Christmas is a great time to start a new tradition. Some are wildly popular right now like elf on the shelf, while others are more timeless like making DIY ornaments.
If you are looking to start some Christmas traditions with your kids, this list has a bunch of ideas for you!
Christmas Activities For Kids
1. Elf on the shelf
Like I previously said, elf on the shelf is a popular trend where you pose the little elf doing fun little activities. This is a great way to spread a little Christmas magic.
2. Advent Calendar
Advent calendars are another fun activity that kids and adults love. Starting on December 1st, you get a small little present corresponding to the day.
If you really want to get crafty, you could make your own DIY advent calendar.
You can also use this as a way to teach the story of Christmas to your child.
3. DIY Christmas ornaments
Christmas ornaments come in all shapes and sizes. One tradition you could start is by making your own ornaments.
The ideas are only limited to your creativity.
4. Photo with Santa
Another simple but memorable tradition could be taking photos with Santa. The photos are priceless, but younger kids might be a little frightened to sit with this jolly stranger.
5. Christmas light photo
Another fun photo tradition would be to take a string of Christmas lights and set it around your child, letting them play with them. These types of photos always turn out amazing!
Just make sure they are LED Christmas lights so they don't get hot.
6. Reading Christmas Books
Christmas books are another fun and easy tradition to start especially with young kiddos. Twas the night before Christmas is always a classic, but A Christmas Cookie Exchange is a fun newer book to check out too!
7. Matching Christmas pajamas
If you and your family are into matching, you could also try to find matching christmas pajamas. It would make for an excellent photo, but little ones really get a kick out of wearing the same thing their parents are.
My daughter loves twinning with me!
8. Looking at Christmas lights around town
We have a couple of different places that go all out for Christmas when it comes to decorating. Put on some fun Christmas pajamas, grab a hot chocolate and go look at the beautiful Christmas lights.
9. Writing a letter to Santa
Another fun tradition for younger kids who still believe in Santa is to write him a letter. This is also a great way to figure out what your little one would like for Christmas, so it's a sneaky tradition that parents have been using for such a long time.
10. Giving back
Every year around Christmas time, there are trees in some of the larger department stores with mittens on them with a small list of items that kids in need would like to receive for Christmas. You take the mitten and purchase what was on the list and then bring it back to the store where they will disperse it to those kids.
Another well-known charity is Toys for tots. It works the same way only with Toys for Tots, you just bring toys in to their donation stations and they will take care of the rest.
11. Christmas Cookies
Making cookies is another fun tradition that many families do. Choose from lots of different cookie cutters and decorate them with fun colored icing.
12. Gingerbread House
Another edible Christmas tradition is making gingerbread houses. You can make your own gingerbread or they have some easy kits you can grab too!
13. Watch a Christmas movie
Find a good family favorite Christmas movie like the Grinch to watch as the season rolls in. My favorite are the Hallmark Christmas movies! Perfectly cheesy with a touch of romance. What mom could resist?! 🙂
14. Go Ice Skating
We have an indoor ice rink that is open all year around and it's always a fun thing to go and do. Bundle up though because they keep it cold enough that the ice won't melt.
15. Pick out a new ornament every year
Another Christmas tradition could be to pick out a new ornament every year. Did you go somewhere exotic? Buy a small ornament to hang on your Christmas tree to remind you of that year.
16. Homemade hot chocolate
Hot chocolate always takes me back to my wintery childhood. It's definitely the drink that I think of when I hear Christmas. I'm not much of an egg nog fan.
17. Christmas music
This is probably one of my favorites! I listen to Christmas music right after Thanksgiving, because I love it that much.
18 Festive arts and crafts
There are so many different crafts that are perfect for Christmas. Make your own wreath, make your own stockings, or maybe make your own Christmas cards.
19. Sending Christmas cards
Do you send out Christmas cards to your family? I know we have done it a few years, but I really want to make it an annual tradition.
20. Decorating your home
Another fun tradition that everyone can participate in is decorating your home with all the festive greenery and decor. Make it a point to decorate your Christmas tree together as a family and every year you trade off who puts the star or angel on the top of the tree.
21. Lighting candles at Christmas
I first noticed this at Christmas last year we drove by an amish homestead and they had candles lit in all the windows.
I did a little research and it turns out that lighting candles in all the windows during the Christmas season is a way to show you are welcome to come and visit.
Gift Exchange Traditions
Some other fun traditions involve the actual gift giving.
22. White elephant gift exchange
This one was always popular with my dad's side of the family. The idea behind white elephant is that you bring a funny gag gift (make sure it's wrapped).
All the gifts are put together then everyone takes turns either stealing someone else's gift or picking a new one.
23. Secret Santa
Another gift exchange is Secret Santa. Everyone who is participating draws a name and whomever they get they buy a gift for. You can then try to guess who your Secret Santa is or leave is a secret!
24. Homemade gift exchange
One year we did a gift exchange similar to the white elephant gift exchange only whatever you gave had to be homemade. Paint a beautiful picture, sculpt a fun vase, learn how to make jewelry. It's really up to you, but it has to be homemade.
25. Cookie Exchange
Another fun and more modern tradition is the cookie exchange. Grab a few of your favorite friends or neighbors and arrange a cookie exchange party. Everyone brings one style of cookie and then you exchange with everyone else.
This way you can bring home a bunch of different cookies without the work of making a bunch of different cookies!
26. Want Need Wear Read gifting
Another tradition is buying your kids something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read. This adds variety to your gifting and then you won't end up with a bunch of toys.
Christmas Tradition FAQ
Pick something new to start this year like Elf on the Shelf, matching Christmas pajamas, or pick a new Christmas gift tradition like Secret Santa.
Christmas traditions are usually passed on from generation to generation. Over the years, they get adapted to more modern times and growing families.
They are important because families get to look forward to them year after year. It's also a way to pass on your legacy by teaching a tradition that you learned as a child.
Which traditions do you do with your family? Which one do you want to start this Christmas? Leave a comment below. 🙂