Family Holidays

A List of Family Christmas Traditions to Try

Everything about this year has been different. Why not try some new family Christmas traidtions this year? Make this year special!

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Your family holiday traditions may be interrupted this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Traveling or gathering with large groups of extended family might not be recommended or allowed. So you might be looking for more holiday festivities and traditions for your family to adopt. 

We’ve gathered together a list of Christmas traditions and activities for you to try with your family this year: 

Christmas Countdowns: 

advent family Christmas traditions

Counting down to Christmas with your kids or grandkids builds anticipation and makes everyday feel special. Some families start a countdown for the twelve days of Christmas, and others start counting down on December 1st. Whichever you choose, your family is sure to love it. Here are the best count-down traditions: 

  1. Create a Christmas paper chain countdown. Cut red and green construction paper into 2 inch strips. Take a strip and glue or tape the ends together to create a loop. Then thread another strip of paper through and glue the end together to create a chain, until you have 25 loops in the chain. Allow your kids to take turns tearing off a chain each day. This is especially helpful for young kids to visualize the concept of days and passing time. 
  2. Use an advent calendar. There are many different kinds of advent calendars. The most famous are probably the chocolate calendars, but there are small toy set advent calendars as well. We bought our son a DisneyPixar Cars themed advent calendar last year and it was one of his favorite things about the Christmas season. 
  3. Do a nativity countdown with your family. You’ll need a nativity set with 12 pieces. Then have your kids unwrap one nativity piece each day. Talk about the importance of each piece with your kids as you countdown to Christmas. 

Santa Claus Traditions:

santa snow globe family Christmas traditions

Kids’ excitement about Santa Claus is one of the best parts of the holidays. Listed below are a few traditions to bring to life the magic of Santa: 

  1. Bake and decorate cookies together to leave out for Santa on Christmas eve. You can also leave carrots for the reindeer. Don’t forget the milk or eggnog. 
  2. Set a trap for Santa. When I was six years old, I remember my dad setting mouse traps near our fireplace on Christmas Eve to try and catch Santa. On christmas morning, the mouse traps had “caught” pieces of Santa’s red suit. My parents also made Santa “footprints” by mixing flour and glitter to make it look like Santa walked across our living room. 
  3. Have your kids write a letter to Santa and mail it to the North Pole. It’s extra fun to have Santa write them a letter back. You may be able to find someone online or in your neighborhood that charges a small fee write a letter back in response.. 
  4. Remember to have Santa’s wrapping paper different from your own wrapping paper. If you can take the time to write fancy cursive letters on the tags it makes it even better. 
  5. Start the “Santa’s Extra Bag” tradition in your home. Ask your kids to go through their toys and decide which ones they no longer play with that they would be ok giving to Santa so he can deliver them as extra gifts to other kids. It’s fun if you can find a red bag to have your kids fill up and leave by the door for Santa to take with him.  

Christmas Light Traditions

family Christmas traditions parent and child sitting in front of a Christmas tree

The short days and long dark nights of wintertime can be emotionally draining, which is why Christmas lights can bring so much joy.

  1. Drive your kids around to look at the neighborhood lights or a “drive-thru” light display. Bring hot chocolate in thermal cups and popcorn or other snacks. Play christmas music while looking at all the lights. 
  2. Create your own ice luminaries. This activity is usually best for older kids, and in places where the temperature gets below freezing. Take cookie sheets and fill them with water and place them outside (or in your freezer) until they are frozen sheets of ice. Then break the ice out in large chunks and carefully arrange them into triangles or squares in the snow. Place tealights or other small candles inside the frozen ice to create luminaries.  
  3. A few days before Christmas, let your kids make a fort or bed near the christmas tree and have a slumber party with the christmas tree lights on all night. You can watch christmas movies, play games, eat fondue or another special meal before tucking them into their makeshift bed. 

I hope this list has helped you find a new Christmas tradition to try with your family this year.

About the author

Candace Groberg

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