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12 Christmas Traditions You Can Start This Year (+ What are YOUR traditions?)


12 Christmas Traditions You Can Start This Year

From the sounds of my impromptu holiday poll, most of you are super interested in TRADITIONS! Which means…. YOU ARE MY PEOPLE!!!!!!! Today I wanted to share 12 holiday traditions that will hopefully inspire some new ones for your family, and they’re all ones that you can easily start this year! Some are ones we do (or hope to do), a few are ones I’ve mentioned before and some are new ones I’ve heard from friends and you guys too!

Speaking of.. I’d love to hear what your favorite holiday traditions are in the comments below!

Build An Ornament Collection

Stole this one from my friend Lauren! Every year her parents gave each of the kids an ornament so that by the time they moved out on their own, they had their very own ornament collection to bring with them! Here are some great ones and I always love browsing these too for some cute ones. We started this tradition for Arlo last year and ugh! It just makes me so happy. Jeff and I actually each gift each other a surprise ornament too every year.

Put Santa Hats on All Your Photos + Art

This one’s from Jordy, who’s styling skillzzz you’ve seen a few times around these parts! She puts tiny Santa hats on EVERY photo and piece of art in her house. IT IS THE BEST IDEA EVER! And I’m totally doing it this year. You can find pre-made ones here or usually in the holiday or scrapbook section, or you (or the kids) can make your own. Just use a removable adhesive to stick them on. It’s something so simple and hilarious that makes the house feel instantly festive.

Wrap A Box of Kid Cereal

I heard this one first from Samantha and then one or two others since. Her and her husband get a box of sugary kids cereal from her in-laws every year for Christmas! If you’re a family that doesn’t typically do the crazy kids cereals on the regular, it’s a really fun and special tradition to start that’s super budget friendly and has a built in bonus… you don’t have to think about breakfast! Just wrap up a box and pop it under the tree! 😉

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Candies

Gift Holiday Candy Bags

This one’s from my mom! Every year she makes dozens and DOZENS of her signature chocolate peanut butter crispy candies. I shared the recipe here if you want it! They are no-bake and insanely easy AND delicious. She packages up a dozen of them per person and gifts them to friends, but also to everyone who she just wants to say “thank you” to for working so hard without the year, often without the thanks they deserve! She finds a little ornament or holiday figurine and ties it on there too. I used to love adding the sprinkles to the candies when I was little, and then graduated into getting to help spoon the candies into the wrappers eventually. Now, I’m continuing the tradition myself with Arlo on sprinkle duty this year!!

Create A Christmas Book Advent Calendar

I first saw this idea on Anna’s blog and several of you have mentioned it to me recently! Wrap up one holiday book for each day of December and add a number to it. Every night, the kiddos get to unwrap a book to read before bed! It’s great because you can use the same books over and over, just change up the order and there’s still a super fun guessing/surprise element! Pro tip (that one of you gave me): Re-wrap them up when you pack away all your holiday decor so they’re ready to go when December rolls around again! I think we’re going to start this next year.

Gift A Christmas Book Commemorating The Year

Another book one, but this one is from one of you! We started it last year. Pick out a special Christmas (or really any) book for your child and write a note in the cover talking about the year. Any highlights, their favorite things, a funny memory, something hilarious they said, whatever strikes your fancy! It’s really fun to have those notes to look back on and, again, it’s something you could pass down as your kids start their own families. It also helps to build up the books for the advent calendar above. Ha!

12 Christmas Traditions You Can Start This Year

Wear Family Pajamas

We started this last year and I loved it. On Christmas Eve we all get new matching Christmas pajamas and wear them that night. Then we spend all of Christmas day in them!!!!! It’s so simple but really fun. Last year we got these and I haven’t picked this year’s yet but you can find some great options here, here and here!

Make A Traditional Christmas Brunch

Every year on Christmas morning, my mom makes an egg bake and coffee cake and serves it alongside bagels, fruit salad and mimosas. So, so simple but it is my FAVORITE meal of the year… because it’s tradition and it signifies Christmas morning beginning! I only eat that egg bag and that coffee cake on Christmas and it’s just the freaking best. Pick an item or two and make it one of those things that you only make on Christmas. (A friend of mine makes cinnamon rolls with her fam on Christmas, so there’s another idea too!)

Match With A Family for the Holidays

More important than anything else to us is teaching Arlo that the holidays should be more about giving then receiving. My family for as long as I can remember has found a local organization to work with to help provide Christmas gifts and necessities for a family in need. Jeff and I have continued this ourselves and I want to encourage all of you to do so too, if you’re in the position. I’ve heard a few friends mention they try to match with a family that has kids similar in age, so their children can really relate and feel involved in the gift giving process. This year we are working with Baby2Baby’s Family2Family program. If you ask a local Church or school you should be able to find other similar programs near you too.

DIY Colorful Christmas Village

Make a Christmas Village

I am still shocked by how many of you made our Christmas Village last (and this!) year!!! It makes me SO HAPPY seeing your photos!!! But if you’re new here, we took birdhouses from the craft store (or Amazon, a few are linked in the post!) and turned them into a tiny pastel Christmas village. It’s SUPER easy and you can get the whole family (or all your gal pals!) involved. We’re planing to add something new to ours each year and I’m excited for Arlo to help paint this time around!!

Do A Christmas Lights Tour… In Your PJs

This is actually something we spontaneously decided to start for Halloween but works for Christmas too! Pick a random night in December and find an extra festive neighborhood in your area. Before bed, have everyone get in their PJs (and coats obviously where applicable, ha!) and load up in the car to go on a little bedtime tour of Christmas lights!! We saw kids out in their PJs when we were touring the Halloween houses and for some reason the added PJ factor just made it seem SO much more fun, so shout out to that parent for giving me the idea! You could even make hot cocoa or special cookies to tote around with you.

Help The Kids Decorate A Tree Of Their Own

I think this may have been another of Samantha’s, and another one we started last year! If you have multiple kids, sometimes it’s nice to carve out a little one-on-one time and this is the perfect thing. Pick out an inexpensive faux mini tree that is ALL theirs and lives in their room. Then, give them a budget and take them on an adventure to pick out decorations of their very own. Together, just you (and your spouse) and your kiddo, can decorate the tree each year! No siblings allowed! It’s something really special and surely something they’ll always remember. I’m thinking I’ll let Arlo pick out a few new things each year and use the past items to decorate a mini tree to donate to a local organization.

Now, I’d love to hear yours!! Tell me below if you have any good ones. It’s SO fun hearing what other people do for the holidays! Hope some of these inspired you to start something new this year!


  • Caitlin

    One ornament tradition that we have (that I got from my mom) is to buy an ornament every time we go on a trip. Decorating the tree is then a trip down memory lane of all the places we’ve visited together. I love it.

    This year is our first with baby, so I want to start a tradition of making a photo ornament of him each year as well. I’m still up in the air or whether I should order one from a photo service or try to DIY…

    And we want to start the Christmas book tradition as well!

    • Kelly

      I love that!!! We actually grabbed an ornament when we were in Mexico earlier this year so now I’m like hmm.. maybe we should do that too!

      • Faith M

        We do this, too! My husband and I have lived in 4 different countries throughout our 4 years of marriage, and this was the first year we had a Christmas tree, and the first time we finally put up the ornaments we’ve been bringing with us from country to country. I love seeing all the ornaments from our travels!!!

        A tip for when you travel to countries where it’s not easy finding Christmas ornaments (like some places in Asia, where I’m from): Buy keychains and make them into ornaments!

  • Layne

    Some of ours that are not mentioned here:
    Christmas Eve we get together, have hot cocoa and cookies, read the birth of Christ, sing hymns and open one gift.

    We take the children of the church Christmas caroling at nursing homes.

    Like your mom, we bake for the neighbors and the kids help me deliver.

    We listen to Pentatonix Christmas CD on repeat!

    This will be the first year we do a book advent and I am so excited about it!

    • Kelly

      Aw I love that you do caroling!! We went caroling once and it was SO fun! Hope to do it again sometime!

  • Quinn

    We ALWAYS watch Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve. The adults in the family (all of us now) do a secret santa for stockings, so during the movie people sneak away to fill the stocking they have. But hearing my dad’s genuine laugh during Chevy Chase’s “Hap-Hap-Happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny F***ing Kaye” line will never get old!

  • Sally

    I’m not the first to think of this, but it’s a fun continuation of the ornament tradition. I like to buy an ornament for the kids that corresponds with the costume they wore for Halloween. One year my daughter was Dorothy and I gave her a ruby red slipper ornament. This year we were the Incredibles family so everyone is getting their Incredibles character ornament. It’s a fun way to reinforce those sweet memories of the best parts of childhood! I also just love collecting memorable, personal Christmas ornaments!!

  • Lindsay

    Because we live in south Florida it doesn’t get that cold during the holidays so we get our warm clothes (scarves, hats, jackets),crank up the AC in the Car and get hot chocolate to go look at Christmas Lights in the area!

  • Kristin

    I love these!

    On Christmas Eve Each year since I was a child my dad would light a fire, and we would make hot cocoa. While the Cocoa was heating (homemade of course), the kids would open a Christmas Eve present (Christmas pjs! Matching if possible) we’d all change into our pjs, and then pick a Christmas story that my dad would read to us by the fire. It was such a simple thing, but we all loved it sooo much. One of the very few times we were all together.

    Afterward, we’d set out cookies and milk for Santa (that were baked together earlier that day usually), and then my younger brothers and sisters would all camp out in my room with sleeping bags and pillows! So much fun!

    Christmas morning after opening gifts, we’d all sit and watch Christmas movies through the day. 🙂

    Now that I have a son and family of my own, we are continuing the traditions from my family. This is why I believe Christmas Eve and day should be saved for home – so you can share these kinds of traditions with your family.

  • Loren

    Last year we saw that viral video of this family playing a game where they stand in a circle and one person tries to roll doubles with a pair of dice while the person to their right puts on oven mits and a Santa hat and tries to open a tightly wrapped package, once they roll doubles it’s their turn to try and open the package and it goes round until someone opens the gift.

    Last year I just put a slip of paper that said “Bragging Rights” and I’m thinking I’m going to make the prize a silly ornament. Either way it was such a fun way to get everyone together and laughing. I got some Christmas themed ovenmits so they look festive too.

    I think we were calling it “slippery mittens”

  • Hope

    These are all wonderful ideas! We do some of these and I’d love to add some more to our list of traditions! One of our favorite traditions is our Christmas card scrapbook. We always send out a photo card, so the year we got married we bought one of those big 12×12 scrapbooks. Every year we add one page, we stick our picture card in there along with whatever else we have (kids Santa picture, family jammies picture, etc). We also jot down a few of the highlights from the year around the pictures. So much fun to look back at and gets more fun each year!

  • Shelby

    I love so many of these ideas. One Christmas tradition that is so special to me is stockings! My mom would put in necessities! Lol razors, hair ties, new hairbrush, etc which at the time, when you’re like 11, is not very flashy (she would dress it up a bit with fruity scented shaving cream lol) but as I got older it was THE best to have those items replenished by mom. Also, she’d put in an orange from the backyard tree (we’re in Cali too 😉) and as an adult I can confidently say it is not officially Christmas morning unless I’ve had my orange.

  • Kimberly Wolfe

    Every year at Thanksgiving with my family, my parents, siblings, children and now grandchildren we do an ornament exchange. Everyone brings and ornament, we draw numbers and you pick a box to open or you can steal someones. It’s so much fun! And then year after year when you decorate the tree you have stories about who brought the ornament, who you took it away from and such.

  • Kali

    I’ve started the tradition of making ornaments each year. We take our son to see Santa and take their picture. Then we use that photo to make an ornament by sinking it in resin. We make 3 of the same ornament. One to keep and one for each of his grandparents!

  • Bailey

    On Christmas Eve every year, my mom would make lasagna (which she only makes once a year, so it’s super special, just like your brunch!) then, after dinner we would pile in the car and go look at Christmas lights. Which, mysteriously mom or dad would always forget something inside after we’d get in the car and would have to run back inside really quickly. Then, when we came back, there would be two packages on the front porch, one for me, one for my brother. The “elves” made a special trip to leave us jammies. One of my favorite memories/traditions. 😀

  • Hannah

    How fun! My favorite tradition we do is our “Grinch Day” We watch both movies, make “Grinch popcorn” (dye white chocolate with green food coloring, cover the popcorn and add red candies) and also read the book with our stuffed Grich character. (Usually our elf brings all the supplies) 🙂

  • xxjenadanxx

    We play a month long game of “Where’s Rudolph”. Starting the day after Thanksgiving one person hides a red ball somewhere in the house and everyone else tries to find it. Whoever finds it hides it the next day. The ball we use is a soft plastic one from the dollar tree and is of course red to represent Rudolph’s nose. When we first started playing we kept it pretty easy, a few specific rooms (common/living areas only) and it needed to be hidden in plain sight. Now that the kiddo is in Middle School we can make it a little more challenging. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to keep the fun going all season long!

  • candy crush soda

    Christmas is coming, let’s prepare to decorate the house and pine tree to welcome a warm and happy family Christmas.

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