25 Family Holiday Traditions You Can Start Right Now
25 Family Holiday Traditions You Can Start Right Now
October 14, 2020

25 Family Holiday Traditions You Can Start Right Now

25 Family Holiday Traditions You Can Start Right Now.
25 Family Holiday Traditions You Can Start Right Now

Do you remember getting to open one present on Christmas Eve, or baking something special on the first night of Hanukkah? Holiday traditions are many people’s most treasured childhood memories. Adding a little one to your family means it’s time to kick off your own holiday traditions—either the ones you remember from your own childhood, brand new traditions you’ve always wanted to try, or a little bit of both.

We talked to friends, family members and our very own Babylist team members about the family holiday traditions they loved the most from their own childhoods or the ones they’ve started since they’ve become parents. Most don’t require much effort, time or planning and can be enjoyed by even the tiniest family members. We hope they’ll inspire you this holiday season!

👶 Make or Buy a New Ornament Every Year

Create a photo ornament with a photo of your child for each year, or buy/make something that represents whatever your little one is into that year—dinosaurs, trucks, mermaids, etc. Handprint ornaments are also really fun.

🎄 Make a Keepsake

“We failed at the tradition last year, but our goal is to have a real tree each year and before disposing of it at the end of the season, cutting off a slice of the trunk to make an ornament for the tree for the following year. We’re going to try again next year!” -Carly

💭 Pause to Reflect

“My favorite tradition is what we call our family circle. Before our holiday meal, we all stand in a big circle. One person starts and says something they are proud of themself for, something they accomplished, a new hobby—anything positive. Then you turn to the person next to you and tell them why you are grateful for them, what they mean to you and how they make your life better. Our large family includes everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Everyone takes it seriously and it’s always a really beautiful moment that reminds us of what is important.” -Dawn

🏠 Make a Gingerbread House

The messier the better! It’s also a great activity to get the grandparents and other extended family in on.

🍔 Do Something Unexpected

“I come from a really big family, so when we were younger and needed a large gathering place for Christmas Eve that could handle a ton of kids under the age of 12, we somehow landed on the McDonald’s Playplace. It’s kid-friendly and it meant my mom didn’t have to cook. So even though we’re all fully grown now, that’s where we go every Christmas Eve. I’m convinced it’s the best holiday spot in town.” -Maddie

😴 Get (and Give) New Pajamas

“Growing up, our family holiday tradition each year was one gift on Christmas Eve: new pajamas. I’ve continued the tradition with my daughter.” -Porscha

👯 Better Yet…Make Them Matching!

Nothing is cuter than matching family holiday PJs.

💁🏽 Volunteer

The holiday season is the perfect time to share the love. Volunteer at a food bank in your community, donate to a gift drive or do whatever you can to help others during the holiday season.

🌲 Combine Traditions

“I celebrate the Winter Solstice and my husband celebrates Christmas, so we figured out a way to use the same tree for both holidays! Winter Solstice uses an undecorated evergreen, so we get a regular pine to bring inside, let it sit in its undecorated elegance, and then once the solstice has passed, decorate it with Christmas ornaments. We hope to have a house someday that’s really close to nature so we take the tree back outside after New Years to hang fruit and seeds from it for the animals.” -Amylia

📚 Read a Different Holiday Book Each Night

Start building your little one’s library from day one and add a few holiday books to the mix every year. As they get a little older, choose one holiday book to read aloud each night.

🎁 Open One Gift on Christmas Eve

“Now that my son is a little bigger and actually has a real interest in celebrating holidays, we’re going to start a new tradition of Christmas Eve boxes this year. My husband is going to make boxes for each of us that will include things like a new book, a new set of pjs, a couple treats (chocolate, popcorn, candy, etc.) and maybe one other small gift that we can open every year on Christmas Eve. The idea is to have it be gifts you can enjoy that night.” -Amylia

✂️ Get Crafty

Get creative! Make paper snowflakes, a DIY advent calendar or cotton ball snowmen. Use green, black and red (the colors of Kwanzaa) to make a special craft. The sky (and your Pinterest board) is the limit!

🐘 Do a White Elephant Gift Exchange

Because you’ve been dying to gift that back scratcher you’ve had your eye on…

🍪 Bake Cookies

“Early in December, we start making cookies—my mom always made thumbprint cookies and pfeffernusse, so I like to mix at least one of those in each year. It reminds me of my childhood and my family, and it’s a fun bonding activity with my daughter. Holiday music is a must while baking. On Christmas Eve, we always make madeleines (we leave them for Santa, mostly because I’m too lazy to do sugar cookies, and “Santa” likes madeleines better anyway!). We basically get our sugar quotient for the year in December.” -Karen

🍩 Bake Something Else…Like Doughnuts!

“We make doughnuts as a family to kick off Hanukkah, and the Nutella is disastrous and delicious.” -Lisa

🧁 Bake Something Else…Like Cinnamon Rolls! (Or just buy them—that’s fine, too)

“We always had chocolate milk and cinnamon rolls for breakfast (like the really sugary kind of chocolate milk you buy pre-made in the grocery store) because my mom was a stickler for healthy food and never let us eat those other times of the year, and somehow we convinced her it was okay on Christmas.” -Rebekah

✉️ Frame Your Holiday Cards

If you send out a holiday card, set one aside each year and either frame it or store it in a special place. You’ll love looking back on your old cards and watching your children grow and change.

🎄 Cut Down Your Own Christmas Tree

“I remember cutting down a fresh Christmas tree with my family every year, and that’s a tradition I’ve carried on now that I have my own family. We bundle up (preferably in some buffalo plaid) and head out to a Christmas tree farm and choose a tree, and then I watch my husband grumble as he tries to cut it down. Hot chocolate is a must-have afterwards, of course.” -Jen

🎶 Go Caroling

It’s time to brush up on that singing! Go in the late afternoon so it doesn’t interfere with bedtime, and bring along a wagon or baby carrier so the littlest members of the family can come along.

🥡 Go Out to Eat

“We don’t celebrate Christmas, so we’ve made it a tradition to go eat Chinese food on that day (since that’s all that’s open usually), but it’s really fun!” -Lisa

👏🏿 Dance!

Dancing is a fun way to celebrate cultural traditions. Let Elmo show your little one (and you!) how to celebrate Kwanzaa through dance.

🎁 Make Your Presents Stand Out

“One tradition that I love that I plan to do with our family is to buy a unique wrapping paper for each child. Each child gets all of their presents for that year wrapped in that unique paper, however the kids have no idea whose paper is whose until Christmas morning. You hide a scrap of their paper in the bottom of their stocking. Then once they open their stockings, they will find out which presents are theirs and they can open them!” -Rebekah

💡 Take in the Lights

Go on a drive (or a walk) around your neighborhood to check out the best holiday light display.

🎉 Celebrate the New Year

“My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas—but New Year’s Eve is HUGE for us. Russian tradition is similar to Christmas but non-religious, so we have a “New Year’s Tree,” we do presents on December 31 and we have a version of Santa which translates to “Grandpa Frost.” It ends up being an awesome mish-mosh for us since the kids don’t really get the difference yet between New Year and Christmas.” -Lyuba

🔥 Make a Yule Log

“A yule log is a fun, easy tradition to start. Some years I do two, one real (an actual wooden log I find that we then decorate with other winter plants, fruits and candles) and one chocolate! Usually done on the day of the solstice (Yule), but some years I’m a day or so off just because I can’t always find the perfect log. Yule logs are super fun to do with toddlers because you ask them to find offerings to stick on the log and they bring in really off-the-wall (but well-meant) things.” -Amylia

This information is provided for educational and entertainmentpurposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for anyliability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as aconsequence, directly or indirectly, from any information oradvice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation fromaffiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content.