Treats are a must for the Holiday season. The act of baking or cooking together for me is my favorite Holiday tradition with my kids. I'm teaching them while we are having fun and enjoying each other's company. You can't beat it!
- Hot Chocolate French Toast - recipe here.
- Snowmen Oreo Pops - recipe here.
- Popcorn Snowballs - recipe here.
- White chocolate dipped ginger cookies - recipe here.
- White chocolate rice krispie pops - recipe here.
This is another amazing and EASY tradition category to implement at your house.
- Christmas Morning Red Velvet Hot Chocolate. Recipe here.
- Hot Vanilla Milk. Give this one a chance, I promise it's so delicious. Recipe here.
- Of course I couldn't leave out a good Cider. Recipe here.
3. CHRISTMAS EVE BOX
When I saw this on a friend's Facebook page last year, I fell in love with it! This takes Christmas Eve pj's to a new level! Instead of a Christmas movie, you can throw in a book if you prefer.
4. CHRISTMAS EVE PJ'S
If you prefer to keep the Christmas Eve presents more simple, matching family PJ's are an amazing and lasting tradition!
5. CHRISTMAS EVE MOVIE MARATHON
I love this tradition! I like to stick to the same movie every Christmas eve, something like A Miracle on 34th Street or Elf! Consider building your Christmas movie stock pile and make the whole month of December a Christmas movie marathon.
6. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Another well known and special tradition is to get all your kiddos into their PJ's, and drive through the neighborhoods that have the best Christmas lights. Play Christmas music in the car to make it extra special.
If you're in Placer County, my dear friend Colin Roe of Fidelity National Title put together this amazing Christmas lights list.
7. BELL RINGING
Just today my kids and I stopped by a local grocery store to ring the Salvation Army bell to raise money for charity. Teaching your kids to give during the Holidays in my opinion is a special and very important mindset that will stay with them for a lifetime.
8. ELF ON THE SHELF
By now you have likely either made this a tradition or been inundated on social media by friends and family who have. If for some reason you haven't heard of the adorable and super fun Elf on the Shelf tradition, you can see it here.
9. SANTA FOOTPRINTS
I absolutely love this idea! It's a magical way to show your kids that Santa has been there. Find the easy instructions here.
10. CHRISTMAS PICKLE
This is a strange, funny and perfect Christmas tradition! The Christmas Pickle ornament is the last ornament to be placed on the tree. Parents hide it and in the morning, the first kid that finds it within the tree gets money or a treat or a present. See the history of the pickle here.
11. BAKING DAY
A personal favorite of mine is spending the day backing cookies or dinners with my kids! We always make a variety of cookies, some of which we eat, some we deliver to family and friends! You can also do this for baking dinners for families in need and delivering those as well. Taking a day to cook with your kids allows you to teach them while having fun.
12. DECORATING DAY
Another favorite of mine is a decorating day! My kids and I spend the day listening to Christmas music and decorating our house and tree. It's the perfect bonding time as a family and something we never ever miss.
13. CHRISTMAS CRAFTS
Christmas crafts are a must if you have kids, but you already know that I'm sure! I've rounded up a few adorable ideas I have seen floating around on social media that are too cute not to share.
- Felt stockings -These are easy for your kids to make and they will have a blast doing it! Consider these for sibling gift exchanges. I love the idea of having my kids make a new one each year after they draw the name of the sibling to get to give a gift to. Instructions here.
- Easy Snow globe - I just love this idea! This craft is adorable for your younger kiddos. Instructions here.
- Sharpie mug - Can you tell I like keepsake crafts?! Christmas is very sentimental, why not make the crafts that way too? This idea is perfect for EVERYONE in your family, and its incredibly inexpensive. Instructions here.
14. SPONSOR A FAMILY
There is no better way to teach your kids the spirit of Christmas like sponsoring a family or kid. Show your kids how good it feels to give while making the Holiday season for another family bright.
15. HOST AN UGLY SWEATER PARTY
This is something I plan on starting next year for my past and current clients! The bonus for my kids will be that they get to judge the ugly sweater contest! I love when family or friends host these parties, they are such a fun time.
16. COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
Keep a Countdown to Christmas calendar displayed to keep your kids ultra excited. Download this cute Countdown Calendar here.
17. PICK YOUR TREE
If you have the time, take a trip to a local tree farm and chop down a tree yourself. Letting your kids help pick out the tree makes the experience extra special!
Northern, CA residents - Sunshine Valley Tree Farm is a great option.
18. SLEDDING OR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
My family LOVES to take trips to the snow during Christmas break. We are lucky to live in Northern California where there IS snow. Even if there isn't snow where you are at, make it a tradition to do a family hike or bike ride somewhere beautiful in your area
19. KEEPSAKE ORNAMENTS
These are as much for you as they are for your kids, because this is something you will get to accumulate each year. Don't forget to add the year somewhere on the ornament! Instructions here.
20. CHRISTMAS EVE COOKIES AND NOTE TO SANTA
My kids love to sit down and write a Thank You note to Santa to go with his cookies. We also include treats for the reindeer! Sometimes Santa even writes back! This is special for us every year, no matter how old they are. I can tell you that I have definitely kept every letter they have ever written in a Christmas scrapbook and I can't wait to show them when they are older.
21. SEND LETTER TO NORTH POLE
Have your kids write their Christmas letter to Santa and bring it to the post office where they will deliver it to the North Pole for you!
22. PICTURES WITH SANTA
This is a MUST. What's better than Santa himself? Those keepsake images with Santa will be special for years to come.
Placer County residents - I am hosting a FREE Cookies and Milk with Santa event December 19th from 11am - 1pm. See details here.
23. FAMILY PICTURES
Put a twist on Standard holiday pics with a year in review for your card. Brainstorm with your family your favorite milestones and events from the last year and share them as bullet points on your Christmas Card for your extended family and friends to enjoy.
25. CHRISTMAS EVE CHURCH
This is a special family tradition for those who celebrate Christmas from a religious perspective.
26. FACE-TIME FAMILY
FaceTime or Skype family members or friends you haven't talked to you in a while
Yes people still go caroling and yes I love it! Round up your family and your neighbors and go caroling through your neighborhood. People will love the familiar faces! End the night with treats at your house.
28. DECORATE GINGERBREAD HOUSES
Make it even more fun and have a contest with family and friends to vote for their favorite house. See ideas for awesome Gingerbread houses here.
29. HOLIDAY BOOKS
Start a countdown to Christmas tradition where you read one Christmas book each night for the last two weeks of December. Leave the Night Before Christmas for Christmas Eve of course.
You can purchase The Night Before Christmas here.
30. I AM THANKFUL LIST
Here is another great activity for practicing gratitude! This one is good for anytime of the year. I think this is really important for kids to do during a time when they are excited about receiving and are maybe not thinking as much about giving and being thankful.
31. SIBLING GIFT GIVING
As I mentioned in the craft section, drawing names for a sibling gift exchange is a neat way to celebrate Christmas for the kids. I like the idea of each kid doing extra chores in the first few weeks of December, and you "pay them" by adding money to their special piggy bank for gifts. This way they can learn to save, and then take that money and pick out their sibling's gift with their own money.
32. SANTA TRACKER
Google has created a fantastic Santa tracker that allows your kids to see Traditions from around the world, play games, watch Santa live on Christmas Eve + more! It's the best tool you can use to get your kids to go to bed... I mean watch Santa! See here.
33. SEE A CHRISTMAS SHOW
One tradition I have with my kids is to dress up, go out to a nice dinner, and go see the nutcracker ballet. My kids, especially my girls, look forward to this tradition every year.
34. CHRISTMAS MEMORY LETTER
Parents, write a letter to your kids on Christmas about the year, what they're like and interested in at this age, etc., for their baby and kids book so they can read it when they are older.
35. KINDNESS ELF
This a fun twist on Elf on the Shelf. See the origin and ideas here.
36. WRITE A SOLIDER
This is a FAVORITE Tradition of mine. Write a letter and put in into a care box to send to a solider over seas.
37. FAMILY NEWSLETTER
If you decided to skip on a Christmas card, or have too much to fit on a tiny little picture, consider writing a detailed family newsletter and mailing to friends and family.
38. SANTA KEY
If you don't have a chimney, this is a very special tradition! This key and poem is left out for Santa so he can get into the house and deliver presents! See the instructions here.
39. REINDEER FOOD
Don't forget to make a treat for Santa's reindeer! This is a fun activity my kids and I do on Christmas eve day and we sprinkle it on the lawn before Dinner! Recipe here.
40. CHRISTMAS EVE RESTAURANT
Choose a place to eat on Christmas Eve and go to that place every Christmas eve for a tradition that carries year after year.
41. SPECIAL CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST
Christmas breakfast is a really special tradition that my kids look forward to. We bake homemade bread and lots of other goodies. To me it's like a second Thanksgiving, it's that sentimental. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for Christmas morning:
- Egg, sausage and hash brown bakes. Recipe here
- Gingerbread Pancakes. Recipe here.
- Fruit Trifle - recipe here.
- One hour cinnamon rolls - recipe here.
42. LEARN ABOUT OTHER CULTURES
Another fun Google tool is the World Traditions page on the Santa Tracker website! Take time to sit down with your kids and see how other countries celebrate Christmas. View here.
Another must-do for families who celebrate religiously during Christmas! My dear friends the Cardinet's from church actually host a live nativity every year in their backyard that moves me to tears each time I see it. Live nativities are becoming more popular, and I bet someone in your town does something similar.
44. DECORATED DOOR
This is a SUPER cute way to get your kiddos even more excited about Santa's arrival. Have them work together to decorate your front door or their bedroom doors. See ideas here.
45. POPCORN GARLAND
This is of course a popular tradition and a fun way to add extra action to your tree! See the recipe here.
46. FAMILY MEMORIES
There is something special about sitting down with your kids and showing them pictures and memories from your childhood. I like to play a game with my kids where I see if they can identify a family member they might not recognize from when they were younger.
47. CARE STOCKINGS
Yet another way to bring joy to others is to do a Secret Santa stocking! Have your kids help you fill a stocking with goodies and pick a neighbor or two to bring them to! Leave the stocking on someone's doorstop with instructions to do something similar for someone else! You can also do this for the homeless or anyone in need. See the idea here.
48. PET PRESENT
This is a fun one! We just adopted my sister's dog Sadie this year and now we have one cat and one dog. It's special for my kids to get them a present like a new bed, or a treat or a stocking. If you have pets, including them is a fun Christmas tradition.
49. VISIT THE ELDERLY
Sometimes we forget that not everyone will be with family on Christmas. Something really heartfelt to do with your family is to bring treats or little gifts to elderly folks at a care center for Christmas.
50. GAME NIGHT
With technology so rampant today, I love to sit down with my kids away from the TV, phones, computer, emails, iPods, etc., and enjoy our time as a family! We like to do a board game or two every Christmas Eve.
What Christmas traditions do you have that I might have missed? I love to hear from other families about what they do during the holidays!