12 Fun Christmas Traditions For Kids

Christmas Traditions for Kids

12 Fun Christmas Traditions For Kids

From leaving milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, to singing Christmas carols, baking cookies and doing good deeds, discover fun, new Christmas traditions for kids and the whole family.

The best Christmas traditions are the ones that kids remember from a young age. Nothing quite captures the joy of the season like the wonder and excitement found in children at Christmastime. What better way to bring more of that joy to the world than with a few fun Christmas traditions for kids that help the whole family get into the holiday spirit.

So today, we’re sharing a few of our favorite Christmas traditions for kids and the whole family to enjoy this year:

  1. Start a Christmas countdown on December first
  2. Wear matching family pajamas or Christmas socks
  3. Create your own Christmas Elf tradition
  4. Christmas pickle tradition
  5. Write letters to Santa or celebrate St. Nicholas Day
  6. Bake cookies or decorate a gingerbread house (or village)
  7. Leave cookies for Santa in a special way
  8. Family game night/movie night tradition
  9. Christmas Eve box tradition
  10. Make a family holiday bucket list
  11. Read Christmas stories
  12. Keepsake ornament tradition

Bonus: Christmas Traditions for 2020

Like everything else this year, Christmas will look a little different in 2020. Instead of the big holiday family party, gift exchanges with friends, visits with Santa and evenings spent at Christmas markets, here are some ideas you can consider this year.

  1. Host a virtual ugly Christmas sweater party over Zoom
  2. Deliver sweets, treats, family gifts and small care packages
  3. Take a neighborhood Christmas lights drive

1. Start A Christmas Countdown

As any kid who has experienced the Christmas season can attest, a big part of the fun is the anticipation. With each passing day comes another layer of excitement leading up to the big moment on Christmas morning. An easy, fun Christmas tradition that can last all season long is to channel that anticipation into a Christmas countdown that your kids will look forward to keeping track of each day.

Popular variations on this classic Christmas tradition include opening Advent calendars, marking off the dates on the family wall calendar or updating the “days left” count on a festive board. There are plenty of great DIY advent calendars you can create with your kids, which will make this tradition that much more special. For an easy, personalized touch that will add a bit of fun for your kids, try a dry erase Christmas countdown sign with your child’s or family’s name printed right on it. They’ll have fun writing in the number of days that are left until Christmas and helping to build anticipation for the big day.

2. Wear Matching Family PJ’s or Christmas Socks

Make Christmas morning photo perfect with matching family pajamas or fun Christmas socks for the whole family. Holiday matching pajamas are now widely available with fun and festive designs for babies, toddlers, kids, teens and adults. For a unique twist, you can add matching family socks customized with photos, names and other holiday details. Socks are also a great alternative to PJ’s if you can’t find matching pajamas for everyone or simply aren’t into PJs.

3. Create Your Own Christmas Elf Tradition

You’ve probably heard of the popular Elf on The Shelf Christmas tradition, which is meant to encourage kids to be nice so that they’re included on Santa’s nice list. Another fun elf-related Christmas tradition that’s growing in popularity is the idea of the Kindness Elves, which encourage kindness, caring and doing good deeds for others around the holidays.

These sweet-natured little elves aren’t sent to spy on the kids for Santa. Instead they arrive to inspire the kids to be kind in all sorts of different ways by leaving them notes with suggestions on what they can do to show they care for others and also to make note of their kindness when they see it. The Kindness Elves are a lovely alternative to the Elf on the Shelf tradition that helps to get kids thinking about others. You can learn more about this fun Christmas tradition at

Kindness Elves

4. Christmas Pickle Tradition

Hiding a Christmas pickle ornament on the tree is a fun tradition to add to your list this year. All you need is an ornament that looks like a pickle, which is hidden among the other ornaments on your Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, the first family member to find the pickle on the tree will receive a special gift, award or prize. It’s a simple holiday tradition that can be a lot of fun!

5. Write Letters To Santa or Celebrate St. Nicholas Day

Visiting Santa Claus is one of the most exciting events for kids during the holiday season. Writing a letter to Santa – and receiving one in return – can be just as memorable and enjoyable. With a little bit of planning, you can make this experience more real by making sure your kids get a letter from Santa in the mail with a postmark from the North Pole! You write Santa’s letter and the post office takes care of the rest. Here are detailed instructions along with tips on helping your kids write their letters to Santa and advice on how to write a response letter from Santa.

In addition to, or as an alternative, you can also celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on December 6th with small gifts and treats tucked under kids’ pillows or put into their stockings or shoes. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated differently around the world, so you can find inspiration for your own family tradition by learning about how others celebrate.

6. Bake Cookies or Decorate a Gingerbread House

Baking cookies and making delicious treats around the holidays is simply a must. What makes this Christmas tradition even more fun for kids is sharing their sugary creations with friends and family. Take one day to bake lots and lots of cookies or create no-bake treats, like chocolate dipped pretzels, delicious fudge or rice crispy treats. Then figure out who you’d like to give the treats out to with your kids — neighbors, family, friends, or even packaged treats for long distance relatives. And of course, don’t forget to make some for Santa!

There are tons of easy and delicious recipes online and it can be great fun to try new recipes or improve on your family favorites each year. This tradition is great because kids can take on more responsibilities in the kitchen as they grow older, helping to prepare the treats, package them and clean up afterwards. If baking just isn’t your thing, try decorating a gingerbread house – or a whole gingerbread house village – with your kids!

Baking Christmas cookies

7. Leave Cookies And Milk For Santa

One of the most enduring Christmas Eve family traditions across the world involves leaving out treats for Santa (and his reindeer, too!), right before the kids are sent off for a night of sugarplum dreaming. This tradition has roots in cultures found far and wide, with variations often specific to local food and drink customs. In the United States, the practice of setting a plate of cookies and a glass of milk on the mantel near the chimney for Old Saint Nick is believed to have become popular during the Great Depression, and it has been a family-friendly Christmas tradition ever since.

Up the fun factor on this holiday favorite by letting your kids present Santa’s midnight snack on their own personalized Santa cookie plate and mug, including a special, customized message from the kids that’s sure to land them on Kris Kringle’s nice list. Let your kids help decide what gets written on the plate and mug and you’ll have a fun Christmas Eve family tradition that they’ll eagerly await each year.

Cookies For Santa Plate and Mug

8. Family Game Night or Movie Night Tradition

With more time spent indoors, the holiday season is the perfect time for cozy family movie marathons and fun family game nights. Make this a tradition by choosing one day each week to celebrate with a Christmas movie or board game, everyone’s favorite snacks and an abundance of family bonding. Find games or a movie everyone can enjoy and make time for family conversation, storytelling, jokes and more.

9. Christmas Eve Box Tradition

Christmas Eve boxes are another growing family tradition that can help bring the family together on the night before Christmas with fun activities, games, projects, crafts and some goodies. You can create a Christmas Eve box with a number of different items, depending on the children’s ages and interests. The key is to put just enough of goodies to keep everyone entertained for the evening in anticipation of Christmas morning.

A Christmas Eve box is not meant as a gift; it’s more like supplies for a fun family night. You can create one for the whole family or individual ones for each of your kids. Popular items that parents have been putting in their boxes include holiday-themed pajamas, a Christmas movie or book, a game, small toy or project you can do with your kids and of course, some sweets and treats everyone can share and enjoy in the evening. Here’s where you can learn more about the Christmas Eve box tradition and find ideas for kids and the whole family.

10. Make A Family Bucket List

A holiday bucket list gives everyone something to do and look forward to each day of the festive season. The activities on the bucket list don’t have to be lofty or extravagant. Think of the list simply as fun things you enjoy doing and want to make sure to do more of with your family. Drinking hot cocoa, cuddling by the fire, making a snowman, going ice skating or sledding, making your own Christmas decorations or crafts, making your own Christmas playlist… these are all things that can be on your family Christmas bucket list. Simply think of things your family enjoys most and make it a tradition to enjoy them each year.

11. Read Christmas Stories

Reading holiday classics and stories is a wonderful Christmas family tradition, especially for kids. Classics like The Night Before Christmas, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Gift of the Magi and others will make your holiday season more memorable for the whole family. This is one holiday tradition that kids will cherish and treasure for years.

12. Keepsake Ornament Tradition

Christmas ornaments make lovely keepsakes that can be passed down for generations, especially if the ornaments have meaning and wonderful family memories attached to them. You can start your own family tradition by creating a personalized ornament for each of your kids every year. As your kids grow up, they will have their own set of special ornaments to put up on their own Christmas trees.

Take ado-it-yourself approach and create fun ornaments with glitter, popsicle sticks, ribbons, buttons and a million other creative ideas to make lovely keepsakes (hint: Pinterest is a great source of easy DIY ornament ideas and tutorials!). If you’re not the creative type, you can create custom Christmas ornaments with names, family photos, hobbies, interests and other personal details sure to be treasured for years to come.

Bonus: Make Christmas Morning Extra Special

Opening presents on the big morning is the culmination of the Christmas season. A great way to make this exciting moment even more unforgettable for your kids is to set out a Santa sack full of presents.

A vintage-inspired Santa sack stuffed full of presents placed near the fireplace or under the tree is sure to make a lasting impression. Keep it a surprise the first time, and they won’t believe their eyes when they see a special delivery from Santa Claus himself, with their very own name on the bag. Every year after that, your kids will be bursting at the seams to see if Father Christmas came back with a Santa bag made especially for them. Santa sacks are an easy and unique addition to your list of family traditions that will make the Yuletide holiday that much more special for everyone come Christmas morning.

With a holiday so rich in customs, there’s no shortage of great ideas for fun family Christmas traditions that you can incorporate into your own household’s seasonal rituals. Figuring out the best ways to involve your kids gives them the priceless gift of Christmas memories and family togetherness, which they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.

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