Dec 17

13 Family Holiday Traditions

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As the kids get older I start thinking more & more about the family traditions I want our family to have around the Holidays. It’s a time I want them to think back on and have fond memories of being together as a family, giving to each other & those in need & celebrating the love & goodness in our lives. Sharing a few traditions we have started along with some I love.

1// Read Christmas Books – In the weeks leading up to Christmas we keep a basket of Christmas books out. Each night the kids pick a few to read. We’ll add to our Christmas book collection each year, and then I just store them with our Christmas decor. When we get them out each year, the kids are excited to see their favorites again, and some feel like new!

2// Drive around to look at Christmas Lights –  After dinner we’ll put the kids in their matching Christmas jammies and go drive around & look at lights. Take a little treat like milk & cookies or hot chocolate. In Kansas City we love to find a light show that we can park at so the kids can get out their car seats and dance to the music. Our favorites are Deanna Rose, Candy Cane Lane, Vince & Associates (103rd & Metcalf) & neighborhoods around 131st & Metcalf. I shared some of my other favorite Kansas City lights & activities here.

3// Make & Deliver Cookies – Sutton loves helping me in the kitchen, so we try to spend a morning or afternoon making Christmas treats. A fun tradition is to deliver these to family, neighbors, local fire & police station, UPS, FedEx & Postal Service. We try to keep in mind those who are working extra hours during the Holidays & on Christmas day.

Magical Reindeer Food Printable

4// Make Magic Reindeer Food – Sit out bowls of oatmeal, sprinkles, chocolate chips, marshmallows, “anything reindeers might like” and then let the kids scoop items in a bag to make a mix of Magic Reindeer Food. Tie up the bag with baker’s twine and add a tag. Fun to make with cousins or friends or for cousins & friends. This would be a fun activity for your Elf on the Shelf to bring!

5// Make Gingerbread Houses – Who doesn’t love decorating with candy?! Whether it’s an adult party/contest or a kids activity, making a gingerbread house is always a fun activity. A Gingerbread House kit is another fun gift that your elf on the shelf can bring.

6// Watch Classic Christmas Movies – I love showing the kids both the classic Christmas movies and the newer ones that are out. Our favorite classics are Rudolph & Frosty and our favorite newer movies are The Grinch & the Elf on the Shelf movie. Don’t forget your hot cocoa & popcorn!

7// Elf on the Shelf – This is the first year Sutton has really got into Elf on the Shelf. She gets so excited each morning to look for Chippy. She is also loving the book & the movie. I am also thankful for the kits you can buy for assistance in getting creative each day!

8// Shoe Box Drive – It is important to us to give to those in need during the Christmas season & thinking of others is something we want to teach our kids. Sutton’s school does a drive for Operation Christmas Child, so we have done that the past few years. If you don’t have a drop off location near you, you can also build a box online to donate!

9// Advent Calendar – Both kids look forward to opening their advent calendars each morning! We got a Jurassic Park one this year, but if you’re planning ahead and want to get a personalized one you can use year after year, Pottery Barn Kids  has theirs on sale now!

10// Secret Santa – Our family does a Secret Santa gift exchange each year. I posted about other gift exchange ideas too! There are so many creative ways to exchange gifts and I love hearing the gift traditions different families have.

11// Letters to Santa – Elf on the Shelf has a cute letters to Santa kit that makes their letters into keepsake ornaments. This would be a fun tradition & be able to look back at their letters over the year.

12// On Christmas Eve Track Santa’s progress across the globe on NORAD & read The Night Before Christmas at bedtime.

13 // Christmas Morning – Wear matching pajamas & if you’re not able to be with your family on Christmas morning, call or have a video chat with them. The kids get excited to show them what Santa brought and what a perfect day to connect with your loved ones.

What are some of your favorite family Christmas traditions?






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  1. Cute ideas!

    We let the kids buy 1 ornament each year, I label them with the year they bought it and we hang them in the little Christmas tree in the kitchen. It looks prettier each year! When they are old enough to value the ornaments (when they are settled) they will get all the ornaments they picked out each year.