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8 Favorite Family Christmas Traditions

favorite family Christmas traditions

For parents, Christmas family traditions are like candy canes and lollipops: they deliver a rush. There's nothing quite so satisfying as our kids eagerly begging for time together as a family. And in this age of busy schedules and distracting devices--when times together can be few and far between--we keep coming back for the rush of real connection every year.

When are we going to frost the cookies together, Mom?

Are we going to go look at Christmas lights again, Dad?

Will you come to my concert, Grandma?

Because traditions are the easiest way to get our "sugar fix" of lasting memories, we might be tempted to overdo them. So, say, if your first Saturday in December looks something like this…

  • 8AM: snowman pancake breakfast
  • 8:45AM: new-Christmas-ornament-per-day hung on the tree
  • 9:00AM: pack up and leave for annual ice skating and hot chocolate trip
  • 11AM: photos with Santa followed by lunch at the shopping mall
  • 1PM: Christmas gift-list writing with more hot chocolate
  • 1:30PM: annual gingerbread house baking
  • 2:00PM: gingerbread house decorating
  • 3:00PM: Advent calendar surprise reveal
  • 3:15PM: sing one-Christmas-carol-per-day
  • 3:20PM: get dressed for Christmas concert in the park
  • 3:45PM: leave for Christmas concert
  • 5:00PM: early dinner
  • 5:30PM: work on family Christmas puzzle
  • 6:00PM: watch one Christmas movie from collection
  • 8:00PM: say daily goodnight-Christmas-prayer to Jesus and read Christmas-themed story from collection
  • 9:00PM: start planning Sunday's schedule

…you're headed for a major "sugar" overdose.

The truth is that a little tradition goes a long way toward bonding families together. Having even one or two special things during the Christmas season is plenty to build lifetime memories. This less-is-more approach gives us all freedom to pick our very favorites, and then soak in every moment.

Whether you are searching for new, different, or more meaningful traditions to try this year as a family, here are several lists of traditions compiled by other families to spark your creativity:


Our 8 favorite family Christmas tradition ideas:

  1. Read a scripture every night of December by candlelight
  2. Write a letter to Jesus
  3. Have a picnic or a sleepover by the tree
  4. Mom and dad Christmas-movie-in-bed night
  5. Participate in Operation Christmas, Knit Together In Love, or another charity-sponsored activity
  6. Tell stories or have grandparents tell stories about past Christmases as a child
  7. Secretly give gifts for the 12 Days of Christmas to a neighbor
  8. Make a surprise Christmas Eve box and open it as a family
  9. Bonus idea! Create a new Jesus-centered tradition with The Christmas Angel, a fun, faith-based way to count down to Christmas

Try it!

Take 30 seconds to make a mental list of the traditions your family does. How does your list make you feel? Light and excited? Stressed? Overwhelmed? If the latter, consider traditions you can trim from your list. If any of the above, see which ideas from the previous lists spark creativity and delight. Bookmark your top two favorites and pray about trying them with your family this year.

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