Putting an Ornament on a Christmas Tree

18 Best Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Family

Christmas this year is going to look a lot different than previous years. You may not be able to get together with extended family. You may not be able to travel. But one thing you can keep the same is some of your families Christmas traditions. Or you can use the opportunity of staying home to start new traditions with your kids.

Once you have kids, sometimes your traditions change or you’re even looking to start new traditions with them. It’s always fun to start new ones.

Here is a list of 18 of the best Christmas traditions to start with your family.

1. Decorating

This tradition can be a great way to include your kids and just spend quality family time. Decorating at my house is a favorite of ours, especially for my son. He has become obsessed with holidays, Christmas, Christmas lights, and decorating. We like to put on Christmas music or a Christmas movie while we’re decorating the house and tree.

Putting an Ornament on a Christmas Tree

2. Tour Christmas Light Displays

Who doesn’t like Christmas lights. Driving around, searching for houses lit up. We usually spend a few nights every year doing just that, searching for those Christmas lights.

We visit a few houses near us that do a whole Christmas display as well. One even spends months decorating their house. We also visit a local golf club and a park that both offer a drive through Christmas lights display. My son gets so excited over these drive throughs. It’s great to watch.

Christmas Lights of Cookies and Milk for Santa

3. Bake Christmas Cookies

Baking Christmas cookies every year is a tradition for many. There’s nothing better than cookies baking in your oven and your whole house smelling like yummy Christmas cookies.

And it’s no different at my house. I spend a few days right before Christmas baking 8-10 Christmas cookies and putting together trays for family. I usually bake a few of the same cookies every year with switching out 2 or 3 cookies to make new ones.

With not being able to get together with extended family this year, I will be cutting down to 6 cookies and dropping off trays with family instead of visiting with them. This is a tradition that I enjoy every year and it will be the first year that I can really enjoy it with my son who loves to help bake and cook.

Tree Christmas Cookies on a Plate
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4. Christmas Eve Dinner

One of the biggest traditions for many families during Christmas is Christmas Eve dinner. The menu for Christmas Eve dinner varies from family to family. In my family we don’t eat meat on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, this is a great way to gather your family together for a nice holiday celebration.

5. Christmas Day Brunch

After you tear through that wrapping paper, opening your Christmas gifts, and watching the excitement from your kids, gather your family together again for one more holiday celebration with a Christmas Day brunch. Maybe that will consist of eggs, French toast, pancakes, breakfast potatoes, ham, kielbasa. There are many menu options to choose from. Make it your own tradition with some of your favorite foods.

6. Christmas Caroling

Christmas caroling is an old and loved tradition. However, you don’t see it around much anymore. But if you are close to your neighbors and they welcome carolers, gather your family together and go house to house singing your favorite Christmas Carols.

This can be an uplifting tradition and bring smiles to many families during these difficult times. So go give it a try!

But if caroling is not that welcome in your neighborhood, you can still put on some Christmas music and sing your favorite carols around your Christmas tree at home.

7. Ornament Collection

A new tradition that you can introduce into your family is gifting an ornament to each other. This is a tradition that I started with my family a few years ago. And it’s a great way to grow your ornament collection to fill your Christmas tree. My favorite ornaments are Old World Christmas ornaments. They have a huge variety of ornaments.

When Christmas comes around, I like to think back over the year and buy an ornament that has a sentiment or connects to something we’ve done that year.

8. Matching Christmas Jammies

Just like the ornaments, gifting matching Christmas jammies every year can be another fun and different tradition to start with your family. Kids grow so fast when they’re young that they would need new Christmas jammies every year anyway.

9. Christmas Shopping

Pick a Saturday and spend the day together with your family Christmas shopping, finding those perfect gifts.

This tradition might look different this year. Your day of Christmas shopping might be spent in front of a computer doing online shopping instead of browsing the mall and stores. That’s what my Christmas shopping day looked like this year.

Christmas Shopping Bags
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10. Cut Down Your Christmas Tree

Some opt to have a fake tree. It’s less hassle, less mess, and you don’t have to worry about watering it. But if you’re like me, you want that real tree. What is Christmas without a real Christmas tree? The smell of pine and maple filling your house and the tree twinkling with Christmas lights.

So if you want that real Christmas tree, why not cut it down your self. The three of us go to a Christmas tree lot every year, search out the best tree we see, and cut it down.

Searching for Christmas Tree at a Christmas Tree Lot

Cutting Down a Christmas Tree with an Axe

11. Christmas Movies

Make some hot chocolate, cuddle up on the couch, and turn on a Christmas movie, making it a family movie night. Take turns picking out you favorite Christmas movie. Some of my favorites are Elf, the Home Alone movies, and Christmas Vacation. We always have Christmas Vacation playing on the TV on Christmas Day while enjoying a Christmas brunch. Over the years, this has turned into a Christmas tradition for my family.

Or, you can cuddle up with your spouse after the kids have gone to bed with some Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, we do enjoy the corny, cheesy, very predictable Hallmark Christmas movies. And there are so many of them every holiday season.

12. Make Homemade Hot Chocolate

What better way to celebrate the holidays and keep warm from the cold than making some homemade hot chocolate. The smooth milk chocolate taste will make your day. And the kids will love it!

Mug of Hot Chocolate
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13. Put Out Cookies for Santa

If you are already baking Christmas cookies, which is number 3 on this list, then let your kids put out a few cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. They will enjoy running to the tree the next morning to see if Santa did in fact eat their cookies.

Just make sure those cookies and the glass of milk are gone before the kids wake up the next morning.😉

Santa holding Christmas Cookies
(Photo Credit: Pixabay, Canva.com)

14. Make Homemade Eggnog

If you like eggnog this is a great holiday drink to enjoy. Grab a glass of eggnog and enjoy it with your Christmas Eve dinner. I make homemade eggnog every year for Christmas Eve and I have to say it’s delicious.

15. Make a Gingerbread House

Building a gingerbread house is a tradition that your kids will love. You can create and build your own or you can purchase a kit to build.

2 Made Up Gingerbread Houses
(Photo Credit: Pixabay, Canva.com)

16. Send Out Christmas Cards

Sending out Christmas cards is a way to keep connected with your family and friends and to keep them updated on all the exciting news that happened to you and your family over the course of the year.

Photo Christmas cards have become very popular. And there are many photo sites where you can create your Christmas cards. You can start with Shutterfly, Winkflash, or Snapfish, just to name a few. Pick out a design you like and some pictures of you and your family throughout the year and you have your Christmas card to send out to all your family and friends.

17. Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the shelf will bring smiles to your kids faces every day. You will see the excitement they get every morning when they see what Elf on the shelf had gotten into the night before. You can get creative every night with it too, but at times you may run out of ideas, so if that’s the case, you can check out some new ideas here.

18. Write Letters to Santa

Your kids have made their Christmas list and they’ve checked it twice, but now they want to know how Santa will know what they want for Christmas. Your answer, “why don’t you write Santa a letter.” What a prefect idea! Have your kids write a letter to Santa letting him know what they want for Christmas.

Letters to Santa Mailbox
(Photo Credit: Pixabay, Canva.com)

You can never have too many Christmas traditions. I’m always looking for new Christmas traditions to incorporate into my family’s Christmas. And with so many people staying home this Christmas and not being able to visit extended family, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to add some new Christmas traditions to your family’s Christmas too.

I hope this list will give you some ideas on those new traditions!

If you liked this list and are also looking for Christmas shopping ideas, check out my list on 8 ways to Christmas shop in 2020 during the pandemic.

Looking for Other Holiday Tips and Ideas?

What about Thanksgiving?

10 Tips on Hosting Your First Thanksgiving
Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Checklist

What about Halloween?

43 Cutest Halloween Costumes for Kids
Doing Halloween—Target Style
9 Halloween Ideas to do with Your Kids
What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions? Which traditions did you like the most from this list? We want to read about them in the comments below!

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