think nutcracker, snow globe, teddy bear, etc. There are several themed holiday collections you can start and you’ll have an impressive collection to show over the years.
Decorate Gingerbread Houses
At first I wrote “Gingerbread House Competition” but then I realized not every family is as competitive as mine. Ha!
Decorating Gingerbread Houses has become so easy, now that they sell gingerbread house kits! They even sell gingerbread men too. Gather the family one evening, throw on some Christmas music and decorate your gingerbread house. Each person can take a different side of the house, or you can get multiple houses too.
If you are competitive like my family… We do a family party each year, and during the party, we have a huge Gingerbread House Competition. Everyone splits up into teams and decorates their house with the same ingredients. We all go to separate rooms so there’s no peeking. After the timer goes off, each person votes for their favorite house. We tried to have designated “judges” the first couple years, but our judges were too “nice” and gave everyone a different prize… “best use of candy”, “most creative”, “most festive”.
Christmas Light Caravan
Ok, it’s become a caravan in our family because we have so many people now. But set a day to go look at Christmas Lights with the whole family. Make some hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies and pile in the car with some good Christmas music, and head out around town finding the best Christmas light displays.
Depending on where you live, you might even have a park or neighborhood where people walk around enjoying the lights. We have one neighborhood in our city where they light up their sidewalks on the 23rd and 24th, have Santa come visit, and have parties in their garages. It’s so fun getting everyone in town checking out the beautiful light displays.
Attend A Christmas Play
Christmas is a great time to enjoy a local Christmas play at a local school, playhouse, or church around you. The Nutcracker is a very popular one that is sure to be playing fairly close, and many churches will put on a play about the Christmas story…some complete with live animals!
It’s always fun to take the family to see a live action play during the holiday season.
Probably one of my most favorite traditions with my mom and sisters. And in our family, it becomes more like baking week since we make so much!
Add a day to your calendar where you’ll invite all your baking friends and have a fun Christmas filled Baking Day! Bring out your favorite recipes and find some new inspiration as well. Of course baking day becomes tasting day too, so maybe that’s why its one of my favorites. Don’t forget the Christmas music and dancing in the kitchen!
Family Christmas Party to Start the Season
This is an awesome one for those siblings who don’t live at home anymore. We started this tradition after a couple of us had moved out because we wanted some more family Christmas time. Sometimes its hard to tack down a date, but we’ve been able to make plans for everyone to be there so far.
There is so much you can do at a family Christmas party. And of course it can be a friends Christmas party too! Come up with a fun theme first off…
–Slumber Party Theme … everyone dress in PJ’s and have a waffle bar for dinner.
–Ugly Christmas Sweater…have everyone dress up in their favorite ugly Christmas sweater, or better yet, decorate sweater to become Ugly Christmas Sweaters!
–Merry GRINCHmas!… Everything is Grinch themed, from the food to the movies and games.
Each party should have a fun dinner, dessert and/or appetizers, a game to play, and some holiday entertainment like music and/or movies.
You can personalize this one in so many ways depending on who you are inviting. Have a ball with it!
12 Days of Christmas Gifts
The famous 12 Days of Christmas song brings up so many fun traditions you can start. It starts Dec 13 and goes through Christmas. We have friends who like to gift a small present to their kids each day of the 12 Days of Christmas. They even coordinate the number of day to the gift. So for day 2, they give a pair of mittens…day 12 could be a box of donuts, etc.
Another fun way to do 12 Days of Christmas Gifts would be to hide each gift every morning or evening and have the kids hunt for it.
You can even have all 12 presents numbered and under the tree, and unwrap one each night…kind of like a large advent calendar counting down the last 12 days.
12 Days of Christmas Books
Another take on the 12 Days of Christmas can be to wrap up 12 different holiday books, and have the kids open one each night. Then you can read it as a bedtime story.
You can find several awesome holiday books for cheap on places like Amazon, or save some money and rent them from your local library and return them after!
12 Days of Christmas Family Song
We’ve heard this one done a few different ways, but the gist is to get the family singing the “12 Days of Christmas” song.
Grab something that represents the 12 Days of Christmas – some samples below, and pass them out to each member of your family. The whole family sings the song and the person holding whatever number they have, will sing their portion. It’s a fun game to play with the kids, and fun when they become adults and you make it a drinking game!
Twelve Days of Christmas 12-pc Ornament Set by Lenox12 Days – Holiday Themed Family Card GameKurt Adler Twelve Days of Christmas Ball Ornament, 65mm, Set of 12Rosanna Set of 12 Days Of Christmas Appetizer Plates12 Days of Christmas Ornament Set – Raw Wood – 2.512 Days Of Christmas Wine Charms – Twelve Days Of Christmas Glass Tags For Xmas Holiday – Glass Identifier Stocking Stuffer – 12 wine charms
Every year, our family starts a Christmas puzzle on December 1st. We do it with several other families each year, and it sort of became an unspoken competition for which family got it done the fastest. As years past all the kids became adults and ended up with jobs, married, and kids, so not everyone had enough time to finish a 1000 piece puzzle every year.
However, we all come over to mom and dad’s house and help with the puzzle whenever we are there. It’s even more of an excuse to bring all 5 siblings over more throughout the holiday season. Start off with small puzzles for the kids if you have young ones, but it’s definitely a tradition we love even more as adults! And get some friends involved with their families as well!
Friends Christmas Episodes
We are huge F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans, so each season we get the girls together and watch all the Christmas episodes from all 10 seasons. Sometimes this ends up being on Christmas Eve or Christmas Night because things get busy. But it’s another adult tradition we strive to keep.
Eggnog First Drink
Ok, this one may be a bit silly, and its super quick…but every year we would be so excited about Egg Nog coming out, but we wouldn’t drink it until after Thanksgiving where we would all have our first drink together!
Take Picture with Santa
You probably have a few pictures of you as a kid taking your picture with Santa. What about keeping up with that tradition all the way through your adulthood? Each year, the kids will grow until they are no longer kids, and then there will be new kids in the photo as they become adults. What a fun way to share how your family grew each year!
We personally don’t do this one, but I’m definitely going to pitch a family Christmas photo each year!
Adopt a Family For Christmas
Our family loves doing this each year. Find a family who is less fortunate and going through a hard time this year, and bless them with Christmas presents, food, treats, etc. Leave them at their door as a surprise when they open it!
Angel Tree is available at lots of different malls and stores. It’s a tree filled with paper angels, and you get to choose one. Whichever one you choose will have a name of who you are gifting, with their age and what type of gifts would be a good idea. Angel Tree kids are typically kids who have parents in jail and won’t be with them for the holidays.
Countdown to Christmas Chain
These were our favorite when we were in school. Get out the glue stick, scissors, and construction paper, because this Countdown to Christmas Chain is going to be awesome. Bonus points if you go for the glitter and other embellishments. Cut the paper into strips of 2” or so and make a ring, glueing one end onto the other. Slip another piece of paper in the middle of the ring and do the same. Add however many days there are left ‘till Christmas, or do 25 and each day starting December 1st, you can rip one off and start your countdown to Christmas!
Decorate the Christmas Tree
We still all come over to our parents house and decorate the Christmas tree with our ornaments. It’s always fun putting up the tree and decorating it together, getting excited to the start of the Christmas season.
25 days of Christmas Movies
This one if for those huge Christmas lovers! Try watching a different Christmas movie each night for the 25 Days of Christmas! There are tons on TV if you check out Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas, and the Hallmark Channel, and of course there are many more on all the streaming services.
Pick out a movie you’ll watch each night starting December 1st. There are even the older short cartoons, or you can add in the Friends episodes as well!
Couple’s Day Out Shopping Day
The holidays can get crazy busy especially when you have kids. So its important for you to take some time alone as a couple as well. Take a couple’s day out that can still be Christmas themed.
Ask Grandma and Grandpa to take the kids for a night and they can start their own tradition with them too! Book a nice hotel away, or a cool Airbnb in a different city, head out on the town to do some Christmas shopping and enjoy the decor. Grab some hot cocoa and a nice dinner by a fire.
Take time to yourselves and enjoy each other during this busy season. After all, this is the season about family.
Each year, our church gets everyone together and we go Christmas caroling around neighborhoods, at a convalescent home or hospital. We all get a print out of some well known Christmas songs, grab some hot chocolate and candy canes to pass out, and spread some cheer around!
Are you far away from home and spending the holidays without your family? Book a fun getaway for the couples days. Find a great Christmasy location, take your spouse or your friend and head somewhere you’ve never been before.
Enjoy the season, bring good books, movies, music and light a fire in the fireplace. Get cozy and enjoy the perfect storybook peaceful weekend.
Here are a few other traditions you can try:
Cookie Exchange, Ornament Exchange
These exchanges can be a lot of fun when you get other families and friends involved. Everyone can make a special type of cookie, or bring and ornament and exchange them all at a Christmas get together.
White Elephant, Secret Santa
There are so many fun ways to give gifts, and White Elephant and Secret Santa are two of our favorites. Don’t worry about getting every single person a gift…choose a name from the hat, and you get to pick one person who you get to shop for.
Or play the fun White Elephant Game! We have some pretty hilarious ideas for White Elephant Gifts here.
Ugly Christmas Sweaters/photos
The Ugly Christmas Sweater fad is not going away anytime soon. So make yours, buy one at the store, and rock it to your next party. It would be so fun to take a family photo with everyone in their hideous sweaters.
Family Christmas Eve Traditions
Christmas Eve is almost as big as Christmas Day for our family, and there’s so much we pack into it…
Read The Night Before Christmas
Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my parents reading The Night Before Christmas to us right before we went to bed. My dad still reads it to whoever is at their house on Christmas Eve, even if the little ones aren’t around. It’s a Christmas tradition that we have to keep, and I will probably be asking them to FaceTime me on the years I won’t be able to make it.
Read the Story of Jesus’ Birth
Right before we read The Night Before Christmas, dad would always read the story of Jesus’ Birth. He would get out his Bible and read to us a few passages from the book of Mark and we would talk about what it must have been like the night Jesus was born.
Open One Present Christmas Eve
This is a big one we hear a lot of families doing. Whether that be the PJ’s present or just one under the tree, it’s a good way to get the excitement started and prolong the gift opening as well.
Christmas Eve Box
Or, why not have a dedicated Christmas Eve present waiting under the tree. We love the concept of a Christmas Eve Box that is filled with; Pj’s, Hot Cocoa, and a Christmas Book/Movie. Add whatever you need for your evening with the family in the box, and wrap it up as a present.
You can do individual boxes or a family box for everyone to enjoy!
Want more time to enjoy your box? Do a December 1st box!
Christmas Eve Dinner Traditions
On Christmas Eve, we get together with some of our closest family friends and have a potluck. We pretty much have the same foods each year, as it becomes like a second Thanksgiving. Our friends always make Codfish Gravy! Sounds crazy, but it’s not Christmas Eve without it.
Think of some of your favorite meals you’d like to have each year on Christmas Eve. Our brother-in-law’s family does tacos, we’ve heard friends do spaghetti and meatballs, or a waffle bar. Get creative and have your traditional Christmas Eve Dinner every year!
Christmas Eve Talent Show
With our tradition of spending Christmas Eve with our family friends, we started a tradition one year where all the kids had to do a talent in the talent show to get their gifts.
It’s become a great tradition where all of our little kids now entertain us. We’ve heard of families who have the adults participate, which we do, but it’s not mandatory.
Reindeer Food on the Roof/Lawn
When we were little, we would head outside just before bed and throw reindeer food on the lawn and dad would throw it on the roof too, since us girls knew reindeer don’t land on the lawn. This was to help the reindeer know where to land. It’s just dried oats and glitter, but one of us made it in school, and it became a tradition.
Leave Cookies Out For Santa
Of course you gotta leave the cookies and milk for Santa too! We typically have them already decorated on Baking Day, but decorating the cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve can be a fun tradition too!
Family Christmas Day Traditions
Our Christmas Day is pretty chill, after the crazy morning that is. This year, we will have 12 adults and 6 kids opening presents at my parents house on Christmas morning! So needless to say, it gets crazy. We do presents and brunch after, and everyone heads off to their in-laws later, leaving a few of us to enjoy a more quite day.
The sisters like to come back for Christmas Dinner though!
Same Christmas Meals
Just like the tradition of having the same meal every year for Christmas Eve, we do the same Christmas brunch each year and it’s always something we all look forward to.
Mom makes monkey bread loaf and we make omelets in a bag. Its a quick and easy way to feed that many people a hot meal all at the same time.
Wear PJ’s all day
How about wearing your Christmas PJ’s all day?! Nothing says cozy Christmas like not changing out of your PJ’s. Enjoy your morning opening presents, playing games with the family, and watching a Christmas movie to enjoy the day, all in the comfort of your PJ’s.
Family Christmas Picture
Our family still records every Christmas Morning. We’ll be able to pull photos from that, but we love the idea of setting up the camera and doing a family photo each year. We typically do ours on Christmas Eve when we’re all dressed up, but be sure to grab a photo of everyone together!
Christmas Day Scavenger Hunt
Want to add a little more excitement to your Christmas Morning? Do a Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunt. Our parents would love hiding our final present, and would give us a certain number of questions we were allowed to ask. We had to partner together and decide what questions were best to help us get to the final family gift. It was such a fun adventure running around with all the excitement that was to come. Followed by lots of laughter and joy when we found it!
There are so many great traditions out there for you to start with your family, kids, significant other and even on your own. The holiday season is going to be what you make it, and we love to make it all about family with our fun, crazy, and beautiful traditions.
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Sara, a seasoned expert in wedding planning and date ideas, brings a wealth of experience to our couples blog. With a background in the television industry and hands-on involvement in a dozen weddings, including working as a wedding assistant on "My Fair Wedding with David Tutera," Sara has an innate understanding of the magic that makes weddings truly special. Growing up with four sisters has given her unique insights into the dating world, making her a go-to source for practical and heartfelt dating advice. Her knowledge and enthusiasm make her the perfect guide for couples seeking to infuse their relationships with creativity and love.