Holiday traditions can be full of joy and meaning, and are different for every family. You may bring in traditions from your own childhood as well as from your spouse’s family of origin, and combine them to make new ones for your own children. As I shared in this post about Ways to Simplify the Holiday Season, we make a list of all the things we want to experience during the holidays at the beginning so we make sure to prioritize and not get caught up in the busyness. Today I’m sharing ten of our favorite Christmas traditions with you, and I’d love to hear about your own in the comments section. Don’t forget to check out the links at the bottom of this post to find more Festive Family Fun ideas from the Festive Family bloggers. Our MASSIVE Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway ends tonight (11/17) at midnight, so be sure to enter at the bottom of this post.
Fun & Festive Christmas Traditions for Families:
Decorating the Tree – This may seem like a no brainer for your family, but in today’s Pinterest perfectionist society I know plenty of people who hire professionals to decorate their Christmas tree and home, or do it themselves after the kids are in bed. I love the haphazard way my toddler and preschooler add decorations and love the excitement on their faces as they get to place ornaments on the tree and see it lit for the first time. I wouldn’t trade it for the most beautifully decorated tree in the world. You do what works for you, but for our family we’ll decorate it together while listening to a Christmas station on Pandora and embrace the beautiful mess that is our tree.
Story Time with Santa – Many shopping malls and libraries offer a story time session with Santa during the holidays, often at no cost. We go to the one at Northpark Mall, and it is magical. Santa tells a story to the gathered children at his gorgeous cottage in the middle of the mall, and the kids eat it up. This makes for a great day time outing and adds festive holiday cheer at no cost.
Christmas Light Tour – One of our favorite free holiday traditions is to bundle up in the car with hot chocolate and drive around to look at the lights. There are a few neighborhoods in the DFW area known for their extravagant light displays, so we pick one and go for a tour. The kids love it as much as the adults, and we sing along with a Christmas radio station or cd as we drive in our (not so) one horse open sleigh.
Read and Act Out the Nativity – We started this tradition last year using our Little People Nativity Set and it was big fun. We read the Christmas story from the Jesus Storybook Bible and acted it out with the Little People. I’ve heard of families with older children making costumes and having the kids themselves act out the story, and I can’t wait to try that soon. Here are more Ways to Keep Christ in Christmas from The Joys of Boys.
Family Christmas Party – This could really look like whatever you choose, but I’ll tell you what we did last year. We invited our closest family friends over for a simple dinner of tortilla soup and quesadillas, then traipsed down the street to ride our neighborhood Christmas train. It was so much fun, and a simple way to have a Christmas party with very little stress. No one had to get dressed up or find a babysitter, and tortilla soup is super delicious on a cold night and easy to prepare for a crowd. You can find our tortilla soup recipe here. Here’s a fun idea for a Mommy and Me Christmas Party from The Life of Jennifer Dawn. You can print out our free Christmas Loteria Game to play with your family here.
Jesse Tree Advent – To celebrate Advent, the waiting on the coming birth of Christ, I loved the idea of walking through the bible looking at the story of Jesus from a bigger perspective and sharing that with our kids. Last year I joined a Jesse Tree co-op last year to create the ornaments. A friend invited me, and the basic premise is to join with 24 other crafty mamas to create the ornaments for your Jesse Tree. I created 25 of my assigned ornament, and then swapped with everyone else to end up with a full set. Here are several Jesse Tree resources from Ann Voskamp that I love: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, and a free Jesse Tree ebook from Feels Like Home.
Give Back and Share Joy – At Christmas our family celebrates the greatest gift in the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are called then to give to others and to share the joy of the season. We are hoping to teach our children that giving is as much a part of the season as receiving and can bring more joy. This year we hope to help them create a care package to send to a soldier overseas, make cards to take to my grandmother’s nursing home, and buy gifts for a family in need. Here are some ideas for sharing acts of kindness from The Good Long Road.
Holiday Crafting – We’ve already got a head start on this one, with our Time Capsule Christmas Ornaments, our DIY Holiday Garland, and our Thankful Tree. My kids and I love to create so we will probably be making something festive several times a week between now and Christmas. For more ideas on festive crafts to make yourself, you can find Ten Preschool Christmas Crafts here, DIY Keepsake Ornament Ideas here, and Easy Christmas Crafts Anyone Can Make here. Here’s another fun idea for Jingle Bell Crafts from The Joy of Boys.
Baking Holiday Treats – Nothing gets me in the holiday spirit quite like baking Christmas cookies or making a tin of fudge. Whatever your favorite holiday treat, take the time to make it this year as a family. We also plan to decorate a gingerbread house with the kids for the first time this year. Get tips for Decorating a Gingerbread House from Love Play and Learn.
Attend a Carol Service at Church – In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, taking time out to go to a church service can be difficult. We try to make it a priority to attend a Christmas service even when we are traveling, because it really makes us stop and focus on the meaning of Christmas. There is a calm and peace that comes when singing Silent Night in a church lit by candlelight that cannot be gained elsewhere. What are your favorite festive family Christmas traditions? Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board Festive Family Holiday on Pinterest.
Ideas for Festive Family Fun from the Festive Family Bloggers:
FREE Printable Nativity Puppets for Kids from Happy and Blessed Home
Family Made Christmas Card from Hand Made Kids Art
Sensory Survival Tips for Holiday Parties from Lemon Lime Adventures
Fun Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family from Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Festive Family Drinks from Peace But Not Quiet
Holiday Baking with Kids from Gypsy Road School
A Magical Winter Wonderland from Are We There Yet?
In Defense of Elf on the Shelf from Still Playing School
Hot Chocolate Playdough from Fireflies and Mud Pies
DIY Christmas Eve Box from Adventures of Adam
Ten Tips for Christmas Caroling with Kids from She Lives Free
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