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Best Holiday Traditions for Families

Updated on August 10, 2013

The Excitement of Christmas!

If your family is anything like mine, the holiday season (starting even before Halloween these days) can be overwhelmingly busy. We're bombarded by commercials and Christmas Muzak practically as soon as the kids start back to school.

With four children and a large extended family, we've learned how to manage the excitement of Christmas by sticking with the best holiday traditions for families. These are the things we do, each and every year, to celebrate the season. As the kids get older, we vary things a bit. And, we're always game to try new things. But at our home, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't honor these traditions.

When considering your family holiday traditions this year, remember that the things that make Christmas the most special aren't "things ." Its time spent together and memories made.

Enjoy Christmas lights as a family holiday tradition
Enjoy Christmas lights as a family holiday tradition | Source
Christmas often means snow and snowball fights
Christmas often means snow and snowball fights | Source
One huge snowman!
One huge snowman! | Source

Christmas Music for the Family

Seven Traditions for Children During the Christmas Season

  1. Make gingerbread cookies or gingerbread houses with plenty of candy decorations! Nothing says Christmas like white frosting and an assortment of candies. Use a shortcut by purchasing gingerbread cookie dough in the refrigerated aisle and/or ready to construct gingerbread kits.
  2. Select a tag (one for each child in your family) from a "Giving Tree." Shop together for the gift needed by the recipient - often something like a warm coat or boots. Make sure you get your purchase back by the specified deadline.
  3. Organize a caroling party with another family or two. Each child picks their two favorite Christmas Carols. Plan a safe route, sing your hearts out, and finish with hot cocoa at home.
  4. Attend a local Christmas parade. Many take place the day after Thanksgiving, but some communities hold their annual events in the first week or two of December. Bundle up and enjoy the show!
  5. Go for a walk or drive through local neighborhoods to enjoy seasonal light displays.
  6. Watch the traditional holiday television specials. You really cannot see Rudolph or Charlie Brown too many times!  Make some popcorn and snuggle together on the sofa.
  7. Trim the Christmas tree! Children love hanging ornaments and other special decorations.

Gingerbread house decorating is a favorite holiday tradition
Gingerbread house decorating is a favorite holiday tradition | Source
We always get a crowd for gingerbread cookie decorating
We always get a crowd for gingerbread cookie decorating | Source

Christmas Eve Traditions

Our Christmas Eve traditions have been fairly consistent since I was a little girl.  Now, my sisters and I are grown with children of our own.  Its hard to believe that there are now nine grandchildren, ranging in age from 1 to 13 years old.

The afternoon often starts with me at the piano, playing traditional Christmas carols while the family sings along.  After church, we have dinner and the kids plow through their favorite Christmas cookies.

It wouldn't be Christmas Eve if we didn't get to open one present the night before.  Its always the same - pajamas!  The kids get matching PJs, which they put on for a few photos.  Then, its time to listen to Grandpa read "The Night Before Christmas."

Afterwards, we hang stockings and get into bed for the big day in the morning!

Children help trim the Christmas tree
Children help trim the Christmas tree | Source
Matching PJs is a long-time family tradition
Matching PJs is a long-time family tradition | Source

Cooking Christmas Recipes Together

One of the best ways to spend time together as a family is cooking Christmas recipes together. Children love to help in the kitchen.

Kids of all ages can help with these recipes, whether stirring ingredients together or learning math skills with measuring.

From our family holiday cookbook, you might enjoy these treats:

Enjoy your holiday baked goods, or share them as a treat with your friends and neighbors!

Cousins and Rudolph!
Cousins and Rudolph! | Source
Hang up stockings to prepare for Christmas
Hang up stockings to prepare for Christmas | Source
Matching outfits for the holidays is one of our traditions
Matching outfits for the holidays is one of our traditions | Source
Grandpa always reads "The Night Before Christmas" to all the grandchildren
Grandpa always reads "The Night Before Christmas" to all the grandchildren | Source

Christmas is Family Time

By honoring our annual holiday traditions, we hope to raise our children to enjoy each moment of the season. Its not about gifts that can be wrapped, or Christmas lists.

Christmas is family time.  The memories created through our holiday traditions are more precious than any store-bought toy or video game.

I'd like to think that my kids agree!

Please share your best holiday traditions for your family in the comments below!

The reason for the season!
The reason for the season! | Source

What is Your Favorite Holiday Tradition?

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Comments

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    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Brenna,

      I know - Christmas is fast approaching, isn't it? Good luck with your family reunion and enjoy the season. Best, Steph

    • brennawelker profile image

      brennawelker 

      7 years ago

      You made me so much excited of Christmas, stephhick68. It's fast approaching and we're going to have family reunion again.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Sherri!

      PJs are always a nice, warm gift. Merry Christmas to you and yours (and happy photograph taking) ;-) Steph

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 

      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Your beautiful Hub was a trip down memory lane for me. These days, our Christmas celebrations are quite different, as we have no children nearby and family is scattered here and there.

      The most important things to the family that is here are sharing company, good food and holiday music, and baking Christmas treats for sharing with others in our lives.

      But Steph, you've given me a great idea. I think my mom, my daughter, and I ought to have matching PJs this season. LOL. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thank you Angin - we really love celebrating the holidays with our family. My children have a great time for an entire week with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Cheers, Steph

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the pictures--your kids are absolutely adorable and this Christmas hub is so personal, it is totally heart-warming. Rated beautiful.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Carrie - lots of great memories in the holiday season! Cheers to you, Steph

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 

      8 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I love the old traditions at Christmas and the photos are very nice also. This brought me back to my childhood when friends and family gathered and the wonderful holiday aromas coming from the kitchen. Great hub!

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi tipoague, that sounds just lovely!! Holiday baking is one of my favorite traditions. Your family gathering sounds so wonderful. I love the sharing of old photographs too. Hope you have a lovely holiday season - best, Steph

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      8 years ago from USA

      I remember as a child the excitement of going to my grandmother's for Christmas. We use to celebrate it at Thanksgiving since that was the only time of the year that the whole family could get together. One of the family traditions that is still carried on today with the extended families is baking. We have pie and cookie baking contests, play games, sing, and just hang out. All of the children get to open one present the night before the big gathering and share what was their best memories from Christmas past. Some would even break out the pictures. My grandmother is gone now, the torch in my family of siblings was past to me. I try to keep up with the old traditions, and create a few new ones. I am excited for the time that I can pass this on to my grandchildren. Wonderful hub! Thank you for sharing and I love the pictures.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      8 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Stephanie - so many great memories, right? I love the holiday season. So excited its finally here!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      8 years ago from USA

      I enjoyed this so much! It reminded me of the wonderful family times when my children, and later grandchildren, were young. You have some lovely ideas here.

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