I love that we can make our own Christmas traditions with the kids. Neither of us really grew up with family traditions let alone ones we want to pass on to our children. Seeing we don’t do Santa that really leaves us with nothing we can pass on to our kids from our childhood. Instead of being sad we decided to embrace it. We decided to make our own Christmas traditions and to experiment a little to see what works best for our family. We have tried these fun Christmas traditions for kids.
Our favorite Christmas Traditions for Kids
1. My favorite Christmas tradition to do with the kids is a Book Advent Calendar. Out of everything we have tried I really feel like this one is going to stick around. The kids never got bored with the excitement of picking a mystery story book to read every night. We would add fun activities to go with some of the books like The Mitten to add a twist to the calendar. They never knew if it would just be a book or if the book would have instructions for another activity in it.
2. I love to bake. This time of year making helps me keep the house warm while making treats for our family. As a little girl I had some not so fond memories of being forced to bake Christmas cookies with my mom. So I don’t force it on my kids. We just do out thing and instead of decorating sugar cookies we opt to do things like fresh chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies. It may not be traditional but it works for our family. This is a special opportunity to bond with my kids one at a time over the holidays.
3. The long cold winter nights are perfect for using the holidays to cheer things up a bit. Christmas Eve or one of the nights leading up to it is a great time to break the monotony a bit. This is the perfect time to pull out a small gift for everyone. I like to let them each pick a gift from the pile on the winter solstice so they have something to keep them busy on the longest night of the year.
4. Volunteer as a family to serve a holiday meal to others. When we lived on a military base our whole family kids and all would go volunteer at the USO to serve dinner to the soldiers that had no family to spend the holiday with. While the kids where too young to be certified to serve the meals I would have them help me with clean up or leading and unloading while my husband would help serve.
Great kid friendly Christmas traditions
5. Baking Christmas cookies. is a favorite for most kids. They love to help decorate the cookies.
6. Homemade Christmas ornaments is a great way to build a collection fo fun Christmas ornaments you can keep for your tree or send with each child when they move out as young adults. These Christmas ornaments will hold valuable memories for your child.
7. Christmas playdough like our peppermint playdough or gingerbread cookie playdough are both great options for some fun and it keeps them busy while you get other things done.
8. Go look at Christmas lights around your neighborhood or check if your local zoo offers a Zool lights event like the Detroit Zoo near us dose.
9. Snag a copy of Polar Express book and movie so you can enjoy it as a family. When we where in Highschool my husband and I had the privilege of going on the train that was used to make the sounds for the movie. My husband even had the opportunity to drive it while they were testing the engine after repairs. You can even snag a ride on Pere Marquette 1225 for your self if you live in Michigan
10. Enjoy a candy advent calendar. You can grab one of these at nearly any grocery store right now making it a great option if you didn’t have time to great your own Christmas Advent calendar.
11. Have a scavenger hunt for the gifts on Christmas morning to make the morning even more exciting.
12. Hide a Christmas pickle on your tree when you decorate. This Christmas tradition has been passed on for generations.
13. Get an elf of the shelf if you are brave enough. Just be sure to set a reminder on your phone every night to move that elf.
14. Host a “campout” under the Christmas tree with your children and their friends for a fun sleepover.
15. Decorate the Christmas tree and add the same topper each year so when your child is grown they remember that simple consistent thing.
16. Have a movie night with snacks and your favorite Christmas movies like the Grinch and Santa Clause
Help others with your Christmas traditions with kids
17. Tired of elf on the shelf? Why not try making your elf a kindness elf that brings tasks for your child to do an act of kindness for others.
18. Write notes to soldiers to send in the mail to let them know how grateful you are for their sacrifice.
19. Gather canned goods for the needy and take them to your local food bank. If they have room for volunteers why not help sort?
20. Give old toys to the salvation army to make room for the new stuff and help earn money to help the homeless.
21. Volunteer at the soup kitchen top feed the homeless or clean up after a meal.
22. visit your local nursing home and read Christmas books to the lonely residents that don’t have visitors.
Make kids feel grown up with these Christmas traditions
23. Have your child help pick out the Christmas tree. This is a great way to make them feel involved. If you are lucky enough to have a Christmas tree farm nearby this can be loads of fun.
24. Take your child for hot cocoa at the local coffee shop. This is a great way to get a little one on one time with your kids and they love feeling grown up enough to go out for “Coffee” with mom during the holidays. Take advantage of holiday flavors like peppermint while you sip a peppermint mocha.
25. Have your child help you shop for gifts for others. This makes them feel good and teaches them the joy of giving to others.
26. Have your child help you wrap gifts. This fine motor skill practice is good for kids. Sure the gifts may not be perfect put your child can enjoy the time with you and the learning experience.
Food fun for Christmas with kids
27. Make gingerbread houses. this is one my kids love. While the gingerbread house may never actually end up looking like a house it is loads of fun and the kids are always excited to dig in.
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28. Bake treats to take around to friends an neighbors to share some holiday cheer.
29. Make a traditional fruit fruitcake from scratch.
30. Bake pies together for Christmas dinner.
31. Why not go really old fashioned and make a popcorn and cranberry garland?
32. When I was a kid my grandma would always put fruit in the stockings. Fruit makes a great frugal stocking stuffer,.
33. Cinnamon rolls make a great Christmas morning breakfast tradition for the whole family.
34. Make a favorite side dish every year for Christmas dinner. For this is ham rolls. The only time we make them is for holidays.
Get crafty with these Christmas traditions for kids
35. Make a paperchain chain to decorate the house. Most years I buy a pre-glued paper chain set to make it easier for us.
36. Make paper snowflakes
37. Build a snowman or Snow fort with your kids. You can find sets of molds for easy snow fort brick building and use the same set when summer comes for sand castles.
38. Paint the snow with a spray bottle filled with water and food coloring or watercolor paint.
39. Craft your own homemade Christmas cards.
40. Christmas wreath crafts. I love the handprint paper wreaths for the kid’s rooms.
Have some fun with these Santa Christmas traditions
If you do Santa in your family these ideas are sure to be a hit.
41. Sprinkle Raindear food (oats) out for Santas reindeer or add carrots to the plate of cookies.
42. Leave cookies out for Santa. Don’t forget the milk.
43. Notes to Santa are a classic Christmas tradition.
44. Now you can even send notes and packages from Santa
45. Visit Santa at the mall.
46. Used powdered sugar Santa footprints behind for the kids to find.
More Festive fun
47. Interview elderly family members at holiday gatherings. this is a great way to preserve family history and make those that may feel ignored feel loved.
48. Watch your towns Christmas parade or tree lighting ceremonies.
49. Do secrete Santa with your kids.
50. Visit your local schools holiday choir and band concerts. This is a great way to support fine arts programs as well.
51. If you are really adventurous. Give hosting a Christmas party for friends and family in the days leading up to the holiday.