Christmas traditions will help build a feeling of family – familiar things that you share together every year, things that can be looked forward to, that build excitement and that make the whole family feel included and special. It can be hard to think of new traditions, especially if you’ve got young children and are just transitioning, like I am, from being an adult couple into the world of children. Children really change the feel of Christmas to me, so I want to make it as magical as possible both this year – and every year moving into the future.
It doesn’t have to be crazy complicated things. In my opinion, some of the best Christmas traditions are simple things that you might not have thought about, and here are ten ideas of things every single family can do together. Let me know if you do any, or plan on starting them this year!
1. Spend time singing Christmas songs together
Singing boost endorphins and makes people happy, fact! You might be driven potty by the repeated Christmas songs in the supermarket, but singing Christmas carols together is a really lovely way of including the whole family in a fun activity. Just don’t put it on YouTube.
2. Decorate the Tree and have a Lights on ceremony
Decorating the tree should be something the whole family can do together, each taking it in turns to hang one decoration. At the end of the night have a countdown to lights on whilst you top the tree with your star, fairy or angel and then celebrate with a hot chocolate! I personally find decorating the tree a bit of a chore, but my husband told me about how his family would always come together and take it in turns to help and adopting that for our family has turned what was quite tedious for me, into something very fun!
3. Write the Christmas Cards together
I find a lot of the time the Christmas cards are written by one person in the family. Some of my friends complain that they have to write dozens or even hundreds (especially those with multiple children in large classes) of Christmas cards whilst the kids watch TV. Turn off all the devices, gather the whole family around the table and spread out the cards. Involve everyone in writing them, and have a few crafty bits like bows, ribbons, glitter and paint to decorate. You’ll get all the cards written in one evening, bring the family together and add something more personal for the recipients. Someone will still have the boring job of doing the envelopes, but even this can be made fun by buying stamps in lots of different designs!
4. Start a Christmas Eve Box Tradition
In my Christmas Eve box we keep it simple – just a new pair of pyjamas and a new book to read. I then let my son reach into his Christmas stocking and open one thing on Christmas Eve as well. I think it helps with the excitement! But we all get one, myself and my husband too. It’s a simple tradition that’s also practical and fun.
5. Have a Hot Chocolate Station
On December 1st create a hot chocolate station and if you want, say the elves have brought it down and Santa will be having a hot chocolate on Christmas Eve! You can even leave one out for him. The hot chocolate station should have yummy hot chocolate, marshmallow sprinkles, cocoa powder in a shaker to dust, and peppermint candy canes. Decorate it with a Christmas theme and have a few special mugs you only bring out for December.
6. Home Made Advent Calendars
When I was younger I’d have a chocolate advent calendar, and being a sneaky (and somewhat greedy!) child, I would often open all the days from behind and eat the chocolate at once! I’d regret it later on of course. These days there are lots of options for advent calendars that aren’t just overpriced chocolate stuffed in cardboard. By making a home made advent calendar you could really put some lovely treats in it that are personal to your children. If you have children like me, you can also put each day in it on the morning before they wake up – so there’s no cheating! Advent calendars can teach children patience, whilst also giving them tons of excitement and really building up to Christmas. You can include things like sweets and chocolates, but it could also be small practical items like soap or their favourite lip balm, a new Christmas ornament or charm for a bracelet, a lego figure or how about doing a book advent and encouraging them to read as well? It could also be something fun like family vouchers – one voucher to go to the park for example!
7. Christmas Eve Movie
Watch a movie together as a family on Christmas Eve and make it special with a hot chocolate treat (with whipped cream, marshmallows and a candy cane), home made cookies and oodles of popcorn. Get snuggly blankets out on the sofa and ban all electronics for the duration of the movie!
8. Go for a walk on Christmas Morning
Going for a walk – to the same park, or to a different one if you prefer – on Christmas morning is a lovely tradition. Christmas is often spent opening presents, eating too much food, adults drinking too much booze, and a lazy nap on the sofa after watching the Queen’s speech. All that sounds absolutely divine to me – but if you start the day off with a walk, you’ll be physically and mentally refreshed for the day, whilst building a connection with the whole family. Everyone out on Christmas Day is always so cheerful as well, which always puts me in a great mood for the day.
9. Family Photo
Take a family photo every year in roughly the same pose and at the same time. You’ll build up a lovely collection of family mementos that highlights how your family grows and changes as the year passes. When your kids move out of home, you can give them a little photo album of each year. They might not appreciate it that much when they’re a teenager, but trust me – they’ll thank you when they’re older and they look back on all those treasured Christmases together.
10. Write Thank You Notes Together
After the Christmas excitement has died down – perhaps on Boxing day or a few days later, you can spend an hour writing thank you notes for gifts together. I’ve got a whole post full of tips and reasons why you should say thank you for gifts in the form of a written note, and by sitting down and doing it together as a family you can make it more fun and a lovely tradition to be thankful for the gifts we have received.
It’s all about creating Christmas memories and traditions that your children can pass on to their children. No matter how small it seems, these things really make a difference. What Christmas traditions do you have?