It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… I love everything about this time of year, don’t you? When I think of Christmas time, I think of family, good food, beautiful holiday lights glimmering underneath the most recent layer of powdery white snow. I think of getting all of the Christmas decorations out the day after Thanksgiving, and putting them up together. I remember the Christmas CD that we listened to as we decorated the tree with all of our ornaments, most of which were from school projects. Embarrassing toothless photos and all. Regardless of what year my holiday memories are from, they all have one thing in common; they were our family Christmas traditions.
Fun Family Christmas Traditions
- Going Caroling – There’s something so fun about seeing people walking around singing Christmas carols, isn’t there? I know that when I was younger, I went to a retirement community and caroled from door to door with a group I was part of. It really put smiles on the faces of those living there, and I loved it. When my boys are a little older, we fully intend on doing this!
- Making Gingerbread Houses – I love building and decorating things, so it should come as no surprise that I love making gingerbread houses. Last year we made gingerbread men since the boys were still pretty young, and they loved it! This year, we are doing a full house. We also have a professional Gingerbread House competition here every year, and it’s so amazing to go see!
- Picking out a Christmas Tree – We have a fake tree, but I think I want to start getting real trees. My husband seems to think this wouldn’t be a great idea though since I tend to decorate so early for Christmas. However, if you do get a real tree, it’s so much fun going as a family every year to pick one out. Top off the day with hot cocoa and decorating!
- Decorating the Christmas Tree – Decorating the tree as a family has always been one of the highlights of the season for me. We put on Christmas music and put up all of the lights, garland, and ornaments while singing, reminiscing, and just enjoying time together.
- Visiting a Tree Lighting Ceremony – We have so many tree lighting ceremonies in Charlotte, it seems like there’s one in each neighborhood! Christmas festivals are great (even free!) ways of getting the family out of the house and experiencing the holidays together.
- Donating Toys to the Needy – Every year at this time, we go through all of our toys, and we donate TONS of them to our church. If we have too many toys, the boys won’t play with anything in their toy room. It’s too overwhelming, and they can’t focus. Cleaning out their play room regularly helps make room for birthday and Christmas gifts, and it also allows for them to spend more time in there!
- Going Ice Skating – If you live somewhere cold, this is always such a fun, seasonal activity. We used to go ice skating all the time growing up in New York, and it is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise without being in the snow! Even here in the South, we have some skating rinks outdoors and even in malls during this time of year.
- 12 Days of Giving – This is a great way to teach your kids about the joy of giving to others. Donating toys, school supplies, and personal-care products for disadvantaged children, or volunteering in the local soup kitchen. You can surprise your sanitation workers, mail carrier, kid’s teacher, or elderly neighbor with a small gift or plate of cookies. A great time to put together an Operation Christmas Child box!
- Advent Calendar – These are really cute little calendars that help the little ones count down to Christmas. Some of them are just countdowns, and other ones have fun candies to open every day. No surprise, I prefer the chocolate ones!
- Photos with Santa – We had a tradition growing up where we took a photo with Santa every year at the mall. We had them hanging up in chronological order, and it was always so fun to see the growing and changing each year. This is something that I love doing with my boys now, and I can’t wait until there are enough photos to start putting in a collage.
- Baking Christmas Cookies – Baking cookies is one of my favorite holiday traditions. Obviously it’s partly because of my sweet tooth, but it was also just spending the time together. Listening to the Christmas songs, making delicious treats, and arranging beautiful platters for the neighbors. To this day, I love baking cookies for neighbors, and I suspect they love it too 😉
- Christmas Movie Nights – We do Christmas Movie nights weekly during the holiday season because there are so many movies that I love. Some of them we even like to watch twice! Our favorites are Christmas Vacation, The Grinch, Christmas with the Kranks, The Polar Express, The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3, Home Alone 1 and 2, I’ll be Home for Christmas, and It’s a Wonderful Life. When I’m home alone and the kids are napping, I tend to fill in that time with Hallmark Christmas movies from Netflix. Chick flick central!
- Christmas Shopping – One of the traditions that we had growing up was shopping on Christmas eve. It didn’t start out as a tradition, it just started out with my dad being really busy and needing to go out shopping on Christmas eve… but after a few years, it became our shopping trip with our father, and we’d go out on Christmas eve and shop for my mom.
- Make Christmas Presents – Now that we have young kids, I really like making some Christmas presents with them. They are small and sweet right now, and it’s the perfect time to make handprint ornaments and other gifts that will help us remember how small and sweet they used to be.
What are some of your favorite fun family Christmas Traditions?