25 Christmas Traditions and Activities for Families

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As we gear up for the most joyous season of the year, let’s explore a mix of delightful ideas that have become cherished traditions in my own family. From the classic tree-trimming shenanigans to heartwarming Christmas Eve rituals, I’m excited to share how these activities, rooted in special memories, have made our holidays extra magical. Most importantly, in our family, Christmas is all about celebrating the true reason for the season—Jesus! So, grab a cup of cocoa, get snug in your coziest sweater, and let’s explore these 25 Christmas Traditions and Activities for Families together!

Christmas Traditions and activities for families

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The Cozy Creative Collaborative

I am so excited to be joining some amazing fellow bloggers for our monthly blog series, the Cozy Creative Collaborative! This month our theme is all about traditions.

Let me introduce you to the ladies. Make sure to visit all of their posts linked at the end too!

If you are popping over from Charity of Mornings on Macedonia and her post on her raspberry thumbprint cookies , welcome! Don’t those look so yummy?

25 Christmas Traditions and Activities for Families

Ok let’s jump right in to all the fun Christmas traditions and activities for families! And once you make it through all 25 of these I would love for you to leave me a comment telling me your favorite family traditions.

1. Trimming the Tree

This tradition is one that we probably share! Gather the family to decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments, lights, and a shiny tree topper. Make it a festive event with holiday music and hot cocoa. Growing up my mom and dad would give us a new ornament each year and write the year on it (if it wasn’t already there). It was always fun to reminisce about each one as we add it to our tree.

2. Advent Calendar

Count down the days to Christmas with an Advent calendar, revealing a small surprise or activity each day. It builds anticipation and adds daily excitement. My friend Robyn from Robyn’s French Nest has a family Advent calendar that I absolutely adore! As a family we have celebrated with many Advent calendars as we count down to Jesus’s birthday! Check out my post here on How to Make Advent Meaningful for Your family and last minute Advent ideas!

3. Holiday Movie Marathon

Create a cozy movie night at home, complete with classic Christmas films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” , ” Home Alone” , ” Rudolph” and “Elf.” Don’t forget the popcorn and blankets. Nicolle’s Christmas movie night basket and free printable movie ticket would be the perfect addition!

4. Gingerbread House Decorating

Spend an afternoon constructing and decorating gingerbread houses. It’s a delicious and creative activity that the whole family can enjoy. Get creative and make it a family competition!

5. Christmas Cookie Baking

Each year the girls in our family head to my mom’s and bake and decorate a variety of Christmas cookies. I am not a baker to I try to help delegate jobs to the kids and manage needs. Ha! Sometimes we use festive shapes and colors, and involve everyone in the process, from mixing the dough to decorating the finished treats. We always make our Christmas shortbread and you can’t really mess this recipe up because it’s just 3 ingredients! Another family favorite are the Daddy’s Molasses cookies.

6. Letters to Santa

Have each family member write a letter to Santa Claus, expressing their Christmas wishes and reflecting on the past year. It’s a heartwarming tradition that can be cherished for years to come. Our kids are older now so we no longer do this tradition sadly. But I have fond memories of these sweet letters. The kids also loved to leave milk and cookies out for Santa and carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. They were always a yummy snack for us as we finished wrapping gifts last minute!

7. Outdoor Lights Tour

This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! Take a drive or walk through neighborhoods to admire the dazzling Christmas light displays. Make it a competition to find the most elaborate decorations. Our family loves to have hot chocolate for the ride as well. One year for my birthday which is on December 22nd my husband even rented a party bus to take our entire family around to look at lights!

8. Christmas Eve Pajamas

Start a tradition of gifting new pajamas to each family member on Christmas Eve. Wear them that night for a cozy and festive bedtime. My parents did this for us when my sister and I were growing up and we now do it for our kids. My parents actually still give my sister and I pajamas along with our spouses!

9. Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Each year my parents take all of their grandchildren to The Dollar Store and have them each fill up a shoebox full of gifts for a child in need for Operation Christmas Child. This is through Samaritan’s Purse an amazing non-profit who aims to provide spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. You can read their full mission statement here. We love this family tradition because it encourages our kids to think of others rather than themselves.

10. Volunteer Together

Give back to the community by volunteering as a family at a local charity or soup kitchen. It’s a meaningful way to share the spirit of Christmas. Our family loves to volunteer at our church to greet, hold doors and hand out candles on Christmas Eve.

11. Homemade Gifts

We love making homemade gifts for family and friends. Some of our favorites include our cookies, my mom’s hot chocolate or homemade soaps!

Grab our Free Holiday Printables Bundle

12. Find the Pickle

The tradition of hiding and finding the pickle Christmas ornament was a new tradition to me when I married my husband. The kids absolutely LOVE this game and it keeps them occupied for hours! It is jsut like it sounds. One person hides the pickle ornament while the others leave the room. They come back in and the hider lets them know if they are hot or cold. Fun for all ages!

13. Christmas Morning Breakfast or Christmas Day Lunch

Prepare a special breakfast for Christmas morning, whether it’s cinnamon rolls, pancakes, or a festive brunch. Enjoy the meal together before or while opening presents. Or if you are like us and have a large family that all lives close you can do Christmas lunch! As a family we open our gifts first thing in the morning. Once we are done Mike’s brother and his family, Mike’s dad and sister and my parents all come over for taco soup! If my sister is in town they all come too. It is a really fun time and I make the taco soup in the crock pot so it is super easy. Then everyone else brings the fixings!

14. Family Photo Session

Arrange a family photo session in coordinated holiday outfits. Capture memories that can be turned into Christmas cards or framed for the home. We try to do ours at least every other year. They are so fun to look back on!

15. Story Time by the Fireplace

Gather around the fireplace for a cozy story time. Read classic Christmas stories or share personal holiday memories. Each Christmas Eve my dad loves to sit on the sofa with the grandkids and read The Night Before Christmas. The kids love it (even the big ones) and I love seeing them all snuggled up with their papa. He even has a special version of the book that is 3-d!

16. Visit a Live Nativity

Each year we try to find a local church who is hosting a live nativity. Our town has one that walks you through the entire night of Jesus’s birth. If you have one near you I highly recommend this unique Christmas tradition!

17. Make Homemade Hot Cocoa

One of my mom’s favorite Christmas time traditions is making her “famous to us” hot chocolate! She makes it in bulk and we sometimes give it as gifts to neighbors and friends. But we definitly keep some for ourselves because it is SO yummy!

18. Adopt a Family

Every year our family enjoys participating in Adopt a Family! Sometimes it is a family from our kids schools, my husband’s work or our church. Either way it is a wonderful opportunity for our family to give when usually the focus is about receiving.

19. Attend a Christmas Eve Service

Attend a Christmas Eve service at your church or a local church to celebrate what Christmas is really all about, Jesus! Invite a friend or another family to join you. Our church does a candlelight service that we look forward to every year. at the end of the service they turn down the lights and light every candle being held by a person. Then we all lift them up and say, “You are the LIGHT of the world!”. It is breathtaking every single year.

20. Hot Chocolate Bar

Create a hot chocolate bar with various toppings like whipped cream, marshmallows, and flavored syrups. Let everyone customize their own festive drink. I have a special Santa mug for each of our four kiddos and I love to display them and make our set up extra special. Of course it features my mom’s AMAZING hot cocoa!!!

21. Visit Santa Claus and the Reindeer

Make a trip to see Santa Claus at a local mall or holiday event. Capture the moment with a photo to remember the visit. Or maybe your area, like ours, has reindeer that you can visit! This was always my favorite!

22. Create a Nativity Centerpiece

Does your family have a nativity set? Why not create a Nativity Scene Centerpiece that’s not only stunning but also deeply meaningful. Our family nativity set is one that my parents passed down to us so it is very special. I love finding new ways to display it around our home! One tradition that my mom always had was that we didn’t put the baby Jesus into his manger until Christmas morning. We have carried this tradition on with our kids as well!

23. Listen to Christmas Music

Christmas music is one of the BEST parts about Christmastime. I love singing carols, hymns and listening to songs about Jesus and his birth. Lately Lauren Daigle’s Christmas album has been on repeat at our house. Do you have a favorite song?

24. Christmas Game Night

Family game night is a perfect Christmas traditions and activity for families. We just started this tradition a few years ago and it has quickly become a favorite. This is a great tradition where all ages can get involved! To make it even more fun this year we are all wearing matching pajamas. Some of the games include using a spatula to pick up dollar bills while you are blindfolded or a bunch of prizes wrapped up in a huge saran wrap ball that you unwrap with oven mitts and there is a timer set. So many fun ways to enjoy being together as a family!

25. Pray, Reflect and Set Goals & Dreams

Take time as a family to pray and reflect on the past year and set goals for the upcoming one and. Share resolutions and aspirations, in anticipation of the new year. Talk about all the answered prayers and ones you are still praying for.

How to make Advent meaningful for your family!

25 Christmas Traditions and Activities for Families

I hope these family-centric Christmas traditions bring that extra dash of magic to your holiday season. The majority of these activities are near and dear to our hearts, holding special memories that have become an integral part of who we are as a family. Crafting ornaments, sharing stories by the fireplace, or embarking on a scavenger hunt—each tradition carries the essence of love, laughter, and togetherness.

In our household, Christmas is not just about presents and decorations; it’s a time to honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the true reason behind the festivities. May these traditions create a tapestry of joy and warmth that lasts not just through the season, but for all the seasons to come. Here’s to a holly, jolly Christmas filled with the love of family and the grace of Jesus. Happy holidays, and may each moment be a reflection of the true spirit of Christmas!

Share your favorite family tradition with me in the comments below!

Now make sure to visit Nicolle of Our Tiny Nest and her post where she is sharing her Christmas movie night basket and free printable movie ticket!

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  1. Kelly I love all of these ideas especially Operation Shoebox and the Find the Pickle sounds so fun! I pinned all of these ideas my friend!

  2. Kelly, I love this post so much! I feel like we grew up with very similar backgrounds because my parents did a lot of the same things you talk about in your childhood. I love that your parents still gift you Christmas jammies, that is awesome!!! Merry Christmas!

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