Christmas time is literally such a special time for me and my family. And it’s not because we live in a magical wintery paradise with Christmas decorations lining every street. We live in Florida. So, we’re just thankful that the humidity has died down by then!
Living in a warmer climate certainly doesn’t add to the Christmas spirit but we do our best to make our own and really soak in this season.
You see, I used to get really stressed during the holidays because of all the hustle and bustle going on. I’m a pretty big introvert who likes very small gatherings.
Big crowds and large family gatherings tend to make me anxious. And with all the parties and dinners, I would get overwhelmed really quickly.
Until I decided to focus my attention elsewhere. When I, on purpose, stopped paying so much attention to all the parties, the spending, and the general holiday stress things started getting so much better.
I shifted my focus to making the Christmas season one that my family would remember and cherish forever. One that focused on having fun and enjoying each other instead of all the stress swirling around me.
We started creating fun family Christmas traditions that we can’t wait for all year. We do just a few of these Christmas traditions and I went farther to share even more ideas with you… thirty to be exact!
This isn’t a Christmas bucket list per se, it’s more of an inspiration list to help you build your own family Christmas traditions. So, don’t get overwhelmed. Just choose a few and try them out and see what sticks! And most of all have a fun and Merry Christmas!
16 Family Christmas Traditions
1 – Make Your Own Ornaments
This Christmas tradition is really fun because the ornaments can be as simple and easy as they need to be when your kids are still very young. And as they get older, they can still continue creating more sophisticated ornaments.
Each year you can decorate your tree with these ornaments. We’ve always decorated our tree with a mixture of storebought ornaments and kid-made ornaments. And our tree always looks amazing!
I actually adore this post of ornament ideas because there is such a mix of really beautiful ornaments that are perfect for both little hands and ones your older kids would love!
If you’d rather not run around gathering a bunch of supplies, here are some DIY ornament kits that make the process much easier! Make your own ornament variety kit, Melissa and Doug ornament kit, and a create your own suncatcher ornaments kit.
2 – Attend Christmas Service
As a kid, I remember getting up as early as possible to open up presents and then eat cinnamon rolls. After we got all the wrapping paper cleaned up, we’d head out as a family to attend Christmas Day service at our church.
As adults, we attend Christmas Eve service now the night before. Somehow it feels even more magical going out at night. Either way, it’s important that we give honor to Whom the season was given. For us, Christmas is the season that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
3 – Make a Christmas Give and Receive List
My kids are professionals when it comes to making Christmas lists. They learned very early how to search for the latest toys and gadgets and how to do it all electronically so they can text their list to their loving recipients.
However, this always left me feeling icky. Christmas lists are fine, in fact, it’s their grandparents and other family members that ask for them every year so they know what to buy. I get it.
I just felt like there was something missing. So, I first gave my kiddos a limit of how many things they can add to their own list. One year my oldest almost got to 100 things on her list. Not my proudest parenting moment.
They can now add no more than 20 things. This may seem like a lot but we have a huge family. You do what works for your family.
And second, they also create a Christmas Give list. This is where they think of their friends and family and think of who and what they desire to give this Christmas. And because we all don’t need another list of things we have to buy, they are encouraged to think about ways to give their time or talent.
4 – Make Edible Gifts
My middle daughter loves to cook and bake in the kitchen so making large batches of edible gifts for our family and friends is totally in her lane.
We’ve made many, many little packages of love that were a big hit. We just search on good ole’ Pinterest and look for easy treats to make that have wide appeal. Our edible delights over the years have been peppermint white chocolate covered brownie bites, Christmas crack, sweet and spicy candied mixed nuts, mint Christmas fudge, chocolate covered pretzels.
Usually, we make several different treats and give them as a Christmas treat sampler! It’s a lot of work, but it shows how much you care and they are always a big hit.
5 – Make a Birthday Cake for Jesus
I love this idea because it really drives home the reason for the season! We did this one year and it was fun for the kids, but we ended up with a whole cake to eat. Which is fine but when you pair that with Christmas cookies and all the other sweets… it was overload.
What we now do it make Birthday “pan”cakes for breakfast. We sing happy birthday and enjoy a yummy breakfast without an entire cake to eat all week long.
6 – Make and Decorate Christmas Cookies
I remember baking and decorating endless cookies with my mom as a kid. I remember sneaking all that yummy cookie dough more than anything!
Making cookies is really such a fun tradition that can double as a Christmas gift if you choose to give them away as tasty little gifts of love!
Here are some amazing Christmas cookie recipes to try this Christmas!
7 – Go Ice Skating
Now I know I must sound crazy being the Florida mom telling you to go ice skating. But I know that so many of my readers don’t live in Florida and are living in a real winter wonderland during Christmas. #Jealous
Ice skating is actually something we were able to do here in Florida at an indoor skating rink. It wasn’t as magical as skating on a real lake, but it was a whole lot of fun and a great tradition to do every Christmas.
8 – Make Hot Cocoa
Making hot cocoa is something we love to make a big deal of during Christmas time. We make some before we go on our Christmas lights tour and we make some before we watch our Christmas movies. And pretty much anything we’re doing!
Of course, we love adding peppermint flavor but not everyone in our house likes peppermint. I know, crazy right? Here are some fun hot cocoa recipes to try. If you’re taking your cocoa to go, try using these adorable to-go cups to keep it warm and from spilling all over your backseat!
9 – Watch a Christmas movie marathon
We are a movie family! Snuggling up together watching classic Christmas movies is one of our favorite traditions. It’s so relaxing and helps us stay connected at the same time.
Nowadays it’s so easy to just select the Holiday movies in your Netflix or cable dashboard. Just scroll until you find your favorites. But just in case you don’t have those, here’s a great list!
10 – Make Homemade Gifts
I love, love handmade gifts. I strongly believe a handmade gift, done right, can be even more special than a storebought gift. Depending on you or your children’s natural giftings your homemade gifts can be pretty amazing.
And they show the other person how much you care because you didn’t just give them a gift card. Here are some really fun to create and fun to receive gift ideas.
11 – Buy a Gift for a Charity
This is also one of our favorite family Christmas traditions. We all know how much more amazing giving feels than receiving and I want my kids to feel that during the season that is primarily focused on receiving. At least it is from the lens of most kids!
You can join in with an Angel tree in your city or through your church. You basically pull a tag off an angel tree and purchase the wished item and return the wrapped gift to that location.
There are usually many ways to give to others in need for Christmas. The point is to make it a tradition to have your family get involved in some way!
12 – Make Gingerbread Houses
Yes, I know this one is old school but it’s still a lot of fun for the little ones. We do this one with our extended family on Christmas Eve each year. Some years us adults forget to grab all the supplies before the stores close.
But each year we remember, the kids absolutely have the best time and it’s so fun to watch them! Here’s some gingerbread inspiration for you! And yes, you can actually buy your own gingerbread house kit!
13 – Drive Around Town to See Christmas Lights
This is one of our family favorites. We always stop for hot chocolate first and then drive to the best spots in our city (we have a lot of them) and marvel at all the amazing light displays.
No matter how old our kids get, this never seems to lack in plenty of whimsy and Christmas spirit. In fact, our city is so large that we can easily drive around to see Christmas lights several nights throughout the holiday.
14 – Elf on the Shelf
I think we can all agree that the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon has taken on a life of its own! It’s hilarious to see on your Instagram all the trouble that little guy gets into each night after the kids go to bed.
I’m not sure that’s what the intent was behind the creation of the Elf of the Shelf, but it’s certainly a fun activity that gives the whole family a good laugh in the morning!
15 – Do Acts of Kindness with the Kindness Elf
This is such a cute idea that I just stumbled upon from the Imagination Tree. The Kindness Elf is an alternative to the Elf on a Shelf and helps kids get in the spirit and habit of doing random acts of kindness to others.
I just love this idea and you can read all about it here!
16 – Have an Ugly Sweater Photo Shoot
I’m not convinced that the ugly sweater movement is over yet. But then again, I can be so late! Lol But I love any opportunity to be fun and silly with my kids.
And this one is so easy! Just go to your local thrift shop and you’ll be overloaded with choices for ugly Christmas attire. Yes, you can buy expensive ones in the stores now. But why?
Which family Christmas tradition is your favorite? Did we miss one? Please share your best traditions in the comments below!