The Life of a Home Mom

25+ Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Kids

Traditions are so much fun, especially during the holiday seasons, but it is always exciting to create new traditions every now and again. Try one of these fun holiday traditions this year and watch as your child lights up!

The holiday season is a time for family, joy, and fun. It’s also a time to create new traditions together as a family. To help you get started, here are some ideas that will be sure to delight your children this year!

Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Kids This Year 

The holiday season is a time for joy, happiness, and love. This year, try one or all of these fun holiday traditions with your kids. These ideas will help share love and joy all season long! They will also teach your child many important values they will have for the rest of their lives. 

Put up the Christmas tree Tradition

This is one of those things where you should discuss when the best time to put up the tree. Some do it the day after Thanksgiving, December 1st, a few days before Christmas, etc. We do it the day after Thanksgiving and yes I make it a party.

Decorate the house with lights and garland Tradition

How much fun do you have placing all the little Christmas knickknacks around the house and stringing garland and lights? If you don’t have any Christmas decorations and not a lot of money head on over to your local dollar store or tree and grab a few. We have always loved to watch the house start to come together and look like Christmas Town. This would also be the perfect time to put in a Christmas movie, make some hot chocolate and string popcorn or cranberries on a strand and hang it on the tree too.

Make a gingerbread house together a tradition

Making Gingerbread a Christmas Tradition

My kids love to make gingerbread houses. You can either buy a kit or make your own (it’s really not that hard). We’ve also decided this year to make our house out of graham crackers and icing sugar, let them loose with the icing sugar! Don’t forget to buy all those fun things to go on the gingerbread/graham cracker houses. What do I mean? Oh gumdrops, licorice, M&Ms, marshmallows, etc. Once the houses are done don’t forget to take pictures with everyone with them and post them.

Have an ugly sweater party

This tradition is a bit different from the “Ugly Sweater Parties” I’ve heard about. Why? Simple with this one we make them right there. Bring all the items you want to put on your shirt, sweater, scarf, etc. Make sure to bring hot glue guns or fabric glue, etc. Have fun with this, when they are done have family members wear their ugliest sweater creations and take pictures of everyone together in their outfits!

Keep in mind all these traditions are for memories, it is about the time spent with your family members and friends. It isn’t about the most expensive anything.

Christmas Movie Marathon Tradition

Gather up a list of everyone’s favorite Christmas movies, get them, and have a day with the family watching. One thing we love to do is tie it in with a Game Day and have board games that match the movie or some word scramblers, searches and see who finishes first and they get a little prize. Kids love to do that.

Christmas Movies to watch:

Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, etc

Christmas Scavenger Hunt Tradition

Go on a scavenger hunt (I have a fall one listed here) around your neighborhood to find all of Santa’s elves’ hiding places! Give each other clues so you can go on the hunt together! Maybe beforehand go out and hide some secret gifts, crafts, etc.

Jewelry-Making Party

Have a jewelry-making party and make necklaces, bracelets, and rings with your child(ren) using candy canes, ribbon, beads, and other fun things from around the house! Don’t forget this can teach them that they can create handmade items and pass them out as gifts to friends or family.

A Wrapping Party Tradition

Make homemade wrapping paper together out of old cereal boxes, maps or even old crayon pieces – kids would love helping with this! This is also a fun time where kids can use paint and do fingerprint reindeer, handprints, etc and make their own wrapping paper for later. Make sure to give them enough that they can go home and wrap their gifts too. Or better yet if they are with parents and brought their gifts they can go in another room with an adult and help them wrap it.

As an added craft item try teaching everyone how to make little things like miniature candy sleds that you can attach to the gifts as an added item. Kids will definitely love making them and including them in their gift-giving but please make sure they make one or two just for themselves to enjoy.

Want to be known as the one to go to? Watch youtube videos, tiktoks or even pinterest to learn how to wrap fancy, wrap when there isn’t much paper left, etc. There are so many different ways to wrap gifts and some are really cute.

Secret Santa Sibling or Family Member Tradition

Carve out some time to pull a Secret Santa with your children – everyone gets assigned someone else in the family and gives them a thoughtful gift. This can be a homemade gift or a store-bought one. We have always designated a certain amount to spend on each person. Just from Santa without revealing who you are! That is the tricky part because kids have a hard time keeping that secret.

Christmas Picture Tradition

Start a new tradition that includes taking family pictures together with you and your children every year to compare how they’ve changed over time! This is one we kind of do now but I want to include an all-family one, not just the kids.

Take this a step further and go on a brisk Winter Walk and take pictures of everyone as they are tossing snowballs, playing tag, etc. You know the adventures that can happen during a walk. Or take pictures of everyone inside as they are laughing and drinking hot chocolate. These are all the natural pictures that’ll mean more to you later on.

Serving Together as a Family Tradition

Start a new tradition this year that is all about giving instead of receiving like volunteering at shelters for the homeless or donating extra change in your piggy banks to charities.

As you can see, there are lots of traditions that you and your kids can make this holiday season! Try one or try them all – it’s sure to be special for everyone in the family.


This is such an important one, teaching your children to serve. Choose a charity or event that takes volunteers and go with your child. Some examples include: 

  • Soup kitchen 
  • Foodbank 
  • Toys for Tots 
  • Book Donations
  • Church event 
  • Salvation Army 
  • Make a Wish 

Caroling at/by the Senior Homes

Many senior citizens don’t get many visitors, especially during the holiday season. With this past year, it was hard on everyone, many forget about the seniors too. This year take your kids caroling by the senior homes/centers so they can enjoy them. Interact with the seniors if you can and watch as your kids learn to care for their elders. We use to love to bring out kids in to see them throughout the years.

Random Acts of Kindness 

Instead of receiving gifts during the 24 days of Christmas, give your child random acts of kindness each day. This will show them how much you love them. 

You can also have your child get in on the action too! Have your child complete the random acts of kindness for the people in their lives and enjoy watching your child light up as they serve others. 

Homemade Gifts 

To help your child improve and find their talents, have all the gifts this year be homemade! This will help your child to focus on each person and make personalized gifts. You will be amazed at what they come up with, and they will be proud of their accomplishments! 

Declutter Toys 

Have your child declutter their toys and clothes before Christmas time. This year, let your child take the lead. Let them choose what to keep and what to donate. This will teach them to learn how to let things go and be okay with things changing. Plus you can then take them with to donate the items. Let them feel good about what they are doing.

4 Gifts Rule 

Have you seen your child lose the sparkle in their eye as they open gift after gift during the holidays? Gift burnout is so common with children! 

Or do you have a pile of gifts that were only used once? This year, avoid that by only doing a maximum of four gifts per child. 

Do one gift in each of the following: 

  • Need (this can be anything from clothing, shoes, briefcase, suitcase, a school item, etc)
  • Want (what’s a wish list item they really would like)
  • Read (yes, I love my kids to read so it is a must that they have a few books on the list for me to pick from)
  • Wear (go back and make sure they got clothes for winter, you know by now they are sizing out. Plus, who doesn’t love new clothes?)

Making the four-gift rule will help your child learn that sometimes less is more. They will be more grateful for what they received and use each item more than if they had more gifts. This is one way to have a minimalist Christmas! 

Some have asked me how I do this with my kids. Well, we begin opening gifts on the 21st of December. Yes, each day my kids open one gift a day until Christmas. Why? This way they spend time with that one item. Growing up I saw that toys/gifts get lost or forgotten about in the big pile of stuff. This way they can truly appreciate what they got and yes our tradition actually started by accident but we loved it and continue it 25 years later.

Secret Santa 

This is one way to teach your child that not everyone is fortunate during the holiday season. Have your child observe their classroom or group of friends and find one family who is struggling this year. Then have your child come up with a gift or two ideas for each member of the family. Put the gifts on the doorstep and run away! 

Have your child complete every step during this entire process, so they truly learn how to give and help those in need. This will build empathy and compassion in your child, along with a love for service. 

Cooking Activities 

Part of what everyone loves about Christmas and the holiday season is the wonderful dishes and desserts. This year, let your child in on the action! They will love to help out and learn all about cooking. Plus, it will prepare them for when they move out and live on their own! 

Experience Gift 

Instead of physical gifts, get your child some type of experience! You could sign them up for a sport they want to play or get them piano lessons. Or take a family trip somewhere as your gift! Children will learn it is not about the presents they get but the time together as a family. Most often, these experiences are remembered way more than the physical gifts they receive. 

12 or 24 Books of Christmas 

If you love doing the 12 days of Christmas, give a new book each year instead of gifts. Reading has more benefits than you probably realize for your children. Get holiday-themed gifts or just new ones that are interesting to your children.  The kids will love this tradition and it gets them reading.

Cookie Making Tradition

Baking Christmas Cookie Tradition

Bake cookies and pies for friends and family this year instead of buying them at the store – it will be more fun too because they’ll taste better! Kids love baking cookies/cakes/pies with mom/dad. Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie you like? What about a favorite Christmas baking story? Gather up those supplies, make a spare recipe card for the kids and have fun. Yes, even if it gets messy. After all, isn’t the mess half the fun!?

Cookie Decorating Competition 

Make a lot of cookies and invite friends and family over. Each person gets one cookie to decorate. At the end, line them up and have everyone vote for their favorite one. The cookie with the most votes win! It is a friendly competition to get into the holiday spirit. 

Holiday Lights 

Decorate your house together as a family. If you are brave, make the lights twinkle to the beat of some fun Christmas music too! Let your child get creative and design the whole thing. Not only will they feel important, but you will draw closer as a family. 

Forest Tree 

This year go get a Christmas tree on the mountain! Make sure it is a Christmas tree farm where you can cut a tree. Let your kid pick out the tree and work together to cut it down. Your child will feel so proud of your Christmas tree. 

Sleepover by the Tree 

One night before Christmas, have a sleepover out by the Christmas tree. Leave the lights on if you can! Your child will have so much fun being out by the tree all night long with you and their siblings. I think we are going to do this on our first day of Christmas, which is the 21st of December.

White Elephant Service Exchange 

Instead of doing gag gifts that don’t last, have a white elephant service exchange. Have each person write down a service they will give someone. Instead of picking out a gift, you tell them what service you will be doing for them. My advice is to write down the service you will be doing for someone. Put it on paper, fold it up, and put it in front of you. When it is someone’s turn they do just like the white elephant exchange, pick a gift, they can exchange it but the 3rd exchange stays with that person and no one else can take it or swap it out.

New Ornament 

Get your child a new ornament each year. Then, when they become an adult and move out, they will already have their own set of ornaments. Enjoy finding unique and decorative ones! They will be wonderful memories to pass down through the family. 

Traditions are so much fun, especially during the holiday seasons, but it is always exciting to create new traditions every now and again. Try one of these fun holiday traditions this year and watch as your child lights up! Ya never know that tradition could be the one they carry on to their families in years to come.

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