Do you ever hear about an amazing Christmas tradition and wish that you had thought of it sooner? It’s difficult to collect an ornament for every year of your child’s life if she’s already eight years old. Maybe you’ve decided that the magic of elf on the shelf will just have to wait until grandkids come around.
Don’t worry! There are plenty of Christmas traditions you can start now without the regret. Here are 20 to get you started.
Advent calendars are a Christmastime favorite. It’s never too late to start counting down the days—even if Christmas is five days away. Start now and make it the first thing you bring out next year.
Personalize ornaments each year with names and dates or important events. Better yet, collect ornaments in every place you visit throughout the year and let them remind you how you spent your year.
Pose the family each holiday season for a Christmas family photo. Pick the same spot each year like the tree or standing out in the first snowfall of the year for extra interest.
Start a Christmas book collection. There are numberless novels, picture books, and memoirs staged around the season. Find one or two every year and enjoy special story time with the kids or indulge yourself in your favorite.
Pack the family up in the car and go on a hunt for Christmas lights. Many cities have lighting ceremonies that can make fun traditions too.
Make a tradition out of creating handmade holiday cards. A personal touch makes a difference this time of year.
Ugly sweater parties give you an opportunity to show off that lovely sweater you only get to wear once a year.
Another variation of the ornament tradition is letting the kids pick an ornament each year. Start a Christmas box for each child where their collection of ornaments are kept. When they leave home, send the box to them for Christmas. They’ll treasure it always.
Track Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve with NORAD. It’s fun to watch where he’s been and where he’s going as he gets closer to your hometown.
Make it an annual event to create gingerbread houses. Each year everyone gets a little more creative and elaborate. Have every member of the family pick someone to give the gingerbread house to so you can share a little holiday cheer with those who need it.
For many families, Christmas means winter activities. What could be more fun than making a tradition of an annual skiing trip or going ice skating. A cup of hot cocoa afterward with plenty of marshmallows does wonders to warm you—body and soul.
Once the tree is set up make a habit of holding a Christmas tree campout. Cuddle up around the lit tree and read books and snack on holiday treats.
Volunteer at the local soup kitchen or shelter. The holiday season is a time of great need for many people and you and your family can help.
Tis the season for simplification. Clean out your closets and nooks and crannies and donate items in good condition to goodwill or a local shelter, school, or food bank.
Take an angel off the Angel Tree. Get the whole family involved in shopping for someone in need. Pick angels that are the same age as your own kids—they might have some good insight too.
The gag gift is a wonderful tradition that always brings a laugh. Some families re-gift the same fruit cake for more than 20 years. The question is: who will be the recipient this year?
The Christmas Pickle is a strange little custom that is 100% American marketing and 100% fun. Get a pickle ornament and place it on the tree. The first child to find it gets an extra present.
Opening one gift on Christmas Eve only fuels the anticipation and lets your family savor the magic of gift giving and receiving for more than one day.
Whether your family arises early to begin the gift opening or you are disciplined enough to wait until after breakfast, Christmas breakfast is another opportunity to feast on things you only get once a year.
See a Christmas production like A Christmas Carol as a family each year. It’s special time you spend together enjoying a cultural experience.
What other traditions does your family love? Leave us a comment below so our list can expand.
From us to you, Merry Christmas!