Family Holiday Traditions to Start With Your Kids

January 30, 2023 5 min read

The Holidays are all about tradition, and about spending time with those you love. And while traditions rooted in the past are comforting, that doesn’t mean they always have to stay the same. It’s never too late to introduce a new Christmas tradition to the holiday season, and these are just a few ideas for traditions your family will love during the Holidays.

Cut Down a Christmas Tree

Who among us doesn’t have fond memories of trudging out into a snowy field with dad and his trusty bow saw in search of the perfect Christmas tree? Or listening to our fathers curse under their breath while attempting to tie the chosen tree tree to the roof of the car? Anybody?

In all seriousness, cutting down a Christmas tree is half nostalgic tradition and half maddening chore, but we’ve never met anyone who regretted it. There really is something about it that makes Christmas more special. Kids love getting to pick out a tree, and at the very least it will provide great family memories and a good laugh or two further down the road. And there’s nothing like that fresh-cut-tree smell.

Cutting Down Christmas Tree

Make a Holiday Donation

There’s a reason why the holidays are often called the Season of Giving. That spirit of generosity can get lost amid all the commercialism and consumerism of the season, but a desire to give something back is a great thing to instill in one’s youngsters.

Giving can take many forms this time of year. Donating to a charity is a great option, but kids might feel more invested in a more hands-on approach, like picking out and donating toys to a local organization that is collecting them. Another way to give back is to donate your time to a food bank or other community organization during the Holidays.

Write Letters to Santa

Writing a letter to Santa is simply a classic Christmas tradition. Many of us did it when we were kids too, and it’s a great way to get your children invested in the spirit of the holiday while they’re still young enough to get excited about all the goodies Santa might bring in his sleigh.

If your kids are a little too young to write their own letters, helping them out by taking down their ideas and putting them into letter form can be even more fun (and you’ll definitely want to save those letters to re-read many years from now). Also, be sure to check out the USPS info on getting a return letter postmarked from the North Pole.

Writing Letters to Santa

Watch a Classic Christmas Movie

There are so many classics to choose from! Some families love to watch the same holiday movie every year on Christmas Eve, which is a great tradition. It can also be fun to mix it up, or even do a “Christmas countdown” of sorts, picking out a different movie to watch each night leading up to the big day.

Make a New Ornament

Ready to get crafty this Holiday season? Making Christmas tree ornaments with your kids is always a fun and creative project, and the best part is that every year you’ll have a new souvenir that you can hang on the tree and treasure for years to come.

Need ideas for Christmas ornaments you can make with your kids? The options are endless. For young children, it’s usually best to stick with materials that are simple and easy to work with (you can make a darn good ornament with construction paper, popsicle sticks, Elmer's glue and glitter). Once kids get a little older, they can tackle something more in-depth. That really gives dads a chance to shine.

Bake Some Christmas Cookies

Who doesn’t love Christmas cookies? Nobody, that’s who. Kids are never too young to enjoy them, and dads are never too old to throw on an apron and help make some! Besides, we all know who really eats those cookies that get left out for Santa on Christmas eve. (Lookin’ at you, Pops.)

When it comes to different types of cookies, you can’t go wrong. Trying out a new type of cookie every year can be a great Christmas tradition, but many families also just love to stick with the classics. And that’s cool too. Nothing wrong with tried-and-true frosted sugar cookies and gingerbread men.

Baking Cookies with Dad

Get an Advent Calendar

With numbered flaps each revealing a prize each (usually candy of some kind or a tiny toy) leading up to Christmas, Advent calendars invariably build up a lot of excitement for kids. Of course, Advent is more than just a fun way to count down the days until Christmas and enjoy daily treats.

In Christian tradition, Advent is a four-week period of preparation for the arrival of Jesus Christ. The tradition began in the fourth century. Although the season of Advent officially begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas, making its official starting date different every year, Advent Calendars typically begin on December 1st and end on December 24th, Christmas Eve.

Have a Christmas Eve Cocoa Night

Somehow, it’s never easy to get to sleep on Christmas Eve. For kids, it’s just too much anticipation. Embrace the excitement with a Christmas Eve hot cocoa night, which may start as a one-off occurrence that grows into a great annual tradition.

Cuddle up with some blankets or sleeping bags, watch the fire in the fireplace crackle, and enjoy a mug of hot cocoa for all (or, for the grown-ups, perhaps some Sleep Walker Coffee instead). It’s bound to be a holiday tradition that brings back fond memories someday.


Read a New Christmas Story

Reading Christmas stories may seem old-fashioned in this day and age, but you know what? Some things really do stand the test of time, and gathering ‘round to hear a ripping good yarn is one of them. Doesn’t matter if it’s your millionth reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas or an annual Christmas Eve retelling of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

If you’re looking for some new holiday-themed reading material, make it a tradition to visit your local library during the weeks leading up to Christmas, and let your kids pick out their own holiday stories for the season.

Take a Christmas Trip

Some families like to spend Christmas at home, and that’s great! It’s comfy, cozy, and familiar. But Christmas is also a great time for a family trip. With kids out of school and—if fortune be in your favor—a nice little Christmas bonus in your bank account, the holidays can be a perfect vacation time.

If you live up north, maybe spending Christmas in a warmer, sunnier climate is appealing. If you live down south, maybe a trip northward to enjoy a real white Christmas is more your speed. Heck, maybe you just want to spend a few days at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Whether you go to the same family-favorite destination over and over or pick a new place every year, a Christmas Vacation is a great tradition. Just don’t forget your Tactical Backpack Diaper Bag & Baby Carrier!

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