Christmas is a magical time. Family comes together, sometimes traveling thousands of miles in order to spend time with the people they love. We start making recipes that have been passed down from Grandmas and Aunties for generations and we start filling our calendars with all kinds of fun things to do. Simple Christmas Traditions are so important to pass down to our own children.
In all the excitement we establish and pass down traditions without even thinking about it.
Traditions are such a blessing for families. They knit people together through shared memories year after year.
They also give the kids routines to look forward to.
- Do you always go to the same place to chop down a tree? Or, do you go to a tree lot?
- Do you make the same cookies year after year … or do you buy them from a bakery?
- Do you have cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning … or do you make monkey bread?
- How about Christmas Eve? Do you stay home … or go to a church service?
These are the kinds of events that our kids come to expect year after year and, this can be such a beautiful thing, but it’s not always a good thing.
I will tell you this from a Mama who has been doing Christmas for 22 years …
I had big plans and lots of traditions starting out, but remember that you set the tone, so whatever you start doing as a tradition will be expected year after year.
Traditions are hard for kids to let go of, so really evaluate what you want to be doing 20 years from now.
Have you filled your calendar with 24 days of Christmas Crafts? Let me tell you … there will be years that this just won’t work.
Do you always go to $50-per-person Nutcracker Ballet, wearing brand-new sequined dresses and little boy sweaters, preceded by that nice dinner at the fancy restaurant? Well, during the lean years, and yes, over the course of a childhood there will be lean years … things will feel like a let-down, or you will completely blow your budget.
I’m not saying not to go do those beautiful and magical things – you just may not want to overload yourself with expensive or complicated traditions.
I want you to really evaluate the traditions that you set up. Make them meaningful, but keep in mind, simple holiday traditions are just as meaningful as the elaborate ones.
Try to weave them into something you would do anyway. This is a perfect way to Simplify Christmas. Here are some examples of Simple Christmas Traditions.
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Simple Christmas Traditions
1. PJ Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt
If you love looking at Christmas lights with the kids, make it a bit more of a production. Get everyone in their jammies, pack some hot cocoa and cookies and go on a scavenger hunt, trying to spot all different things in the lights.
Seeing the lights might be something you would do anyway, but by adding the jammies, cocoa, cookies, and scavenger hunt, you’ve really turned it into something fun and memorable.
2. Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Most towns have a free tree-lighting ceremony you can attend. These ceremonies usually include all kinds of activities for the kids, and music to listen to. It’s such a nice way to kick-off the Christmas Season and support your community at the same time. You may even get your first Santa sighting in.
3. Family Movie Night
Do you pull out all your Christmas movies each December? Most of us have favorites that we watch year after year. Pick your family’s favorite and plan an evening around watching it together. You could have a simple dinner, like tomato soup with grilled cheese then snuggle up on the couch with popcorn and candy to enjoy the movie together.
4. Decorating the Tree
In our family, we always watch Elf after decorating the tree. I sit and unpack each ornament, pass it off to the kids and they get to hang them all. I used to fix and balance things out after they went to bed, but now, I just let it go. They love being in charge of where everything goes and looking at all the fun little ornaments.
5. Read Christmas Books
We own a stack of our own Wonderful Christmas Picture Books, but I also check out a ton from the library. The whole month of December, we read Christmas books at bedtime instead of other books. The kids get so excited to unpack the book basket and spend hours on the floor pouring through them.
You could even wrap each one, then unwrap a new one each night to read.
Make a Simple Advent Plan. There are so many out there and some are quite complicated. I’ve found that a little reading and a piece of candy each day is perfect. It’s a way to stop each day and refocus together.
7. Santa Hat Photos
We always take Santa hats with us when we go to pick out our tree. Once we have it picked out, we find some nice person to take a photo of the whole family wearing our Santa hats.
8. Buy Presents For Children In Need
If you don’t personally know of a family that is currently living in a desperate situation, there are plenty of opportunities this time of year to find a way to give. Many fire departments, churches, and even malls have collection areas for giving gifts to kids in need. My kids always light up when we go shopping for these complete strangers.
I love that it helps them take the focus off of themselves and reminds them how blessed they are.
9. Make Kitchen Memories
Pick at least one goodie that you always make together as a family. How this looks over the years may change because their ability to help will increase, but there’s always something that can be made as a family. Mix up something like fudge, Chex mix, or cookies together.
Do you see how each and every one of these things are just small pieces added to things we were already planning to do? These small additions are just enough that I’m not having to add a bunch of things to my calendar or shopping list in order to make a memory.
Remember, the ritual of simple Christmas traditions is so important for tying families together. They are the thread that forms a connection between people and it doesn’t take something elaborate to be purposeful.
What kind of simple holiday traditions do you have?
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