Are you looking for simple family Christmas traditions to start this year?
When you’re young, Christmas is such a magical time. As adults, it can be a stressful and hurried time of year, trying to fit in so many different activities. You have to shop for presents, bake cookies, donate toys, attend Christmas parties, visit family, and make sure that silly Elf of the Shelf changes positions every night!
I remember as a kid, the feelings of excitement and pure joy I got from experiencing special Christmas-time traditions. This year, I want to slow down and enjoy the holiday season. I can’t wait to help my children feel the same magic I felt as a kid during Christmastime.
Here are 10 simple family Christmas traditions to help you slow down the stress and enjoy the holiday season.
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1. Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree
There is nothing quite like having a freshly cut Christmas tree in your living this time of year. The smell, the lights, the cozy feeling it brings… There is something extra special about cutting down your tree, decorating it, and then admiring it all season long!
The experience itself is also a great tradition – my mom, my sister and I have gone together for several years.
There’s usually hot chocolate or apple cider to warm you up at the end.
2. Take Your Kids To See A Live Holiday Show
There’s something magical about going to the theater, especially when the lights go down and the show is about to start. I cannot wait until my daughter is a little older to start having a Girls’ Day tradition of going to see The Nutcracker.
For more budget-friendly options, look up local theater groups or your town’s high school or nearby colleges to see if their drama departments are putting on any holiday shows this year.
3. Make a Christmas Ornament
Every year, I try to make Christmas ornaments with my kids to hang on our tree. I’ve also used these as gifts to give their grandparents.
We made these salt dough hand print ornament my daughter’s first Christmas. I can’t believe how small her hand used to be!
Here are some other ideas for salt dough ornaments.
4. Hide Baby Jesus Until Christmas Day
This is one of the simple family Christmas traditions I grew up with.
We always had a Nativity Scene and I loved playing with the little figurines. My favorite part was that my mom would “hide” baby Jesus until Christmas Day.
The first person to wake up Christmas morning would come downstairs to take him out of his hiding spot and put him in his manger.
Fontanini has some beautiful Nativity Scenes if you’re looking for one!
5. Advent Book Tradition
Have you heard about the 25 Days of Christmas Books trend?
Well, this is the low key version!
My mom always gave us Advent presents when I was growing up on each Sunday of Advent. I decided to continue this tradition with my kids (with a little twist).
Each Sunday starting four weeks before Christmas, they each open up a new Christmas book to add to our Christmas book collection. We’ve been doing this since my daughter’s first Christmas and have a pretty large Christmas book collection already!
This leads to my next favorite Christmas tradition, which is…
6. Start a Christmas Book Collection
This was one of my favorite things when I was younger.
We had a large collection of Christmas and holiday books and my mom only took it out during the Christmas season. I loved to go through the box and look at all the special Christmas books every year.
7. Christmas Morning Stocking Tradition
When I woke up on Christmas morning as a kid, my stocking would be lying at the end of my bed. I’m pretty sure my parents did this so I would be distracted for a bit after waking up and they could get a little extra sleep!
Regardless, as a child, I loved waking up to that stocking and looking at all the little gifts. I also couldn’t believe how Santa was able to sneak into my room and leave my stocking there every year without waking me up (*magic*).
8. Christmas Breakfast
I’m a big fan of all things breakfast. I love enjoying delicious food after opening up gifts in the morning on Christmas Day.
One of my favorite things to make for Christmas breakfast — cinnamon rolls!
Try this 1-hour cinnamon roll recipe. I want these RIGHT NOW!
9. Make Cookies For Santa
Speaking of food, bake cookies for Santa with your kids this holiday season.
Maybe you have a family recipe or maybe you want to try a new cookie recipe each year.
Either way, letting your kids help make special cookies to leave out for Santa can be a fun yet simple family Christmas tradition.
Looking for a recipe to try? Test out one of these fun tree-shaped treats!
10. Celebrate Second Christmas
Let’s face it. It’s hard and stressful trying to see your entire family at Christmas. This gets even trickier when you’re married. Ever see the movie Four Christmases? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
Throw kids into the mix and the last thing you want to do is spend the day traveling to different relatives’ homes.
My mom, my sister and I started the tradition of Second Christmas a long time ago and have kept it going for several years.
We originally celebrated Christmas together AFTER Christmas when I was working in the hospital and often had to work Christmas day.
Now, we don’t have to stress about traveling with our littles on Christmas Day or having to visit both my husband’s family and my own.
My side of the family will pick a day, which usually ends up being the Saturday after Christmas, to have our own Christmas celebration with each other. We do all the Christmasy things – eat, exchange gifts, wear Santa hats and take pictures. Hence, Second Christmas!