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31 Family Traditions For A More Intentional Christmas

31 Family Traditions For A More Intentional Christmas | IntentionalByGrace.com

By contributing writer, Jane

Do you have any Christmas traditions in your family?

Growing up, my family always drank eggnog and listened to Michael W. Smith Christmastime music while decorating the tree. We always got new pajamas on Christmas Eve (my sister and I have been known to beg for this tradition to continue even into our adult years!) And we always made sure to make my great grandmother’s turkey noodle soup recipe with our leftover turkey after Christmas was over.

Now that I’m married, I’m trying to come up with a few new traditions to start with my husband. Traditions that will help us to be intentional about what matters most this Christmas: slowing down, loving others, and most of all, worshiping God for the Ultimate Gift of His Son.

Here’s a list of 31 ideas (some classic, some new) that I came up with while brainstorming and asking around.

Are you doing any of these traditions already? Are there some ideas here that you would like to try with your family?

31 Family Traditions For A More Intentional Christmas | IntentionalByGrace.com

Traditions To Enjoy Anytime During The Christmas Season

1. Make Christmas cookies. Let the kids help, and you could even host a cookie party and make cookies with your friends and neighbors!

2. Build a Gingerbread House or make Gingerbread men.

3. Play your favorite Christmas music and sip on your favorite beverage (perhaps some eggnog, hot apple cider, or hot chocolate) while decorating the tree.

4. Watch Christmas movies as a family. (My all-time favorite is Prancer. Gotta watch it every year!)

5. Decorate the house together as a family. A few decorating ideas include: stringing Christmas lights, garland, paper snowflakes.

6. Make homemade Christmas ornaments for the tree or to give as gifts.

7. Read Christmas books like The Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol.

8. Read the nativity story from the Bible.

9. Go see a live nativity.

10. Go Christmas caroling, either door-to-door or possibly in a nursing home.

11. Follow an advent calendar and do the suggested readings and assignments for each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas.

12. Drive around town to view the Christmas lights in your area.

13. Do a family photo shoot and create a Christmas photo card.

14. Send Christmas cards to friends and relatives.

15. Host a Christmas party. Remember that hospitality doesn’t have to be extravagant or overwhelming to be fun. Simply watching Christmas movies or building gingerbread houses can be a blast.

16. Go sledding, skiing, or ice skating. If you don’t get snow in your area, bundle up and go for a brisk walk or hike.

17. Camp out in the living room on Christmas eve with the tree lights on.

31 Family Traditions For A More Intentional Christmas | IntentionalByGrace.com

Gift-giving Traditions

18. Do a “secret Santa” or “dirty Santa” gift exchange to save money (and sanity) if you have a large extended family.

19. Have one of the men in the family dress up like Santa to surprise the children and hand out presents.

20. Make Christmas stockings something to look forward to each year.

21. Donate toys, coats, school supplies, and personal care items to a local Christmas charity.

22. Choose to give a one-time donation each Christmas to the charity that you would like to support.

23. Make homemade Christmas gifts or treats as a family for grandparents, teachers, the mailman, etc.

24. Start an ornament collection. Hallmark is a great place to look, because they do a lot of great yearly collections. My dad has a collection of truck ornaments that my mom used to get for him every year.

Christmas Eve/Day Traditions

25. Attend Christmas Eve services at church.

26. Open one present on Christmas Eve (it was always new pajamas at our house, and we loved it!)

27. Prepare a special breakfast for Christmas morning each year. One idea is to bake a special “Christmas bread” or muffins. You could also make pancakes in the shape of a snowman or try this yummy Cranberry Christmas Cake by Barefeet in the Kitchen.

28. Make a special meal each year with your leftover turkey or ham. We always make my Grandmother’s Turkey Noodle Soup with leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

29. Invite a friend, college student, or another family to join your family for Christmas dinner.

30. If you don’t love the “traditional” holiday foods, or if you’re in a particularly hectic season, don’t be afraid to try something different for Christmas dinner. Roast beef? Spaghetti and meatballs? Stew? Create your own dinner tradition.

31. Play cards or board games while waiting for Christmas dinner.

Now, these ideas don’t even scratch the surface of all of the Christmas tradition possibilities. So, tell me:

What are some of your favorite family traditions to do at Christmastime? I can’t wait to read them (and steal some ideas!)

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  1. Jane, I love your ideas! I hope to make some traditions with my husband as well.

    Growing up we always read the nativity story before opening presents on Christmas morning and my mom would often make a Jello poke cake with red and green jello as a birthday cake for Jesus. We almost always played games on the holidays too.

    My husbands family has been doing less traditional meals for the past few years. We still want our turkey for Thanksgiving so doing something different for Christmas is a fun way to try something new. We’ve done Southern, Italian and this year I think we are going to do Mexican.