Find a new Christmas tradition to start in 2021 with this list of fun family Christmas traditions from around the world!
Creating and sharing meaningful family Christmas traditions makes the holiday season a special time of year. It’s the traditional things we do with our friends and family for Christmas–and in the days leading up to it–that create vivid memories that can last a lifetime and bring more meaning to our lives. So, if you’re looking for fun and unique Christmas activities for kids and adults, from babies and toddlers to teens–you have come to the right place.
When this post was first published on November 19, 2017, it had 25 Christmas traditions on the list–but today, it includes 50 family Christmas ideas to do before Christmas, on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day. You may have heard of a few of these classic holiday traditions, but we’re hoping that you find new and unique Christmas Traditions to start with your family this year. You might also enjoy this list of winter solstice traditions and celebration ideas.
Related Post: Fun Easter Traditions to Start with Your Family!
Christmas Traditions and Fun Things To Do for Christmas
Wondering how to celebrate Christmas or what to do with your family for Christmas this year? Christmas is a time to enjoy seasonal family traditions and fun holiday activities that fill your days with meaning and turn the depths of winter into a special time of year. Family Christmas ideas like those listed here can help you fill the holiday season with memory-making magic.
Christmas traditions are rituals, customs, and religious practices that happen each year–so, please don’t look at this list of family traditions as a must-do list. Our family does not do everything on this list of holiday traditions–and your family shouldn’t either. The last thing you need is more holiday stress because of a silly family Christmas tradition that you find impossible to complete. If it isn’t fun–it isn’t worth it!
Learn more about Christmas traditions with the FAQs (frequently asked questions) below, or scroll down to see our list of 50 classic and unique Christmas traditions for families to do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
What are Family Christmas Traditions?
A Christmas tradition is an activity or routine associated with customs, religious practices, or rituals–and often steeped in folklore–that a family chooses to do for Christmas every year. In other words, family Christmas traditions are family traditions that we do for Christmas on the days that lead up to it, on Christmas Eve, on Christmas Day, and over the winter holiday break.
Scroll down to see all of the new and unique family traditions you can try for Christmas this year. You might also enjoy this list of New Year’s Traditions and Celebration Ideas.
What are Some Christmas Traditons?
One example of a classic Christmas tradition is hanging stockings on the mantle by the fire–or wherever else you can find to hang them. Our family has seen some pretty creative solutions over the years, and I’m sure yours has as well.
Another family tradition example is holiday gift-giving–giving friends and relatives a gift for Christmas. Speaking of Christmas gifts–if you have a large family or a lot of co-workers, you might enjoy this list of Christmas Gift Exchange Ideas and Gift Giving Traditions. You will find several ways to take the stress off holiday gift-giving in it.
Fun Family Christmas Tradition Ideas
Find a new fun family Christmas tradition to celebrate Christmas this year. You might even find a couple of new Christmas traditions you have never heard of before. Scroll down to explore this list of fun ways to celebrate Christmas! You might also enjoy this list of Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids.
50 Classic and UniQue Christmas Traditions to Start in 2021
Add more cheer to your holiday celebrations with this list of fun Christmas traditions and things to do with your family for Christmas. This list of family Christmas ideas includes things to do before Christmas, religious Christmas traditions, Christmas Eve traditions, and fun things to do on Christmas Day. And, remember, it’s not a Christmas must-do list–but a fun-do list!
If you have your own family traditions and things that you like to do with your family for Christmas that are not on this list of Christmas tradition ideas–please add them to the comments below. We LOVE hearing all about the traditional ways YOU celebrate the Christmas season with your family and friends!
You may also enjoy this fantastic list of Christmas art projects and painting ideas. It includes a brief history of how and why common Christmas symbols and characters came to be associated with the Christmas holiday. So, if you have ever wondered, “What does Santa Claus have to do with Christmas?” Pop over to learn what we discovered!
Related Post: Rustic Alphabet Wood Slice Ornaments
1. Bake and Decorate Christmas Cookies
One of the most classic Christmas traditions is baking and decorating cookies and giving them as gifts. Use our easy sugar cookie recipe and Christmas cookie cutters to make traditional Christmas cookies with the kids. Baking cookies is a fun thing to do with the whole family for Christmas.
Another fun Christmas idea is to host a cookie swap or give others a kindness service project. Gifting friends and neighbors, extended family, firefighters and police officers, and those in need with home-baked cookies is a lovely way to celebrate the spirit of the season. So, bake and decorate cookies with your children and gift others with the sweet magic of Christmas.
2. Write a Letter to Santa
Here’s a fun family Christmas tradition for kids from toddler age and up. Invite your children to write a letter to Santa, and have one sent back with US Postal Service help, complete with the North Pole Postmark! Yes, really! Follow the directions–> HERE.
Writing a letter to Santa is fun Christmas activity to do over the Thanksgiving break that the whole family can enjoy together.
3. Send Christmas Cards and Holiday Greetings
The holiday season is a great time to send Christmas cards, holiday greetings, or messages of peace, joy, and tidings of good cheer in the New Year. You can even make it a tradition to make your own Christmas cards. Just look at all of the gorgeous homemade holiday card ideas below!
4. Make Homemade Christmas Cards
Making homemade Christmas cards is another lovely thing to do as a family for Christmas. Create new Christmas memories with the children in your life with these homemade Christmas card ideas.
Handmade Christmas Card Ideas:
- Watercolor Tree Cards
- Fingerprint Lights Christmas Tree Cards
- Christmas Wreath Fingerprint Art Cards
- Fingerprint Christmas Tree Cards
- Christmas Carolers Handprint Art Cards
- Fingerprint Snowman Christmas Cards
- Christmas Handprint, Footprint, and Fingerprint Art Card Ideas (photo below)
Related Post: Homemade gifts kids can make
5. PUT UP HOLIDAY OR CHRISTMAS LIGHTs Outdoors
Put up the Christmas lights and decorate the outside of the house for the holidays to share light during the darkest time of the year with your neighbors, family, and friends. If you are wondering when to put up Christmas lights–our family traditionally puts them out the day after Thanksgiving, but you can put them up anytime before Christmas.
Join the fun by decorating the eves of your house, set up a simple Christmas scene such as a nativity, a simple light-up reindeer, an outdoor Christmas tree, or any other Christmas decorations that your family enjoys to participate in this merrymaking Christmas activity. You can see a photo of the front of our house decorated with strands of rainbow Christmas lights, a simple driftwood Christmas tree, and a homemade holly berry wreath below.
6. Decorate for Christmas Indoors
There are many ways you can choose to decorate your home for the holidays indoors. And, with the enormous amount of Christmas decoration ideas available to DIY or purchase today, you can set up something as simple or as elaborate as you wish.
In ancient times, people brought fresh evergreen foliage indoors to decorate their homes–because they were the only signs of life that remained outdoors–in the hope that the sun would once again make its return after the winter solstice. They also decorated their homes with fruits, holly berries, candles, and other items that symbolized the sun and the stars–sound familiar?
Today, many people still celebrate the season with decorations of fresh foliage such as evergreen boughs, holly berry wreaths, poinsettias, and even entire pine or fir trees–called Christmas trees today. See the suggestions below for more holiday decoration ideas!
7. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm to Cut down Your Own Tree
Going to a tree farm to cut down your own Christmas tree is a fun family Christmas tradition for children and adults from babies, to toddlers, to teens. Consult your local resource guide, or do an internet search to find a Christmas tree farm near you! Or, head to your local Boy Scout Christmas Tree Lot to support your local troops!
8. Trim the Christmas Tree with the Family
Put on some traditional Christmas music (scroll down for suggestions), light a fire–or pop a yule log fireplace video into the DVD player–and enjoy decorating the Christmas tree with your family. Candy canes and homemade Christmas ornaments are some of our family’s favorite Christmas tree decorations. Trimming the tree is a classic Christmas tradition that the whole family can enjoy together. Decorate the tree every year to make new memories!
9. Set Up a Christmas Train Or Christmas Village
Set up a Christmas train for children (and the young at heart) under the tree for Christmas this year. Setting up a Christmas Village, putting a train under the Christmas tree, on a table, counter, or around the whole living room is a classic family Christmas tradition that both young and old can enjoy.
When I was a child, I remember the Christmas train and village my neighbors had set up–and I always wanted one of my own. Today, my family enjoys setting up our real metal Christmas Train (complete with lights, sounds, and smoke) every year. Scroll down to see a picture of it under our Christmas tree.
10. Listen to Traditional Christmas Music
Put on some traditional Christmas music that the whole family can enjoy for Christmas. Our family loves to listen to traditional Christmas music as we enjoy the traditional Christmas activities found on the list below:
- Making homemade Christmas cards
- Wrapping Christmas presents
- Baking Christmas cookies
- Trimming or decorating the Christmas tree
- Creating Christmas Art
- on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day
- And, of course, while our family enjoy’s a traditional Christmas dinner.
Listening to classic Christmas songs brings joy and meaning to family life during the Christmas season and makes the holidays even more fun for everyone. Enjoy any of the excellent music suggestions found here with your family for Christmas!
11. Celebrate Advent
Celebrating the season of Advent is a religious Christmas tradition for many families during the Christmas season. Advent is a period of spiritual preparation when many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, birth, and the eventual return of their Lord and Savior–Jesus Christ.
The word Advent means “coming” in Latin, and for many Christians, Advent is the time to celebrate the coming of Christ. “Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting, and repentance, followed by anticipation, joy and hope.” (source)
To celebrate Advent, many families light advent candles on the four Sundays before Christmas, go to religious services, spend time in prayer, and engage in fasting and other forms of repent. Learn more about the tradition of Advent–> HERE.
12. Make AN ADVENT WREATH
An Advent Wreath is a traditional Christmas centerpiece with evergreen plants placed in a circle with four candle settings. Because the circle has no beginning and no end, an Advent Wreath symbolizes the continuity of life, the immortality of the soul, and God’s eternal love.
Lighting an Advent wreath, or Advent crown is a religious Christmas tradition that marks the passage of the four weeks of Advent. Make or purchase the Advent Wreath of your choice to share this sacred family tradition for Christmas.
13. Light Advent Candles
Advent candles are traditionally set in an advent ring, wreath, or crown, mentioned above. In some religious traditions, the candles are usually three purple and one pink, with white in the middle on Christmas Day. While others traditionally use red advent candles.
The tradition of lighting Advent candles is as follows: Light one candle on the first Sunday, two candles on the second Sunday, three candles on the third Sunday, four candles on the fourth Sunday, and finally four candles with one in the middle on Christmas Day. Learn more about lighting advent candles meanings and traditions HERE–> Love to Know.
14. Set up Christmas Nativity Scene
Here’s a family Christmas idea that children and adults of all ages can enjoy. Advent is traditionally observed in many homes and churches during the Christmas season. And, setting up a Christmas Nativity Scene is a lovely way to prepare for celebrating the nativity and the coming, or birth, of Jesus.
My daughter and I made a gorgeous yet simple Nativity Stable with popsicle sticks and a minimalist nativity scene using wooden peg dolls several years ago that we still love and use today. Click the link above to learn how to make a popsicle stick Nativity Stable or purchase the indoor or outdoor nativity scene option of your choice–HERE.
15. Countdown to Christmas
Counting down to Christmas is another fun family tradition for Christmas that children from toddlers to teens enjoy. Traditionally a Christmas countdown is started at the beginning of the month, on December 1, and is completed on Christmas Eve–but you can count down to any winter holiday you wish. My daughter and I make a simple Stone Advent Calendar, but there are many other fun ways to countdown to Christmas available today. Look at the following two ideas for more traditional Christmas countdown ideas.
16. Make Or Purchase an Advent Calendar
Make or purchase your own Christmas Advent Calendar. An Advent Calendar is a fun Christmas tradition the whole family can use to countdown to Christmas. As mentioned above, my daughter and I make a Stone Advent Calendar, but you can also purchase an Advent Calendar, design an Advent Spiral, or try any of the fun Christmas book countdown ideas below. You can find gorgeous advent calendars for purchase–> HERE.
17. Read a Christmas Story or Book Each Night Until Christmas
Here’s a fun family tradition and unique way to do a Christmas countdown with the kids. Countdown to Christmas with a Christmas book Advent calendar. All you need to do is share a Christmas story with your children each night in the days leading up to Christmas until the final children’s Christmas book is read on Christmas Eve. We like to make sure we read “The Night Before Christmas” as a Christmas Eve tradition in our house–It’s magical.
We know getting 24 Christmas books at the library during the holidays can be tricky, so it does not matter how many days you spend counting down–even three will do! Some parents like to wrap each book up individually and have the kids pick one to open each night, while others simply offer a new Christmas story to read.
Christmas Book Advent Calendar:
- Pick a Pine Tree
- The Chrismas Miracle of Johnathan Toomey
- Red and Lulu
- The Christmas Wish
- Reindeer Christmas
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
- The Polar Express
- Mr. Willoby’s Christmas Tree
- The Crippled Lamb
- The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits
- The Story of Holly and Ivy
- Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
- The Christmas Owl
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The Wish Tree
- A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
- The Little Reindeer
- Room for a Little One
- The Carpenters Gift
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Shortest Day – We like to read this book on the night of the Winter Solstice
- Who is Coming to Our House
- Christmas Farm
- The Night Before Christmas
18. Celebrate the Saint Nicolas Day Tradition
Saint Nicholas is known as the patron saint of children. In countries where this tradition is prominent, it is a gift-giving day, similar to Christmas. But, the story of St. Nicholas originated long before his modern-day counterpart–Santa Claus. The custom of hanging stockings began as a result of the joyful giving nature of Saint Nicholas, and sharing tales of his gifts to children in need is how the legend of Santa Clause first started!
How do You Celebrate Saint Nicolas Day?
Children set out their wooden clogs, shoes, or stockings on the eve of December 5, along with a plate of cookies and milk for St. Nick and a carrot for his donkey (or beautiful white horse). In the morning, children wake to find their shoes filled with treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special St. Nicolas candies and cookies.
Traditional ideas to include in your children’s shoes for Saint Nicolas Day are chocolate coins, a small wooden toy, new socks, a tangerine, a walnut, and inexpensive religious items, such as a rosary, saint bracelet, or prayer cards. Learn more about Saint Nicolas and the myth of Father Christmas HERE, and try this fun holiday tradition for Christmas this year!
Related Post: Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers
19. Enjoy the Antics of The Elf on the Shelf, or, Encourage Acts of Kindness with The Kindness Elves
“The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” is a children’s picture book about an elf that watches over a family at Christmas time that has evolved into the Elf on the Shelf Christmas Tradition. It’s a funny family Christmas tradition for kids that many people enjoy during the holiday season.
The kindness elves are a much kinder version of The Elf on the Shelf. They are magical elves that encourage children to do good deeds and commit small acts of kindness–in service to others or the environment. Learn 10 reasons we choose the Kindness Elves Over the Elf on the Shelf in our home.
20. Volunteer or Donate to Serve Those In Need
There are lots of lovely ways to gift those in need for a family Christmas tradition during the holiday season. Ask for help from the Kindness Elves to help get the kids involved. Volunteer or give to your local food bank, church, charity, or soup kitchens.
Some charities and churches put out a wish list of items provided for children and families that can not afford to buy Christmas gifts–such as the Angel Tree program. “Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas morning. And thanks to supporters of The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, thousands of American children will find this waiting under their Christmas trees this year.” The Salvation Army.
Sponsor an Angel Tree with your family or co-workers for Christmas this year. The Angel Tree program helps provide new clothing or toys for children of needy families through the support of generous donors just like you! Angel Trees are decorated with numbered paper angel tags with the first name, age, and gender of the child that needs Christmas presents.
Check your local resource guide or do a google search to find your family’s best choice and make it a tradition to donate to your local charity during the Christmas season.
21. Gift Everyone with Christmas Coloring and Activity Books
Christmas coloring books are an easy way to help both children and adults relieve stress and practice mindfulness during the holidays. Keep everyone busy and happy throughout the holidays with this fantastic collection of Christmas coloring and activity books for adults and children!
22. Take a Picture with Santa
Taking a picture with Santa is another one of those classic Christmas traditions that many people could not do last year. And, as mandates continue to evolve, I’m not sure how many places Santa will be allowed to take pictures with children this year either.
However, traditionally many families head to the local mall, town square, or a Christmas party to take a picture with Santa Claus. Taking a photo with Santa Claus is a Christmas tradition that some children love–while others run screaming away! The good news is that you get to decide if you will be hitting the trenches or running for cover when Santa comes to town–lol! Check your local family resource guide or do a google search for “Santa Claus pictures near me” to find where your local Santa will be available for pictures in 2021.
23. Wear Matching Christmas Pajamas
Wearing matching pajamas with the family is a fun family Christmas tradition. Family photos end up looking great! Find your favorite matching pajama set HERE, or select from the matching Christmas pajama sets for families listed below!
24. Enjoy a Local Christmas Show, Concert, Amusement or Event
Here are a few local family Christmas tradition ideas for 2021. Many people have a traditional thing they like to do for Christmas in their hometown. For example, we typically go to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in our town square. We also love walking through a beautiful garden of gorgeous Christmas lights by a large urban park not far from where we live.
My family also enjoys going to the Christmas concert and the Christmas fair held at our daughter’s school–until it got canceled for the last few years. But we are hopeful that these things will eventually make their total return. Let’s all cross our fingers that we can share the joy that these memory-making community events bring again very soon!
Our family also loves to attend the local ballet’s Christmas show, and there are a few other local events and craft fairs that we like to enjoy during the holidays. Others plan to visit Santa Land, ride the Polar Express, or make their way to Disneyland or Disneyworld–while some Christmas heroes are crazy enough to do it all!
25. Visit Santa Land
Santa Land is an amusement park for children and families to visit and enjoy. When I was a young child, I thought there was only one Santa Land, but as an adult, I have learned that there are Santa Lands worldwide! This year, look for one in your area and make it a family tradition for Christmas.
26. Take a Ride on the Polar Express
The Polar Express is not just a Christmas book and Christmas movie–it’s a train ride that you can take the whole family for a ride on! Get tickets to go for a ride on the Polar Express with your family for Christmas this year. Google “Polar Express near me” to find this spirited Christmas train ride in a city near you.
27. Attend a Christmas Parade
Going to a Christmas light parade is a fun way to enjoy the magic of the season, and what better place to do that than Disneyland, Disneyworld, your town square, or city street. Make plans to visit one of Disney’s impressive light parades (an event for every family’s Christmas bucket list), or check your local listings to find a Christmas parade near you.
28. Plan an Annual Family Outing
Plan a family outing or event to do every year around the holidays. You can find a few fun family favorites below:
- Get outside for some snow play–think sledding, snowball fights, snow angel and snowman making.
- Head up to the mountains for some skiing or snowboarding.
- Hit the bowling alley for some friendly competition.
- Play a game of touch football or rugby.
- Head to the ice rink for some ice skating.
- Get out for a walk, or, hike rain, snow or shine.
- Meet up for an annual family vacation on Christmas
29. Make a New Christmas Ornament Every Year
Making a new ornament for the tree each year is a delightful way to spend time connecting with the kids during the holidays. Please pop over to look at our collection of gorgeous handmade Christmas ornaments kids and adults can make.
And, don’t forget to use a paint pen to add the date you made the ornament each year. Then, when your kids are all grown up, you will have a tree full of Christmas memories to enjoy.
30. Hang Christmas Stockings
Hanging stockings on the fireplace mantle, or wherever else you can find room to put them, has become so common that many of us forget it’s a Christmas Eve tradition! Many believe it is a family Christmas tradition that originated as a spin-off of the original Saint Nicolas Day tradition discussed above.
First, it was shoes, then socks on the mantle (because people hung them there to dry), and today–it’s the modern-day Christmas stocking with a candy cane inside! Our family is lucky enough to have a grandma that sews all of our family stockings, but many lovely ready-made options are also available.
Traditional Stocking Stuffer Ideas:
The Saint Nicolas Day tradition and winter solstice traditions have also influenced many traditional items still found in Christmas stockings today. For example, I can remember receiving chocolate coins, real maple candy, and an orange in the toe of my Christmas stocking when I was a young child.
I can also remember seeing a striped candy cane and a new plush stuffed animal peeking out of the top of my Christmas stocking each year. And, it is these Christmas traditions–that have been passed down from generation to generation–that I continue to share with my own family today. Pop over to look at this fun collection of stocking stuffer ideas for the whole family for more great ideas!
31. Try a New Gift Giving Tradition
In modern times, giving a gift at Christmas is one of the most common Christmas traditions. However, in larger families with members living great distances having a Christmas gift exchange or implementing a gift rule can make holiday gift-giving a lot less stressful.
Gift-giving traditions also make it easier for family members with a smaller Christmas budget to participate in holiday gift-giving. So pop over to have a look at this fun collection of Christmas gift exchange ideas and gift-giving traditions and give one a try this year.
32. Try The Santa Sack CHristmas Eve Tradition
Here’s a fun family tradition for Christmas that my family came up with. If you would like to give this fun Christmas tradition a try, follow these steps:
- First, invite everyone in the family to fill a Santa Sack with items they would like to donate to a local charity sometime before Christmas.
- Next, encourage the whole family to fill their Santa Sacks up with items they no longer use and would like to give to those in need. Feel free to remind children that the more they give to others–the more they are likely to recieve in return.
- Then, invite everyone to place their Santa Sack filled with items to donate to charity under the Christmas tree before Christmas Eve.
- After the kids go to sleep on Christmas Eve, collect the Santa Sacks and empty each one into a secret donation bin.
- Next, fill the sacks back up with gifts for each person to open on Christmas morning.
- And finally, store your Santa Sacks in the Christmas box to use again next year!
33. Hang Mistletoe
Hang a piece of mistletoe in a high traffic area and kiss, hug, or high-five anyone you meet underneath it. A classic family tradition for Christmas not to be missed!
34. Watch Christmas Movies with the Family
When my husband and I were kids, he watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” every year on Christmas Eve with his family, while I watched “Charlie Brown Christmas” when it aired on TV with my brothers over the holiday break. Another of our family holiday movie favorites is “A Christmas Carol“–Bah Humbug!
Later, when my family would get together for Christmas, we’d watch “Love Actually.” And today, my husband and I like to watch “Christmas with the Kranks,” because once you become parents and start doing all of these crazy Christmas traditions with your family–you will not only be able to relate, you will probably think it’s as funny as we do. However, we are not ready to opt-out of Christmas just yet–lol!
Our daughter’s current favorite Christmas movie is “The Christmas Chronicles,” which now has a sequel. They are both sweet movies that I’m sure will be added to many favorite holiday movie lists.
So make some popcorn in this cute little air popcorn popper and watch your favorite holiday movie with your family this year! And, we’d love to know–what’s your favorite Christmas movie? Please share it in the comments at the end of the post!
35. Make and Give Handmade Gifts
My family loves to give and receive handmade gifts. Friends and family have made some of my all-time favorite gifts over the years. Check out this incredible collection of homemade gifts that kids can make for lots of gorgeous homemade gift ideas.
36. Make a Gingerbread house
A gingerbread house does not need gingerbread in the ingredients or even on the craft supply list. You don’t need a gingerbread house kit, nor do you have to use candy to decorate them. You can also make DIY gingerbread houses with graham crackers or cardboard and craft supplies–large and small. Have a look at the gingerbread house-building ideas below for some great ideas!
Gingerbread House Ideas:
- Gingerbread house kit
- Find gingerbread house cookie cutters HERE
- Step-by-step directions to make a traditional gingerbread house by DIY Enthusiasts and Simply Recipes.
- How to make a gingerbread house with gram crackers by Happiness is Homemade.
- Learn how Inner Child Fun made a toy gingerbread house out of cardboard HERE or a life-sized cardboard gingerbread house HERE
37. Take a Drive, or Walk, to Look at Christmas lights
Spend at least one night looking at all of the beautiful Christmas lights that people put up in your city or town. The neighborhood we live in has a lot of homes with holiday lights, so we like to bundle up and go out on winter light walks in the days leading up to Christmas.
Need to go for a drive to look at holiday light displays? Pop popcorn in this super cool air popcorn popper, cruise by the hot chocolate bar to fill a to-go cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows for the whole family, and then pop in the car for some holiday light seeing!
38. Host a Family Game Night
Wrap up a new family game and put it under the tree to open and play it with the whole family. Some families observe this fun Christmas tradition by playing a new game on Christmas Eve, while others place a note in an advent calendar with a description of the gift to open for a family game night.
39. Sing Christmas Carols
Don’t forget to sing a few funny Christmas songs with the kids–oh, come on, you know you enjoyed those silly songs when you were a kid, too! My brothers and I always loved singing, “Grandma got run over by a reindeer,” although Grandma never liked it much–lol–we always got a giggle out of Grandpa! Just give her a big warm hug and tell her it’s not Christmas without Grandma, and she’ll get over it, too. Or, try this silly Christmas songbook!
40. Gift Everyone with a New Book on Christmas Eve
In Iceland, it is a tradition to gift everyone with a new book on Christmas Eve and then spend the night snuggled up reading. This Christmas Eve tradition is called Jolabokaflod, which translates to “Yule book flood.”
Even though this holiday tradition originated in Iceland, it is gaining popularity worldwide. Make it a family tradition to gift everyone in your family with a new book on Christmas Eve! Learn more about this Icelandic Christmas tradition HERE and HERE.
Jolabokaflod Book Gift Ideas:
41. Leave Out Cookies and Reindeer food for Santa and his Reindeer on Christmas Eve
Put out a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa on Christmas Eve. Use our sugar cookie recipe to make Christmas cookies, and make it a family Christmas Eve tradition to put them out for Santa on December 24.
How to Make Reindeer food:
- Use a single hole punch or heart punch to make confetti out of fall leaves, or mix oats with any type of Christmas sprinkles.
Next, invite the kids to sprinkle reindeer food in the front yard with the kids before they go to bed on Christmas Eve. Then, sweep it up before they wake on Christmas Morning for even more fun!
42. Track Santa’s Flight on Christmas Eve
Here’s a funny Christmas Eve tradition for families with kids. Have you or your children ever wondered where in the world Santa is on Christmas Eve? Well, today, there is a fun way to find out. Track the flight of Santa Claus around the world on Christmas Eve–> HERE.
43. Hide the Christmas Pickle
I’ve heard of a few variations on this odd and funny yet unique family Christmas tradition. Following is the Christmas pickle tradition that my family has adapted and used:
- Hide a pickle ornament on the Christmas tree after the kids are in bed on Christmas Eve.
- The first person to find the pickle ornament on Christmas morning gets to open the family gift!
- Everyone must be present–pun intended–and ready before the finder of the pickle can open the family gift.
Family Christmas presents can be as simple as a box of Christmas chocolates to share. Or, as elaborate as tickets for a family vacation or a significant gift that everyone gets to share and enjoy, such as an air hockey table!
44. Create a Christmas Morning or Breakfast Tradition
Create a Christmas morning tradition in your home. Some families like to have a freshly baked cinnamon roll with marshmallows and hot chocolate or coffee as they open presents. Others open their presents on Christmas Eve and eat Rudolf pancakes after emptying their stockings in the morning. Choose something that works for your family and make it a Christmas morning family tradition.
45. Empty Your Stocking On Christmas Morning
One of my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is opening or emptying our Christmas stockings on Christmas morning. Some families allow the kids to open their Christmas stockings before the parents get out of bed, while others wait for everyone to be present–pun intended. While other families go to church services or make sure everyone has a healthy breakfast before anyone can empty their stockings. Use any of these ideas, or create your own Christmas stocking family tradition for the holidays.
46. Open Christmas Presents
Opening presents on Christmas morning is a classic family tradition that children and adults of all ages enjoy. Many families wait until everyone is fed and happy before opening Christmas presents, while others allow the kids to open them as soon as they wake up.
Some parents even like to let the kids open presents all by themselves so they can sleep in on Christmas morning. And, others open presents on Christmas Eve. Decide when you would like to open Christmas presents with your children and make it a family tradition for Christmas.
47. Prepare a Traditional Christmas Dinner
A traditional Christmas dinner is very similar to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It usually features turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and a seasonal vegetable side dish such as turnips or carrots.
You can substitute other main dishes to include different types of poultry such as wild goose or duck, or another type of meat such as roast beef, ham, or a vegetarian alternative. Look through this list of traditional Christmas dinner recipes HERE.
For dessert, pumpkin or apple pie, raisin pudding, fruitcake, or Christmas pudding are the most traditional Christmas desserts. And, of course, children love it when there is a hot chocolate bar with marshmallows available for Christmas.
48. Place a Christmas Cracker Popper Next to Each Christmas Dinner Plate
Christmas Crackers are a Christmas tradition that started in England but gained popularity worldwide. They are often made to look like an extra-large candy twist, snowman, or Nutcracker, and they are usually constructed with recycled cardboard cylinders or toilet tubes wrapped and decorated with ribbons and colored paper. Learn more about the history of the Christmas Cracker HERE.
49. Take a Family Photo on Christmas Day
Gather the family around the Christmas tree, the holiday table, or in the backyard to take a family Christmas photo. Taking a family photo on or around Christmas every year is an easy way to watch everyone grow and change from year to year.
I never realized the power of a good camera until I became a mother. Purchasing a good camera was one of the best choices I have ever made for my family. You can find a fantastic deal on an updated set I use HERE.
50. Practice Gratitude
The holidays are a great time of year to teach children about the concept of gratitude and thankfulness. Gratitude brings abundance. When we are thankful for what we have, we are given more of what we are grateful for and find greater happiness in life.
Make practicing gratitude a Christmas tradition in your home. Try any of these fun gratitude activities and crafts, or print out one of the Gratitude Journal Printables listed below.
Gratitude Journal Printables:
First, pass either one of these gratitude printables around the Christmas table. Next, invite kids and adults to write (or draw) what they are most thankful for in the corresponding boxes!
Fun Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year
We hope you enjoyed looking through this list of fun family Christmas traditions to start in 2021. In it, we share modern, classic, religious, and unique Christmas traditions from around the world from which to choose. Use this list of family Christmas ideas to start a new Christmas tradition this holiday season.
Creating meaningful family Christmas Traditions makes the holiday season a magical time of year–it’s the traditional things we do that hold the greatest meaning and create memories that last a lifetime. Don’t forget to pop over to look at our family gift guide with DIY and ready-made gift ideas for the whole family!
You may also enjoy this fantastic round-up of Christmas art projects. It includes a brief history of how and why other common Christmas symbols and characters came to be associated with the Christmas holiday.
Learn more about Rhythms of Play HERE!
More Holiday FAmily Traditions And Celebration Ideas
- New Year’s Traditions Celebration Ideas
- Easter Tradition and Fun Things to Do on Easter
- Thanksgiving Tradition and Fun Ways to Give Thanks
More Seasonal Traditions and Celebration Ideas
- Winter Sosltice Traditions and Celebration Ideas
- Spring Equinox Traditions and Celebration Ideas
- Summer Solstice Traditions and Celebration Ideas
- Fall Autumnal Equinox Celebration Ideas
More Christmas Family Ideas
- Gifts for Mom That Will Put You in the Good Book
- The Ultimate Eco-Friendly Gift Guide for Kids
- Homemade Gifts Kids Can Make
- DIY Christmas Ornaments
- Something to Read: Book Gift Ideas for Kids