Our Family Christmas Traditions

holiday decorations, holiday ornaments, and Christmas activities

Just about every family that celebrates Christmas has its own unique family Christmas traditions. These might include certain holiday decorations, special Christmas activities, and cherished holiday ornaments. There's really no right or wrong way to celebrate Christmas. Our Christmas traditions involve elements of Christianity, along with the usual commercial Christmas that's celebrated across the United States. We have loads of fun with our Christmas traditions, but we also try to remember the "reason for the season," and we want to make sure the kids understand the importance of Christmas from a Christian perspective.

Family Christmas traditions: holiday decorations

Our family Christmas traditions begin around Thanksgiving. Hubby and I usually put up our tree at the end of November. The adult kids and the grandkids usually help. I serve hot cocoa and goodies, and we play Christmas music to accompany our efforts. We adorn the Christmas tree with all sorts of holiday ornaments. Some are new, some are handmade, and some are expensive. Some of my holiday ornaments are very old and have been in my family for decades. My favorite holiday ornaments are the ones that were passed down to me from my parents.

Once the tree is practically groaning with its multitude of holiday ornaments, we start on the other holiday decorations. For the most part, my daughters and I decorate the inside of the house, while my husband is responsible for the outdoor holiday decorations. He strings icicle lights on the house, hangs up a big lighted star, and places wreaths on the front door and the windows. Our outdoor holiday decorations also include reindeer, snowmen, and poinsettas.

Xmas gifts

I love shopping for xmas gifts, especially for the grandkids. Let's face it - it's fun to shop for toys! In late November or early December, my daughters and I travel about forty miles to the nearest Toys R Us. I give the girls $100 for each child, just for toys. I buy them a few articles of clothing, also, along with a couple of other xmas gifts. The C-notes are just for toys at Toys R Us. The girls know what the kids want, so they pick out the toys for their kids.

After our shopping at the toy store is done, we head to our favorite seafood restaurant/oyster bar for oystrers, shrimp, grouper, and appetizers. We always have a blast! We rarely get to be together without husbands and children, so it's a special mother-daughters time.

Once the meal is over, we head back to my house, and the girls wrap the xmas gifts for their kids and place them under my tree. I really like this Christmas tradition - I get to be with the girls, and I don't have to wrap the Christmas gifts! It's definitely a win-win situation.

Other Christmas traditions

In early December, the girls and the grandkids all attend our town's Christmas parade together, and they stick around for the other activities after the parade. The downtown area has food booths, free rides, and free bouncy houses for the kids.

Of course, the kids have to go visit Santa at some point in December. We also like to take in a couple of other Christmas activities, which vary from year to year. This year, we went to an event about thirty miles away. Actually, we did this just last night. It was a hayride through thousands of Christmas lights, along the edge of a lake. Before the ride, the kids roasted marshmallows over a fire and drank hot cocoa. The proceeds from this event go to Relay for Life and Toys for Tots. After spending an hour or two there, we all went out for pizza.

Family Christmas traditions: Christmas Eve

I said I would write a hub about our family Christmas traditions for Christmas Eve, so here it is. Sorry it’s so late, but I just got the photographs downloaded, and I didn’t want to write an article without pics! The photos were taken at my house, where the family meets on Christmas Eve every year. We follow the same Christmas traditions year after year. I guess that's what makes them traditions, right? Every December, I think that maybe we’ll try something different, but we never do. I guess I’m really into traditions, and I hope the girls will carry some of ours on after I’m gone.

Christmas Eve morning, the girls and all the grands come to my house. The kids are dressed in holiday attire, complete with Santa caps and reindeer ears. We take a huge bag of candy canes and visit a local nursing home. The old folks really enjoy seeing and visiting with the children as the kids pass out the candy.

Upon leaving the nursing home, we all go to a restaurant for an early lunch. After that, we return to my house and set out Christmas dinner for the critters. We live across the street from a small patch of woods, so we have a lot of wildlife for the suburbs. We also have several feral cats. We put out food for the cats, birds, and squirrels in my yard, then we walk to the woods and leave goodies for the rabbits, raccoons, opossums, and foxes.

On the evening of Christmas Eve, everyone returns to my house: my three daughters, my three sons-in-law, and my eight grandchildren. I make them all enter through the front door because Johnny and I will have decorated the front porch and the yard. The kids love the reindeer and the snowmen on the lawn.

When the grandchildren arrive, they're all dressed in their Christmas pajamas. I buy matching Christmas jammies for them every year after Thanksgiving.

Everyone brings in their stack of xmas gifts and adds them to the pile under the tree. And when I say pile, I mean pile! They won’t fit under the tree, even though it’s huge. Christmas gifts are everywhere! And the stockings for the grands are hung from the living room mantel. Next year, we’ll be adding another one!

After depositing their presents, the girls bring in their food. We don’t do a big meal on Christmas Eve. Since the kids will all be having big Christmas dinners the next day at their in-laws, we all decided years ago to have hors d’oeuvres on Christmas Eve. We always have homemade cookies, cheese spread, crackers, brownies, candy, boiled shrimp, chicken salad on croissants, hot wings, veggies and dip, fresh fruit, roast beef roll-ups, hot crab spread, and lots of other goodies.

After everyone eats, someone reads the Christmas story from the Bible. I like Luke’s version best, so that’s read by either my oldest daughter or me. Of course, by this time, the kids are anxious to get on with the present opening! The oldest grandchild will be nine next month, and the youngest one is eighteen months old. The others are eight, seven, six, five, and two, so it’s quite a circus!

Someone is appointed to hand out the xmas gifts, which starts the pandemonium! Papers and ribbons fly in all directions, amid the squeals of delight from the kids and thank-you’s from the adults. The little ones usually pick out a favorite toy and begin playing with it immediately. Johnny always has a good supply of batteries on hand for those gadgets and playthings that require power. Honestly, my living room looks like a toy store! I always go overboard on gifts for the kids and grandkids. Johnny and I don’t spend much on each other, but for the rest of the family, I start shopping in July or August. Around Christmastime, the grandchildren no longer call me “Nana.” I become “Nana Claus”!

After all the gifts have been opened, the guys place all the wrappings in a big garbage bag and load everything into their vehicles. They leave a few toys to entertain the kids, and while the adults enjoy some eggnog or some coffee with Bailey’s, the little kids run around in circles – literally. They so enjoy being with all their cousins!

Before everyone leaves, Papa (Johnny) takes all the kids outside to look for Santa in the night sky. Luckily, there’s a tower near our house with a red light on top, so the little ones are convinced that they see Rudolph’s nose. With that, they’re ready to hurry home and get into bed so that Santa won’t catch them awake when he makes his stop. We all say our goodbyes.

After the family leaves, a couple of friends usually come over for a visit. We nibble on some of the leftover party foods, talk, laugh, and enjoy a drink or two. When our friends leave, Johnny and I give the dogs their Christmas presents, and we go to bed.

Family Christmas traditions: Christmas Day

Early the next morning, we get up and have coffee. Then it’s off to visit the grandkids to see what Santa brought them. We start at my middle daughter’s house. She lives just up the street and has three kids. We stay a few minutes and take picks, then we head to my oldest daughter’s house. She lives about ten miles away. After that, we travel through back woods to my youngest daughter’s house, where we enjoy Christmas breakfast. On the way home, we stop by my brother’s house, then Johnny and I make the circle complete by ending up back at our own cozy home.

Johnny and I spend the rest of Christmas Day being totally lazy. We watch TV and movies, eat leftovers, and nap. We usually make a few phone calls to visit with distant friends and to wish them a merry Christmas. Then we start dreading taking down all the holiday decorations. Part of me thinks that we’ll just leave them up all year! After all, isn’t that what Southern rednecks are supposed to do? We also spend some time discussing how fortunate we are and how much we have to be thankful for. I fully believe that this should be a big part of everyone's family Christmas traditions.

Holiday decorations in my breakfast room.
Holiday decorations in my breakfast room.
The stockings are hung with care.
The stockings are hung with care.
My tree runneth over with Christmas gifts!
My tree runneth over with Christmas gifts!
Dining room holiday decorations.
Dining room holiday decorations.
The second-littlest grandchild.
The second-littlest grandchild.

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Comments 28 comments

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Sounds perfect and how lucky you are to have your children and grandchildren near-by.


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

I love it. Very traditional right? Love the pictures and the long eye lashes of the baby. I'm jealous, I don't have one of those...Very nice and warm. Thanks for sharing.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Great hub Habee. When my first daughter was born we started having a Christmas Eve tradition of getting together at my house. My family never was into getting presents or anything like that so I wanted it to be different for my children. So every Christmas Eve my sister and her family, my neice and her family, and my family all get together and let all the kids open their presents. The adults don't buy presents for each other its all for the kids.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A real lovely family Christmas. Thank you for sharing.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Oh my goodness! I love it! It sounds so beautiful! And you know what,with all this snow, and now with you getting snow now, it is so fitting that you publish this excellent hub now. You are blessed with a beautiful family and beautiful traditions, "Nana Claus!" Love it!!!!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

Oh, your Christmas seems so nice. Your grandkids will always remember, and want to do it themselves. And I can see why you need that rest on Christmas Day!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, Bpop, I have been blessed with a wonderful family that's nearby!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ictodd, grandchildren are the most wonderful gift on Earth!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Nancy, that sounds like a wonderful family celebration!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thank you for reading, HH. Always good to hear from you!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ann, I thought about the snow and the Christmas hub! It was actually just a coincidence, however.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Yeah, Sheila, we're pretty worn out by Christmas Day!


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Oh my....what a warm family christmas picture of joy! May I drop in next year, I'll bring the christmas cheer? ;)


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

Absolutely delightful Hub, habee. It's refreshing that traditions are living on in families -- and the younger will continue them. I believe traditions are a thread that not only binds but create the best memories in the world for young and old! Best, Sis


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

This is so comforting-and perfect timing just when Christmas is only a memory...yet to return!

Loved it!


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Can I come? I'll even buy my own pj's! Sounds so fun - I miss all the Christmases as now we usually have 1 or maybe 2 kids here since we all live so far apart - but you do what you gotta do....makes you realize how fast they all went by when they were kids though and every year was another fun time.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Come on, Susan! I follow the rule of the more the merrier!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, Sis! I'm sure you're right.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Laurel! Glad you enjoyed it.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Audrey, you're welcome at my house ANY time!!


susanlang profile image

susanlang 6 years ago

Ok...be there next year with bells on ;) ;)


rls8994 profile image

rls8994 6 years ago from Mississippi

Beautiful hub and such lovely pictures.

Sounds like you have some really great traditions

and a sweet family.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I'll send directions, Susan!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Thanks, rls. I am very fortunate!


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Thanks for sharing. You have a busy time then :)


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Hi, Eth! Yes, VERY busy!


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 6 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

Great hub. Sounds a lot like our house at christmas time. lol


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Good, Granny! Don't you love it?

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