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Christmas is my favorite holiday of all. It makes me so happy. I love having kids to share the holiday with. I love starting new traditions with my kids and husband. The older my kids get, the more I understand how important traditions are.
We moved closer to extended family about 2 years ago. So some of our traditions that we did with or small little family got set aside and replaced with larger family parties. And even though we love spending time with my extended family, my kids really missed our little family traditions. So we’ve made a deal with them. No matter what, we wouldn’t skip any of them from now on.
Here are our Christmas Family Traditions:
1. Go to a Nativity play or put one on at home. To us, nothing is more important than remembering why we have the Christmas Season in the first place. It’s really important to us that our children understand that Christmas is about Christ. Our church does a nativity play every year that our kids participate in. We display a nativity in our home and read a Christmas scripture every night. We love using this Nativity Ornament Kit. It’s called the 25 Days of Christ and you put it together as a family. Then each year you pull out the ornaments one by one and read a scripture that goes with it.
2. Donate toys. Instead of giving sibling gifts, we take the money we would spend and take a shopping trip to a toy store. We purchase fun toys and donate them to a local toy drive, Toys for Tots. My kids love this tradition. We make sure to talk to them about why we are doing it and where and who the toys will be going to.
3. Christmas Eve Pajamas. Every Christmas Eve we open our Christmas Pajamas. My kids can hardly wait for this. We always end up opening them up and putting them on before it even gets dark. We even wear them to our extended family Christmas Eve party. The kids sit on the couch and open them all at the same time. Then have them sit in front of the tree for a picture in their new PJ’s.
4. Finger Food Dinner. On Christmas Eve, we set out a spread on our large ottoman in the living room and set out finger foods on trays. Crackers, summer sausage, different cheeses, mozzarella sticks, olives, pickles, veggies, fruit, mini hot dogs in barbecue sauce, etc. We also include our traditional Christmas candies like cherry cordials, candy canes, chocolate orange sticks, almond rocka, and chocolate oranges. We always have a special root beer, egg nog and Hot Chocolate Mint Malt. We all sit around the ottoman and eat until we are sick, wearing our pajamas.
5. Look for Rudolph while looking at Christmas Lights. Each year we drive around and find the best decorated houses. My littlest ones love to see how many Santa’s we can find. While we are driving around on Christmas Eve they like to look in the sky and try to find Rudolph’s Red Nose too!
6. Watch your favorite Christmas Movie. We do this when we are eating our Finger Food Dinner on Christmas Eve. Our favorites are A Christmas Story, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Disney’s a Christmas Carol or Polar Express.
8. Get new sleds and go sledding with your kids. I know we should invest in some sturdy sleds, but we seem to break them every year and the kids get to pick new ones every year. They have a lot of fun doing this. Then when you get home, eat pizza and drink hot chocolate.
9. Go and watch the Nutcracker. There is something magical about the story of the Nutcracker. This is especially a treat for me since I’ve been a dancer and danced in the Nutcracker for years. The music, dancing, staging and theater. I promise your kids will feel special being taken to a play or dance performance. They will never forget it.
Most of these we do on Christmas Eve. But as you know, Christmas lasts longer than a few days. It’s a whole month of celebration at our house. We love using this Christmas Bucket List to make sure we get in everything we want to do.
I hope these ideas give you inspiration to start family traditions in your own home!