For years we have enjoyed Christmas family traditions and today I am sharing my 25 favorites. I would love to learn about all of yours too.
It’s Day Twelve, our last day of Twelve Days of Getting Ready for Christmas. Today my dear friend KariAnne @Thistlewood and I are sharing our favorite Family Christmas Traditions. I wanted to pass on a special thank you for joining me these past twelve days. I hope I inspired you and eased the stress to get ready for the holidays. It’s also Sunday Morning Coffee!
Season 3 Volume 45
I am a bit crazy when it comes to traditions. Of the twenty-five on this list, seventeen are things we do (or have done) for years!
I would love it if you all would add some of your family Christmas traditions in the comments. I would love to read about every single one and I am ready to add some more.
My Favorite Family Christmas Traditions
Sibling Shopping Day
I used to take the boys on a special shopping trip in December. The three of them each had a list of everyone they needed to buy gifts for and the four of us went to Target. Andrew and Matt usually finished in about an hour. Michael, on the other hand, spent hours finding the perfect gifts. As much as his brothers complained, Michael’s gifts were incredible and well-thought-out.
Watch a Favorite Holiday Movie Together
I love having a special family movie that you can watch with your family. When I was growing up, my sisters and I loved watching “White Christmas” every year. I think I know every word of every song and most of the dialogue throughout the entire movie! As hard as I have tried to get my boys to watch the movie “White Christmas”, they haven’t shown any interest.
Of course with the boys’ input, we are more likely watching Elf or A Christmas Story. Times do change!
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I love cooking in the kitchen with our family. A few years ago we started a tradition where we team up and each team cooks a course. We all cook together and it is so much fun.
This evening is one of my favorites in the holiday season. And of course, it relieves the stress of yours truly having to cook another meal!
Gift Wrapping Night
Our family has always wrapped gifts on Christmas Eve. I am hoping we can change that plan this year and start a tradition of doing it earlier.
I have actually started wrapping my gifts much earlier and I love it so much better.
When do you wrap your gifts?
Many of you are aware that I made gifts for my family every Christmas for about thirty years.
I will be sharing a lot more homemade gifts between now and Christmas. I would love to ask our boys to make one handmade gift. How do you think they would react?
Adopt a Charity
When the boys were younger we used to participate in the Adopt a Family program. We sponsored a family and shopped and bought all of their Christmas gifts. I love this program and it’s really a fabulous idea.
Buying the Tree
Buying our Christmas tree has been a huge tradition in our family. We have always bought our tree at the YMCA and the boys always played hide and go seek in the tree lot. Somehow we were never kicked out!
Sadly the YMCA doesn’t sell trees any longer but still buy our tree in our hometown. Now it’s usually Dave and I but we still love it!
Decorating the Tree
We always have a fresh tree in our living room that holds all of our treasured family ornaments.
Until the boys grew up and moved out, we decorated the tree together every single year. We have so many wonderful handmade and family ornaments and we all love decorating the tree because of the fond memories that are cherished.
See the gingerbread ornament? I made that when I was six. It is truly vintage now. Hehe.
Hosting a Christmas Party
This year we will be hosting our 36th annual Christmas party. This is my favorite party of the year and it has grown from 40 guests to 250 guests. I still cook all of the food and it’s quite an undertaking! Stay tuned for lots of party preparation!
You may not be familiar with the Citrus Singers, but this college singing group is out of this world talented. We always get together every December with some of our closest friends for dinner and a performance by the Citrus singers. It is one of my favorite evenings during the holidays.
Reading the Night Before Christmas
When the boys were really young, ages 8 months, 2, and 3, Dave started reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” every Christmas Eve. He still reads it every year even though the boys are now 32, 31, and 29!
Traditional Dinner (Beef Tenderloin/Pasta)
We always have a traditional Christmas dinner on the 24th, and it’s always enjoyed at the dining room table.
Since Christmas dinner is always a traditional turkey dinner, I prepare either beef tenderloin or a pasta buffet. Every year I let the kids decide!
Ice Skating (even in California)
Ice skating is such a fun sport and it feels as if most large towns have an ice skating rink. This has always felt like such a fun thing to do during the holidays. When my inlaws had their home in Lake Arrowhood we used to ice skate every December.
Opening the Stockings – youngest to oldest
We open our stockings in order of age, youngest to oldest. This is the time I have to remember that I am the oldest in our family. I am two and a half months older than my husband and somehow this feels more real on Christmas morning. We have done this every since we got married.
Opening Gifts – Oldest to youngest
After we open the stockings, we open our gifts. But this time we open them from oldest to youngest. I love this tradition so much.
But unfortunately, I am still the oldest.
Christmas Morning Brunch – family recipes
I love the fact that every Christmas morning, in three different states, my brothers and sisters and I (and our families) are enjoying my Mom’s Overnight Sausage Casserole. This recipe has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. You can only imagine how hard I cried when my daughter-in-law, Charlotte, gave me this gift a few years ago. It was so thoughtful!
If you look closely, you can read the recipe!
Mimosas at Christmas Brunch
I started this tradition last year when I made special ice cubes for mimosas. Not only do these ice cubes add flavor they also keep the champagne cold which is wonderful. Head to my blog post for all of the details.
We have played some games over the holidays but last year my youngest son took it to a different level. Michael assigned each of us to be in charge of two evenings during the holiday. My favorites were Rummikub, Ticket to Ride, and Qwirkle.
Fun Family Competition
We have had many team competitions in our family. We played golf inside our home a few years ago and it was so much fun. You can see the highlight reel here.
Making Ornaments for the Tree
When the boys were really young, I used to host Christmas craft workshops where the kids would all make gifts for their families, teachers, and pets. This is so much fun!
Making/Decorating Cookies for Santa
We used to make special cookies for Santa and I loved it so much! I know the boys are grown but in a few years, I hope to be doing this with my grandchildren.
Can you tell the cookie is a replica of our home?
Writing a Letter to Santa and His Reindeer
There are so many fun traditions you can start with your kids. Making cookies for Santa and writing a letter to Santa are perfect opportunities for sure.
Open One Gift on Christmas Eve
We did this when I was growing up and I do remember that most years we received new pajamas! We haven’t done this with our family but I know a lot of people love to open at least one. I would love your input and to share why/how it works well.
Looking at Christmas Lights
The last tradition I am sharing is one we have enjoyed for many years. Every Christmas Eve we put on our pajamas, pile the dog in the car, and we head out to St. Alban’s street to look at the Christmas lights. I put Christmas carols on the car radio and we have so much fun.
I hope you have enjoyed the twenty-five Family Christmas Traditions. Feel free to make any of these your own! Now it’s your turn to share your traditions.
This recipe looks yummy! Cranberry Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts.
Before and After: A Plain Kitchen Goes from White to Wow with a Retro-Inspired Makeover. I am curious what you think about this!
Who doesn’t want to see Another Two Story Penthouse in Paris?
My absolute favorite! A recipe for Carmel Macchiato. I cannot wait to try this!
Gosh! What a fun week it was. This is the last post of a very fun series with KariAnne Wood from Thistlewood called 12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas.
KariAnne’s Getting Ready for Christmas Post
My dear friend KariAnne at Thistlewood Farms is sharing her Day 12 post for Getting Ready for Christmas. She asks, what is the only thing better than celebrating the holidays? Celebrating the holidays with family. Here are 25 things to do with your family for Christmas.
I shared a lot of my Christmas finds this past week. Tap any photo for more.
Martha Is Inviting Guests to Her Home for a Thanksgiving-Inspired Retreat—Here’s how to attend. I want to go!
We have lots more holiday fun to share this week. I have the cutest Christmas tree cupcakes, an easy DIY wreath, gorgeous holiday decor, gingerbread ornaments and gingerbread houses, and a fun feather tree DIY.
If you missed any of my Twelve Days to Get Ready for Christmas, you can find them here:
- Day 1 – How to Choose Christmas Colors for Your Holiday Decor
- Day 2 – Creative Ideas for Christmas Gift Tags
- Day 3 – Stocking Stuffers for Christmas Morning
- Day 4 – Decorating with Christmas Ribbon in the Dining Room
- Day 5 – Gift Wrapping Ideas and Sunday Morning Coffee
- Day 6 – Easy Christmas Button Crafts
- Day 7 – How to Tie a Bow with Ribbon
- Day 8 – 7 Creative Ideas to Set a Christmas Table
- Day 9 – Holiday Make Ahead Party Desserts
- Day 10 – Handmade Mercury Glass Ornaments
- Day 11 – My Favorite Christmas Tree Skirts and Tree Collars
- Day 12 – 25 Christmas Family Traditions
You can also find KariAnne’s amazing blog posts here:
- Day 1 – How to Choose a Christmas Theme
- Day 2 – 27 Ways To Decorate With Ornaments
- Day 3 – 21 Unique Stocking Stuffers for Christmas Morning
- Day 4 – How to Hang a Wreath On the Back of a Chair
- Day 5 – 21 Easy Gift Wrap Ideas
- Day 6 – 7 Easy and Simple Christmas Crafts
- Day 7 – How to Tie a Christmas Bow
- Day 8 – 15 Simple Ideas You Can Use to Decorate For Christmas
- Day 9 – 5 Of the BEST Food Gifts For Christmas
- Day 10 – 7 Creative Ideas For Christmas Tree Toppers
- Day 11 – 14 Unique and Creative Christmas Tree Skirts
- Day 12 – 25 Things To Do With Your Family For Christmas
- Gift Wrapping Ideas – S3/V44
- Holiday Crafts Week – S3/V43
- How Many Days Until Thanksgiving – S3/V42
- Holiday Crafts – S3/V41
- Amazon Prime Big Deal Days – S3/V40
- Amazon Creator Summit – S3/V39
- Eat, Drink, Relax – S3/V38
- Happy Weekend – S3/V37
- A Healthy Lifestyle – S3/V36
- A New Trek Electric Bike – S3/V35
- The Fall Color Palette – S3/V34
- My New Craft Room – S3/V33
- Fall is Here – S3/V32
- Thinking About Fall Decor – S3/V31
- A Backroads Bike Trip – S3/V30
- Summer Dinner on the Beach – S3/V29
- Why Do I Love Crafts? – S3/V28
- Our California Beach House – S3/V27
- Enjoying the Ventura Beach House – S3/V26
- Summer Decor Finds and Sunday Morning Coffee – S3/V25
- Looking Back at Provence and Sunday Morning Coffee – S3/V24
- Summer Birthday Week – S3/V23
- Welcome Summer – S3/V22
- Finishing the Exterior of the Beach House – S3/V21
- Happy Mother’s Day – S3/V20
- I Love New York – S3/V19
- A Spring Garden – S3/V18
- Happy National Picnic Day – S3/V17
- Welcome Graham – S3/V16
- Happy Easter – S3/V15
- Shopping Tips – S3/V14
- Happy Spring – S3/V13
- Girls Weekend Getaways – S3/V12
- Exciting News This Week – S3/V11
- Ventura Beach Favorites – S3/V10
- A Happy Family at the Beach House – S3/V9
- A Beach House Tour Deadline – S3/V8
- The Ventura Beach House – S3/V7
- A Busy Week at the Ventura Beach House – S3/V6
- Beach House Move-In Tomorrow – S3/V5
- Martha, “You are Wrong About My White Farmhouse Kitchen!” – S3/V4
- Valentines Day Decor – S3/V3
- Five Things to Organize Now – S3/V2
- Happy New Year 2023 – S3/V1
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