Start a Christmas Family Tradition Today that will Create Memories to Last a Lifetime
After enjoying a delicious Thanksgiving feast, everyone’s thoughts turn toward Christmas. Whether it’s a casual Christmas Eve gathering of friends or Christmas dinner with all the fancy trimmings, visions of celebrations start dancing in our heads.
One of the real joys of the Christmas season is discovering new family activities or adding a new twist to old ones. In the years ahead, these new holiday activities join the list of beloved family Christmas traditions.
Orchestrate the Family Photo
Getting the whole family together for a photographic moment can be a challenge. Plan a “Family Photo Shoot” day well in advance and let everyone know if you have an idea about the theme or clothing choices. If the photo is intended for holiday cards or a gift, the sooner you plan, the easier you can put your photos into action.
Throw a Christmas Tree Slumber Party
Many of us can remember lying under the Christmas tree and gazing up at the sparkling lights in wonder and awe. This year, try throwing a slumber party under the tree. Pile on the pillows and blankets. Pass around the hot chocolate and cookies, and spend time singing carols, reading Christmas stories or thumbing through photo albums from Christmas Pasts.
Hang the Stockings With Care
Encourage family members to personalize their stockings by adding decorative elements that are unique to them. Host a gathering and supply lots of craft supplies, then let the personalization begin! Another fun stocking idea, especially once children are grown, to assign “secret stocking” duty to every member of the family. Then each person must fill another person’s stocking with something unique and hang the filled stockings by Christmas morning.
Add Cultural Traditions
Our communities offer so many diverse cultures and activities during the holidays. Look into cultural events taking place during the holidays to discover how other cultures celebrate and add something new each year to your family’s holiday plans.
Christmas Eve Dinners
You know that Christmas Eve can get a little hectic, so keep it simple, especially if you’re preparing the big Christmas Day dinner! Consider adding these ideas to your Christmas Eve traditions.
- Get take-out. More and more busy families rely on taking out or going out on Christmas Eve. So many, in fact, that Chinese takeout has become something of a tradition all its own!
- Invite the family over for potluck dinner. Ask everyone to bring something easy and then set up the holiday buffet. Save the good china for tomorrow and use paper plates with a holiday pattern.
Christmas Eve Traditions — Out and About
If you’re going to be out on Christmas Eve (hopefully not racing around buying last minute gifts), do something fun and meaningful.
- Nearly every community has a Santa Claus Lane – you know, that one block of houses all amazingly decked out. Go and gaze in admiration at the magic of the twinkling lights and nodding reindeer.
- Go caroling. Everybody loves to sing, and what a wonderful way to share warm holiday spirits with neighbors.
- Join a candlelight walk and drink in the beauty and joy of the season.
- Pick a Christmas story that you can read every year before bedtime on Christmas Eve. Of course, a traditional choice, is “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but you can pick any story that resonates with your family and turn it into an annual custom.
Pay it Forward
There is no more perfect way to recognize the true spirit of the season than by doing something for those less fortunate.
- A simple gift goes a long way to making someone feel remembered. Visit the dollar store and pick up some new toiletries, socks, candy or books. Wrap gifts and take them to a local charity.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
- Include a retirement home on your caroling route. They will really appreciate the visit.
- Bake Christmas cookies with the kids and share them with friends, family, neighbors and the local homeless shelter.
Christmas is family time. When you’re back at home, get the kids (and adults!) into their pajamas and do those final Christmas Eve activities. These are the most pleasurable chores imaginable.
- Gather around the tree with Snow Cocoa or hot buttered rum and tell Christmas stories.
- Let everyone open just one present. The rest have to wait till morning!
- If you don’t have a fireplace, make a decorative key to the front door for Santa and have the kids hide it under the front doormat.
- Make it a tradition to give everyone a new Christmas ornament each year. When trimming the tree each year, they’ll be reminded of their favorite memories. Plus, when the kids get older and have a home of their own, they can take their ornaments and decorate their own Christmas tree.
After the Kids Are Asleep
- Decorate the house with greenery and twinkling white lights so everyone will wake to a magically transformed wonderland.
- Spray artificial snow on the bottom of a pair of men’s shoes. Make visible tracks from the front door to the table where Santa’s cookies await. Leave only a few crumbly bits and then make tracks that return from the table to the front door.
New Family Christmas Traditions
What new family activities will become your Christmas traditions? Comment below and share with us what your family looks forward to every year!