The Christmas season is so magical for many of us because it’s a time when we are reminded that generosity and kindness and miracles still exist, and it’s a time when we make memories with family that we cherish forever.
I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more I realize that time is flying by! And every year I am much more appreciative of the time I spend and the experiences I share with my family.
I asked readers about their favorite family traditions, and there were so many great responses.
If you could use a couple ideas of ways you can establish some traditions with your family, teach your kids about the magic of giving, and also give your kids some warm and fuzzy memories to look back upon when they are older, maybe these will help you out!
1. Old Fashioned Christmas Caroling
I made a bucket list one year that I wanted to take my kids caroling like I did when I was a kid. A friend saw my list, and took it upon himself to organize a caroling event at the nursing home where he worked. It wasn’t the traditional door to door caroling I had first envisioned, but filling a room in a nursing home with five families (and a total of about 20 children) brought smiles to over fifty senior citizens. The kids loved the attention, and the nursing home residents loved the music and the voices and the children.
2. Make a “Reverse Advent Calendar”
Add a canned good/non perishable item/etc. to a box to donate every day in December and then deliver the box to a food pantry or homeless shelter.
3. Christmas Ornament/Craft Playdate
“A few of my girl friends and I get our kids together (ages 7-9 months) and we do a Christmas craft together and watch a fun Christmas movie. We make decorations or an ornament for Grandparents. There are cookies and hot chocolate involved – quality time together instead of the unnecessary toy overload!”
4. Donate toys and clothes
Too much stuff is always a problem for us! Before you bring in new things on Christmas Day, take the opportunity to teach your kids about decluttering and donating at the same time!
“We picked out some new coats and go through our old stash of old coats to donate to the fire department’s coat drive.”
5. Elf Someone.
Secretly deliver a gift to an unsuspecting friend or neighbor (or stranger, even)!
“Last year we brought wreaths to people and left them on their doorstep as a surprise.” (love that!)
6. Check out the lights!
This suggestion from a reader is a little indulgent, but I LOVE it! And it would be great to do with another family — like a Christmas party bus!
“Rent a limo for night. Bundle up in pjs and bring plenty of blankets then go on tour of holiday light displays. Bring along thermos of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies and blast the Christmas carols in the limo.”
7. Make a Christmas Eve Bag
There are lots of variations of this — fill a bag or box for each of your kids with pjs, popcorn, hot chocolate mix, books, movies, cards, etc. and spend Christmas Eve as a family reading, watching a movie, or playing a game.
8. Stocking Stuffer Challenge
“My husband and I started our tradition our first year married. Money was tight, Christmas Eve we went to Walmart, had $20 each. We had 20 min to buy gifts for each other. It was fun racing the clock to stay in budget and purchase enough to fill the stockings. We have continued this for 18 years, no matter where we are. Our 2 kids love it, and we trade off each year!”
9. Ugly PJ Hunt
“We don’t have local family so it’s usually just us. On Christmas Eve after dinner we go in search of ugly pajamas. A few years back I had forgotten to get Christmas pajamas so we decided to go find some. The stores are pretty empty and there are such ugly pajamas left that we out ugly each other and then go home, put them on and relax.”
10. Make cookies for your local hospital or police and fire departments. (LOVE THIS)
“My husband and I spend Christmas Eve day baking cookies and decorating them with our kids and then we drive to our local fire and police departments and hand them out along with crafted Christmas cards from our kids — ‘Thank you for spending your holiday away from your family to keep my family safe’. I am a nurse, but now a SAHM, so I really feel for those who sacrifice their holidays. I think this year we’ll do the local hospital. I should add, my kids were 2 and 3, so the cookies were a mess and half had been licked- so we let the kids present their hard work but the ziploc bag had a huge note- DO NOT EAT. And I told them that as well. We delivered bakery cookies along with our kids cookies.”
Have another tradition your family loves?
I’d love to hear about it!