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Family Christmas Traditions

Published December 03, 2014        by Matt

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Family Christmas tradition ideas

Christmas is synonymous with family so as you all gather together this holiday season consider these great annual tradition ideas for your family. If you don't have traditions in your family, there is no time like the present to get started making lasting memories.

Creating annual family Christmas gift traditions and fun activities are especially important for families with young children. It will give them something to look forward to from year to year and will create memories that they will truly cherish as adults. Some day they'll pass these same joyous traditions on to their children.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Original Photo credit: Mukumbura / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Five Great Tradition Ideas

Decorating the Christmas tree

1) Attend Candlelight Christmas Eve Service - If your family goes to Christmas church services, why not make it a tradition to attend the midnight service which is usually candlelit. When I was a kid, we'd go to this service and each person would get their own individual candle. During the service, we'd pass the flame from one person to the next and the lights were dimmed to unveil a gorgeous candlelit church. I still cherish this memory today!

Image By Ernst Vikne (Decorating the Christmas tree) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2) Go Christmas Caroling - What a fun way to spread some Christmas holiday cheer around your town or neighborhood. Just gather up a group of friends, fellow church members or your large family and head out for an evening of singing. You'll be surprised how many houses cheer you on and even invite you in for a hot cup of cocoa and a Christmas cookie! It is great fun.

3) Open Gifts Christmas Eve - As a kid, there is nothing more exciting than opening presents. You try and guess what you getting the entire month of December even shaking the presents under the tree. Why not spread the excitement over two fun-filled days? In our house, on Christmas Eve my parents let us kids open our presents from our out of town relatives (like my Aunt in Ohio). Another idea is to let each child (and adult too) open just one present on Christmas Eve. Then everyone can open Santa and family presents on Christmas morning.

4) Watch a Christmas Themed Movie - For the last 20 years, my family has watched Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation every Christmas Eve. We all look forward to a big tin of holiday popcorn and laughter in front of the TV. Just choose a classic like Charlie Brown or the Muppet's Christmas Movie and gather the family for an enjoyable night of movies. Don't forget to have some yummy foods on hand like holiday cookies, candy-coated popcorn, peppermint hot chocolate, and a big bowl of eggnog!

5) Give a Christmas Tree Ornament - One of my college friends decorated his Christmas tree every year with a huge collection of airplane ornaments that he had received from his grandmother over the past 20 years. He may not have appreciated them as much as a child, but as an adult, he cherished each and every one of them - especially after his grandmother passed away. So if you have grandchildren, nieces or nephews or even your own children, giving them a Christmas ornament each year is a fantastic kids Christmas gift. Be sure to make it special for each child by choosing an ornament that coincides with their interests (my friend ended up being an aerospace engineer so I guess Grandma knew what she was doing).

Another idea is to buy an ornament for each child wherever you travel that year. If you go on a beach vacation, get each of the kids a beach themed gift. If they play a sport, get them a sports themed ornament - some companies will even personalize them for you. When the kids are old enough, they can help Mom & Dad decorate the family Christmas tree by hanging their very own collection of ornaments. And some day when they have a family of their own, they can continue to use the ornaments to decorate their family tree and tell their ornament stories to their own kids.

 Family Christmas Traditions

Interviews of Favorite Christmas Traditions

Start a family Christmas tradition in your home this year!

Fun Christmas Movies

In our house, we watch Christmas Vacation every year on Christmas Eve! I've seen it a million times and it still makes me laugh out loud.

5 More Great Christmas Traditions

6) Volunteer at a Charitable Organization - What better time to teach your children about the less fortunate and giving back to the community than at Christmas time. Check with your local food shelf and homeless shelter to see what they are doing for community members during the holiday season. Whether you help with Toys for Tots or serving a holiday meal with all the fixings at a local shelter, your kids will learn some valuable lessons regarding what Christmas should be all about. After all, they say you get back what you give ten-fold and the sheer happiness achieved by serving others is a gift in and of itself.

7) Drive around to see Christmas Lights - Many people turn their homes into pieces of artwork over the holidays by covering their yard and house in dazzling displays of Christmas lights and winter themed accessories like blow-up Snowmen. So enjoy a winter evening with your family by loading up the car or truck and driving around town to see all those beautiful Christmas displays. Some towns now set up huge light displays in county parks or along beach board walks to raise money for charity or other local causes. Be sure to check them out if you can in your local area.

8) Give Santa & His Reindeer Some Treats - The anticipation of Santa's arrival gets kids so wound up that it is sometimes difficult to figure out how to burn off all that extra energy. Turn their excitement into an activity by helping them make a Christmas snack for Santa and his reindeer. Whether you leave out a plate of Christmas cookies and tall glass of milk for Santa or you do something a bit more involved, this is one activity that will reinforce their excitement over Santa's impending arrival. Remind them that Santa's reindeer need to eat too so they should sprinkle reindeer food on the snow or near the chimney (things like nuts, cereal and pretzels work great).

9) Throw a Birthday Party For Jesus - With so much emphasis on presents, trees, and shopping during the holidays, Jesus can often times get lost in the mix. Throwing a birthday party for Jesus is a great way to remind kids that Christmas is really all about Jesus' birth. Bake a cake, birthday cookies, or some cupcakes with your kids and have them help you decorate it to say 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus. You can even gather the family to sing prior to cutting and eating the cake on Christmas Day. Don't forget the birthday party hats too!

10) Visit Santa Claus - Although some kids are scared to sit on Santa's lap, many love the opportunity to give Santa a letter and to sit on his lap while Mom or Dad takes a cherished photo. Get the entire family involved with a trip to see Santa by getting them dressed up in some festive clothing and then taking a photo to use on your Christmas cards. If you are planning to send cards to family and friends, be sure to go see Santa a few weeks before Christmas to allow enough time for processing.