My favorite Christmas memories revolve around family traditions from my childhood, and it brings me so much joy to watch my own children make sweet memories with the same traditions! I’ve simplified the methods and materials a bit to make them easier and faster for myself (Woo-hoo! More time for hot chocolate!), and am excited to share the fruits of my labor with you! Without further ado, here are 10 of our favorite family Christmas traditions, including a few I think are pretty awesome!
10 Family Christmas Traditions
1. Advent Calendars
We always had an Advent calendar when I was little, and it’s something I remember very fondly! Last year, I decided to go all out and make my kids reusable Advent calendars ! They loved them, and the best part is that you can fill them with anything from candy to Legos! Learn how to make your own here!
Alternatively, I love this “Book Advent calendar” idea from Nicole at Not Quite Super Mom!
2. Looking at lights!
Sometimes the anticipation of Christmas is just as magical as the actual day! Taking a drive as a family to look at Christmas lights or to a special venue where they have lights set up (we are blessed to have a Storybook Island near us, and they light it up beautifully for Christmas!) is magical, and it’s low-cost entertainment, too! Don’t forget the hot cocoa!
3. Birthday Party for Jesus!
As a child, I looked forward to this tradition the most! Who I am I kidding? I still do! We have celebrated Christmas Eve with the same friends and family for over 33 years (of course, there have been a few additions to the family along the way), and this event is a part of that cherished tradition! Every good birthday party needs a great cake, and what could be more fitting than angel food cake? When I was young, my Grandma always brought the cake, and the baton has now been passed on to me, which makes me super-happy! I make my cakes every year from a Betty Crocker angel food cake mix, frost them with Cool Whip, and sprinkle them with raspberries and a chocolate drizzle! I totally take the easy road with the cake mix, I know, but I am picky about my chocolate! The easiest and most delicious way to make a shiny chocolate glaze is -drum roll, please- My Two Ingredient Chocolate Sauce ! Don’t forget to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus!
4.Read the Christmas Story!
This can be found in the books of Matthew and Luke! We usually read about baby Jesus’ birth as part of our birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve!
5.White Elephant Gift Exchange!
We started this in more recent years for our Christmas Eve celebration! It works out amazingly because it provides lots of laughs and relieves the pressure of buying 20 people a small gift! Just be sure to set a firm price limit so no one goes home feeling sad, and establish your ground rules for how many tims a gift may be stolen before you start the game!
6. Christmas Breakfast!
This is something we started with our own children, which includes frozen cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, and juice! Totally taking the easy way out again! 🙂
7. Christmas Dinner!
Pasta, baby, pasta! So much easier than a full-blown meal, plus, bagged salads and french bread round it out nicely! I learned this from my mother-in-law; as a single mother of NINE, keeping things easy and inexpensive was important! I am more than happy to keep the tradition alive with this Easy-to-Stuff Manicotti Recipe that she used! I like to prepare it a day or two ahead of time, then bake it on Christmas day!
In our house, Christmas dessert equals PUDDING PIE! We all love the chocolate and graham cracker goodness, and I appreciate how quick and easy this Five Minute Pudding Pie is to make!
9. Paper AND Plastic, Please!
I know it’s not necessarily eco-friendly, but keeping the dishes to a minimum ensures I am actually able to enjoy Christmas day from a position other than in front of the sink!
10. Board Games!
We usually finish out the day with family games, and one of our very favorite ones is Scattergories!
As you can see, our Christmas isn’t made from scratch, and I take the easy way out as much as possible; what I really want for Christmas is to spend time with my children and loved ones! I want to be a part of the celebration of Christ’s birth, not stuck in the kitchen all day! The older I get, the more I want to be a Mary, not a Martha; will you join me this Christmas with a prepped-ahead-of-time, not-from-scratch Christmas that gives you a real chance to spend time with the ones you love?
If you have any time-saving, stress-busting, family Christmas traditions, show some holiday spirit and share them with me in the comments below! 🙂
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