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 delightful 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 some new Christmas traditions we would do in our little family of “us”. Over the years, those have evolved and new ones have been added making Christmas time such fun for us all!
This can be a year you intentionally make Christmas more memorable and special!
Here are some delightful memory-making Christmas tradition ideas!
#1- “Family Christmas Nights!”
“Family Christmas Nights” came about after I was feeling disappointed one particular year that the whole season seemed to fly by full of this and that but no special family times. 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) 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.
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 it special:
- Eat on holiday dishes like these super fun and cute Home For Christmas PLATES, SALAD PLATES, and ICECREAM BOWLS! (It’s noteworthy how “special” dishes and table decor elevate a meal to memorable!!) A tablecloth like this PERFECT PLAID ONE goes perfectly with most Christmas dishes!
- Then dinner is a step above the norm- I make sure the meal is one everyone loves. We defintely have some fun holiday dessert 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 have a dance party to Christmas favorites, 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!
#2 Unique Advent Activity!
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, so I remember wishing there was a more meaningful, Christ honoring version of something like that!
My husband to the rescue! He spent some time and made 25 different Advent steps (for December 1st- 25th) in little rhymes that were 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!
This year, we are making the advent messages available for purchase to use with YOUR families! We are calling them THRIVING WITH ADVENT MESSAGES!!LEARN MORE ABOUT THRIVING WITH ADVENT MESSAGES!
#3- 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 this together, it is a bonding time of lasting memories for everyone!
#4- A Step Above going to look at lights!
If you go look at Christmas lights with your family, you know how sweet a tradition it can be! Try adding THIS to make it even more fun!
At the beginning of the season you tell your kids that one night, (they won’t know when:-) they will hear some really LOUD Christmas music once they are in bed! Tell them when they hear it, 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!
For us, we put the kids to bed “as usual” though it’s a bit earlier if we can sneak that in. Once they are in PJs in their beds, we then make hot chocolate and popcorn. We crank up the car and put the hot chocolate and popcorn at each applicable seat.
Then, we BLAST some fun Christmas tune in the den! They come running out and off we go! SO FUN!!
#5- Opening YOur Home one day!
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 2020)- the options are many!
#6- Bake Goodies and TAke to Neighbors!
This is such a fun time with your kids. Crank up some Christmas music and bake some easy 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!
We bake goodies and put them in bags tied with ribbon and freeze them early in the season! Then, we get them out 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 and give them to the workers with a “Thank you for all do and Merry Christmas!!”
#8- Holiday Movie Night!
You just HAVE to have those times where you sit down as a family and watch some fun Christmas movies! Adding sweet treats and popcorn is even better! We usually watch the same ones each year and it’s fantastic!
#9- Christmas lights in the Car!
I did this for the first time last year 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. 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!
PRO TIP: Use MULTI-COLORED lights! 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!!
#10- Family Advent Devotionals!
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!
Arnold Ytreeide has written 3 advent stories that are FULL of excitement, adventure, and the gospel message. 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:#1 JOTHAM’S JOURNEY, #2 TABITHA’S TRAVELS, #3 BARTHOLOMEW’S PASSAGE. ,and #4 Ishtar’s Odyssey.
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!!!!!!
For toddler age to maybe 7 or 8 years old, What God Wants For Christmas has been so fun! It’s a set of 7 boxes that little ones get to open with kid-friendly nativity characters that you place in the included stable! It has a precious story book and the lessons can be spread out over the Advent season easily!
Mostly kids will want to open the “presents” and set up the nativity scene over and over! Such a well done advent activity!
#11- Christmas Craft Time!
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!
(And my post about the ALL-TIME BEST GIFTS FOR BOYS could be a great resource if you need to buy a gift for a boy!)