12 Meaningful Christmas Traditions for Families in 2021 (Creative and So Fun!)

Written by ElizabethThrives

meaningful christmas traditions for families

12 Meaningful Christmas Traditions for Families in 2021 (Creative and So Fun!)

Oh my- I couldn’t love Christmas time more! Every fall, I start feeling giddy about the fact that Christmas time is just WEEKS away!! I know everybody doesn’t feel as passionate about the holidays as I do, but it is TRUE that having fun and meaningful Christmas traditions that you do each year can make Christmas a time of priceless memories with your family.

When I was first married, my husband and I enjoyed coming up with a yearly new Christmas tradition we would do in our little family of “us”. Over the years, those traditions have evolved and new ones have been added making the Christmas season SO MAGICAL for all of our family members!

This year can be so much better than last year! This Christmas can be a year you intentionally make Christmas more memorable and special!

I’m sure many of these tradition ideas will become your family’s absolute favorite Christmas traditions!


(  HERE.)


Here are 12 delightful and meaningful Christmas tradition ideas!

#1- “Family Christmas Nights!”

delightful and memorable christmas traditions

“Family Christmas Nights” came about after I was feeling disappointed one Christmas morning as I reflected on that particular holiday season. The whole season had seemed to fly by full of this and that but no special family times.

Special time and quality time with family may be the most important thing to prioritze during the holidays! I was so excited when I thought of these because they truly solve the problem of Christmas going too fast and crazy!

First, I get out my calendar Thanksgiving night (like a true Christmas nerd)!

I go ahead and pick one night a week (for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas day) that I mark off on our family calendar as “Family Christmas Nights”.

So the 4 FAMILY CHRISTMAS NIGHTS are scheduled and I like to consider them written in stone!

IF something we truly can’t help comes to our attention, we make sure that we reschedule “Family Christmas Night” to the next possible time that the whole family can be there.

In other words, these are TOP priority and everyone knows it!

The “Family Christmas Nights” make a night feel special simply because it’s Christmas time! It’s a way to slow it down and take it all in!

Some simple things we do to make this family time special:

delightful and meaningful christmas traditions

  • Eat on HOLIDAY DISHES like these super fun and cute Candy Cane inspired dishes!These take the special and fun level up several notches!

delightful and meaningful christmas traditions

  • And eating dessert in these ICECREAM BOWLS! (It’s noteworthy how “special” dishes and table decor elevate a meal to memorable!!)

delightful and meaningful christmas traditions

  • A tablecloth like this PERFECT CHRISTMAS PLAID tablecloth goes great with most Christmas dishes while adding that special Christmas flare to a meal!
  • Then for the dinner on family Christmas nights, I make it a step above the norm. For instance, I make sure the meal is one everyone loves. We definitely have some fun holiday desserts too:-)
  • Then we have a “Family Christmas Night” ACTIVITY. This can vary for each family.

Some of our activities are:

  • to play Christmas-themed games (google has tons),
  • to watch a Christmas movie,
  • to decorate the Christmas tree,
  • to have a dance party to Christmas favorites,
  • to go serve together in a food bank or soup kitchen,
  • to have a “Best Gingerbread House” competition if you have older kids or make the gingerbread house together with younger children,
  • to have a “Christmas bonfire” in the backyard (ok not every family would get as excited about that as our boys:-)…you get the idea!

“Family Christmas Nights” can be full of treasured memories for your family! I hope you start this delightful tradition this year!

#2 Unique Advent Activity!

advent activity for kids

Kids certainly like the little calendars and countdowns to Christmas! But a countdown by itself is not that fun after about day 3.

“Elf on The Shelf” came out when my oldest son was a baby, and I remember other parents lamenting about the elf’s greedy and mischievous attitude and how it inspired the same attitude in their kids.

I didn’t buy it, because I remember wishing there was a more meaningful, Christ honoring way to have our own advent calendar activity! I wanted an Elf on the Shelf alternative that was fun while leading the family to celebrate and savor the true meaning of Christmas.

My husband to the rescue! He spent some time and made 25 different Advent steps (for December 1st- 25th) in little rhymes that are perfect for children!

The daily advent messages either set up a quick discussion about God’s promises, or they direct them to do a specific thing to serve someone, or they initiate a fun Christmas activity that day, etc.

Once the advent messages were written, we decided we would hide them each day and that we would pick a little stuffed animal to “hold” the message.

When we saw “Sheepy” in the toy basket, we knew he was the one! Ha! I took a small piece of red felt and tied it around his neck so that our “Lamb of God” had a holiday look to him!!

Each day of advent, we hide “Sheepy” with the advent message for the day under his arm. The boys love to look for him, and when they find him, we read the message and do what it says.

Simple, fun, and on point at getting their minds on what really matters!

We have made the printable advent messages available for purchase to use with YOUR families! We named them THRIVING WITH ADVENT MESSAGES!!

This may be your family’s favorite new Christmas tradition this year!




#3- Family Advent Devotionals!

advent devotional

One of the most meaningful family Christmas traditions is gathering to read a Christmas devotional together.

Getting a great devotional and going through it as a family is certainly a treasure! There are many good ones out there, but there is a series that stands out above the rest for families of school age kids!

Arnold Ytreeide has written 4 advent stories that combine a masterfully told christmas story coupled with great daily devotional thoughts!

Each advent story devotional is absolutely FULL of excitement, adventure, and the christmas story. There is a daily reading and devotional for each day of Advent. Your  kids will beg you to keep reading and greatly look forward to them each time!

They are so well written and exciting! These books are great for about 7 year olds and up! Here are the titles:

advent devotional

memorable christmas traditions

You read one a season.. and then what we’ve done is start the series over at year 5 with Jotham’s Journey again! They are books that can be re-read in a cycle like that! SERIOUSLY, the BEST EVER!!!!!!

#4- A Step Above going to look at lights!

go look at christmas lights

This is one the most FUN Christmas traditions! If you go look at Christmas lights with your family, you know how sweet a tradition it can be!

Try adding THIS GREAT IDEA to make looking at Christmas lights even more fun!!

At the beginning of the season you tell your kids that one night before Christmas Eve, (they won’t know when:-) they will hear some really LOUD Christmas music once they are in bed!

Tell them when they hear the Christmas carol playing loudly, to come out quickly, because that is the night you will go look at Christmas lights!

It makes for a fun frenzy as they are always wondering WHEN it will be!

  1. For us, we put the kids to bed “as usual” though it’s a bit earlier if we can sneak that in.
  2. Once the kids are in PJs in their beds, we then make hot chocolate and popcorn.

delightful and meaningful christmas traditions

(I love these fun Christmas mugs for the hot chocolate!)

3. We crank up the car and put the hot chocolate and popcorn at each applicable seat.

4. Then, we BLAST some fun Christmas tune in the den! They come running out and off we go! SO FUN!! Talk about a delightful and memorable Christmas tradition!!




#5- Opening Your Home one day!

The holidays can be the perfect time to open your home one evening or afternoon!

I find that a Drop-in of some sort seems the least stressful and is a fun way for your family to enjoy working together to pull something off. 

It doesn’t need to be fancy and you can even say to bring a dessert or appetizer so that you are only preparing a few things and freed up to just enjoy seeing your guests!

It can be early in the day or one evening- inside or outside (especially in 2021)- the options are many!

#6- Bake Goodies and Take to Neighbors!

Baking treats for our neighbors is one of my favorite traditions!

This can be so much fun with your kids! Crank up some holiday music and bake some easy Christmas cookies together!

Then take a quick walk through the neighborhood (or apartment building). Just knocking on the doors and giving the treat with geniune well wishes is SO FUN! This is something our kids look forward to every year!




#7- Bake Goodies for the city workers!

give baked gifts at christmas

One of my kid’s favorite meaningful traditions at Christmas is to give baked goods as gifts to our city workers.

We bake goodies and put them in clear bags tied with this  red plaid ribbon!

delightful and memorable christmas traditions

And then we freeze them early in the season! (See more in What to Do Before December to Enjoy the Holidays!)

Then, we just get them out of the freezer when we know the trash collectors are coming, when we know the UPS or FED EX drivers will be delivering a package, and/or when the mail deliverer comes.

Oh the excitement when the boys see or hear the trucks coming!

They all go flying out of the house with the goodies tied with Christmas cards and give them to the workers with a “Thank you for all do and Merry Christmas!!”



#8- Holiday Movie Night!

chrismtas movies

You just HAVE to have those times where you sit down as a family and watch some fun Christmas movies! Adding sweet treats like candy canes and popcorn is even better! We usually watch the same ones each year and it’s fantastic!

#9- Christmas lights in the Car!

lights on car

I did this for the first time a couple of years ago and couldn’t BELIEVE I had never thought of it before! I was legitimately sad to take them down after the holidays were over!

We all loved to ride in the rockin’ holiday van! In the daytime and at night, it was just so fun and festive!

We have an outlet in our van which makes plugging in a 50 or 100 count string of mini Christmas lights easy.

elizabeth thrives in the holidays

There are also outlet converters that plug into any car like THIS AFFORDABLE ONE that would allow you to plug in Christmas lights (and charge devices) as well!


delightful and meaningful christmas traditions

The white lights are a little too bright and could be distracting for the driver. So go with multi-colored lights! A 100 count string is a great size for a van. So use 50 count for smaller cars!

I submit that moms of little ones simply must try Christmas lights in the car this year  to make the most delightful and memorable tradition!!


christmas traditions


#10- Participate in a Christmas Drama together!

Many churches have Nativity productions that need many volunteers. This can often be something where young and old alike are needed.

When a family does something like a Christmas drama/production together, it is a bonding time of lasting Christmas memories for everyone!

#11- Christmas Craft Time!

christmas craft

Kids of all ages love some craft time! I find that going to a craft store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and just getting some pre-cut supply packs is the easiest! You may like to invent your own or check Pinterest or google for ideas!

Either way, its fun to just clear the table, get messy, and let your kids make something! Keeping what they create makes for laughter and sweet memories later when they see their handiwork from previous holidays!

#12- Packing Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child!

Operation Christmas Child is a fabulous outreach of Samaritan’s Purse! They send packed shoeboxes to children all over the world. It’s often the children’s one and only gift.

A great way to focus on what matters is to participate in something like this! We let each child pick the items and pack the shoeboxes. For more info, READ HERE! 



This year, I hope you have fun making delightful and memorable Christmas traditions for your family!

Don’t forget to check out Thriving with Advent Messages for a special tradition to start this year!




christmas traditions


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