The Christmas Trap Tradition + Giveaway

by Melissa

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I’m excited to share this fun Christmas Trap Tradition with you. It’s definitely a tradition I had never heard of and I think you’ll love it! Thanks Kara for submitting it!


The Christmas Trap is a holiday tradition that the Palmer family has carried on for over 50 years.  This tradition is something your children will talk about for months leading up to Christmas and for years following.  My cousin reflecting thoughtfully on her time growing up with the trap said, “It was one of my favorite parts of Christmas. Like more than presents.”

So wait…. What is it exactly?

Every Christmas Eve, parents set a “trap” outside the children’s bedroom door. The rules are simple.  The Christmas tree is home base; if the kids can get through the trap and to the tree without waking up mom and dad, then they can open their presents at whatever absurd hour they choose (after waking mom and dad up of course).  However! If they are caught before they get to the tree, then they are sent back to bed without debate to wait for mom and dad to finish their “long winter’s nap.” There is nothing like a small dose of friendly competition between parents and kids to build unity, spur creativity, and create lasting memories!

Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

The Cup Tower 


The cup tower is easy to build, it only takes a few minutes and there are so many ways to vary the difficulty and noisiness. Add silverware or jingle bells! Build it 5 feet tall or build five towers right in a row. The cup tower is Trap Building 101, it can be used anywhere, anytime and with any age range!

The Trap Wires 


These were some of my favorite traps growing up. Trip wires (made of black thread) are impossible to see in the dark. Every kid loves these traps. With active imaginations they feel as if they are evading lasers on an advanced alarm system. They can be rigged to pop balloons, ring jingle bells, turn on lights, sound alarms, or drop noisy things.

Hot Lava 


A childhood isn’t complete without playing a game of hot lava, right? You know how much your children love to pretend that the carpet is a boiling sea of melted rock, so I don’t have to convince you that they would love to play a real game of hot lava! Make the ground a “no touch” zone by covering it in noisy items such as Legos, grocery bags, or cellophane.  If your kids are younger, you can make a pathway for them. If your kids are bigger, let them try and figure out their own way to the tree!

Here’s a few other fun Christmas trap ideas: 



There are so many things that brothers and sisters find to disagree about. It’s great to have traditions that bring us together as a team. The planning and execution of getting through the traps definitely stands out in my mind as some of the best times with my siblings. There were many more Christmases with many more traps. Some navigated more successfully than others.”

Now I have my own small children. Till now we have tried to keep our traps light and fun. But our kids are growing.  And so this is one of our favorite traditions.

In the words of Grandma Palmer, who started this tradition, “[The Christmas Trap] grew and grew and grew. And got happier and happier and happier.”

You can get more ideas at and read some funny stories about traps from Christmases past.


The Gals at Christmas Trap are giving away a starter kit to help you build memories using Christmas Traps. Head over to @sofestiveblog on Instagram for all the details! Giveaway ends tonight.


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