80+ Family Christmas Tradition Ideas

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Make Christmas special and memorable by honouring old family family traditions and creating new ones. Here are over family Christmas tradition ideas to get you inspired! 

My children love our Christmas traditions, even more than I do! The magic and the memories of Christmas for us come from these traditions, so much so that my children have already told me that they will continue our traditions with their own children and I can’t tell you how much I love hearing this. 

This is a great selection of Christmas traditions compiled from our community, and it was lovely to hear how some families have continued traditions throughout the family and will hopefully do so for generations to come. There were also stories from families who are creating new traditions they may not have thought of before.

Here are over 80 family Christmas traditions ideas – some of them from my family, and others from The Organised Housewife community – that will inspire and help you breathe a little more magic into your Christmas moments.

Some of the traditions I cherish with my family:

  • Decorating the Christmas tree with High 5 Christmas tunes
  • Making rum balls with the kids on Christmas Eve
  • KFC or fish and chips dinner in the park on Christmas Eve just before sunset
  • Looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve
  • New PJ’s on Christmas Eve
  • Prawn sandwiches on Boxing Day

Before Christmas Traditions

  • Decorating the Christmas Tree on the 1st of December whilst listening to Christmas music
  • We make gingerbread houses from boxes and decorate them each year
  • We go to watch the Christmas carols as a family and look at Christmas lights
  • Baking cookies to give out to friends and family
  • Choosing a new decoration each year
  • Wrapping up 24 Christmas stories, and we open one each night
  • Elf on the shelf
  • Family Christmas photo
  • Santa photo for all the kids
  • Tree goes up 12 days before Christmas
  • Crafts, baking and a Christmas movie
  • Last year I started an activity advent calendar with simple things like dance to a Christmas song, read a Christmas book, bake rum balls, post Christmas cards etc.
  • Christmas Eve BBQ at in-laws and new Christmas PJs
  • My Nana used to make up little containers of candies for everyone
  • Homemade traditional cloth/boiled Christmas pudding
  • Doing our house up in Christmas lights  
  • Christmas Advent calendar 
  • We buy ornaments whenever we travel
  • Christmas Eve boxes for the kids
  • We have a ‘Family Tree’ that has a bauble for each member, with their name and year of birth (and death) starting with our parents (first generation in Australia). With each birth and marriage we add baubles to the tree.
  • We have a large family so we do Secret Santa between all the parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents and even visitors to our Christmas dinner. Each person spends $20 and we all gather around the table before we eat and go one by one calling our Secret Santa person and giving the gift while we watch each person. Sometimes up to 30 people attend.
  • Every year my son and I (now 16) make Christmas sugar cookies together, decorate them, then hang them on the tree.
  • We always watch every single Christmas DVD in our collection in the week leading up to Christmas.
  • Enjoying a peppermint hot chocolate with my family
  • My husband and I sit down together on the 1st of December and write on small pieces of wrapping paper our wishes for the New Year and the things we would like to accomplish, as well as the things we would like to forget from the past year.
  • Something I treasure personally is being with my family. We take turns with both sides of our families. Just being together. Eating together. Bonding together.
  • I used to love Advent calendars – the ones that you could get without chocolates. Just a pretty scene with a little picture in each window.
  •  We save up all the wrapping paper and have a big paper fight.
  • Giving the boys in the family the most crazy undies we can find.
  • Watching the old movies together  
  • Watching Carols By Candlelight and singing dreadfully out of tune. Ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the old timers still performing the same songs year after year.
  • Putting out the crib but leaving out the 3 kings. They went on the window sill as they were “on route”. We waited until midnight Christmas Eve before putting Jesus in.
  • Mother-in-laws Christmas log
  • Jaffa’s and trifle
  • Making boiled Christmas pudding using my Great Grandmother’s recipe and method
  • Have a glass of Baileys and eat chewy toffee lollies as I wrap the kid’s pressies
  • We get our Santa photo laminated then blue tack them to wall for a display
  • Every year at Christmas time I watch “A Mom for Christmas” without fail
  • Christmas movies like Santa Claus the movie, and The Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Create Christmas crafts with the kids

  READ MORE: Over 100 DIY Christmas Craft Ideas For All Ages

Christmas Eve Traditions

  • Reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas Eve
  • Making rum balls with the kids on Christmas Eve
  • KFC dinner in the park on Christmas Eve just before sunset
  • Looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve
  • New PJ’s on Christmas Eve
  • Fireworks Christmas Eve
  • Unwrapping one gift each after we get home from looking at Christmas lights
  • One of my favourite Christmas things is that all the kids in the family get together on Christmas Eve and make cookies for Santa
  • Ever since I was a baby – maybe even before this within my mum’s family – the elves have brought us new pyjamas on Christmas Eve.
  • I cook a roast turkey Christmas Eve and it’s just my husband, my kids and I. That’s our time together before spending Christmas Day with everyone else.
  • Going Christmas light looking and stopping at McDonalds half way through for thick shakes, ice creams etc and then looking at more lights.
  • When my kids were younger they would choose a book to buy for each other and wrap it themselves, then on Christmas Eve they get a present from us (new pyjamas) and give each other the books. Then we would watch the countdown to Santa leaving the North Pole in our new PJs.
  • Biscuits or Christmas cake, a drink for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeers left out on Christmas Eve.
  • Now that my kids are adults their flavoured milk has been replaced by a bottle of wine.
  • Watching all the Rankin Bass movies with my girls.
  • We paper over the doorway of the room where the presents are and sprinkle glitter so the kids know in the morning that “he’s been” and have to break though to get presents!
  • I have created new traditions since separating from their Dad. I now move the Christmas tree every Christmas Eve to a new location, they choose what they all want for lunch on Christmas Day (they go to their Dad’s in the afternoon) and the elves make breakfast for Christmas Day.
  • My daughter loves to watch ‘The Grinch’ on Christmas Eve – she’s 23!
  • Christmas Eve church followed by Christmas light tour
  • We have a Christmas Eve box with hot chocolate, snacks, glow sticks and games so we can just have fun. We also buy a new Christmas CD or movie every year.
  • Growing up I’ve always remembered watching the carols Christmas Eve with another close family.
  •  I always watch my four favourite Christmas movies: A Mom for Christmas, Santa Claus the movie, Muppet Christmas Carol and A Christmas Carol the musical. Those four are vital!
  • Make eggnog with my family

  RECIPE: The Most Delicious And Creamy Eggnog Recipe

Christmas Day Traditions

  • My Dad dressing up as Santa
  • Ham and cheese croissants for breakfast
  • While opening presents we have home made short bread with tea or coffee.
  • Home made Christmas crackers
  • Water fights!! Even if it’s pouring with rain we used to go for a swim then come back for breakfast and presents.
  • We always had the same CD playing as we set the tree up and opened presents.
  • Lollies for breakfast – we were allowed to raid our stockings whenever we wake up but presents had to wait until everyone was up.
  • Mum always plays Santa. She chooses the present and we all watch while the person opens it.
  • My side of the family open presents one at a time. Everyone gets to see who received what, from whom, and thank them before we move on. Hubby’s side hands them all out at rapid fire, with everyone opening at once.
  • Everyone gets a Santa sack, and it doesn’t have to be expensive things inside.
  • We take a family photo in front of the Christmas tree every year.
  •  Our Christmas pudding
  • Croissants and champagne with juice for breakfast
  • Opening your presents with oven mitts on!
  • Enjoying the peacefulness of the streets on the morning of the 25th… we don’t celebrate at home but we LOVE the peaceful hours that happen around Christmas.
  • A full cooked lunch, even if it is hot as hell. It’s just not Christmas without it.

  RECIPES: Delicious Dinner Recipes For Christmas Day

Boxing Day Traditions

  • Prawn sandwiches on Boxing Day
  • Boxing Day where all my family get together, have a seafood feast and play for the Bocce Cup! Winner has bragging rights for the year.
  • Pavlova for breakfast on Boxing Day
  • Lots of leftovers to share with friends and family
  • Sitting by the pool on Boxing Day watching the kids enjoy their new gifts

  GET ORGANISED this Christmas (and create new traditions too!) with The Organised Housewife Christmas Planner


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