Christmas traditions with the family has been on my mind lately. Thinking about some of the traditions we have kept since the kids were little. As well as thinking of new traditions that we can do with teenagers.
When the kids were little I wanted to make Christmas as magical as I could for them. Family Christmas traditions were a great start as well as explaining to them the reason for the season. The fun thing about Christmas traditions with the family is that the traditions can be adapted to fit the current age of your children.
Let’s take the Elf on the shelf to start our list of traditions off. When Jingle the Elf would show up at our home he would bring the kids a small gift. Along with the small gift, he would write a note to them telling them what all he had been up to for the year. One year our elf brought a North Pole breakfast for the kids to enjoy. The powered donuts and ice water from the North Pole were a hit.
As the kids, one by one became older and the discovery happened they became my elf helper. Now that they all know we still have fun discovering where our elf is hiding in our home.
One of our favorite traditions is going on a Christmas light tour. Coffee shop treats are not something that happens often for my kids. So before our light tour, we stop at the coffee shop. Nowadays the teenagers are picking out their favorite brew instead of hot cocoa as they once did.
To make the light tour even extra special I bought some of those Christmas light glasses. The ones that transform Christmas lights into magical images. Our Christmas light tour has changed a little bit now that the kids are older but we still enjoy loading in the car and having dad drive us around to look at lights.
Or how fun would going on a horse-drawn carriage ride or on a trolly ride around looking at lights?
Another one of our favorite traditions is Christmas movie nights. Normally our Christmas movie nights kick off Thanksgiving weekend. We have a movie night each weekend leading up to Christmas Eve. As the years have gone by we have added more movies to our list to enjoy. Our favorite movie that we always watch on Christmas Eve is The Polar Express.
After the movie, we would have a little family game time. We have done Christmas coloring contest (of course everyone won), we have done quizzes about the movies (the person that got the highest score won a small prize), fill in the blank for a Christmas song is my favorite quiz (print out sheets to a Christmas song with words missing, whoever gets the most blanks filed in wins), and now we have a minute to win it type games.
On Christmas Eve we attend our church service that has a children’s program. The program has always been enjoyable especially when our little ones participated in the program. After the service, we would head home and each of the kids would get a Christmas Eve box or gift. I started these Christmas Eve gifts so the kids would have new pajamas to wear on Christmas morning. As the kids have gotten older we have changed this tradition a little.
Now we do a Christmas Eve Secret Santa gift. This has been so much fun with the teenagers. It’s fun to see how much they know each other and what they come up with. We have a set amount that they can spend and they do really well with this. On Christmas Eve before we have our movie we exchange the secret Santa gift.
A new tradition I add this year, I hid a Christmas pickle. The tradition is that on Christmas morning the person that found the pickle would receive an extra gift from Santa. I changed this tradition up a bit by staring our Christmas season off with it.
Building Gingerbread houses is another great family activity that would be great for Christmas Eve. This year we will be making it a game out of it. We will pair up into partners, since we are a family of five I will be a helper for both teams. They will have an hour to build their gingerbread house. I feel this is a fun family activity no matter how it’s done.
Don’t forget to leave cookies and milk out for Santa. I have even heard that the reindeer are very fond of carrots.
Starting Christmas Off
Ways to help kick off Christmas and get everyone into the holiday spirit would be to go cut down a fresh Christmas tree together. Decorating that fresh-cut down tree as a family is another tradition your family could have. One of my favorite things to do as I’m decorating the house is listening to Christmas music.
If your town has a tree lighting ceremony that would be a great thing to do as a family. Maybe Santa might be able to make it to that lighting ceremony. Then the kids could go visit Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.
A countdown to Santa would be a great activity for little kids to enjoy. As well as write a letter to Santa telling him how good they have been.
Each year we try to take a trip to Bronner’s Christmas store in Frankenmuth Michigan. And each year the kids get to get a new ornament that they feel best represents them for the year. When the kids played sports they would find sport-related ornaments. Now they are more into collecting fun ones.
If you are into crafts, having a day of crafts is a fun family tradition to have. Or how about going to a craft fair. Each year our church holds a craft fair that we enjoying attending.
How about wrapping up 25 Christmas books and each day starting December 1 the kids get to open them. To help with that cost you could wrap books you already have, get from the library, or buy used books.
Think Outside Of The Home
Christmas time is a great time to think of those that may be in need as well as doing works of kindness. Now I’m a firm believer in giving all year long but the holidays are a time when more are in need.
On the night before Thanksgiving, our church does a food drive that goes to our local food pantry. I will take my kids to the store and give them money to buy nonperishable food items. They also will buy a toy to donate for toys for tots. Again as a mom, this is great to watch my kids think of what others may want.
In the past, we have filled the gumball machines with coins. I can see the delight on a child’s face when they turn the knob to the gumball machine and get a prize. We also love to pay it forward by paying for the order behind in a drive-thru.
A tradition you could start in your neighborhood would be a cookie exchange. The first year we lived in our neighborhood one of the neighbors brought cookies over. This was such a nice surprise and we spent some time visiting and getting to know this neighbor better.
Many blessings for a wonderful holiday season. A Decorative Home is making home a little sweeter ~ Jen
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