30 Popular Christmas Traditions To Make Great Memories

by Mel
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29 simple Christmas Traditions you can start with your family to create more memories. 

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SIMPLE CHRISTMAS TRADITION IDEAS

Christmas time can be so exhausting! However, you don’t need expensive or complicated Christmas traditions to create a meaningful and memorable season. 

A few years ago, we decided to simplify our Christmas in lots of ways. We simplify our Christmas season by

All of these principles in more are taught in this “Simplify Your Christmas” online, self-paced workshop.

Don’t get me wrong. We are far from perfect and some years are more simple than others. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun Christmas activities that only happen during December. Why can’t we have 60 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

But we’ve learned that when we slow down and take the time to enjoy the calmer, simpler moments the season brings, we are ALL happier. And isn’t that what Christmas is about?

LESSON LEARNED

Last Christmas, I learned this lesson again. On December 23, my husband and my Alma Mater was playing a basketball game. Go Cougars! He really wanted to take our entire family to the game and invites cousins to go along, too.

Immediately, I was like, “Yeah right! We aren’t spending the night before Christmas Eve at a BYU basketball game. That is so NOT FESTIVE! And we still have so many Christmas festivities to do.”

Well after I let myself cool down a bit, I realized that Christmas is not about WHAT we do per se, but the memories we are creating. So I gave in (with only a slight grudge) and we spent the night at the basketball game.

And you know what? The entire night was actually really fun! Everyone was happy. (How could our children not be happy with all cheering on our team and eating giant cougar tail donuts?)

We listened to Christmas music for an hour in the car, had a really great chat together, and got to make some fun memories with our extended family.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY

So why do I tell you this? I learned that YES! Christmas activities are fun and meaningful, but let’s not forget the WHY behind what we are doing. If everyone is unhappy doing a really fun, festive Christmas outing, is it that important?

Of course, this will look different for every person and every family. And it may take some time to figure out how to find a good balance.

TIPS FOR MAKING EVERYONE HAPPY

  • Before December starts, sit down with everyone in your family and prioritize the most important activities and events for everyone.
  • Let everyone choose one or more must-do Christmas activities/traditions.
  • Mark them on your calendar.

For more planning tips, join the online “Simplify Your Christmas” workshop here. 

MEMORY MAKING CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s 25 SIMPLE Christmas Traditions to embrace this season:

1. DECORATE THE CHRISTMAS TREE TOGETHER

Whether you have a real or artificial Christmas tree, decorating the tree with your family can be such a fun way to kick off the Christmas season. Turn on your favorite Christmas tunes, pull out the ornaments and have a ball. 

2. READ CHRISTMAS STORIES UNDER THE TREE EACH NIGHT IN DECEMBER. 

There is no shortage of great Christmas books so cuddle up the tree each night in December and read a story together. In fact, you could do a Christmas Book Advent Calendar where you wrap up all your Christmas books and open one to read each night. 

3. MAKE A FAMILY HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST 

Before the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season starts, sit down as a family and let everyone choose 1 or 2 activities/traditions that are most important to them. Pen those into your calendar. Any extra time you have for more traditions will just be icing on the cake! 

4. WATCH CHRISTMAS MOVIES TOGETHER 

Print off this Family-Friendly Christmas Movie List and see how many you can watch together throughout the season. Cuddling up on a cold night together is a great way to spend time together. 

5. HAVE AN INDOOR PICNIC BY THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Who says picnics are only for summer? Grab a blanket and have an indoor picnic by the Christmas tree! 

6. CELEBRATE ADVENT SUNDAYS

 

7. GIVE THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS TO SOMEONE IN NEED 

The holidays are a great time to spread some holiday cheer. This sweet & simple 12 Days of Christmas has all the daily poem tags and gift ideas prepared for you, so you can put this together in no time. All the gifts can be found at the grocery or dollar store. 

8. CUT DOWN YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE

Look up your local tree cutting farms and make an event out of choosing the tree. 

9. DECORATE GINGERBREAD HOUSES 

Decorating gingerbread or graham cracker houses is a favorite Christmas tradition. Pull out a variety of crackers and candies to decorate your own Christmas village. 

Related: Easy Gingerbread House Icing Glue Recipe

10. HAND OUT CANDY CANES TO VISITORS

Make everyone who stops by during the Christmas season (and especially children) feel extra welcome by handing out candy canes to visitors. Real all about the candy cane symbolism here. 

11. SLEEP BY THE TREE ON CHRISTMAS ADAM (DECEMBER 23)

What comes before Christmas Eve? Christmas Adam! Have a family sleepover on December 23 by the Christmas tree. Watch one of these best family Christmas movies

12. DO THE 25 DAYS “CHRIST”MAS SCRIPTURE ADVENT CALENDAR

Follow this 25 Days of Christ scripture advent calendar to learn more about Christ each day during December. Burn the advent candle each night as you read about Christ. When the candle is gone, Christmas is here! 

13. SEND & DISPLAY CHRISTMAS CARDS 

 

Related: The Easiest Way To Display Christmas Cards 

14. CELEBRATE ST. NICHOLAS DAY

 

15. READ THE CHRISTMAS STORY 

 

16. DO A WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE AUCTION 

Family parties and parties with friends are popular during the holiday season. Turn an ordinary white elephant gift exchange into everyone’s favorite Christmas party game by doing a White Elephant Gift Auction.  Take one of these white elephant gifts that everyone will want to take home! 

Related: White Elephant Gift Auction & Printable Cash 

17. GET A NEW ORNAMENT FOR THE TREE 

 

18. DECORATE WITH NATIVITIES 

Besides all the typical Christmas decorations, don’t forget to use nativities to decorate as well. Here’s a list of kid-friendly nativities (read: they won’t break!) 

19. HAVE A CHRISTMAS COOKIE EXCHANGE 

 

20. GO TO THE MOVIE THEATER ON CHRISTMAS EVE 

 

21. MAKE CHRISTMAS ENGLISH TOFFEE 

 

22. GO ICE SKATING OR SLEDDING

 

23. PLAY CHRISTMAS HAND BELL SONGS FOR THE ELDERLY

 

24. HAVE A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER 

 

25. DO YOUR OWN “POLAR EXPRESS” RIDE

A real Polar Express train ride is fun and all, but for a cheaper option, have everyone wear their pajamas, pile in your family car, and drive through the neighborhoods to see Christmas lights. Taking some Christmas cookies and hot cocoa to end your Polar Express ride will give everyone sweet dreams of the fun night together.  

26. ACT OUT THE NATIVITY 

Before Santa comes on Christmas Eve, gather your family and act out the nativity story! Use the verses from Luke 2 in the Bible or use this kid-friendly nativity script with songs! 

27. WATCH THIS FREE CHRISTMAS DEVOTIONAL 

This free online Christmas devotional is perfect for any Christian– it’s a night of wonderful music and Christmas messages that will get you in the Christmas mood at the beginning of the holiday season. 

28. ATTEND A CHRISTMAS WORSHIP SERVICE 

Find the nearest church and attend a Christmas worship service. Find the nearest church to you here

29. WRITE LETTERS TO SANTA 

Use these free Santa letter templates to write a letter Jolly Old St. Nicholas. Send it early or write a letter to Santa and burn it on Christmas Eve like our family does. 

30. HAY IN A MANGER CHRISTMAS TRADITION

 

31. HIDE A CHRISTMAS PICKLE (WHAT A FUN CHRISTMAS TRADITION!)
 

 

 

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