Having Christmas traditions with your kids is a great way to make special memories during the holidays.
In fact, if you are like most people, you probably have more memories of things you did together as a family during Christmas rather than specific gifts that you received.
It’s never to late (or early) to start Christmas traditions with your kids. Here are 5 Christmas tradition ideas that you can start with your children this holiday season.
1. Advent Calendar
Starting on December 1st, you and your kids can open a special door or unlock a special treat or prize as you count down the days the 24 days until Christmas.
There are all kinds of cool advent calendars for kids such as LEGO toy ones, other fun character toys calendars, advent calendars that you can fill yourself and use year after year, and also the really inexpensive chocolate filled advent calendars.
These calendars can be used to help teach your child the true meaning of Christmas by telling the Christmas story every day or it can simply just be a fun way to get excited about Christmas.
2. Decorate the Christmas Tree As a Family
Growing up I always though that everyone decorated their Christmas tree as a family but as I got older I found out for a lot of people that simply wasn’t the case.
Get all of your family involved on a special day and make that a Christmas decorating day. If you put up an artificial tree you can simply choose just about any day during the season to put it up. If you have a live tree for Christmas you can always make a special day of it by going and picking out the tree and then that night or even the next day, have it be decorating day.
If you are the type of person who likes your tree to look precise and perfect, consider maybe buying a smaller tree for your kids that they can at least decorate and you can still have your perfect tree as well.
Remember to make this day extra special by turning on the Christmas tunes, lighting a fire, and making some hot cocoa to go along with decorating.
3. Cookie Baking Day
You don’t have to be an expert baker to be able to bake some Christmas cookies with your kids. In fact you can even use pre-made cookie dough that you bake and then have your children decorate and the day will be just as special as if you made all your own cookie dough.
If you have older kids you can even involve them more with the cookie baking process and let them find a special recipe for a cookie or treat that they want to make instead of just making the ordinary cookies you always make for the holidays.
You also don’t have to make a ton of cookies as some kids will lose interest quickly. Even just a simple cut out sugar cookie that they can use cookie cutters to make special designs and then decorate with frosting is good enough for most kids.
If you like baking you can even use these special treats to give out as gifts to your family or your children’s friends.
4. Annual Christmas Ornament
A new Christmas ornament every year to hang on the tree can be a great way to not only allow your child to have some say in decorating the tree but can be a nice way to collect ornaments over the years that your child can take with them when they get their own home.
You can stick with certain themes of ornaments for example you could do a personalized ornament with their name and year on it, or simply just let them go to the store and pick out their favorite ornament for the year.
As your child gets older it is definitely a nice tradition to start allowing them to pick out or at least have some say in their ornament for the year. You can even make a special trip to a store just to pick out the ornament for the tree that year.
Plus, it’s lots of fun for your kids to look back at the ornaments that they have picked out in the past as it makes some really nice memories not only for you, but for them as well.
5. Donate to Charity
Christmas time is a wonderful time to teach your child to give back and to really do something for people who are less fortunate.
Get your child involved with any donations such as donating any gently used toys or clothes, picking out gifts for a special kid or family from an angel tree, picking out a toy to donate to Toys for Tots at the store, or simply donating time or food to a local soup kitchen or food bank.
It doesn’t matter how young they are you can always start teaching them about compassion and giving back to others. Christmas time offers a multitude of opportunities for giving back your time to the community or donating something physical.
Just be sure that you are teaching them the reason why you are donating and why it’s such a good cause rather than just simply doing it.
Some people may not think of this as a “fun” Christmas tradition but you may be surprised just how much fun your child has going through their toys so another little boy or girl can enjoy them or even just picking up some canned goods at your local grocery store to help a family in need. It’s something they will remember year after year and can bring through to their adult life.
6. Visit Local Christmas Lights
Make a night or two with your family and go around visiting local Christmas light displays.
You can choose from simply riding around town checking out different houses or look into professional light displays that you can drive or walk through. You can even make it more special by taking some hot chocolate in thermoses to drink in the car and of course turn on the Christmas music to listen to.
Most people will find that there are local neighborhood displays that you can check out for free and you may even find some displays that have Santa come visit for the kids as well.
Riding around town in the car checking out the lights is one of those childhood memories that you really don’t forget because even though it doesn’t cost a lot of money, it’s time that you get to spend closely with your family.
7. Special Christmas Eve Tradition
If you don’t already have a Christmas Eve tradition in your home, then start one this year. There really are so many different things that you can do on the day before Christmas that can become a wonderful family tradition.
One of the more popular traditions for the night before Christmas seems to be the Christmas Eve box for kids. This is a box that parents make up with small gifts inside, usually something like Christmas pajamas, a Christmas movie, a Christmas book, and other holiday related items that can be used that day and night. It may be that you start the tradition of the box in which there is a new Christmas movie and you watch that as a family while wearing your new holiday pj’s.
Some other Christmas Eve traditions include a midnight Mass or church service, baking cookies for Santa, opening up one special Christmas gift, getting together with grandparents or extended family, having a special Christmas Eve meal, and even going caroling.
By starting a Christmas Eve tradition while your kids are young you can really establish that family tradition and your kids may just look forward to Christmas Eve more than Christmas day as they get older.
8. Create a Christmas Scrapbook
After Christmas has come and gone, don’t simply just let the holiday go away, but instead create a Christmas scrapbook with all your memories.
The easiest way to do this would be with a digital scrapbook that you can make on websites like Smilebox or Shutterfly. You can then have those pages printed into a photo book that you can display in your home or just keep around to really remember the holidays with your kids.
I know that my kids enjoy looking back on different photo albums from when they were babies and love the Christmas books that we get every year as well. They just make wonderful gifts to yourself to really be able to remember the wonderful times you spent with your kids during that holiday season.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on starting Christmas traditions with your kids (in fact some of them won’t cost you anything) as it simply just takes spending time together as a family and celebrating the wonderful season that is upon us.
These are the memories that both you and your kids will remember for years and years and will be something that you all look forward to every year as Christmas rolls around again.