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42 Magical Christmas Traditions to Start with your Family this Year

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Start making memories this Christmas by finding some magical Christmas traditions to start with your family this year!

As a kid, Christmas was such a fun and magical time.

And every year I looked forward to the Christmas traditions that we would do.

I want to be able to do the same with my kiddos.

I want to be able to help give them that special Christmas magic feeling that I use to get!

And if you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing!

One way you can do this is to do fun and special traditions every year.

But if you’re just not sure what to do or if you’re just looking for some more ideas to incorporate into the holidays, then you’ve come to the right place!

Here I will talk about over 40 different Christmas traditions that you can try with your family!

You can find them below.

You can even keep track of these Christmas traditions (among many other things) with this Printable Christmas Planner.  This planner really helps keep me organized without stressing about all the details during the holidays.

red and white printable christmas planner mock up


(This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.)

Magical Christmas Traditions to Start with your Family this Year

Christmas Traditions to Start in December

Decorating the House

Decorating the house always gives us that festive Christmas feel when we do it!

It is always fun seeing their faces when we put up their favorite ones like the blow-up Santa outside and the glow-up candy canes in the yard.

But if you have younger kids then they can help out with the easy decorations.

Make a fun time of it though!

Start the kids come hot cocoa, play some Christmas songs, and get to decorating!

Put up Stockings

When I saw those stockings up as a kid, it instantly felt like Christmas time.

Hanging up stockings is a great tradition that has been around forever!

You can even fill them up with presents for Christmas day!

They have many many different kinds of stockings.

You can do more of a fun one with a cute character on it or a more traditional and festive one.

If you don’t have one yet, you can check out these Christmas stockings here.

Hang up a Mistletoe

Ahh, mistletoe.

Hanging up a mistletoe is another that has been around for a long time.

Typically how it goes is if you and someone else are both under the mistletoe you kiss them.

Since it is one of the very few plants that stay alive and blossom during the winter months, it is seen as a symbol of fertility and life. Some think this is why this plant was chosen.

As for the exact origins of this tradition though, there are many many different ones out there.

Picking out a Christmas Tree

You can make picking out a Christmas tree a family affair.

All of you can hop into the car and take a trip to a Christmas tree farm together!

I always loved doing this with my Dad when I was younger.

We would go around and pick out our favorite tree.

Some places will even let you cut it down!

Decorate the Christmas Tree

Now, this is the fun part!

Decorating the tree has always been my favorite!

The tree will be pretty pokey if you got a real one, so make sure the littler ones are careful.

Younger ones can help put up easy ornaments that aren’t breakable.

And if they’ve made any in the past, I’m sure they’ll love putting those up again!

Make Christmas Tree Ornaments

I can’t wait to do this with my toddler this year!

You and your kids can get crafty and make cute Christmas tree ornaments to put on the tree.

They will feel so special being able to put their very own creation on the Christmas tree.

And what’s great is that you can even involve your baby in creating their first ornament for their first Christmas!

You can find cute and festive Christmas crafts for you and the kids to do here!

Listen to a Christmas Playlist

I love listening to Christmas music!

It always gets me into the Christmas mood.

Plus it’s the only time of year where you don’t get looked at like your crazy for having it on!

So go to your favorite music app or website and start getting into the Christmas spirit!

Make Christmas Cards

You could get crafty with the kids and make homemade Christmas cards for your friends and family or you could put a family picture in a premade holiday card on the internet.

Always make an extra one though!

Then you can keep it to look back on.

Make a Holiday Bucket List

You can make your own holiday bucket or get one from the internet.

These typically just have a bunch of different fun and festive activities you can do.

This could be lots of fun for the kids to do!

And I’m sure they will get excited seeing all the fun things they get to do!

Elf on the Shelf

Elf on the Shelf is kind of a more modern tradition.

Typically sometime after Thanksgiving or near December 1st, the Elf on the Shelf comes to your house.

The Elf is said to watch you and report to Santa to say whether or not they’ve been good.

But of course, there are many parents who don’t do it that way, so you can always do something different for your family!

You can buy The Elf on the Shelf plus the Elf on the Shelf storybook here.

Make Christmas Cookies

I remember it being Christmas time and going to my Grandma’s and seeing (and eating) lots of Santa cookies!

I can’t wait to make them with my kiddos!

You can surprise your kids with them or have your kids help you make some delicious Christmas cookies!

Write Letters to Santa

It was always fun as a kid, writing a letter to Santa Claus.

You can have your kids make a more personalized letter that they decide what all they want to write in it. Or you can get a letter template where you can just fill in the blank.

When they’re finished put it in an envelope, then write Santa Claus, North Pole in the address area, then go with them to put it on the mailbox.

Of course, you’ll have to remember later to go get it!

Related Posts: Free Christmas Wish List Letter Template

Go see Santa at the Mall

I’m sure many of you remember going to see Santa and his merry elves.

You can find a location where you know they’ll have a Santa and take the kiddos.

They can sit on his lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, and often you can even get a picture of them sitting on Santa’s lap!

Have a Family Slumber Party

A fun new thing you could try incorporating into your own Christmas traditions is a family slumber party!

This is not only fun but helps get the whole family to spend time and do things together.

You can start the night with games, yummy snacks, maybe build a blanket fort, and later you can all watch movies together!

Family Game Night (but Chrismas Themed)

I love having family game night at my house!

We always have a ball and the whole night is filled with laughter!

One thing you can do to change things up a bit is to play a game that’s Christmas-themed.

And there are so many out there like Christmas bingo, Christmas-themed monopoly, North Pole Clue, and even an antler ring toss!

You can check out all these fun Christmas-themed games for your family game night here!

Decorate a Ginger Bread House

We did this one year and is it definitely something I would do again!

All you need to buy is a gingerbread house set, royal icing, and some candy for the decorations!

But if you are wanting to make your gingerbread from scratch, you can buy gingerbread house molds like these here.

Build a Snowman

Building a snowman is always a fun activity for the kids to do!

You could even give them an old scarf, hat, some coals, and a carrot for his nose!

Have (or go to) a Christmas Party

Is a friend or family member planning on having a Christmas party?


Well, maybe you could have your own!

This can be a fun way to spend time with loved ones during the holidays!

Go to a Local Towns Christmas Event

Around here, certain towns will have their own magical Christmas events either during December or in late November.

I love going to these as they are filled with many fun decorated shops, music, food, and sometimes even Santa will make an appearance!

See if your town or one near you has a holiday event going on this year.

Have a “Just You Guys” Christmas Traditions

As I’m sure you all know, it’s super important to have alone time and spend time with your significant other.

So be sure to have “just you guys” time and make your own Christmas traditions that you do together.

It could be staying up late and watching a certain Christmas movie, having a candlelit Christmas dinner, or going out on a date.

Whatever you choose to do make it something special you guys can do every year together.

Drive Around and Look at Christmas Lights Around Town

This is something I love doing even to this day.

Plus it gives you a nice break from chasing them around the house!

So warm up the car, bring snacks, and just cruise around your neighborhood and behold the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.

Give to the Less Fortunate

This is also a time for giving and I think it’s very important to show children that.

You can volunteer somewhere or donate items you don’t want/use anymore.

Donating is an easy one that even the little ones can do!

Just ask them if they have any toys that they don’t play with anymore that they’re okay with getting rid of.

Be sure to explain that these toys are being given to another child and that they are helping them get something special that they may not have.

Explaining what the purpose of this is can help make them feel good about gifting one of their toys.

Take a Vacation Instead of Gifts

Something unique you could try is doing a vacation instead of giving all the kids gifts.

This could be a fun idea to help do something adventurous during the holidays!

Do a Christmas Countdown/Advent Calendar

Something my daughter likes to do is countdown the days until Christmas.

You can use an advent calendar (a special holiday calendar) or a fun Christmas countdown that you and your kids can use to count down together.

There are many different kinds of Christmas countdowns from using cute little bags, a printable chart, and even ones that just use cute little doors with a prize (typically chocolate) behind them.

You can make your own advent calendar by buying small bags or boxes and numbering them up to 25.

You can also have a special prize for each day!

But there are also many many different advent calendars you can buy here.

Or you can use a sheet of paper with a fun design that has the number of days until Christmas!

This may be more cost-effective but is still fun to use.

You can buy this cute printable Christmas countdown sheet here.

Christmas Traditions to Do on Christmas Eve

Attend a Christmas Eve Service

Lots of Churches on Christmas Eve will have a Christmas Eve service.

If you and your family attend a Church, you could join during their special gathering.

Drink Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows

When everyone is getting settled down and ready for the night, how about treating them to a nice hot chocolate.

They can drink this while they watch a Christmas movie or while you read a lovely Christmas book to them!

Watch Christmas Movies

Of course, you can do this anytime in December, but watching a Christmas movie or a Christmas special the night before will surely get them excited and ready for tomorrow!

Plus Christmas movies are always fun to watch!

Christmas Eve Gift Box

A Christmas Eve gift box is just a special box filled with items like a Christmas movie, holiday PJs, candy, a Christmas-themed activity book, etc.

Another idea is to have each kid pick out just one present under the tree and open it the night before!

This may help them to be less antsy and go to sleep for Santa’s arrival.

A Post You May Like: Printable Christmas Themed Activity Pack for 2-4-year-olds

Wear Holiday Pjs

Get ready for Christmas with special Christmas-themed pajamas!

Not only will the kids be excited to wear them, but now they will have some cute PJs to wear too!

Read Christmas Books

A great idea for when the kids are laying in bed is to read them some Christmas books.

Once the kids are in bed and cozy, read some sweet stories about the magic of Christmas.

This may even help them relax and get to sleep too!

Make Reindeer Food

When I was growing up, every year we would make the reindeer a little snack.

I still remember going outside late at night in my little snow boots and sprinkling reindeer food for them!

If you made this when you were little you probably used glitter.

It is now known that using glitter and cake sprinkles are bad for wildlife.

So if you want to make an animal and environmentally safe treat for the reindeer, you can check out this recipe for Christmas Reindeer Food Recipe here!

Leave Santa some Cookies

This is probably the most well-known tradition of them all.

Many children on Christmas Eve will make sure that milk and cookies are waiting for Santa when he arrives.

I always had fun helping my Mom make special cookies for Santa!

And seeing them gone in the morning always felt so magical!

Make Santa Footprints

Want to try a new way to show that Santa was really here?

You can make Santa footprints with white four or baking soda, water, and shoes!

You can learn how to make them in this article here!

Magical Christmas Traditions for Christmas Day

Morning Christmas Music with Cocoa

Start the morning with some sweet Christmas music and a cup of cocoa for everyone to drink!

Not only will this get everyone in the Christmas feel but the kids will love it!

A Special Christmas Morning Breakfast

Every Christmas morning we would open presents then my parents would make a super yummy Christmas breakfast.

I loved this!

We would get all of our favorites like a plate full of delicious pancakes with maple syrup!

Then after our special meal, we would just play with our toys and hang out the rest of the day.

Christmas Morning Family Photo

This is a great one to start doing!

And it’s super simple!

Every Christmas start taking a photo of you and the whole family together.

In the future, these will be super fun to look back on.

Special Santa Wrapping Paper

I remember waking up on Christmas morning and seeing all the presents.

But some had special Santa wrapping paper!

And you just knew that those were from the big man himself!

It also felt so magical seeing that Santa wrapping paper and knowing that he got me THAT gift.

A Magical Letter FROM Santa

You always write a letter to Santa, but wouldn’t it be fun to get a letter back?!

I remember one Christmas I woke up and the cookies and milk were gone and all that was left was a note.

A special letter just from Santa!

I remember thinking how cool it was while my Dad was reading it!

The Christmas Pickle

The tradition of the Christmas pickle is a more unusual one but it is still fun!

Sometime before Christmas morning, you hide a pickle ornament in the Christmas tree.

Then whoever finds it first gets to open their presents first or they can get a special treat.

Unlike lots of other pickle-shaped ornaments, this Christmas pickle isn’t made of glass so it won’t break as easily.

This is great especially if you have little ones or pets running around it all the time.

Some people also do Rudolph’s nose instead of finding a pickle.

Buy Something They Want, Need, Wear, and Read

A lot of times we just buy things that they want and don’t really think of anything else.

Well, this won’t only reduce the amount of money you spend on Christmas but will also reduce the clutter of all of the unplayed toys in your living room.

When shopping time comes around you can buy something you KNOW they want but then get something you know they NEED, an item they can wear, and something to read.

Secret Santa

This can be done with friends or family.

Every year at the beginning of December my whole family will draw a name.

Then whoever we draw we must buy some kind of gift.

Then on Christmas when we all get together we guess who our Secret Santa is.

This is a tradition we have done for years and I always love doing it!

White Elephant

White Elephant works just like Secret Santa but only with White Elephant you buy something absurd.

This is a hilarious gift-giving game that always has lots of laughs!

You can always not assign names as well and on Christmas day just have everyone randomly pick a white elephant gift.

How do you Make Christmas Magical?

Do you know that super special excited feeling you would get as a kid?

How when Christmas came around everything just seemed so magical and wonderful?

I’m sure you are hoping that you can help give your kids this same feeling.

But you may be pleased to know that you don’t need to go to the ends of the North Pole to make this happen!

Because Christmas is already magical!

So just doing little things like writing letters to Santa, leaving Santa and his fellow reindeer a snack, watching Christmas movies, are all things that just help make this time feel even more fun and magical!

Even seeing the beautiful Christmas lights from all around gives me that special feeling still.

How do you Start a Family Christmas Tradition?

Really the simplest way to start a Christmas tradition is to just start DOING IT!

Even if you’ve never done it, just try it out!

If you and everyone else end up loving it, do it again next year!

If not then no worries!

Just try something else out when Christmas time comes around again.

You never know, it could end up being a tradition that your kids adopt and will do with their kids too!

Christmas Articles You May Like:

50+ Christmas Gifts for Babies and Toddlers

memorable christmas traditions to start with your family

What Christmas traditions do you do with your family? Are there any Christmas traditions from this article you want to try with your family this year? Tell me what they are below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!

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