Christmas Traditions
Family Life

30 Family Christmas Traditions

Before having children of my own, the Christmas traditions I followed were those set by my family who did a great job of creating some additional magic for the kids, who at the time were my brother, cousins and myself. When I look back, Christmas filled me with an excitement that was beyond opening presents on Christmas day, it was about the whole Christmas period that was centred around family. I would spend different days out shopping with different family members, I would look forward to the snacks I had only during Christmas and of course the specific dishes that were saved for Christmas day.

When I became a Mum, I knew that I wanted to create some Christmas traditions, that my household would enjoy year after year. Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year and not only do I enjoy making it magical for my children, it’s also my husbands birthday so I have double the challenge to make it special for everyone. For many of us, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a whole month, and for some, even longer! Here are some Christmas traditions the whole family can enjoy.

Family Christmas Traditions

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Christmas Traditions for the Kids

Traditions for the kids often have that added magic and are based on fun and bringing additional happiness to their lives which are full of imagination. So, here are my top 10 especially for the kids!

Visit Santa

A visit to Santa’s grotto is something most kids look forward to. The photographs are cute and it’s a lovely memory and something they get really excited by. Santa can be found everywhere, and there are some amazing grottos about. It’s one of the Christmas traditions that has happened for decades and through the generations, it never gets old.

Call from Santa

There are some great apps where you can receive calls from Santa. Some include personalisations or videos, which add to the magic. A phone call from Santa can help when your children need a reminder that they need to stay on the nice list if they want to receive their presents from the big man. Don’t forget to have Santa give them a call when they are being good too for a boost of encouragement.

Santa Christmas Traditions

Polar Express Night

Get the kids ready for bed as usual and just when you are tucking them in, they’ll find a ticket to The Polar Express! The excitement begins when the kids find a ticket to the polar express under their pillow and they realise it’s not bedtime anymore and the whole family are in fact getting up, getting coats, hats and scarves on and going out in the car. With a flask of hot chocolate or hot milk, some popcorn and cookies and a special Christmas light scavenger hunt in tow, it’s the beginning of a special night out. Put on some Christmas music and go on a search for some of the best Christmas lights around!

(A little tip: If your children are too young to tell the time, get them ready for bed an hour earlier than usual so you can be home a bit closer to their usual bedtime!). The Polar Express Night is sure to be on the list of Christmas traditions your children will love year on year!

Feed Santa and his Reindeer

We know that Santa loves cookies and reindeer love carrots, but make some magical reindeer food together to leave out on Christmas Eve with the cookies, carrots and milk. This is one of the most obvious Christmas traditions and it never seems to fail to put a smile on their faces in the morning when they realise Santa has been and eaten his cookies!Santa and Cookies Christmas Traditions

The Kindness Elves

I came across The KindnessElves™ this year and can’t wait to welcome them to our home. The Kindness Elves leave little notes for your children encouraging them to do random acts of kindness. Christmas is the perfect time to show children how much an act of kindness can make someone’s day or bring on a smile. The KindnessElves™ don’t have to be just for Christmas! Have your little one’s show kindness all year round!

The KindnessElves™


Grow a Candy Cane

Grab yourself a large pot and fill it with sugar. Have the children plant peppermint sweets known as candy cane seeds to the kids! Each day, have the kids, blow wishes over it or water it with glitter. Swap the perppermint with a candy cane and each day have a little more of the candy cane grow! The candy cane can appear in a day or over the course of a few days.

Elf on the Shelf

This is a favourite in our house and one of our most recent Christmas traditions but my daughters favourite part of the holidays (apart from opening her presents of course!).  Elf on the Shelf arrives on the 1st December and spends the lead up to Christmas enjoying our house. Each morning, our daughter excitedly searches for the Elf, wondering what he’s been up to during the night and where she might find him. He would have usually been found hanging out with her dolls, driving their cars, eating our food or swinging from mini zip wires we have created. He leaves on Christmas Eve, ready to report back to Santa on the little one’s behaviour.

Write a Letter to Santa

Have your little one write their own letter to Santa (see my FREE Printable Letters to Santa Templates). Before my daughter was old enough to legibly write, I told her to write however she wanted to as Santa would understand whatever was written. It’s lovely to see how proud they are of their work and getting the chance to send their own post.

Letter to Santa Template Bundle

Read Christmas Stories

There are so many Christmas story books out there. Here is one of my daughter’s favourites. My daughter receives one or two Christmas Stories each year and it’s a lovely way to wind down at the end of the day. Over the years her collection grows and we have more to enjoy during the holidays.

Decorate Ginger Bread Houses

Baking is always fun for children. The ultimate Christmas tradition kitchen activities has got to be one that requires you to build an house and decorate it as you feel fit! Baking is a lovely way to bond with children and keeps them entertained for a few hours.

Ginger Bread House Kit Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions for the Family

The family traditions can be enjoyed by all, even as the kids grow up. They can be enjoyed through the generations and include fun for the adults and children alike.

Ice Skating

A fun day out for the family. There are skating aids for those who are a little shaky on the ice. Find an outdoor ice rink to really get into the season.

Christmas Food

Food that is saved specifically for the Christmas period is a great way to create a Christmas traditions with different types of dishes. Special breakfasts, dinners . Tastes and smells that you only have in one month of the year will ignite memories from the previous years. Any favourite dishes will surely be anticipated as the season approaches.

Christmas Movies

Get everyone involved. Grab some snacks, make a hot chocolate bar. Get the blankets out and snuggle up. As everyone starts to have their own favourites, add these to your list. Run movie nights on different days during Christmas so everyone has the chance to enjoy their favourite movie or have a movie marathon day.

Popcorn and Christmas Tree Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve Box

Christmas Eve boxes are a lovely Christmas Tradition to enjoy the night before Christmas. A lot of the time, this tradition is reserved for the children however, they can be enjoyed by the adults too. Either have a box for each member of the family or one larger box for the whole family. The boxes can be filled with pyjamas to wear on Christmas Eve, some snacks to enjoy in front of a movie such as popcorn, chocolate coins or mini chocolate boxes for the adults. Include miniature bottles of alcohol for the adults and some sachets of hot chocolate and mini marshmallows for the kids. Include a story for the kids and some games for the adults to enjoy once the kids are in bed.

Personalised Stockings

This is a must for us. I didn’t grow up with stockings as a Christmas tradition so once I had children of my own, it’s something I enjoy every year. Personalised stockings take it to the next level. There are some lovely quality stockings which can be personalised for a decent price.


Try out some Christmas recipes which can be enjoyed by all on Christmas Day. I love baking on Christmas Eve, I have a more complicated recipe for myself and an easier recipe that I do with my daughter. Here’s our favourite child friendly Christmas recipe, it’s very easy to do and my daughter can put it together herself.

Christmas Baking Christmas Traditions

Donate Gifts

Go through the house and find some items that could be donated to the less fortunate. It can be a nice way to teach children the art of giving at a time when they can become fixated on receiving.

North Pole Breakfast

Now, this I love! The Elf from Elf on a Shelf (see info in the Kids section) comes to visit at the beginning of December. We wake up one morning to find Elf has arrived and has made us a huge breakfast with all things Christmas. I’m talking over the top Christmas theme, pancake snowmen, Christmas tree pancakes, green cornflake wreaths, hot chocolate with marshmallows, donuts covered in icing sugar. Anything and everything has a theme. This takes a lot of preparation and waking up before the kids, which is the crack of dawn in my house) and getting back into bed to really pull of the big surprise when you go downstairs to make breakfast for the kids, for them to find a huge feast already waiting! Check out these free printables for your own North Pole Breakfast.

Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars are a great idea for the kids but there are some amazing adult advent calendars out there from many high street stores providing gifts such as make up, jewellery or grooming products. If you love a bit of DIY, try making them yourself. You can buy some lovely advent calendars that can be used year after year and allows you to add your own gifts.

Advent Calendar Christmas Traditions

Matching Pyjamas

This can be a bit cheesy but it’s a lot of fun! There’s something for the whole family, including the babies. I love the full on matching pyjamas and I also like the ones that have a similar theme but are unique to each family member.

Christmas Traditions for the Adults

The adults traditions are for when you have the children in bed, at school or with the babysitter. When you have children, it’s easy to make Christmas all about them. Take some time and make some traditions especially for you!

Letter to Your Spouse

A letter at this time of the year can be very welcoming at this time of the year. Christmas can sometime become so busy that we often forget to look at what we already have around us and appreciate the time spent with loved ones, doing the simple every day things. New Year often makes us reflect on the year and plan for the future. A letter to your spouse reminding them of how much you love them before everything gets busy, can only be a good way to step into the holidays.

Games Night

Gather some friends, family or enjoy it with your spouse. Get some snacks in, a hot chocolate bar, some cocktails and enjoy an evening of laughs and good company!

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets are not only a nice day out but it’s great place to find handmade gifts. This is one of my favourite Christmas traditions to do with the hubby. Grab some mulled wine or cider and some nice food and enjoy browsing, taking in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas Market Christmas Traditions

Meet up with Friends

Meeting friends during the holidays and making this a Christmas tradition can be fun way to ensure you make time for friends at a time when everyone’s a little more relaxed and happy. Plan a Christmas meal and a secret Santa and enjoy a day with your closest friends.

Go Shopping Together

This is kind of a date day. Make a plan, go shopping, have lunch, stop for coffee or cocktails and reconnect. Days like this can be fun and it’s how I get my hubby out Christmas shopping with me! Christmas shopping can be stressful but it’s a little less stressful when he’s there to give his opinion on gifts!

Date Night

Get a babysitter and have a night out. Plan a activity you both love, go to your favourite restaurant or have a night in. Whatever you do, make time for each other in the midst of buying gifts and visiting extended family. Some one-to-one time at this time of the year is just another event to look forward to.

Christmas Cocktails

Find a Christmas cocktail or two that you like and make them during the holidays. If you can, keep it reserved for the holidays only, to make it extra special.

Christmas Cocktails Christmas Traditions

Buy Christmas Jumpers

Be it matching, fun, cute or unique. Buy a new Christmas Jumper each year. It’s fun to look back on and after a few years, you’ll have a good collection to choose from!

Plan a Year of Dates

Plan 12 dates to enjoy each month of the year. Book or order what you can in advance. This could be nice time to book a trip away

Make your own Mulled Wine

Making your own recipe allows you to make it to your personal taste. Make it for the special moments throughout the holidays. Are you hosting, having a night in or just decorating the tree? Get your mulled wine out!

Christmas Traditions Mulled Wine

Christmas Traditions don’t have to be over the top, include a lot of effort, money or time. They are simply something you do year after year with your loved ones. It’s expected, anticipated and holds many memories. There is something about routines that we love to enjoy. Do you have any Christmas Traditions that you love? What are they and what is it that you love about them so much? Let me know in the comments.


30 Family Christmas Traditions


30 Christmas Traditions your Family will Remember Forever

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  1. We did many of these with our children when they were younger. Putting on new pajamas, setting out milk and cookies for Santa, and reading the Christmas Story and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas were the last things the kids did before bed on Christmas Eve. This brings back good memories.

  2. Family Christmas traditions are so important to make memories. I believe my favorites are elf on the shelf and opening one presents the night before Christmas.

  3. Writing a letter to Santa and decorating gingerbread houses were both such big traditions in our family. In fact, last year I decided I wanted to tap into that childhood feeling again, so my husband and I picked up a gingerbread house decorating kit! It was SO much fun! I’m definitely getting one again this year!

  4. Wow so many fun traditions and ideas to get into the Christmas spirit! I do quite a few of these with my family.

  5. Such a sweet idea! I love having traditions for both global and family based moments. Very nice ideas

  6. Melanie williams says:

    These are all lovely family Christmas traditions for sure. We always have a polar express night in xx

  7. These bring back a lot of memories. Christmas traditions are a bit different in Switzerland, but there are great markets and we bake traditional Christmas cookies every year. I have a young student who absolutely loves Christmas markets, her mom takes her to Germany for them most years.

  8. I’ve never heard of the Kindness Elves, but it is such a neat idea. My favorite tradition is matching pajamas with my husband. It is something we started a couple of years ago, and have hats to go with it. It is totally cheesy, you’re right. But in a really fun and cute way.

  9. We still do a lot of these traditions, but some we can’t my stepdaughter is at that age now, being 11. This is such a great list. Thank you for sharing.

  10. I love traditions in general, these are so creative! Love the reindeer cookie addition

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