Everyone wants their kids to have a memorable Christmas. And the best way to make Christmas special for children is by creating meaningful Christmas traditions.
Usually, every family starts their very own Christmas traditions just after Thanksgiving rolls by. But sometimes we get very caught up in daily life that we forget the little things that really make Christmas special – especially for our children. When kids think about Christmas many of them only think about the presents that Santa will bring them and Christmas day, but there really is a lot more to Christmas traditions than just Santa – Sorry St. Nick!
It’s really the truth. We should be getting our kids excited every day leading up to Christmas by doing fun activities together. Our children are only going to be little for a very short time and once they grow and start families of their own, having these memories to look back on will help them to build Chrismas traditions with their family.
That’s why I wanted to share with you all of my kids’ favorite family things to do a Christmas time.
1. Write a Letter to Santa
I remember writing letters to Santa every year up until I reached the teen years. It was so much fun. Although I didn’t write very much in my letter. I actually cut out pictures from store flyers of what I wanted for Christmas so that Santa could see what I wanted. In fact, I thought that the pictures would be much easier for Santa to find that exact toy. Haha.
My 7-year-old has always written to Santa and loves drawing pictures of what she wants for Christmas. She is truly excited for all of the activities that she has coming up.
2. Decorate the Christmas Tree
One of the most memorable Christmas traditions for many families is decorating the Christmas tree. Whether you have a real live tree that you picked out yourself or it’s just the artificial tree that you’ve had for a few years, it’s still fun to put it up and decorate. Getting tangled up in the string of lights that always seems to be in knots. Or finding just the right spot for new ornaments. It’s all beautiful.
This year as we started decorating our tree our children began to really notice their individual ornaments with their names on them from past Christmas’. And now that our oldest can read, she found mine and my husband’s “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments. We also loved seeing our ornament from our first Christmas together after we got married.
3. Visit Santa Claus
I don’t think we ever went a Christmas without seeing Santa Claus and getting our picture taken with him. It was always nice getting dressed up and sitting on Santa’s lap to tell him in person what I expected under my tree come Christmas morning.
Visiting Santa also is a great way to keep that imagination going in our children’s hearts and minds. There is so much negativity in the world and when they are sitting there with Santa Claus it’s one special time that everything is joyful.
4. Go out to See Christmas Lights
As a little girl, my grandmother would take my brother and I out to see Christmas lights throughout the neighborhood and it was so enchanting. I remember her playing Christmas music in the car and we would shout every time we saw different Christmas lights on a house.
Now years later, my children love to see Christmas lights and decorations. In fact, on our street, there is a blow-up Santa and snowman that my kids always look for when we are driving out of our neighborhood. My son especially loved when it was very windy one day and Santa and the snowman fell down. haha
5. Make a New Christmas Ornament for this Year
Just sitting down to make simple Christmas crafts is fun for kids. Even if it looks horrible at the end. LOL
The truth is that they are not going to care what it looks like. They are more likely to remember that they got to sit down with the whole family and make something with their own two hands and then hang it on the tree.
6. Build a Gingerbread House
Okay, this is a new one for us.
The first time we tried to build a gingerbread house, it literally fell apart. I was so sad. But this year we are making it at school with other parents and children. Even if it all falls over, in the end, it’s the memories that you make while doing it that really count. That and the frosting that you get to eat!
7. Bake Christmas Cookies
Oh my, this is my favorite activity. Partly because I love eating the cookies at the end.
Both of my kids love to make Christmas cookies. And whether you buy already made dough that you can just break off and let your kids put them on the cookie sheet or you go all out and make them from scratch, they will love it.
8. Make Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows
Hot chocolate is one of those things that just goes along with Christmas time. My little girl loves her hot chocolate and would probably eat it if it was summer time. And don’t forget the marshmallows.
9. Make DIY Christmas Cards for Relatives and Friends
We always made our own Christmas cards for our family and friends when I was little. It was so much fun being able to customize each card and make it ourselves. And plus you can save a little money doing it yourself.
10. Make Countdown Christmas Chain
I made a countdown Christmas chain every year when we were kids. I loved feeling so important by helping my brother make one and telling him every day when he could take another ring off of the Christmas chain.
It was a visual way to see how close Christmas was especially for kids that don’t understand that Christmas is days away.
11. Snuggle up with Matching Christmas Pajamas
Okay, they don’t have to be matching unless that’s your style. But putting on Christmas jammies especially on Christmas Eve makes for some great pictures on Christmas morning.
12. Read your Favorite Christmas Story
Our kids are huge book readers. Aubrey is now able to read quite a bit on her own now and has been excited to read our Christmas books. Some of our favorites are “The Night Before Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
13. Watch Classic Christmas Movies
You are not doing Christmas right if you don’t watch classic Christmas movies with your kids. And when I say classic I mean the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.” Oh and don’t forget “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” and of course “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
These classic Christmas movies usually come on tv every year around Christmas time. I love how simple these movies were but simple in a good way. They were funny without being over the top.
14. Open One Present on Christmas Eve
I can’t remember when my family started this Christmas tradition but it has stuck with us. We always let our kids open just one Christmas present on Christmas Eve. It’s just nice to have one gift a bit early.
Even More Christmas Ideas
- 14 Sensory Christmas Gift Ideas for Children with Autism
- 10 Thoughtful Christmas Gifts for an Incredible New Mom