Holiday Traditions Your Family Will Love

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love everything about it – the decorations and lights, the parties and get togethers, giving gifts and spending time with loved ones. I think this season so special to so many because it’s the time of year when everyone has their own traditions. I’m sharing some of my favorite family holiday traditions that everyone will enjoy and that you can start this year!

1. Holiday Movie & Reading Nights

Eric and I absolutely love watching movies together, and one of our favorite things is to pull out our Christmas movies once December hits! For this fun family holiday tradition, grab your favorite holiday movies and/or books and wrap them up like gifts! Place all of them in a basket or box and every night (or maybe weekly for a movie night) have your kids take turns unwrapping one to watch or read all together!

Some of our favorite holiday movies!
All wrapped up and ready!

2. Christmas Eve Box

We are going to start this one for Lucy this Christmas! Wrap up a box of goodies that your kiddos can enjoy on Christmas Eve before Santa visits the next day. In ours we have Christmas PJs, some hot cocoa and cookies, a book to read for bedtime, an ornament for the tree and a small toy. The possibilities with this are really endless, so go off of what your children enjoy and use your imagination! In the future, we’ll probably include items like a Christmas craft, a game we can all play together, or the ingredients for a snack to make before bed.

Christmas Eve Box
Lucy’s Christmas Eve Box for this year

3. Theme Nights

My friend Rebecca shared this family holiday tradition with me and I think it’s so much fun! For the eight nights of Hanukkah, she and her family have eight different theme nights! They have themes like movie night, game night, cocktail night, etc. What an awesome way to spend fun time with family! I think this could work really well for the 12 days leading up to Christmas, too! (Bonus points if you can figure out a way to make your themes match the 12 Days of Christmas song! Haha)

4. Holiday Light Scavenger Hunt

One of my favorite holiday memories from growing up is driving around and seeing all the holiday lights! When I was little, we would even go to a Christmas light show that you would drive through. There were all these fun and elaborate light displays and I thought it was pretty much the coolest thing ever! For a twist on this tradition, I think it would be so fun to have a scavenger hunt while you drive around and see the sights! You can download one I’ve put together here!

Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Printable
Click here to download this Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt printable!

5. Hot Cocoa Bar

Is there anything better than delicious hot chocolate when it’s cold outside?? (Fun fact: Eric and I had a hot chocolate bar at our wedding and it was pretty much the bomb.) 

This holiday tradition could pair really easily with another! For example, you could go cut down a Christmas tree and have hot cocoa when you get home. Or, you could go out sledding and warm up with a decadent hot chocolate bar when you come inside!

Some of my hot cocoa bar must haves are: frothed milk (get a battery operated frother here), crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, marshmallows, cinnamon, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and sea salt.

The hot chocolate bar at our wedding in November 2015.

6. Christmas Markets

I have always loved a good craft show, and visiting a bazaar or market during the holidays is even better! Growing up, I would go with my mom and aunt to a local German-inspired Christmas market. We actually took Lucy this year, and it was so much fun! 

Now, Eric and I always go to the holiday markets in Manhattan (If you’re in the city, definitely check out the markets at Columbus Circle and Bryant Park!!) and then grab a meal of crepes and beer down at Chelsea market. Part of our tradition is buying a new ornament for the tree from one of the vendors. Here are some of our favorites form over the years.

7. DIY Advent Calendar

When I was little, my mom made me an advent calendar and it is by far one of my favorite family holiday traditions ever! It had 24 little hand sewn stockings beneath a felt tree with beads sewn on it. In each stocking was a tiny ornament and every day in December, I would take the ornament out of the stocking and hang it on the tree. It is my most vivid Christmas memory and I looked forward to it so much every year! This year, that advent calendar is hanging in our house and I’m so excited to carry on the tradition with Lucy.
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The awesome advent calendar my mom made for me, and Lucy trying it out for the first time this year
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All the ornaments that go in the stockings
This year, I decided to get a little creative and put my own spin on an advent calendar this year! Using a piece of plywood, clothespins, and some mini gift bags, I made this little guy! Read all about how I made it here.
The DIY advent calendar I created this year. Read about how I made it here!

You could put whatever you wanted inside the little bags! This year, and I think we’ll continue with this every year, I placed a sheet of paper with a random act of kindness written on it in every bag. They’ll be for Eric and I this year, but as Lucy grows up, she’ll be able to join us.

8. Check Out a Local Production

Growing up, my family would always go to see a local production of A Christmas Carol and it felt like magic as a little girl. We’d get dressed up and go with my aunt, uncle and cousin. During intermission, we’d get hot chocolate and dessert and it was so much fun! When I was older, the same theater company also started doing A Christmas Story (probably my favorite Christmas movie ever) and we loved going to see that one, as well!
 A Christmas Carol at Geva Theater in Rochester, NY
Copyright: Ken A. Huth 2010
If you look online, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a production of a play, musical or concert. Go support your local theater or local musicians! I think it’s the absolute best way to get in the holiday spirit!
 

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Holiday Traditions Your Whole Family Will Love

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4 thoughts on “Holiday Traditions Your Whole Family Will Love

  1. I love these ideas! I would love to make the advent calendar, it’s great you can change the little special inside the bag based on kids and age every year!!

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