Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year

by Tonya Staab
Published: Last Updated on

It’s never too late to start new family Christmas traditions. We’ve got great ideas for you that can be passed down through generations.

Family Christmas traditions

Cut down your own Christmas tree

Kids cutting down their own Christmas tree and loading it onto a cart.
Cut your own tree this Christmas

After my divorce, I started this tradition with my kids. We head out to a local tree farm, Marisol chooses the tree, and the boys cut it down. We load it up onto a cart or wagon, tie it onto the car and drive home to decorate it. Not only are you supporting a local farmer, but it’s creating a wonderful memory for the whole family.

Give the kids their own tree

When the kids were younger, I gave them each a small tree for their bedroom. They would decorate it with whatever ornaments they wanted, and Santa would leave their gift underneath.

Drive around to look at holiday lights

driving through the Lights Under Louisville
Drive through holiday lights.

Whether you just drive around your neighborhood or drive-through holiday light shows that have been put on, this is a great tradition for the whole family. This year we’ve driven through the Lights Under Louisville and plan on taking neighborhood drives too.

Take your own family photos

family taking their own Christmas photo with balloons
Take your own Christmas photo with your family.

You don’t need to hire expensive photographers or use fancy equipment to take your own family photo for the holidays. Whether you use it to send out Christmas cards, or place them on display each year, they are a wonderful memory to have.

I’m so glad Mike indulges my crazy ideas and does things like dressing up in a Santa suit for me. You can see all of our tips for taking your own family photos over at Party City.

Great creative with yours. Maybe you can all wear crazy socks, matching pajamas, or Christmas hats. We’ve taken them while building a sand snowman at the beach, using funny photo props, and last year my parents sent out fancy holiday ties we all had to wear.

Make an advent calendar

a handmade stocking advent calendar
Handmade Christmas advent calendar.

We’ve all seen the fun advent calendars that you can buy, from LEGO, to chocolate, cheese, and even wine. Make your own advent calendar to create memories with your family for the whole month of December.

Ideas for your advent calendar:

  • Wrap a Christmas jigsaw puzzle and put a label on it. Put a matching label into the stocking, so on that day someone gets to unwrap the puzzle and you can start it as a family.
  • Polar Express movie night – you could have it outdoors on a screen with a firepit and hot chocolate, or curled up under blankets indoors.
  • Go caroling in your neighborhood.
  • Do a random act of kindness.

You can see all 25 of my ideas and the instructions to make this stocking advent calendar at Make and Takes.

Bake and decorate Christmas cookies

homemade reindeer cookies for the holidays.
Handmade gluten-free reindeer cookies for the holidays.

Baking and decorating cookies with the family is a delicious yearly tradition. You can see how we made these gluten-free reindeer cookies last year, and we even painted our own reindeer aprons for a full day of reindeer fun. I’ve got tips too for setting up your own cookie decorating station.

Have a holiday movie night

penguin mug filled with hot chocolate and marshmallows
Family Christmas tradition holiday hot chocolate movie night.

Family movie nights are something you can do multiple times a week. It’s a great way to get everyone together. Here are a few we’ve done, that we’ve even made special themed treats for. This is so much fun for the whole family.

Make ugly sweaters

lady wearing an abominable ugly sweater with lights
Abominable ugly sweater for holiday parties.

You don’t need to be going to an ugly sweater party to make your own ugly sweaters to wear. Check out this Abominable one that I made, it even has lights!

Christmas crafts

kids playing a handmade santa ring toss game with plastic bottles
Christmas crafts with kids.

Do Christmas crafts together as a family. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

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Nikki Pevito December 12, 2020 - 1:05 pm

Love your ideas. I am always looking for creative ways to do things with the grandkids.

Tonya Staab December 12, 2020 - 3:37 pm

Thank you. I try to put together things that our kids will hopefully pass down to their kids and remember the fun we had when they were younger.


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