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Inside: 14 Magical family Christmas traditions for you to start with your family this holiday season!
There is so much to enjoy about Christmas. Once those festive ads start playing on the TV, you can feel it in the air. The nights draw in, and your kids start giving you a daily countdown of how many days there left before Santa comes to town!
Every year, I love watching the anticipation build. By mid-November, my daughter talks about Christmas every day and can’t wait to get the decorations out of the loft. In fact, she has already decorated her bedroom with a stash of tinsel and Christmas lights which she has had hidden under her bed.
But nothing makes the festive season more exciting that the family Christmas traditions we do every year. They just make Christmas feel….well Christmassy! So, I thought I’d put together some of my favourites which you might want to think about starting with your own family this year:
Table of Contents
- Our most favourite family Christmas tradition: the elves!
- Buy the dog a Christmas jumper
- Christmas Eve Box
- Make orange and clove pomanders
- Build a gingerbread house
- Christmas Shoebox Appeal
- Movie night and sleepover by the Christmas tree
- Christmas lights and night time walk
- Decorate the tree party
- Make reindeer food
- Listen out for the sleigh bells
- Santa’s footprints
- Wear a Christmas jumper
- Light the Christmas pudding
- Final thoughts
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Our favourite family Christmas tradition: The elves!
Our elf, Elvin magically appeared on our Christmas tree four years ago. The following year his sister, Evelyn and their pet reindeer, Rolph arrived on our front doorstep, in a Christmas Eve Box decorated with fairy lights and filled with festive goodies.
Each year, throughout December, our elves get up to no end of mischief! Every day we find them entangled in yet more naughty behaviour, be it decorating the Christmas tree with the family underwear or filling my daughter’s school shoes with breakfast cereal!
We honestly have had so much fun with them, and they are by far one of my daughter’s favourite family Christmas traditions, which is why I haven’t had the heart to put an end to their visits yet! But if you’re feeling tempted to invite these little characters into your home, be warned – elves are not for the faint-hearted!
Buy the dog a Christmas jumper
Every year we buy the dog a new Christmas jumper. I know it’s a bit naff, but we just can’t resist! She always looks so sweet and wears it through most of December and beyond! And it’s just something else that gives us that festive feeling.
Christmas Eve Box
Each Christmas Eve, the elves deliver a special box to my little girl, filled with festive treats. There’s always a new pair of Christmas pyjamas or perhaps a onesie inside, along with some fluffy festive socks. They have contained all kinds of surprises over the years from hot chocolate and marshmallows to bath bombs, a range of Christmas treats, and elf inspired gifts. Nothing is more exciting than finding this box under the tree or on the doormat surrounded by snow or Christmas lights. It really does bring that Christmas Eve magic into our home.
Make orange and clove pomanders
We make these eye-catching decorations every year, and they make our home smell wonderful. Orange and clove pomanders are so easy to make and are suitable for toddlers to teens!
We usually use a toothpick to prick holes into the oranges first, and then stick the cloves in the holes. Just ensure that young kids don’t prick themselves or attempt to eat the cloves. (Yuk!) Your designs can either be simple or elaborate. We then tie our oranges in a range of Christmas ribbons and hang them around our home to get a hint of that warm festive aroma when we walk by.
Build a gingerbread house
We love to bake and build a gingerbread house in our family at Christmas time. The smell of freshly baked gingerbread is amazing, and the kids particularly enjoy decorating them in an array of sweets and chocolates. You can get as creative as you like, and they look lovely lit from the inside with some battery-operated fairy lights. They make such wonderful festive table centrepieces and of course nobody minds when it’s time to eat them!
If you don’t fancy creating one from scratch, then you can always buy a pre-baked gingerbread house kit which makes life much easier. All you have to do then is assemble, decorate and eat it.
If you can’t meet your family in person this year due to coronavirus, why not organise an online gingerbread building party? Find out about this and other ideas for a merry socially distanced Christmas in this post.
Christmas Shoebox Appeal
I believe it’s so important at Christmas to take a moment to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. For this reason, each year, we like to take part in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Appeal. We fill a shoebox with small gifts, and this fantastic charity collects the boxes and gives them to disadvantaged kids around the world. If you don’t have time to put a shoebox together yourself, you can go to the website, choose your contents, and they will fill a box for you.
Movie night and sleepover by the Christmas tree
Although Christmas movies are fairly common in our house in December (and even November), we haven’t had a sleepover by the tree yet. So, I think this combo might be a new family Christmas tradition for us to try this year. I can imagine that it will feel very cosy to snuggle up by the twinkly lights to watch movies and drink hot chocolate. Can’t wait! Here’s a list of some top Christmas family movies by CountryLiving.com to give you some inspiration.
Christmas lights night time walk
There is something exciting about wrapping up in warm coats, hats and scarves and heading out into the night to see the Christmas lights around our village. We love deciding which house has the best Christmas display and then coming home for a warm drink and some Christmas cookies to finish off the evening. Why not do the same with your family this year? If you don’t fancy walking, you could always bundle everyone into the car and have a ‘Christmas lights drive’ by instead.
Decorate the tree party
Turn decorating your Christmas tree into a festive family tradition. This is something I usually do with both my girls. The boys in our house don’t seem too interested, so we have ourselves our own little girlie tree decorating party. We put on our festive tunes and sing our hearts out as we decorate, finishing things off with some chocolate Christmas tree decorations which never seem to last more than a couple of days!
Make reindeer food
Every year, we make some magical reindeer food. We usually mix some oats up with some cake decorating sparkles and edible glitter. On Christmas Eve, we either scatter this on our footpath outside our home for the reindeer or leave it in a bowl next to Santa’s mince pies and brandy. We always put out some carrots and a bowl of water too. After all, pulling a sleigh through the night sky must be thirsty work for those reindeer!
Listen out for the sleigh bells
This is one of my favourite family Christmas traditions. As Christmas Eve draws to a close, and my daughter is tucked up in bed, we listen out to see if we can hear Santa’s sleigh bells. Unbeknown to her, my husband hides in the garden and rings some bells. This always causes so much excitement as she rushes to the window and gazes up into the sky. Once or twice, she has been convinced that she has seen Santa and the reindeer flying past the moon. Perhaps she has!
Unfortunately, where we live, it never snows at Christmas. But each Christmas morning we come downstairs to find our filled Christmas stockings surrounded by some snowy footprints, which Santa leaves when he comes down the chimney. We secretly create these the night before by sprinkling flour or talcum powder on the floor and making footprints in it with my husband’s boots. I just love to see the reaction on my daughter’s face when she sees them. Just remember to clean off the soles of the shoes you use or your secret may be discovered!
Wear a Christmas jumper
This is a family Christmas tradition that my mum started a few years ago. Every year, she insists that we all wear Christmas jumpers when we get together on Christmas day. I have to be honest – some of them have been truly awful, but they have added to the festive fun!
Light the Christmas pudding
This tradition goes back as far as I can remember. I don’t think we have ever had a family Christmas where there hasn’t been a flaming Christmas pudding. For me, it’s one of the most memorable festive moments of our family gatherings. The pudding is doused with brandy and then lit as the lights are turned low, and the while family sings, ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’. It’s always the highlight of our Christmas meals. Please be sure to take adequate safety precautions and to keep children well away from the lit pudding.
So, there you have it! Fourteen wonderful family Christmas traditions for you to try and which are guaranteed to bring some festive magic into your home. I’d love to know which ones you tried and how you enjoyed them. Or did you try something I haven’t mentioned? If so, please tell me all about it in the comments section below.
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Thanks so much for reading and I wish you and your family a very happy Christmas!
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