If you don’t already have family traditions, those rituals you repeat every year, then it is time to start!
The most important gift you can give your children for Christmas is happy memories.
Below are some fun ideas.
If you have a family tradition that you would like to share, click here.
Tips on traditions: Keep it simple; don’t try to do things that involve excessive shopping or complicated tasks. Create traditions that suit your family, and choose them together. Include everyone in the activities, as it’s not just the actions but the people that make it meaningful. Be consistent with the details from year to year.
Make a new Advent wreath or Advent calendar as a family every year.
We flaming snowballs every year on Christmas Eve. We always try to include firends who have never done it before.
Flaming Snowballs. Place one scoop of ice cream with (optional) decorations on each person’s plate. Make the scoop as round and snowball-like as possible. Place a sugar cube on the top of each snowball, press it down in slightly. Sprinkle drops of pure lemon extract on each sugar cube until saturated. Carefully supervise small children. Have everyone sit back a little from their plate for safety and light each lemon cube with the matches. Turn off the lights and enjoy the treat!
(Supplies: vanilla ice cream, the whitest you can find, pure lemon extract (imitation will not do), sugar cubes, one for each guest, plates, napkins and spoons, matches) Optional: holly sprig or Christmas colored sprinkles or sprig of real evergreen on top of each snowball. Use this to illustrate the verse Isaiah 9:2.
Start an annual cookie swap with friends from church, your children’s school, or people from work. Pick a certain day, like the second Sunday in December, to get together for tea and the cookie exchange.
Take small gifts to your neighbors a few days after Christmas.
Make a video throughout the year showing your family doing all the things they do from day to day, and send it to the grandparents or other far-off relatives. Show the kids in their gymnastics class, taking their piano lesson, on their summer boy-scout camping trip.
Enact a spiritual Christmas story as a group after dinner on each night of Advent. Take turns as the narrator. Have kids act out the scenes.
Sing Christmas carols at a nursing home. Get permission in advance. Bring a small gift for each resident, even those who don’t respond.
Make ornaments together. Keep some; give some away as gifts.
Have a gift wrap war. After all the gifts are opened, wad up the pieces of wrapping paper and have a war! Boxes make great forts.
All pile in the car to drive around and view the neighborhood’s Christmas lights. View the town Christmas tree.
Collect favorite holiday books. Read a portion each night during Advent or a short story on Christmas eve. Date each book as it is purchased. Drink hot chocolate with candy canes as a stir stick as you read.
Keep a holiday scrap book. Save the prettiest Christmas card cover of all those received. Scour magazines and newspapers for comics or articles that portray the true meaning of Christmas, or tell a story of generosity or selflessness. Clip articles about the history of Christianity and how Christmas evolved, or how it is celebrated in other countries. Include your annual Christmas letter. Clip special poems, prayers, or scripture to save. Use tape or glue, scissors and page protectors to secure them in the scrapbook. Clip fun ideas for outside activities in the snow.
Have an annual holiday gathering where each family brings photos and videos to share.
Have a special blanket or quilt in Christmas colors or decorations for young children to use during Advent. Tell the child the blanket will provide dreams of peace, joy and giving.
Create a countdown tradition. An Advent calendar with 30 slots or holes for small treats is the perfect way to do this. Take out the calendar on the Thanksgiving weekend.
Write an Annual Christmas Letter. Have everyone write a paragraph and include funny events or children’s cute misquotes, children’s growth accomplishments, items that show your unique family culture. Save a copy of each letter in your Christmas scrapbook.
Watch a Christmas movie together every year on Christmas Eve.
Choose a special family recipe and make it every year to give out as gifts, such as a special cookie or fudge.