12 Family Christmas Traditions You Can Start This Year
Traditions are a fabulous way to make memories as a family, especially at Christmas time when the magic of the season makes every experience extra special. It might be your first Christmas as a family, or perhaps your toddler has hit peak Christmas excitement, whatever the reason, we have lots of ideas for festive family traditions your littlens will love.
12 Easy Family Christmas Traditions
Thinking up a perfect Christmas tradition that your family can enjoy for years to come can be a tricky task, so let us help…
What are some fun family traditions for Christmas?
You could forage for decorations, visit the library for a Christmas book marathon, hold a Santa beard contest with shaving foam, sleep under the tree, go for a Christmas lights pyjama walk, or do a Christmas Day treasure hunt. For more ideas, take a look at 12 of our favourite family traditions promising bags of festive fun.
1. Fill your own advent calendars
Filling your own advent calendar is a more sustainable way to countdown to Christmas and also adds a personalised touch to seasonal celebrations. You can shop for a fillable calendar made out of felt or small boxes and reuse it year after year! Alongside some tasty chocolate treats, we love the idea of popping in a few extra surprises throughout the month. Browse our pocket money toys for inspiration!
2. Forage for natural Christmas decorations
Foraging for natural decorations is a fun and thrifty way to give your home the festive feels as a family. Explore a local forest to seek out holly, berries, ivy, pinecones and twigs to make your own wreath or collect a handful of branches, place them in a tall vase and decorate them together for a quirky Christmas tree alternative.
3. Be a child in need's Secret Santa
Pop to the shops or browse our online collection and have your tots choose a toy they’d like to gift a child in need this Christmas. Lots of supermarkets now have toy banks and many charities also share donation wishlists at this time of year, so it’s easy to do and a thoughtful way to help your children develop empathy for those not as fortunate as them.
4. Have a Christmas movie sleepover
Build a cosy den in your living room, full of pillows, blankets and cuddly toys and snuggle up together for a Christmas movie. You can watch the same film each year and make that a tradition in itself, or take it in turns to choose your favourite. And don’t forget the snacks! Think popcorn cones, cheese straws, mini sausage rolls, pigs in blankets, mince pies and so on.
5. Make a festive family playlist
Put together a Yuletide playlist to listen to through December. You could each choose 5 of your favourite Christmas songs then shuffle the playlist and wait to see the excitement on your children’s faces when they hear the songs they’ve chosen blast through the speakers!
6. Take a Christmas trip to the library
Have a Christmas book marathon at the library! You could spend a morning or afternoon there flicking through festive favourites, or take a few books out on loan for the Christmas period. Borrowing books is much kinder to the planet than buying new, and it means you won’t have to make space for seasonal stories your kids might have grown out of by the following year.
7. Deliver baked goods to a local care home
Drop off a care package of festive treats (homemade or shop-bought) for a local nursing home. Acts of kindness like this are a heartwarming way to spread some holiday cheer and are sure to bring smiles to the residents’ faces. You could even have your munchkin craft a homemade Christmas card for the home using one of Tiger Tribe's kids craft sets.
8. Hold a Santa beard competition
Gather the troops, squirt a dollop of shaving foam into everyone’s hands, then each of you can get to work fashioning your best Santa beard in front of the bathroom mirror. Award the winner with a seasonal prize, like watching a festive film of their choice or treating them to a Christmas cookie.
9. Go for a Christmas lights walk in your PJs
Get snuggly in your pyjamas and wrap up warm with coats, hats and scarves, then head out for a walk around the neighbourhood in search of houses decorated with Christmas lights. Going out in your jammies adds a playful twist to the walk, and a little bit of silliness at Christmas time is a must!
10. Bake sweet treats & give them a special name
Get the youngsters involved and bake your family’s favourite Christmas recipe, whether it’s mini mince pies, a gingerbread house, Crimbo cookies, or reindeer brownies. Then personalise your bake with a special name (use your family’s surname for inspiration or let the kids make one up!).
11. Gift each other Christmas Eve boxes
Wrap up a pair of Christmas pyjamas, a festive storybook, a small toy and some sweet treats and place them inside a decorated shoe box, hamper, or wooden crate for your kids to open on the 24th. Read our How To Do A Children's Christmas Eve Box article to discover more about this on-trend tradition. And if you want to make it a family affair, Christmas Eve traditions like this one are great for grown-ups too!
12. Do a Christmas Day scavenger hunt
Hide the last of your children’s Christmas presents in secret spots around the house and jot down clues to where they can find them! If they’ve not yet reached reading age, you can play the hot/cold game while they’re searching instead.
Why are family Christmas traditions important?
Family life is busy, let’s face it, and as parents, we often get so wrapped up in our day-to-day chores that we don’t truly embrace the joy of spending time together as a family. However, Christmas traditions carve out space for us to do just that. Eating good food, watching films, getting creative with crafts, challenging each other to board games, and baking Christmas goodies are all simple but special ways to bond with your little ones and create cherished family memories.
How is Christmas celebrated in different parts of the world?
In the UK, Christmas is all about Turkey-scoffing and gift-giving, but what about the rest of the world? Well, Japan marks the season with a KFC, Germany hides a pickle in the Christmas tree, Mexico makes piñatas, Finland enjoys a Christmas Eve sauna soak, and Australia celebrates with a barbecue on the beach! Read on for more fascinating Christmas traditions around the world:
- Norway: Witches are believed to return to Earth on Christmas Eve, so brooms are hidden to prevent these evil spirits from haunting people’s homes.
- Venezuela: In the city of Caracas, residents roller-skate to church on the morning of the 24th!
- Ukraine: Believed to bring good luck, Christmas trees are decorated with artificial spider webs, which dates back to the ‘Legend of the Christmas Spider’, a story about a spider who decorated a widow’s tree with its webs as she couldn’t afford decorations.
- Colombia: On the Night of the Little Candles (Noche de las Velitas) candles are lit to celebrate the start of the festive season.
- Austria: Locals dress up as the freaky folk figure ‘Krampus’, a devil-like creature said to have once cruised the streets in search of kids on the naughty list!
- The Philippines: Taking the top prize for the world’s lengthiest Christmas celebrations, festivities in the Philippines start in September and continue until January.
- China: Apples are gifted to friends and family (as the translation for apple in Mandarin is very close to the translation for Christmas Eve).
Share Your Family’s Christmas Traditions
Does your family celebrate the festive season with some unique Christmas traditions? Share them with us over on Instagram, tagging @bigjigstoys. Here are a few of ours!
“I grew up in South Africa, so my Christmas used to look very different! Watermelon Splash was our tradition; we enjoyed eating watermelon slices in the swimming pool after Christmas lunch.” - Barbara Smith, Graphic Designer at Bigjigs Toys.
“My little boy turned two this year, so it felt like the right time to introduce some fun festive traditions to our Christmas celebrations! A Christmas movie sleepover was first on the list and it was wonderful. Aside from not sleeping a wink and having a toddler-sized footprint in my back for most of the night, we had the best evening watching The Muppet Christmas Carol and cuddling up with a hot chocolate.”
- Maisie Brint, Content Creator at Bigjigs Toys.