Family Christmas traditions are those little things that your kids will remember forever and hopefully pass on their favourite ones to their children. Many of us have our cultural tradition that we were raised with or brought into as children. We may love them all, or we may follow them, just because we feel obligated by our families.
Personally, I feel that incorporating the family Christmas traditions you love and creating new ones that fit your families’ beliefs and lifestyle will make your Christmas season joyful and enriching.
Here are 12 Family Christmas Traditions that you may consider starting with your kids this season, to make it more unique and memorable.
Make Christmas Cookies While Listening / Singing Along to Christmas Carols
This one is a very popular family Christmas tradition, yet, so many families seem to be too busy to enjoy a few hours together making Christmas cookies. This tradition serves a few purposes. It allows you to spend time together with your kids. It helps you teach your children how to bake your favourite cookies. And finally, it gives you an opportunity to have some fun and to unapologetically belt-out out-of-tune Christmas carols that you love, but have no opportunity to sing otherwise.
Use a Christmas-Themed Mug for the Whole Month of December
You know you love the silly Santa mugs or those big hot chocolate mugs with fun Christmas quotes, but you never buy them because you’ll only use them a few times a year. Well, how about getting one for each of your family member and using them exclusively for the whole month of December? They are fun, and festive and they will put your whole family in a holiday spirit. And since you’ll be committed to using that one and only mug, you’ll have less dirty cups to wash each evening.
Pick Out a Personalized Christmas Ornament of the Year
To commemorate each year that passed during Christmas, think of one special thing that your kids learned or started doing that year. Or maybe an interest that they developed or a special book / movie character they were really into. See if you can find a Christmas ornament to represent it and have it personalized with their name and year. Your kids will love it. You can involve them in picking the ornament, or you can get it yourself and give it to them on Christmas Eve as a part of their pre-Christmas present. They could place it on the Christmas tree just before they go to bed that night. You’ll be amazed at their response to the ornaments as the years pass and the ornaments accumulate!
Help the Less Fortunate
There are plenty of opportunities to help those who are less fortunate, especially during the Christmas season. Many shelters collect mittens and hats for the homeless. Malls and churches collect toys for the Toy Mountain. Food banks collect nonperishable food for those who cannot afford Christmas meal. Many of the retirement residences collect gifts for the elderly who have no families visiting them during Christmas. There are many more organizations that asked for help especially during the Christmas season.
As a family, pick one of them and help make a difference in your community. You can support the same organization every Christmas or you can make it a tradition to pick a different one every year. Engage your children. Ask them who they would like to help out this season and go with it!
Revive the Christmas Card Writing Ritual
This day and age, not many of us write letters. We all communicate via Face-Time, phone calls, text messages or email. But wouldn’t you want to get a hand-written Christmas card hidden between the flyers and bills in your mailbox?
Ask your children to pick one person or a family that they are close to, but they don’t get to see much and get them to send a Christmas card to them. Go beyond the commercial cards where all you do is fill in who the card is for and who it is from. Get your children to write out heart-felt, original Christmas wishes on a blank or (even better) a hand made Christmas card. Consider including a short letter with an update about your family.
Teach them where to write the address, the return address and take them to the post office to put a stamp on the envelope and send it out. Have each member of your family write one out, each to a different friend or relative. It’s such a great way to spread Christmas joy.
Visit a Christmas Bazaar or a Christmas Market
Getting some hand made gifts or home made treats is always fun and Christmas Bazaars and Markets offer plenty of options and varieties. It is fun to browse all the wonderful things that people make and pick up a few little gifts for those “hard to buy for” or those who deserve one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.
While this is a great opportunity to do some of your Christmas shopping done, we encourage you to put a twist on this tradition. Put aside a bit of money and include yourself and your family members on the Christmas list! This is once-a-year opportunity to get something special for yourself as well. So if you love that bar of hand-made soap or your daughter is eyeing those cozy slippers for the fifth time, why not get them?
Read a Christmas-Themed Story
If reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve is not your cup of tea, I have the perfect alternative for you. Instead of reading popular Christmas stories, pick up a Christmas themed book that you are actually interested in. And it doesn’t even have to be one book that you will be reading all together as a family. Go to the library, and ask each of your family members to pick a Christmas themed story that they may enjoy. It could be a picture book or a novel, whatever works for you. Set aside a few minutes every night and have a Christmas reading time. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your family and to encourage your kids to read.
Create “The 12 Blessings” Christmas Journal
This family Christmas tradition makes for a great future memory. Get a beautiful journal, one that you can keep for years to come. Get everyone in your family to come up with twelve things they have been blessed with this year. Anything that made you them happy goes.
Did you learn a new skill? What amazing book did you read this year? Did you spend time with people you don’t see often? Or maybe you went on a special vacation? Did you meet a special friend? Are you proud of a specific accomplishment?
Write “Christmas of” followed by they year on one page, making it a cover for that year. Ask each member of your family to write their name at the top of a new page. Then ask them to write out their blessings in their best handwriting. If you have little ones that can’t write yet, ask them to tell you want their blessing were and write them for your little one. If your child can’t talk yet, think back to their milestones and write those out for them. This little journal does not take much time and can be done anytime over the month of December. But believe me, it makes for wonderful memory book later on.
Watch a Christmas Play, a Show or a Movie
The options for this one are endless. There are many community theatres that put on plays and shows during Christmas season. Why not support your community and enjoy some family time together. Making one of those as your annual ‘before Christmas outing’ is a great way to get into Christmas season. If you are not into the theatre, then go and see a Christmas movie or have a Christmas movie night at home. Watching a Christmas movie at home with some caramel popcorn and hot chocolate is just as much fun (or maybe even more) as going out.
Attend a Christmas-Themed Event or a Gala
Many communities offer family-oriented Christmas events. Some museums put on Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies with special activities for the little ones. Others, organize Christmas exhibitions or Christmas light festivals. Even some malls offer Christmas themed events and activities. Check out your local or community websites. They are bound to have more information about it.
If you want to go all out, consider going to a Christmas Gala for one of your local charities. Many hospitals and non-profit organizations organize formal, family-friendly Christmas themed dinner and dance. Why not enjoy an evening with your family, have a chance to dress up, help a good cause, and not have to cook!
Before you go anywhere, grab a travel mug full of hot chocolate and get on your way! Pick an evening and go for a drive of the downtown area of your city. Enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations. In addition, in many places the neighbourhoods or streets compete for the title of Most Festive area in town. Go for a drive through those neighbourhoods. It’s a great way to stay warm and enjoy a moment of family time without having to spend any money!
Post-Christmas Pyjama Day
While there is a lot of planning and running around before Christmas, many of us loose our steam as Christmas festivities come to an end. Consider taking one of the days right after Christmas and making them into “pyjama and leftovers / take-out day”. Announce it to the family the night before. Let them know that it is a sleep-in, eat-what-you-will (within reason), relaxing day. Everyone needs to recharge and prepare themselves physically and mentally for getting back to the routine. So ensure that everyone in your family gets a bit me-time to rejuvenate.
What Are Your Family Christmas Traditions?
So, which Christmas tradition you’re thinking of adapting this year? Or maybe you’d like to share your own Christmas tradition that is not mentioned above?