Growing up, my family had a handful of holiday traditions that I treasured from year-to-year. Honestly, some of them may not have even been intentional “traditions”, but there were simple things I looked forward to. For instance, I loved helping my mom put up all the decorations, carefully hanging garland around the fireplace and unwrapping the handpainted Christmas village. Later, we added an electric train around the tree that was both festive and a pain in the ass.
A few years ago, my husband and I had a conversation about what we love about the holidays and ways we wanted to celebrate. The result was a short list of things we want to ensure we do every year, even if we’re crazy busy. We budget money and time to make these happen every year and everything else for the season is a bonus!
Here are our 7 Christmas Traditions.
- Picking a Christmas Theme: Every year we pick a theme to celebrate the season, alternating between a winter character and a full-blown theme. Our first year together was penguins, then we did Coastal Christmas, and this year we’re celebrating with Santa. While this seems like a lot of work, it actually makes life easier for us when picking wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and giving a slight twist to our decor every year.
- LEGO Winter Village Set: Every year, LEGO releases a new Winter Village set. We purchase it in November to be opened on December 1st. The set is built while watching a Christmas movie and added to our ever-growing collection.
- Four Gifts: We follow the four gifts rule for each member of the family – something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. This keeps our gift buying on budget and makes it easier to brainstorm gift ideas.
- One Local Holiday Event: To ensure we’re getting out on a holiday adventure, we pick a local event to attend. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day stress of the holidays and year-end work. Instead, we set aside one weekend to go do something purely fun and for us.
- Christmas Eve Board Game: As I’ve mentioned many times before, board games are king in our house. We love game night, which means we’re always looking for new games to add to our rotation. To do that, we buy a board or card game to be opened on Christmas Eve and play the night (and next day) away! Need some ideas of great board games? Check out the list of our favorites here.
- Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls: We looove the smell of cinnamons wafting through the house. Instead of stressing over what we’d have for breakfast on Christmas morning, we decided to go with the delicious, magical, and low-effort option of cinnamon rolls. Plus the kids can help with the icing when they are older.
- Christmas Ham Dinner: My husband loves ham. Like really, really loves ham. So I’ve promised him that every year for Christmas dinner, we can make a big ham. Plus… who doesn’t love leftover ham sandwiches and stews?!
We have a number of other activities we try to do around the holidays but they fall in the “nice to do” category, such as making holiday treats (usually rice krispie treats or candy melts) and driving around to see Christmas lights. We’re a “stockings first – presents second” household. And every year, we do our best to get through our absolutely massive Christmas movie collection. (Here’s a list of our top 7 must-see holiday movies.)
What holiday traditions does your family have?
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