Christmas is right around the corner! I know it is a hectic time of the year for everyone and time always seems to go by too fast. My family has so many school activities going on, holiday parties, gift planning/making/buying, etc. Before I know it, the holidays will be behind us and we will be focusing on whatever big thing is happening next in our lives. But, with that in mind I try hard to make myself and my family slow down, so we can enjoy every day this month. Growing up, my family and I had lots of little traditions that we would do for every holiday. Now that I have my own family, I have incorporated some of my old traditions while adding new ones in as well. Since my daughter is older, she can start to remember the traditions we have done in the previous year and really looks forward to doing them again. I love seeing how excited she gets and can’t wait for my boys to join in with her enthusiasm. Creating memories with my husband and children is the most magical and important part of every holiday for me and I look forward to doing it every year. I have shared some of our favorite holiday traditions below. Even though you may already have things you do every year, I like to try to add one new tradition in if we can. It’s fun to get creative as a family and not only enjoy the things we have done before but try new things out together too!
1. Wrap Books for the Month of December
We started this tradition last year and it has already become a family favorite! Find 24 different books to wrap and put under the tree. This way the kids can unwrap one book each night leading up to Christmas. I love getting my children excited to read and having quiet time together every night. If you want to stay on a low budget, don’t forget the dollar store sells books! I’ve also had a lot of luck finding books at garage sales, target and amazon. I also see no reason why you can’t sneak in a few of your favorite books from past years and reuse them!
2. New Pajamas on Christmas Eve
Every year for Christmas Eve, I make up a gift bag for my kiddos to open. It includes a packet of hot cocoa, a favorite snack of theirs, fuzzy Christmas socks and new pajamas. They love getting to open one present early and trying out their new pj’s. I also love being able to take pictures of them that night and the next morning in their cute new outfits. This year I found these adorable socks on amazon for my older two kids.
3. Christmas Morning Breakfast
My family works up a big appetite after opening all their gifts on Christmas morning. I love for us to sit down and have a nice breakfast together, but I don’t want to miss out on any of the fun while I cook. My go to solution has been to make a breakfast casserole the night before. All I need to do it warm it up the next morning! I have saved some of my favorite dishes from the past on my Pinterest page!
4. Family Movie Night
Family movie night is another awesome tradition to do every year. We pick a night when we have nothing else going on, get into our pajamas early and set ourselves up in the family room. I like to bring out the kids sleeping bags, pillows and tons of blankets. We make the room as cozy as can be and snuggle up together. We usually watch two movies that my oldest children get to pick out.
5. Appetizers Only for Dinner
The holidays are so busy, sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking a big meal. Luckily for me, appetizers only for dinner is very popular at my house. We always take one night (maybe two nights if we are super busy) and have easy to make appetizers for dinner. I let everyone pick one thing they want me to make and then we create a buffet style dinner on our kitchen island. It’s fun and casual, and the kids always love doing it.
6. Ugly Christmas Sweater Photo
Each year we go on the hunt for ugly Christmas sweaters. If we are unable to find them in a store for a reasonable price, we look for amazing sales on sweaters and then turn them into crazy, silly and ugly sweaters at home! After we have completed or found are sweaters, we always take family photos using our best silly faces! I found these sweaters for men/women on amazon this year and they are one of their best sellers. They certainly meet the criteria we were looking for!
7. Help a Family in Need
I think it is important to teach my children how to give back to people, especially those who are less fortunate than we are. I try to find a way to help a family or child in our area every year. If you check with your child’s school, local church or supermarket, there is usually information on what you can do to help someone. Sometimes you can donate a bag of food to the local food bank, get a child in need gloves or socks, or help serve a meal at a nearby shelter. I am always a proud Mama when I see how much my children love to help others. I hope these are values they will hold onto for the rest of their lives.
8. Host a Cookie Exchange
Hosting a cookie exchange can be messy and crazy, but so much fun! My family and I take turns hosting every year and bring the kiddos with us. Each adult is responsible for bringing all the ingredients for a different cookie than the others are making. At the end we all share! It is a great way to spend the day together and get to enjoy a bunch of different types of cookies without having to make them all yourself.
9. Craft Night While Jammin’ Out
We love doing crafts in my house. Pinterest is loaded again with so many different craft ideas for kids. A bonus of doing crafts at the holidays are the kids love to give their finished products away as presents! While we craft we like to sip on hot chocolate and crank the radio up to our favorite holiday tunes. Amazon has some good deals on supplies for our crafts. I’ve linked some of our favorite go to goodies below.
10. Write a Letter to Santa
In our house, it does not feel like Christmas time until we have written a letter to Santa! The kids really like it when my husband and I also write letters to Santa and ask for things we want this year. After everyone is done writing their letters, we like to “mail” them out. Our local Macy’s has a mailbox set up every year for letters to Santa. The kids love taking a trip and sending them on their way to Santa!
11. Try a New Flavor Candy Cane
Has anyone else noticed all the different flavors that candy canes come in now? Gone are the days of simple peppermint. This is a tradition that my family and I decided to start this year. There are so many different flavors to choose from ranging from bacon to wasabi.Obviously, I’m more excited to try some than others. Amazon has a great selection on so many different flavors. I linked some I am contemplating on trying this year below!
12. Check Out Christmas Lights
Another favorite tradition that I have been doing since I was a little girl is checking out the neighborhood Christmas lights. This is such a fun and low-key tradition to do. If the weather isn’t too cold, we bundle up and go on a walk around the neighborhood. It’s also fun to take a drive during the night and check out surrounding neighborhoods too!