Our family Christmas traditions are something most of us have as a result of our culture, our religious background or simply because they have been handed down for generations. Some of these traditions are such essential parts of our Christmas celebrations that we could not even imagine Christmas without it!
Our most prominent family Christmas traditions were mostly around the big family get together on Christmas day, with a huge spread of cold meats, salads and desserts, after opening our cool home gifts together. Over time things have changed to accommodate the changes of the family.
My siblings have their own families now, just like I do and this means we aren’t all together first thing Christmas morning. But we do still do the big Christmas lunch together. Plus now we have my husband’s traditions – a traditional Polish Christmas Eve feast “Wigilia” in honour of his heritage, always with his family.
We now also incorporate a delicious hot glazed ham instead of our usual cold one, as a result of my husband’s influence. It works perfectly with our must have – mum’s coleslaw, and the Polish salad my husband couldn’t survive Christmas without.
Once children arrive though, sometimes it can be really special to create some new family Christmas traditions for future years, so here are 10 ideas to help you find a new family Christmas tradition:
12 FAMILY CHRISTMAS TRADITION IDEAS
1. Christmas Eve Gift
While in some cultures, opening gifts on Christmas Eve is already the tradition (my husband’s family do this as part of their Polish traditions), for many it is Christmas morning when the gifts are opened. However there are some lovely ideas for Christmas Eve gifts.
For some, opening a single gift the night before can be a lovely build up to the big day, but my favourite is gifting the children with a Christmas Eve hamper each year. Inside is a new pair of PJs (a great way to ensure everyone looks nice in the Christmas morning photos), a book or a Christmas DVD to read or watch on Christmas Eve and possibly some treats.
2. Advent Books
If you have a child who loves to read (or you want to encourage the reading passion), advent books is perfect. Wrap up 24 books individually and each night your child chooses a new book to unwrap and read together.
To cut your costs, these can be a mix of new books and books your child already owns and may not have read for a while. But it is also a great idea to keep an eye out for cheap books through the year at sales. A lovely build up to the big day… and perfect if you don’t want to give kids chocolates like a typical advent calendar.
3. Out With the Old, In With the New
With Christmas each year often comes new toys that need a home and if your kids already have a lot of toys, this could be cringeworthy. Start a new tradition of having your kids each choose a couple of their old toys they no longer play with for ‘Santa’ to take back with him in exchange for something new and wonderful.
Make sure the toys are in good condition and donate them each year so you are helping someone less fortunate while also reducing some of the kid bedroom clutter willingly.
4. Elf on the Shelf
The little Santa’s helper visiting the homes of kids worldwide can be a fun way to get creative with creating the Christmas magic for your kids. Each night the elf travels home to tell Santa if the children have been naughty or nice… so a great way to ‘encourage’ them into good behaviour during December! Check out Facebook or Instagram for some impressive elf inspiration. You may even want to grab my free Elf on the Shelf planner for next year.
5. Christmas Lights
Kids are delighted by Christmas lights. Actually, so are most adults. These days you can often get local listings of the competition entry homes with Christmas lights for you to go visit with your family and turn your light night into a new family Christmas tradition each year.
6. A Snack for Santa & His Reindeers
This is an oldie but a goodie when it comes to getting kids excited for Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve. Leave our a glass of milk and some cookies, perhaps a carrot for the reindeers. Or as is often Aussie Christmas tradition, a chilled beer (most dad’s are pretty keen to drink it once the kids go to sleep).
7. Myer Christmas Windows
Here in Australia the Myer Christmas windows are a big deal, with a yearly launch and special event to coincide with the carefully planned Christmas story. They are a delight to see and for many, this is an annual tradition to see the latest Christmas window each year. We visited the Brisbane Myer windows this year for the first time. Unfortunately the kids were both pretty exhausted by then, but still a bit of fun for us.
8. A New Decoration
Christmas decorations can be pretty amazing works of art these days and for some, collecting a new decoration each year is an affordable tradition that they can enjoy on display each year as the collection grows.
9. Annual Christmas Photo
Memory keeping is such an important thing for me, as you would have figured out if you have seen any of my Project Life posts or albums. An annual Christmas photo is so important for me now that we have kids. We don’t send ours out as Christmas cards, but this is a lovely idea that many families have and one you could easily start.
10. Put Up the Tree 1st December
We have this tradition and it is one I will stick to because putting up a Christmas tree can take ages, so you want have it up for a month to enjoy it. Up on the 1st of December and down on the 1st of January… or somewhere within the week or so that follows when we get the energy to take it all down.
11. Christmas Cricket Match
Growing up in Victoria, it wasn’t always so hot on Christmas day and the family cricket match was something of a Christmas tradition. Moving to Queensland so many years ago, we ended up spending our afternoons in the pool instead when we could. But this can be a super fun family activity to work off some of that Christmas feast before dessert.
12. Magic Key
No chimney, no worries. Escape the worry of your children by putting out the magic key for Santa on Christmas Eve so he can come inside and bring gifts even if there is no chimney to slide down. A cute family Christmas tradition, but make sure you use a decorational key and not one that will actually allow entry into your house!!
What are your favourite family Christmas traditions? Do you do any of these?