Family Christmas traditions examples to start with your family for the holidays or make holiday memories – no matter if you’re looking for small family Christmas Eve traditions or holiday activities for large groups, you’ll find something in these unique holiday celebration ideas and classic family ideas for Christmas.
The Best Family Christmas Traditions Examples
Here are fun Christmas tradition ideas, whether you’re looking for new Christmas traditions or want to add to your best Christmas traditions passed down through your family or wondering how to start Christmas traditions with this fun family Christmas traditions list!
Here are some examples of family Christmas traditions you can add this year to make new memories and get everyone in the holiday spirit!
What are good Christmas traditions?
Family Traditions To Start For Christmas:
- Read Christmas books together each night until Christmas.
- Make a memory stocking. (see below if you’re looking for Christmas traditions with purpose and meaning)
- Go to a Christmas Eve service or a cultural holiday celebration in your area.
- Fill a thermos with hot chocolate, grab some cups, and walk or drive around neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights and displays. (If you’re looking for inexpensive family Christmas traditions, this is it!)
- Create a family holiday playlist for your Christmas party or gift opening time for Christmas presents.
- Invite friends and family to a Bethlehem dinner for Christian family Christmas traditions.
- Get a group together and go Christmas caroling at a nursing home.
- Try the Giving Manger instead of Elf on the Shelf! (One of my favorite Christmas traditions to start with family of littles that the entire family can do together!)
- Draw names and fill stockings for the person whose name you got.
- Get a new ornament for the family each year. (Don’t forget to date it! We get one when we travel and we have that memory each year when decorating the tree!) – I love this for Christmas traditions to start with baby!
- Add a friends and family traditions putting up Christmas tree with homemade ornaments from each family.
- Make Christmas cards for neighbors or those in shelters or nursing homes. (I love this as one of those cool family Christmas traditions that gives back to the community / good deeds for this time of year!)
- Have a gingerbread decorating contest (then ask your friends and family on social media to vote for a winner!).
- Instead of taking turns opening presents, play gift exchange Bingo or other Christmas gift exchange games. (I love this for group family Christmas traditions instead of gifts.)
- Play candy canes minute to win it games.
- Sing Christmas carols karaoke on Christmas Eve.
- String old-fashioned traditions of cranberries and popcorn for your Christmas tree or fireplace mantle. (One of those Christmas tradition activities that we still talk about!)
- Bundle up and go to a local Christmas parade. (Super easy Christmas tradition / free Christmas traditions you can start this year!)
- Looking for funny family Christmas traditions? Play the Saran Wrap Ball Holiday Game (directions below) — fun Christmas traditions for adults, too!
- Make handmade paper stars or homemade Christmas ornaments
- Start a book of Christmas family traditions quotes. It’s fun to read them and laugh at the memories each year and one of those easy Christmas traditions that keeps giving back!
- Gather food for a local food bank and then deliver it together as a family as a family Cristmas tradition to start.
- Search for live nativity scene near me (or church Christmas concert or any other local special event) and grab some hot cocoa and go see it for the Christmas holiday as part of your new traditions! (I love this for Christmas celebration ideas with family!)
Christmas fun traditions are only limited by your imagination! Ask your family what they would like to do to create magical Christmas traditions (or even funny family Christmas traditions!).
More ideas for special family Christmas traditions, how to add new Christmas traditions in my family, and fun family Christmas traditions with toddlers below. KEEP SCROLLING for the best holiday traditions to add to your family memory making this year and class holiday activities for kids and family to do together!
DON’T MISS MORE CHRISTMAS FAMILY IDEAS:
(Fun for Christmas customs / seasonal holidays around the world units.)
What Are Christmas Traditions for Families?
Let’s talk a little about family Christmas traditions origins, whether you’re looking to create some or you want to add to your current traditions!
So, what are interesting facts about Christmas?
Where do Christmas traditions come from?
Christmas traditions come from a variety of places:
- Religious rituals and practices
- Folklore and stories
- Adaptations from other cultures, religions, and beliefs
- Passed down through generations in a family
- Created new in your family
AFTER FAMILY TRADITION IDEAS, ALSO CHECK OUT:
What are family Christmas traditions?
Family Christmas traditions are things that are done every year surrounding the holidays. Sometimes, they are passed down from generation to generation. Other times, they may be traditions that a family starts new and continues throughout the years. Examples of Christmas traditions are picking out a Christmas tree, sitting on Santa’s lap, drinking hot chocolate while decorating the tree, watching a specific holiday movie, and more.
Your family holidays/traditions can be anything you want!
Why are family traditions so important?
Nice family Christmas traditions are important because they:
- Make the holiday meaningful
- Create bonds between family members and friends
- Help us remember past good memories and those we have lost
- Foster a sense of belonging
- Make us feel secure
- Keeps us connected to the last
- Help us honor ancestors
Family traditions during Christmas are important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change traditions if they’re not working for your family. LEARN HOW AFTER THIS SECTION, whether you’re looking to change family traditions on Christmas eve or during all holidays.
Christmas Holidays Around The World Printable (Holiday Traditions Around The World)
Need Christmas traditions around the world lesson plans or looking for a fun Christmas around the world units studies?
Get our fun Christmas around the world homeschool unit or student lesson for popular Christmas traditions around the world beyond the United States, why is Christmas celebrated in other countries, and family customs examples / family traditions examples!
Holiday Traditions & Facts From 8 Different Countries with Recipes From The Countries PLUS Coloring and Activity Pages and FREE Matching Game
Perfect for a Christmas around the world unit lesson or holiday fun at home — even Christmas around the world activities for preschoolers! It will even give you family tradition project ideas from different parts of the world!
How To Change Family Christmas Traditions
But what if you don’t like the holiday traditions that have been passed down? Starting new family Christmas traditions can be touchy because many people don’t like change… especially during the holidays when many people are feeling nostalgic. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t drop a family tradition on Christmas that no longer works for you.
Here’s how to change Christmas traditions, new holiday traditions to adopt with your family to make the holidays your own, and make sure everyone (like the extended family) still has a great time and makes special memories!
How do you change holiday traditions?
- Let family members and guests know what will be changing well in advance of the holiday.
- Communicate why you are changing the family traditions and why they were no longer working.
- Give guests time to process their feelings well before the holidays. Breaking family holiday traditions will create different emotions!
- Don’t dwell on the past! Let everyone know about new holiday celebrations and traditions.
- Recognize that some people have strong emotions tied to holiday rituals (especially food traditions). If you’re open to it, allow them to make that dish or head up the holiday tradition instead.
- Be open to rescheduling your holiday celebration so others can still observe traditional holiday rituals (like Christmas rituals in church).
- Consider blended family Christmas traditions and adding everyone’s traditions as a fun way to make sure everyone feels included.
- Ask for old Christmas traditions / old holiday traditions from family and add those as Christmas ideas for family new to you. It may be fun to add some family customs passed down to next generation Christmas!
- Expect some hurt feelings and be open to others not attending Christmas celebrations. (Don’t hold it against them!)
- Know that you can’t make everyone happy in the whole family. Remember, family traditions around Christmas can be a super touchy subject! Focus on your Christmas ideas for family gatherings.
- It’ OK to just want to spend time with your immediate family on Christmas as part of your new tradition. Just let everyone in the family know well in advance so they can plan their own fun Christmas ideas for families / Christmas morning traditions.
Also, remember that you don’t have to pick just one Christmas tradition! You can add many different family Christmas activities and traditions for the entire season. It’s pretty fun creating and celebrating a lifetime of tradition with your family!
Fun holiday traditions to start with your family have to start somewhere, so why not this year?
KEEP SCROLLING for more examples of traditions and ideas for Christmas eve traditions activities!
Ideas for New Family Traditions On Christmas
Looking for ideas for a new family Christmas tradition this year? Try these unique Christmas traditions out for fun family quality time!
What are some family Christmas traditions?
- Do a yearly advent calendar.
- Make an old fashioned popcorn garland. (I know this is one of those old Christmas traditions, but we still love it and its a great way to get in the mood for the Christmas season and looked beautiful on my family Christmas tree!)
- Get matching family Christmas pajamas and watch family Christmas movies together (or let everyone pick their favorite Christmas movies like Polar Express, It’s A Wonderful Life, etc.) — great for low-key family Christmas day traditions or even if you need need Christmas without family ideas and are celebrating with friends.
- Let everyone open one small gift on Christmas Eve.
- Start the Christmas Eve Box tradition as part of your own family traditions for things to do on Christmas eve / new Christmas Eve traditions for families.
- Play Christmas morning present games (like the holiday stocking game).
- Looking for meaningful family Christmas traditions? Each year lay an empty stocking under the tree as a memory of those you lost. Encourage everyone to write a short memory of a person and slip it into the stocking. Each year, you can read the memories or even record them in a book for everyone to read the next year. (A favorite new Christmas tradition at our house! And the best part? It helps you keep their memories alive! Great for unique Christmas Eve traditions!)
- Have a Christmas sleepover! (Or, put on some Christmas music and sleep under the Christmas tree in the living room— every kids favorite family Christmas traditions and one of those examples of family traditions that my husband remembers from childhood!) This is great for Christmas night traditions after opening presents, too!
- Turn off tech and play board games (find holiday tradition ideas and Christmas traditions games for the entire season).
- Make Christmas ornaments from travels or special events over the past year to become part of your Christmas traditions decorations. (This is my favorite special ornament that brings back so many great holiday memories each year!)
- Go ice skating.
- Start family Christmas gift giving traditions of collecting and donating to a local shelter.
- Make an old-fashioned recipe and then give it as a gift.
- Have a game night Christmas traditions trivia party each year.
- Have a Christmas cookie decorating party (with a unique twist!) and a hot chocolate bar. (Kids Christmas tradition that everyone will love!)
- Start the pickle ornament tradition and give a gift to the person who finds it! (SUPER fun Christmas traditions for families! Even our older kids and their family still love looking for it! One of the best Christmas family traditions at home that we’ve started and makes great addition to family Christmas morning traditions, too.)
- Play the plastic wrap ball game. (This one of our favorite crazy family Christmas traditions and will become a favorite family Christmas idea at your house, too! And, it works for large family Christmas traditions or small family traditions! We’ve been doing them as fun family traditions for 10 years now!)
- Take a picture for holiday cards for the following year (or cute couple Christmas pictures)!
- Ditch a stressful dinner and order Chinese food that you eat sitting around the Christmas tree instead for a special meal with your immediate family! (Great for small family Christmas ideas or what to do on Christmas day with no family, too!)
- Watch a Christmas Story and have a Christmas Story themed party for fun gathering a family for Christmas idea.
- Make a Christmas traditions dinner. (We started a Bethlehem dinner last year for Christian Christmas traditions for families and loved it! It was so much fun and got us into the spirit of Christmas. It’s also a great alternative to a traditional Christmas dinner / fun for Christmas Eve ideas.)
Need different Christmas traditions for young kids? See toddler Christmas traditions ideas below for making Christmas fun!
Don’t forget to start new tradition with little kids, too!
with Need unique Christmas tradition ideas for family with younger kids? You can also easily add toddler family traditions for Christmas, too!
Here are some great ideas for a family Christmas with little ones…
Christmas Traditions with Toddlers
Try this list of Christmas family traditions for toddlers:
- Decorate Christmas cookies.
- Create a countdown to Christmas calendar.
- Sing Christmas songs.
- Pick favorite Christmas books and read them every year.
- Let them wrap presents — however they want!
- Give them jingle bells and let them make sound effects to Christmas books you read each night.
- Wrap small toys (like trinkets from a dollar store) and let them unwrap one per day for a 12 Days of Christmas activity. (Or, do a gift treasure hunt / Christmas scavenger hunt with them!)
- Watch the Grinch Stole Christmas and then make Grinch cookies.
- Make hot chocolate gifts for others.
- Create Christmas crafts for the Christmas tree or Christmas decorations.
- Make Santa Claus reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer. (Great idea for groups or older kids, too!)
- Read Twas The Night Before Christmas as a toddler Christmas Eve tradition.
- Have a snowball fight. (No snow? Try these instead!)
- Make gingerbread houses together.
- Let go of Elf on the Shelf and do one of these Elf on Shelf alternatives instead. (Yes! There are better magical Christmas traditions and even alternatives for Christian Christmas traditions to Elves on Shelves.)
- Let them decorate their own felt Christmas tree (one of my favorite cute Christmas traditions for young kids and one of the best ways to get younger kids involved!)
What are your favorite traditions for little kids and special things you do for a fun tradition?
Read Walk This World at Christmastime Children’s Book
Walk This World at Christmastime is a fantastic children’s book to add to your Christmastraditions book reading and Christmas around the world learning.
(It’s so cool that I had to come back here and update this post after we got the book. We’re definitely adding this to our annual Christmas rituals!))
Each set of pages covers different countries and their traditions of Christmas… in lift-the-flap format!
(Who doesn’t love lift the flaps? My daughter is 11 years old and LOVED this book… and so did I!)
Along with the regular flaps, there are also numbered flaps so you could actually use this book as an advent calendar option, too!
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST KIDS’ BOOK I’VE BOUGHT IN A LONG TIME!
It’s one of those great Christmas traditions gifts that keeps giving back every year! If you want one of those cool Christmas traditions with books, this is it!
In addition to family holiday traditions examples, also check out…
Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!
We’d love to hear about your Christmas family traditions! What are some Christmas traditions your family have or fun ideas for Christmas time?