I’m a huge fan of family traditions and traditions around the holidays are some of my favorites. Traditions are a great way to connect with family. Special family Christmas traditions allow us to connect deeper to each other as well as the holiday.
I find myself looking forward to the holiday season specifically because I look forward to our unique family traditions! As much as I love traditions in general, I think the best ones are those that are unique to our individual families.
Common traditions and why we like to find unique ones
There are several common traditions that many families incorporate to their Christmas celebrations. We participate in several of them and love having them as part of our holiday festivities.
Decorating Christmas cookies, buying and decorating a Christmas tree, watching Christmas movies, and checking out lights in local neighborhoods are definitely some of our favorites. But we really love to partake in our own special traditions as well.
I love unique traditions because it just makes the holiday more special. Everyone makes cookies and decorates a tree. Since it’s something everyone who celebrates does, it removes a little bit of the specialness.
When you’re looking forward to the holidays, there’s something that makes the unique things a little extra special. It’s something unique that you can discuss with friends and coworkers. Everyone can share the different little things that their individual families do and that’s kind of special.
There is something about a unique family Christmas tradition that makes me look forward to the holidays just a little bit more. It’s also the parts of Christmas memories from my childhood that stand out the most.
Whether you’re just starting a family of your own or have been celebrating for years, it’s never too late to start new traditions. If you’re looking for new family Christmas traditions for your family, here are a few ideas for you!
Unique family Christmas traditions to start
Sing Christmas Songs. Some families love to get together and sing Christmas carols. You can either go caroling (which very few people do anymore) or carol at a local senior home. You could also make it an evening at home with family. Get everyone together to enjoy hot chocolate, each other’s company, and the songs of the season.
Watch a special movie while decorating. Every year since I was a kid, I’ve watched the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas while decorating the Christmas tree. It’s a tradition I still do now in my home. It will play over and over until we finally turn it off.
My mom has even commented that it’s just not the same decorating at Christmas because my sister and Dad don’t get as into it and don’t put on the movie or do anything special. That one aspect creates a different atmosphere during decorating that she remembers in our household.
Kick off the season with a night of Christmas movies. Everyone has their favorite Christmas movies, but they usually watch them throughout the season. Try creating a tradition of starting the holiday season off with a marathon night, or full day, of watching Christmas favorites!
Make a traditional heritage item. Is there a certain item that your grandparents made when you were little that ties to your ancestral heritage? When I was younger, my Great Grandmother would make lefse (a traditional Norwegian flatbread made from potatoes) at every holiday gathering. It took her all day and several of my great aunts would assist. When she got too old to be able to stand all day and cook, my dad learned how to make it.
Since her passing, he makes it every year to bring to our family gatherings on that side of my family. A few years in, I asked for my own pan and utensils and started helping. This is a tradition we still do today at Thanksgiving and Christmas every year. It’s time consuming so it is strictly a holiday thing. Making and eating lefse has come to equate with family and the holidays for us.
Choose a local charity to donate time to as a family. Find a charity in your local community that means something to you. The holiday season is a great time to donate time as a family to it. It could be anything important to your family from animals to the homeless to foster kids.
Make Christmas ornaments. This is a great tradition that you can tailor to always be different. Try purchasing unpainted ornaments and paint them, or handcraft ornaments yourself. If you have kids who are in the growing stages, like I do, having them make hand print, finger print, or otherwise crafted ornaments can be a great tradition.
Not only does it give you all something to do together, but you also have so many cool ornaments to look back on throughout the years. You’ll also have plenty of special ornaments to be able to pass some onto your kids when they move out on their own someday!
Have a gingerbread house party. Get the supplies to make several gingerbread houses and invite over family, friends, and neighbors for a gingerbread house making party! If you don’t want to go with actual gingerbread, you can keep it more simple and cheaper by using graham crackers. They’re way easier for kids and less frustrating to get to hold together with frosting!
Buying family Christmas PJs. We’ve recently started buying matching Christmas PJs each year. Since Zach grows so fast, he outgrows last year’s before the next winter season, so it doesn’t really feel like it’s too unnecessary.
Reminisce about family memories from the year. Take an evening to sit as a family and discuss all of the memories from the year. To make it easier, you could keep track of them all year in a jar as things happen and then open it up and pull them all out one at a time to discuss. Otherwise, just sit and talk about things like what everyone’s favorite thing was, what the best part of Summer was, what made them sad this year, what they learned this year, etc. Make some hot chocolate or make some popcorn, put on some instrumental Christmas music and make a relaxing, memorable evening out of it.
Black Friday Shopping. For the past several years, my mom, sister and I have all gone out Black Friday Shopping. The tradition has changed a little over the years as retailers have transitioned to more Thanksgiving shopping, but we still do it on Black Friday. We go out in the middle of the night and shop until morning. Even when one of us doesn’t have much to buy, we still do it. It’s a great time of talking and connecting with nothing else going on while getting a few good deals!
Start some of your own unique family Christmas traditions!
I hope this gives you a few ideas to try in your own family. Or even better, jumpstarts some ideas of your own to create truly unique family Christmas traditions in your household.
Your family will cherish them for a lifetime!