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A family baking together.

Christmas Traditions for the Whole Family

Family Christmas Traditions

Do you have family Christmas traditions you absolutely have to do each and every year or Christmas would not be the same? Our family has many traditions that we try very hard to observe every year. They vary in uniqueness, maybe you will gain some inspiration!

Giving Back


We fill two Operation Christmas Child boxes with small toys, toiletries, clothes, and other small gifts and take it to church. These boxes are shipped to a central location and then sent to children in countries like Africa, South America and the Ukraine. This tradition is one of my favorites, as it is about the joy of giving not receiving!

Spending Time Together

We always make Christmas cake from a recipe that dates back more than 100 years! We buy the ingredients and make it around the beginning of November so it can “ripen” by Christmas, when we give it to family and friends.

Buying and decorating a real balsam fir tree is a tradition we follow every year. For many years, our two sons have had their own red Christmas bulbs, with their names painted on them. They have to put these decorations on the tree themselves, even if they are not around for the actual decorating of the tree. Most of the time, these decorations appear on the tree on Christmas Eve!

Going to Church

Attending one of the many Christmas services held at our church is also a great way to spend time together. Since our children live on their own, it is very rare we all go to church and worship as a family. Christmastime allows that to happen!

We gather in the dining room and have drinks and appetizers on Christmas Eve. Then, we enjoy Chinese food, either at our favorite Chinese restaurant or we get take-out.

Watch Movies

Sitting around a fire and watching one or two of our favorite Christmas movies (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s A Wonderful Life or White Christmas) is one of the best traditions. Since we have seen them so many times, our grownup children know the majority of the dialogue in these movies! When everyone goes to bed, Santa still comes.

Look at the Lights

We also drive around the neighborhood to see festive light displays on Christmas Eve. We have a few favorites we go to see every year, including one street where everyone has very elaborate displays. The whole street collects money for charities, children’s hospitals, or donations for the local food bank.

Christmas Day Traditions

On Christmas morning we always open our presents and stockings while we drink coffee and eat cinnamon buns and turnovers. After that, we have a Christmas brunch of bacon, eggs, toast and muffins.

Christmas dinner always includes roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries and gravy.This year, we are thinking of adding honey ham and some kind of soup, just to be a bit different!

I always feel as though December 24 and 25 are magical times at our house! It is because these two days are just about our family. Everyone stays at home, wraps last-minute gifts and chats.

We have very few interactions with other people such as phone calls or text messages. Unless we call or text our extended family to wish them a Merry Christmas.

Why is it Important to Have Family Christmas Traditions?

A tradition is generally thought of as something repeated over and over again, in order to mark a particular occasion, religious holiday or time of year. In this case, we are specifically interested in the importance of family Christmas traditions. They are important to many families for the following reasons:

  • Having certain Christmas traditions helps remind everyone that your family is unique.
  • When honored Christmas traditions are maintained, year after year, family members tend to stay closer than those who decide to forego traditions.
  • There are very few things that stay the same in this world. Thus, coming home for the Christmas holidays can be just what everyone needs, especially if there have been a lot of changes during the course of the year.
  • Following certain Christmas traditions can be a wonderful way of restoring a struggling family member’s religious faith or self-esteem.
  • When someone new joins your family, sharing your treasured Christmas traditions teaches them the importance of your family’s religious or cultural heritage and it reminds you as well.
  • Taking part in the same rituals, each and every Christmas, can help older and younger generations stay connected.
  • Repetition of favorite Christmas traditions makes for memories that last a lifetime. In the case of our family, I have no doubt when my husband and I are gone, our children will still watch the same Christmas movies and recite the same scenes!

What are Your Christmas Traditions?

I hope these Christmas traditions helped to inspire you if you do not already have any. Baking and movies are always a huge hit. Wishing you the warmest holiday wishes.