Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Kids

Christmas is a traditional period of the year. It’s the time when families gather together to do the same things they always have; sing carols, swap gifts, cook a large meal-- but somehow, the repetition isn’t boring. In fact, it’s the very familiarity and repetition that makes Christmas what it is.

Your family doubtless has a number of traditions already; things that only your family does, but that your Christmas would be incomplete without. With that said, it’s impossible to have too many traditions-- and now you’re a parent, you might want to start a few new ones; traditions that your children will continue in the future with their own families.

As most Christmas traditions tend to develop naturally through habit and hand-me-down sentiment, creating a new tradition can seem tricky-- but the solution is at hand. Below are a few Christmas traditions that will delight any family, so why not see which you like the sound of and want to introduce to your own festive celebrations this year?

#1 - Everyone Decorates Their Own Bauble

If you read a guide on how to decorate your Christmas tree, then the word “cohesion” is one you will quickly become familiar with. The style guides say that all baubles and decorations should match with one another.

As nice as cohesive tree ornaments may be, there’s one thing that is even more special: handmade baubles. You, your partner, and your kids should all decorate your own individual bauble, and there’s no rules about what you can do, no color scheme to stick to. Rather than a number of nice-but-insignificant baubles on your tree, your home can be decorated by the very people who live there. Your tree will have a lovely, homey look to it, and you can keep all the baubles for use the next year.

#2 - Christmas Eve Box + Movie Night

In recent years, you may have heard of a trend developing: Christmas Eve “boxes”. These boxes have become a kind of pre-Christmas-Christmas-gift for children. The idea is meant to have crossed the Atlantic from Germany, where opening gifts on Christmas Eve is standard.

If you’re tempted by the idea of a Christmas Eve box, then why not theme it, and give it a specific use? Rather than a few toys or books, make a Christmas Eve box that is for Christmas Eve night especially-- and the movie night the whole family is going to enjoy together.

Here’s an idea for the kind of box you could assemble:

  • Pajamas or comfortable clothes;
  • Fluffy socks;
  • A few sweet treats, such as marshmallows or candy canes;
  • A handmade card that entitles your child to one movie of their choice. Sign up to a streaming service like Amazon Prime or Google Play so you can immediately have access to their selection.
  • Popcorn-- it’s a movie night, you’ve got to have popcorn!

On the big night itself, your kids can unwrap their Christmas Eve box, then the entire family settles down to watch a selection of movies together. Grab a beanbag from so you can all sit close together in maximum comfort; add a few throws for warmth; set the fireplace (or stream a fireplace replica from on your laptop) and indulge in a good old-fashioned family night.

#3 - A Reverse Advent Calendar

A reverse advent calendar is a lovely trend that can help teach your children about Christmas as a season of both giving and receiving. The idea is beautifully simple, so it’s suitable for children of all ages:

  • Every day of December, select one item from your home to donate to charity. This can be anything from tins of soup to kids toys that are no longer used.
  • Homemade, craft items that your children have made can also be included-- a story, a colored-in drawing, or just a festive decoration that they have put together.
  • Assemble each item into a special box. You can encourage your kids to decorate this box if you want it to be extra festive.
  • On Christmas Eve, take the box and donate all of the goods you have assembled. Local food banks, soup kitchens, and shelters will always be grateful to receive anything you can provide.

Not only is this idea very practically helpful for people in need, but it also gives your children an insight into caring for others, while ensuring they are still able to enjoy the season for themselves.

#4 - Have An Electricity-Free Night


Christmas is a time of bright lights and lots of sparkles and glitter-- but that’s why cutting the power for an evening can be so wonderful. The evening will stand out as being unique in the midst of a dense, busy season; surprisingly serene, and a wonderful way to bond together.

Of course, you don’t need to sit in darkness for the entire night. You can use conventional candles for light or -- if you’re feeling particularly adventurous -- turn oranges into candles, giving your home a festive fragrance.

You can play board games by candlelight, eat your evening meal, or just sit telling stories and making one another laugh. In fact, you can do anything you want; the only rule is that electronic devices and lights are banned!

#5 - Create A Time Capsule (Sort Of)

Most of us will have been involved in the creation of a standard time capsule at one time or another; they’re particularly popular with schools. However, you can create your own version with your family. Here’s an idea of how to do it, though you can amend or add to this as you see fit:

  • Every Christmas Eve, everyone sits down and writes a recollection of an event from the last 12 months that has been important to them. This can be literally anything; big events, small events, even just a day they remember as being particularly great.
  • Everyone in the family also contributes a photograph that is meaningful to them, taken in the last 12 months.
  • Take a photo together as a family, with the letters you have written on show, and ideally showcasing your Christmas decor for that year. A photo in front of your Christmas tree is particularly fitting.
  • File all of the letters and photographs into a folder for safe keeping. If you’re a crafty person, then you could always turn them into a scrapbook.

In years to come, you will have a wonderful memory to look back on, preserved in time: the whole family together, writing down memories, and assembling a keepsake of the year that has just passed. Above, Christmas Eve is mentioned, but you can do this on any day of the Christmas season.

#6 - Send Old Toys To Charity

Most parents will gift their children toys for Christmas, so a clearout in the run up to the big day is always beneficial. What’s more, it helps your children understand the true, giving nature of Christmas.

Ask each child to contribute one of their toys. This should be an item they no longer use; make sure you check each item and are confident that they won’t regret their decision. You should also look for toys that are in good condition and still work well.

When the selection is complete, your kids can wrap the toys if they so choose. To add that homey touch, you could encourage your kids to try the gift wrap ideas featured on

When the toys are ready to go, donate them to food banks, local shelters, or charities that work with children in need during the Christmas season. This is a nice tradition that teaches a valuable lesson and helps to clear space for the new toys that will arrive on Christmas morning.

#7 - A New Spin On The 12 Days Of Christmas

We all know about the 12 days of Christmas, but why not do something different with your kids this year? Starting on December 13th (although true Christmas people know that the First day of Christmas is Christmas day, this would be more fun starting on the 13th!), you could try this fun way of celebrating the season:

The first step of this idea is to craft a simple treasure hunt. Write down a clue that leads to an area of your house. When your kids figure out the clue and get to the area, they should find a small gift waiting for them. The number of gifts should increase with each day of Christmas, as per the song-- though obviously with modern gift substitutes!

Given that it’s tough to find ten leaping lords these days, fruits and sweets work best for this tradition; so eight hard candies, or 12 marshmallows, for example. You could also create the gifts around a specific theme, such as stationery; two pencils or four erasers, for example. For the most part, though, the gifts themselves aren’t what makes this special-- it’s the treasure hunt and the excitement of a reward.

In Conclusion

Given the traditional nature of Christmas, starting a new tradition with your family is something you will never regret. You can experiment and see what works well for your family; the above do not have to be followed absolutely, but can be used as jumping off points for your own ideas. Whatever you choose, have a wonderful Christmas, creating memories that will last you a lifetime.

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  1. Such great ideas, when my girls were little we had Christmas Eve traditions and Christmas Day traditions now my girls are mums themselves they have some different traditions. Traditions are good

    1. Yes. Traditions are wonderful! Always fun to add new ones, too. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. I can't imagine having it in the Summer time!

  2. i thinks sending old toys to charity is a very gud idea.we can become santa for someone else and make them happy.

  3. I don't have kiddos yet, but I love the idea of a Christmas tree box and reverse advent calendar. My husband and I don't have any traditions yet, except we do get takeout on Christmas day because it's just the two of us and our family celebrations are a few days before Christmas. :)

    1. The reverse advent calendar was one of my favorite ideas. Takeout sounds awesome. That way you guys can just relax and enjoy each other!

  4. I cannot wait to have kids and start our own tradition !! I have a few ideas already but love the reverse advent calendar idea! I think I will have both, a treat for them and a donation to charity

  5. I love creating our own family traditions! There is something about traditions that make family bonds stronger and closer!

  6. Valued suggestions for Christmas celebrations for making this divine day so memorable. I do not have kids but I myself will love to have electricity free candle lit night, with lots of aromatic candles, permeating fragrance throughout night.

  7. I like the idea of time capsule and revisiting the year together as a family.

  8. In India we do celebrate this festival but most of the families only celebrate the day as another holiday. Your explanation about this festival was informative.

  9. I like the idea of a themed-box for Christmas Eve. If I have a family one day, I will try that. Also giving old toys to charity is a good idea as long as they are in good condition. I hate when people donate things that no one can really use.

  10. Where I live it is (just as in Germany) traditional to open the gifts on Christmas Eve. While I love the athomsphere of it, it always seemed a bit illogical to me: children see their new toys, then it's time to go to sleep... Anyway, I love the idea of getting comfy PJs and a beanbag, and having a movie night toghether! Giving to charity is also a great way to make the holiday season special, I especially like the reverse Advent Calendar idea :)

  11. These are some lovely ideas, we used to watch a movie every Christmas Eve together with snacks and music. We’d also open one present for Christmas Day.

  12. We've started daily Advent on Dec. 1st a few years ago and have loved the tradition ever since. It helps us go back to the basics of Christmas at least 1x a day. And yes to PJ's and movies for christmas Eve!

  13. This is such a great idea, as Christmas really is holiday of giving. Starting new traditions is always a good idea, not only with your children but with your boyfriend too!

  14. Great idea list! We don't have a tradition for Christmas. It is simply the family to eat together, go out and give each other the love words. :)


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