Every December, many of us indulge in our favourite classic family Christmas traditions. Whether it’s decorating the tree together or building a gingerbread house, we look forward to these moments every year as December draws nearer. Some of our favourite Christmas traditions are passed down, some are introduced accidentally, some are intricately planned, but all are fun to have. And there are so many fun Christmas traditions that you can easily start with your family! So give your kids some glorious festive memories by starting one of these fun family Christmas traditions this year.
1. Introduce The Elf On The Shelf
This festive family tradition has boomed in popularity since its introduction in 2005[i] – kids know Christmas is coming as soon as their elf emerges! Starting on December 1st, this 25-day practice requires a little from Mum and Dad. The backstory says that the Elf on the Shelf is a spy for Santa and is there to watch over your children and make sure they stay on the nice list. But Santa’s spies will need a bit of help, so it’s up to you to move them around the house each night for the kids to wake up to.
The creative options here are endless, and elves have ended up in some sticky situations over the years! So use your imagination and send your elf on some adventures to make your kids jealous – take some inspiration from our Elf on the Shelf ideas if you get stuck!
2. A Unique Christmas Countdown
Put a twist on advent by creating your own unique Christmas countdown for this special family tradition. Rather than a chocolate advent calendar, introduce different ways of counting down the days of December for a more productive and healthier season. And it might surprise you to know how many non-edible alternatives there are! You could fill an advent calendar with:
- Craft supplies
- Silly Bands
- Puzzle pieces
There are so many options for an individualised advent calendar, and the best thing about them is that you can cater them to your children. So whether you’re little one’s obsessed with mini cars or dainty hair bows, a D.I.Y. advent calendar is sure to keep them happy until Christmas day.
3. Make Your Own Christmas Cards
Christmas cards brighten up the mantelpiece all season long, but handmade ones are often much more meaningful to the lucky person who receives one. So, start a brand new tradition by making your family and friends feel special with their own handmade Christmas cards! This is a great activity for all ages because it lets you relax and be creative, plus it will thoroughly engage children. So, draw up a list of recipients and bring the whole family together to create a few personalised cards.
4. Write Letters To Santa
This quaint tradition seems to have been pushed aside in our digital age. But writing letters to Santa is one of the most magical parts of the season for many children, and making it a tradition in your household will boost the festive cheer.
Traditionally, children write their letters to Santa and burn them in the fireplace, sending the ashes up the chimney. Then Santa uses his magic to put the letter together and give your child everything they want for Christmas. Of course, burning letters in the fire is impractical nowadays. Don’t worry, though – a Santa is waiting at the other end of the post box! First, make sure your child includes their name and address in their letter, then add a stamp and pop it in the post. Santa’s address is:
If you send your letters before December 10th, Santa’s guaranteed to get back to you in time for Christmas!
5. Try Some Festive Baking
Nothing says Christmas like the smell of fresh gingerbread wafting out of the kitchen! Everybody loves a bit of baking and, more importantly, eating, so try baking some of your favourite festive foods on a certain day of December, or perhaps even one day each week. Starting this tasty Christmas tradition will go down well with the entire family, and it’s perfect for bringing everyone together and getting them all involved. Kids will love ‘helping out’ and going to town on the decoration, and it’ll teach them essential life skills such as following recipes and properly using utensils.
6. Throw A Christmas Jumper Party
Christmas jumpers are a bit of a festive sore spot, but you only get one chance to wear them each year, so make the most of it with a Christmas jumper party! Encourage friends and family to break out their ugliest Christmas jumper and invite them all over to your house for the best party of this, and every festive season. Throw up your best decorations, line up your favourite Christmas classics, lay out some food – this is where the festive baking comes in! – and get ready to dance the night away! Make the party even more interesting by lining up prizes for the best (and worst) Christmas jumpers of the night.
7. Turn Your House Into A Christmas Lights Extravaganza
The festive season is a time for excess, so why not make it a tradition to extend this overindulgence to your home? Twinkling lights and adornments on passing houses are one of the most exciting things about Christmas, no matter your age. So invest in some bright Christmas lights and intriguing outdoor decorations to make your house stand out! Your kids will love coming home to a house lit up like a Christmas tree, and you’ll have the bonus of making passers-by feel just as jolly too.
8. Go On A Christmas Lights Hunt
If decorating your own house isn’t possible for you, you can always go and admire other peoples’. Grab your warm coats and woollies and take the family on a walk around the neighbourhood to appreciate all their twinkling light installations – and tire the kids out a bit! Of course, it’s best to wait until it’s just beginning to get dark to make the most of the displays, though you could always spread your Christmas lights hunt over a few nights, so you all have time to indulge in the Christmas spirit.
9. Have A Family Games Night
Indulge in some old-fashioned festive fun with a night of board games with all the family. A night in together playing everybody’s favourite classic games is the perfect bonding activity – and there’s not a screen in sight! Make sure you have plenty of food and drink to keep everybody going for the night, and consider introducing prizes to engage everybody. Some good prizes you could offer are sweet treats, handmade trophies, money, household favours (like being in charge of the remote control) or a day trip of choice.
10. Go Carol Singing
Another age-old tradition that has fallen out of fashion over the years, carol singing is the perfect way to indulge in festive cheer and have fun with all the family. Carol singing was popularised in Victorian times when Christmas became a nationally celebrated holiday. This is when groups of carollers, or waits, began to gather on the street and perform for passers-by, in return for mince pies and drinks[ii]. Also, Victorians often sang carols after the Christmas meal in celebration.[iii]
Of course, you don’t have to go around your neighbourhood if you don’t want to. You can blast your favourite festive classics from the comfort of your sitting room or garden and still have just as much fun! So print off some lyric sheets, get some karaoke tracks lined up (or you could go acapella to keep it really traditional) and gather your family and friends for this joyous tradition.
11. Host A Christmas Movie Marathon
Whether you prefer the classics or the cheesy made for T.V. specials, everyone loves a good Christmas movie. So settle in for the evening with plenty of snacks and indulge in all your favourite Christmas movies, however cheesy they may be! You could involve everyone by asking them to bring along their own festive favourites or put together a list of surprises for all to enjoy. Or you could stretch this new tradition out and choose a movie or two to watch each night of December. This way, you’ll get through more of your favourite movies and get more treasured time together as a family.
12. Go On A Christmas Morning Walk
Going on a Christmas morning walk is one of Britain’s classic family Christmas traditions. It invigorates you for the day ahead, allows you to take a few calming moments with nature before the chaos begins and lets you share your Christmas spirit with the strangers that you’ll meet. If you can’t keep the kids away from the presents long enough, your new tradition could always be a Christmas afternoon walk!
Have a Christmas to Remember
Christmas traditions make the season special and starting seasonal activities unique to your family will guarantee festivities that you and your children will never forget. So start your own fun Christmas traditions this year and keep the festive magic alive!
Do you have any unique family Christmas traditions? Let us know in the comments below!