24 Family Christmas Traditions You Can Start For Lasting Memories

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Family Christmas traditions with the family eating a christmas meal together

Inside: Family Christmas traditions to start now for lasting memories. Does your family have any unique Christmas traditions? If not, I have compiled a list to help you incorporate fun family Christmas traditions into your holiday season this year.

Family Christmas traditions you can start for lasting memories this holiday season. Do you remember growing up and doing a few unique things that you only did around the holidays?

One of my favorite memories as a kid was how my parents would have some sort of game or trick up their sleeves when it came time for one of us to get a “big” gift.  One year it was a scavenger hunt, another year it included wrapped boxes inside of boxes with each box having the name of a different child.

Not until the box was very, very small did we learn it belonged to one of my sister’s, and it was her nameplate (all the rage in the ’80s). 20+ years later, my siblings and I still reminisce about those heartfelt Christmas memories.

It has now become a tradition I carry on with my own children — much to their delight or dismay. I think the jury is still out.

Christmas is the perfect time of year to start your very own family traditions if your family doesn’t yet have any unique traditions.  Start this Christmas to ensure your family will have lasting memories for generations to come.

If you’re looking for fun family Christmas traditions to start, here are a few examples you can incorporate into your holiday season this year.

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Family Christmas Traditions Stay Forever In Our Hearts

When my siblings and I get together to share memories from our childhood, they are centered around the holidays. We vividly remember the Christmas traditions our parents started for our family when we were young. Those special family Christmas traditions stand out in our minds and induce feelings of nostalgia and love.

Those family Christmas traditions are now traditions my husband and I continue with our children. I want my kids to have those same feelings when they look back at their childhood, and what better way than creating new family Christmas traditions?

family reading christmas story together on couch

Family Christmas Traditions To Start This Year

Create A Breakfast Tradition

Have the entire family create a special breakfast on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Each person can make their own favorite breakfast food. If you have a special menu for Christmas Day, have the entire family pitch in and prepare the meal.  Your family will look back fondly on the memories.

Matching Pajamas

Wear matching Christmas pajamas for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Matching PJs has become popular over the years, and there’s just something special about everyone wearing matching pajamas while opening Christmas present. Having the whole family in matching PJs is an excellent opportunity to take a fun photo!

Family Christmas traditions of kids dressed in matching pjs opening presents under the tree

Make Pet Treats

Don’t leave your fur-family out of the holiday festivities! If you have a pet, make holiday-themed pet treats to give your pet on Christmas Day.

No fur-family to bake treats for? You can make treats for your local animal shelters or donate them to your favorite animal rescue.

Pay It Forward

Next time you are visiting your favorite restaurant or drive through, offer to pay a portion or all of the bill for the person behind you. Not only will it be a nice gesture, but it may also make someone’s day and can create a pay it forward train so that the kindness keeps going.

Read A Book

Read a special Christmas book the night before Christmas. You can also read a different Christmas book each day during December and leading up to Christmas Day.

A beautiful tradition that will be cherished for years to come is asking a grandparent to record themselves reading a Christmas book to the grandkids.

 Hallmark The Night Before Christmas Recordable Storybook Recordable Storybooks Santa Claus Juvenile FictionHallmark The Night Before Christmas Recordable Storybook Recordable Storybooks Santa Claus Juvenile Fiction


Watch Christmas Movies

Have a night where your whole family watches classic Christmas movies. Or better yet, have a countdown to Christmas and watch one movie every night leading up to Christmas.

Grab the popcorn, holiday-themed desserts, and some hot chocolate to make it even more spectacular. 

Make Christmas Ornaments

Get the family together and have each family make their own Christmas ornament to hang on the tree. When you take down the Christmas tree, get a special tote or box to keep the handmade ornaments in for next year.

If crafting isn’t your thing, then have each family member pick an ornament that represents their interests for the year.  It will be fun to look back at the decorations each year.

kids holding homemade Christmas ornaments

Create Decorations

In addition to making ornaments, you can create your own Christmas decorations to put up around the house. Thee can include handmade ornaments, window decorations, wreaths, popcorn string, or tree toppers.

Start A Collection

Start creating a figurine or piece of a collection each year until you have the complete set.

One thing my mom continues to gift me each year is the Precious Moments figurine of the year.  It has become a tradition and something I look forward to receiving each year. 

Make Cookies And Candy

Take a day out of your schedule and spend it creating cookies and candy with the family.  I always loved helping my mom in the kitchen, making fudge, cookies, popcorn balls, and pies for Christmas dessert.

If you have a lot of leftovers, you can share them with neighbors or friends that weren’t able to make the special day.

grandma and kids baking christmas cookies

Christmas Cards And Letters

Send out Christmas cards or write letters to family and friends on holiday-themed paper.

Pose For A Family Photo

What better time of the year to gather up the family and have a yearly photo taken? If you can’t afford a professional photographer, ask a friend to take your pictures at a local park.

Some of my favorite family photos have been candid shots taken by friends and family!

Start A Neighborhood Christmas Light Tradition

Decorate the outside with Christmas lights. You can also get the neighbors involved so that the entire street decorates, and everyone can enjoy the beautiful display they walk or drive through the neighborhood.

Volunteer Your Time

Volunteer at your local homeless shelter or donate food to the local pantries so others can enjoy a festive Christmas meal. Many places often need extra help during the holiday season and are grateful for the support.

Open A Present

Create a tradition where each person opens one present on Christmas Eve or the morning of Christmas Day. Opening a gift can also help keep the kids from wanting to peek under the tree.

My family has a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas eve. Each child gets to pick a gift from under the tree from anyone but mom and dad. Most years, they try and barter to open more, but we stand firm on the one present rule.

Create An Advent Calendar Or Christmas Countdown 

Make an Advent Calendar so you can count down the days until Christmas. If an Advent Calendar isn’t your thing, you can create your own unique Christmas Countdown, or many retailers have some fun ones.

A tradition my sister started for my kids was to buy them an advent calendar every year.  The kids take turns opening the numbered squares and sharing the goodies inside.

kids making homemade Christmas cards with paint and glitter

Make Or Hang Stockings

Pick one day of the holiday season each year for everyone to hand their stockings. You can even start a tradition of making your own stockings.

Related: Stocking Stuffers Your Kids Will Actually Want To Get

Visit A Tree Farm

Visit a local tree farm and pick out the best Christmas tree available so you can bring it home and decorate it.


Go through your closets and toy chests to find toys that kids have outgrown, clothes that you no longer wear, or other fun items around the house that no one uses. Donate them to your local shelter or those in need.

Donating unused items can make a significant impact on another family who may not have as much as you do. It also helps make room for the new toys or things that you get this year.

Adopt A Child Or Family In Need

Find a church or organization sponsoring a giving tree and choose an individual or family in need.

Each year my husband and I choose a child from the giving tree, either from his employer’s giving tree or our church’s tree.  We full-fill the Christmas wishlist of the child or family chosen. We involve our children by helping us shop for presents and everyday necessities found on the list.

Do Something Nice For Someone

Do something nice for your elderly neighbor or friend to help make their life a little easier. You can help them put up decorations or shovel their driveway or sidewalk. Just doing something a little extra for someone will brighten up their holiday season.

Make Reindeer Food

Mix oats and your choice of Christmas sprinkles. Sprinkle it outside so that Santa’s reindeers have a treat when they visit. Sprinkle the mix outside before the kids go to bed then sweep it up before they wake up, so the kids get even more excitement out of it.

Fountain Avenue Kitchen has a reindeer food recipe and an adorable poem you can make with your kids!

Start A Christmas Hunt

Take the tradition of an Easter egg hunt and put a Christmas spin on it. You can use small gnomes, ornament, small gifts, or other holiday-themed items with candy in them and place them around the house or outside for everyone to find.

Attend A Local Christmas Event

Many towns have celebrations during the holiday season. Gather the family and enjoy the festivities by attending the event each year. This can be a lot of fun for everyone, and it’ll be enjoyable for the family to spend that quality time together.

Making Memories With Family Christmas Traditions

Traditions can make the holiday season even more magical. If you already have a special family Christmas tradition, adding a new tradition or a few more to the list is never overkill in my book.

Creating fun family Christmas traditions can be exciting and memorable for the whole family. Traditions don’t have to be something that everyone else does either. You can make a tradition out of anything special to your family.

As the kids get older and more generations are added to the family, everyone will sit around reminiscing about the memories that were made from your family’s yearly traditions. 

Do you have any family Christmas traditions not listed? I would love it if you shared it in the comments!

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Family Christmas traditions of family reading a Christmas story
fun family Christmas traditions of family decorating the Christmas tree together

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