Christmas time is one of the most magical times of the year. In fact, it's the most wonderful time of the year! Children worldwide flock to their parents' sides and shriek in wonder as they open their gifts, bask in the holiday twinkle of a Christmas tree, and write messages to loved ones on holiday cards. We've put together a list to help you get your family into the holiday spirit. You'll create memories and special moments your whole family will love!
1. Pick the Holiday Soundtrack
Christmas is a magical time of year; one of my favorite traditions is listening to Christmas music. Every year, I make a playlist that we listen to during the holiday season.
We started this tradition with my daughter when she was a baby. We would put her in her car seat, then go for long drives while listening to Christmas music. The list has grown over the years, but some of our favorites will always be in heavy rotation: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," "Let It, Snow," "Mary Did You Know," and "Silent Night."
It's funny how she remembers those songs so fondly, even though she was only an infant when we started this tradition! She looks forward to hearing them every year and requests them long before December rolls around.
2. Pick Out the Tree
One of the first things I look forward to is the smell of pine in the house. There's just something about that scent that lets me know it's time for Christmas.
So as a family, we set aside the Saturday after Thanksgiving to pick out a favorite tree. We listen to Christmas carols on the way home from our tree-hunting trip, and we always stop by Starbucks to grab our favorite treat—caramel apple spice!
3. Decorate the Tree Together
We love to decorate the Christmas tree and love that it's time we get to spend together as a family. My daughter is learning that it's fun to get together with friends and family to share the holiday spirit. I also love that she gets a kick out of decorating her room and specifically decorating her very own tree. It's a tradition we started when she was around three years old. Over the years, she's helped collect sentimental ornaments and place them on her tree. It's so sweet, and I imagine her really going to sleep each night with visions of sugar plums dancing in her head.
4. Looking at Christmas Lights
Our drive around in search of neighborhoods with lots of lights typically leads us to several local areas in our city. Before we head out, I make sure that we have our favorite Christmas-time beverage, (you guessed it) Cameral Apple Spice from Starbucks, and we play our favorite Christmas music as we drive. It's a cheap, easy, and thrill-filled memorable holiday activity that we look forward to year after year!
5. Visit With Santa
I love the idea of making a tradition of taking a picture with Santa! We’ve done it every year with our daughter since she was an infant. It’s been a fun way to get her picture taken with Santa, and it’s also so fun to look back on these photos—what a great way to remember how quickly time passes!
6. Bake Christmas Cookies
I love making recipes handed down from my grandmother with my daughter. It makes me feel connected to her and allows us to bond over something special. Plus, she loves helping out in the kitchen!
If you want to make this an even more family-focused holiday tradition, consider baking your child's favorite cookie recipe with them and decorating it together. They can help mix the dough, frost it, or even put sprinkles on top! It doesn't matter if the cookies come out looking perfect or not—just having fun with your kid is what matters most this time of year. Looking for a recipe take a look at this Simple Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe.
7. Watch Christmas Movies Together
Spend a cozy December evening watching one of your favorite holiday movies. It's easy to make hot chocolate, warm apple cider, and some yummy treats and cuddle up on the couch with your kids.
Our favorites are Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer, Frosty the Snow Man, Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, and Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The first two selections are good for little kids because there's just enough nostalgia to keep them interested. The last two are both visually stunning with great stories, so they'll keep everyone engaged.
8. Create a Hot Chocolate Bar
Setting up a Hot Chocolate Bar doesn't have to be complicated. We set ours up on our kitchen counter. We use holiday items from around the house to create a festive feel. The most important part is making sure that everything is easily accessible so that your little people can help themselves when they're ready for their hot chocolate fix! To get some ideas, look at our take on the Hot Chocolate Bar from a couple years ago.
9. Make A Christmas List for Santa
When I was a child, my mom always made me and my sister make a Christmas wish list. She'd hand us a piece of paper and the Sears Christmas Catalog and ask us to write down everything we wanted—and then she'd mail it to Santa. I loved it! It gave me something to look forward to, and it was so much fun coming up with ideas for what I might want.
I do the same thing with my daughter. I love making my child's Christmas wishes come true by having her write down her list of wishes to send to Santa. Seeing her excitement as she dreams and imagines about what will be underneath her tree is so much fun.
This year, I'm going to start a new tradition where she'll write her age, a little about herself, and 1-2 things that she's grateful for. I'll keep these mementos in an album for her to look back on them when she gets older.
10. Random Act of Kindness
When raising a child, it can be hard to find the right balance between teaching them how to give and take. Of course, we want them to feel good about themselves, but we also want them to know they have something important to offer. As parents, it's our job to provide them with opportunities where they can see themselves making a difference in someone else's life.
Donating a care package of toys and clothes to a homeless shelter this holiday season is one of the best things you can do for others and yourself. Being of service to others is an attribute I want my child to continue to pour into my daughter's spirit.
I hope these ideas give you some inspiration to create your own Family Christmas Traditions to start this year! Making memories and special moments with your family this holiday season will be so easy with these ideas. The real magic of Christmas is found in the details - so take advantage of each opportunity to make something memorable!