27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

We present to you today, 27 best Christmas traditions on how to start a new tradition with your family.

The holiday season is all about making memories! From decorating the tree to watching Hallmark Christmas movies (with a plate of Christmas cookies and milk in hand!) to mixing up holiday cocktails for a few friends, spending time together is the most precious gift you can share with anyone this holiday season. And we promise: Your kids will remember the time you spent together far longer than what gifts they receive this year. Plus, establishing a tradition that’s unique to your family is something everyone will cherish in the years ahead. It’s a chance to think about what really matters to your family, and then to make it happen.

Maybe you already have fun holiday traditions that you share with your family every year. Or maybe it’s time to dust off some memories from your childhood and incorporate them into your own holiday celebrations. Our list of thoughtful activities includes old-fashioned fun (like sledging!), indoor fun (like crafting!), and simple tweaks to your celebrations (like making homemade gifts). Most of them don’t cost a cent, such as driving around to check out the holiday lights, collecting natural items from your yard for decorating, or listening to classic Christmas music. And a few of our favourite traditions are just plain silly, which is what makes them all the more memorable and fun.

27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

Here are our favourite ideas for Christmas traditions that you can make your own.

1. Take a hike.
woman hiking in the snow
27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

Nature is beautiful any time of year, and it’s good to get some fresh air and clear your head whether you live in the snowy north or the sunny south. Make it a tradition that the whole family takes a hike on a certain day in December each year.

2. Dress up your pet.

dog dressed in santa costume

Your cat or dog probably won’t like us much for suggesting this one, but it’s guaranteed to make everyone laugh! Another idea? Feature your pet on your annual Christmas card. (Face it: It’s way easier than trying to get the rest of the family organized.) Just make sure to never, ever leave your pet unattended while still dressed in his or her costume.

3. Make homemade hot chocolate.

christmas traditions hot chocolate

27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

There’s nothing like a mug of homemade hot chocolate on a chilly winter day. Forget the watery prepackaged types and make your own with these hot chocolate recipes. These would even make a great gift, packaged with a mug and some marshmallows!

4. Go caroling.

four adults caroling on a front porch

Grab a few friends or the kids and head out to your neighbourhood to sing a few favourites. And don’t worry if you can’t carry a tune; enthusiasm makes up for singing off-key!

child in wheelchair with a snowman

27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

We present to you today, 27 best Christmas traditions

Go ahead and feel like a kid again! Don’t just send the kids out to play; you need to go out and play with them in the snow, too. Dress your snowman, snow woman, snow dog, snowcat, or snow whatever in real mittens and hats.

6. Host an open house.

woman answering door to children holding gifts

If you don’t have time for a full-scale party, host an open house so friends and neighbours can just drop in to say hello! Keep it simple, and offer easy appetizers or something like a hot cocoa bar.

christmas traditions tree lighting

Can’t make it to New York City for the Rockefeller Center tree lighting? Most towns around the country host an annual lighting ceremony, and many include other fun activities such as singing carols together. Bundle up and get excited about the start of the season!

8. Decorate with live plants.

christmas cactus

Holiday plants are a great way to bring Christmas cheer to any room of the house without a lot of effort. Some, such as Christmas cactus, can live for decades!

christmas traditions toy drive

27 Best Christmas Traditions That Will Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit Today

We present to you today, 27 best Christmas traditions

Check with your local library, community organizations, or see if your kid’s school is hosting a toy drive to find out how you can get involved. Or start one in your neighbourhood, making your house the collection point.

10. Visit a Christmas tree farm.

beautiful fresh cut christmas trees at christmas tree farm

It truly isn’t Christmas in your home until you’ve picked out your tree–and nothing’s fresher than cutting it down yourself. Pile whole family in the car to pick out your tree at the local Christmas tree farm, which is a fun way to support local farmers, too.

gingerbread house

This tradition has been around for centuries! Build your own gingerbread house, or purchase a pre-made kit. You can even host a party where teams compete for the best-decorated house.

12. Listen to Christmas classics.

record player

It’s not Christmas without hearing White Christmas! Put together a playlist of classic holiday hits from Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin, and play it often. After all, the holiday season goes by so fast and you have limited time to enjoy those classic sounds.

christmas lights

Check out all the Christmas light displays in your neighbourhood, and don’t forget to hang up your own!

14.Count down with an Advent calendar.

christmas traditions advent calendar

If you don’t own one or if you’ve never used one before, try DIY-ing your own this year and turning it into a memorable Christmas activity. Your kids will have fun creating their own calendar—and of course, receiving a treat each day of December!

15. Plan a cookie exchange with your neighbours.

christmas traditions cookie exchange

Bake an extra batch and swap with your neighbours. That way, everyone gets a variety without all the work!


You don’t have to be super crafty to make pretty DIY Christmas ornaments or wreaths. Plus, you and your kids will have a blast making something with your own hands.

17. Have a Christmas movie marathon.

the view from the couch, curled up in a furry blanket to watch the christmas specials

Right after Thanksgiving, start a best Christmas movies marathon. Once a week, gather the family to watch favourites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Holiday Inn, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and, of course, A Christmas Story (You’ll shoot your eye out!).

Christmas, Christmas tree, Christmas decoration, Christmas ornament, Tree, Christmas eve, Interior design, Event, Tradition, Christmas lights,

Our grandparents didn’t go into debt over the holidays; they had a budget and stuck to it out of sheer necessity. “Spending with cash makes it more real. When it’s gone, it’s gone,” says Elizabeth Revenko, a certified financial planning professional with Mosaic Financial Partners in San Francisco. “It also gives you a moment to stop and think about what you’re buying, which makes spending more focused.” If you shop online, use a prepaid card to stay within your limits (or make a promise to yourself not to go over your budget no matter what!).

19. Bake from scratch.

baking cookies

Dust off the old recipe books or cards and try your hand at Bubbie’s latkes, Bubka’s potica, or Gammie’s famous 7-Up cake. Your efforts don’t have to be perfect, but this simple act pays homage to your loved ones, especially those who are now gone. If you don’t have the family recipe that’s been handed down, check out our favorite easy Christmas desserts and Christmas candy to find one that’s similar to what you remember.

Christmas, Christmas eve, Holiday, Illustration, Still life, Art,

Even in the age of social media and instant updates, real honest-to-goodness cards are a way to reconnect with family and friends far and near. “It’s still an American custom that’s special,” says Lizzie Post, co-host of the Awesome Etiquette podcast. “It’s the one time a year we send and receive good wishes in the mail. Nothing else compares.” Just keep them factual and upbeat (without bragging).

21. Use natural and “found” materials to decorate.


Grandma used what she had to deck the halls. “Look around your yard and house to find natural elements to dress up your home,” says Rakes. “Many natural items are prettier anyhow, and they’re fresh and free.” Collect pine cones and make a wreath, or arrange in glass apothecary jars. Cut greenery and tuck into simple white pitchers. String cranberries and popcorn for the tree. Dress up branches with glitter paint, then place in vases or use as Christmas mantel decorations.

family posing together for a group shot mother and son are wearing christmas hats

“That’s what we’ll remember years from now, not what you gave or received as gifts,” says Rakes. Bake cookies with your kids. Plan night of family Christmas games. Attend services at a house of worship. Go carolling. Drive around to look at Christmas lights. Make ornaments. The point is to interact and be present in the moment with your family and friends, not with your smartphone or laptop. And if it’s part of your tradition, attend religious services together on Christmas eve or throughout the season.

23. Make gifts.


Our grandparents used their talents to create gifts. “But you don’t have to be crafty,” says Rakes. “Homemade goodies such as cookies and pieces of bread are always welcome, but you can make plenty of other easy gifts.” Layer your favourite cookie recipe ingredients in a Mason jar, and attach baking instructions. Package homemade seasoning chilli or taco mixes Download a Christmas printable inspirational quote and frame it. Put together a themed Christmas gift basket such as movie night.

24. Dress up.

dressed up

“When you look at old photos of our parents and grandparents, you see that everyone is dressed nicely at big holiday gatherings,” says Post. Sure, you want to be comfy in your PJs on Christmas morning. But kids—and actually, most adults don’t have that many dress-up events to attend these days, especially after the last couple of years of working from home in sweatpants. “Everything is super-casual. But it’s okay to make your gathering a dress-up occasion so that it feels special and different,” says Post.

25. Write thank you notes.

thank you message christmas flat lay

Your grandma would tell you that nice manners still matter. Sit down and write a real thank-you note (no texts or emails!) this holiday season, whether you’re thanking someone for a lovely party or a thoughtful gift. “They’re always appropriate and in style,” says Post. “And handwritten reigns supreme.”


Part of the joy of the season is reminiscing about what makes your family unique. Ask your parents and grandparents about their holiday customs growing up or what they received as gifts when they were kids. Celebrate what makes your family, especially the silly or quirky traditions. “We have a mouse head ornament that has a long history in our family,” says Revenko. “Sharing stories, traditions, and values defines your family and is a great gift to each other that doesn’t cost a cent.”

27. Give back.

a senior woman in wheelchair with a health visitor at home at christmas time, looking out of a window

Our grandparents shared what they had with neighbours when times were tough– and the last two years should remind us how important it is to think about what matters to you and your family and share what you can to reflect your beliefs. Your gifts don’t necessarily have to be monetary. Help an elderly neighbour put up her tree or just spend an afternoon sipping tea with her. Send care packages to military members who are deployed away from home. Donate old towels and blankets to a pet shelter or local rescue organization. Just do something. It will mean so much to those who aren’t as fortunate. And that, after all, is the spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all!

Have Fun!