Family Christmas Traditions


This entire month has been a busy yet exciting one, I can’t believe Christmas is only a week away. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the kids went back to school?

There is lots of talk right now about Christmas family traditions, either new ones made or sometimes passed down for generations. Not that you really need an excuse to carry on a tradition, it could be just a preference for how to do things. How to celebrate and take in the holiday season.

Thing is, it wasn’t until I became a parent, that I really understood and valued those traditions that we take in year after year. While we do things a bit differently these years, I still smile at traditions past, when I was a kid.

For instance, when I was little, everyone got to open one gift on Christmas Eve. That was pretty special as a kid, but it also was practice in patience, since it was kind of like opening the floodgates. I vividly remember asking to open ‘just one more’ most Eves, only to be given ‘that look’.

When my immediate family got even bigger, which was in my teen years, gifting then became a ‘draw’, so that you only bought for one person instead of dozens upon dozens. So, our kickoff to the holidays was with the ‘draw party’, which was always a fun time.

Since we lived close to the citys biggest and best skating rink when I was younger, going skating with friends and neighbors was always a tradition.

The hope I have for my kids one day, is not to necessarily keep alive the same traditions that we do now, but to respect and admire past ones while making  future ones.

It’s not ‘just a day’ and not about the gifts, but it’s an entire season of spending time together and cherishing those we love.

In 12 Days of Christmas fashion, here are 12 of our current family Christmas traditions.

  • Making, addressing and sending Holiday Photo Cards with the kids. They love being able to stuff and lick the envelopes. A tradition, since I would never take on this task alone, it’s a family effort!
  • Decorating the tree and entire house together, while watching a Christmas movie. It cannot be done without the festive movie playing in the background
  • Our tree is never perfect, yet holds ornaments with much tradition and history.
  • Taking a drive and going on a light tour with hot chocolate
  • Christmas Eve is always appetizer night, a potluck with the family, trying old favorites and new recipes. A chance to graze before the almightly feast
  • ‘Twas the night Before Christmas’ is always read to the kids before bed on Christmas Eve. It’s actually the book of my hubbys, that his parents read to him when he was little. Now, he reads to our children.
  • Everyone gathers together Christmas morning to open presents together, stocking have to come first.
  • Christmas dinner is always held at my in-laws house. As well, Santa leaves a gift for each of the kids there as well, so they open one more additional gift right before dinnertime
  • We always, always have a huge Butterball turkey on Christmas Day
  • Once we’ve finished eating, everyone gets a dish to take home leftovers
  • On boxing day, we those delicious leftovers either in another full dinner form, or trying a new turkey leftover recipe. I have Northwoods Maple-Mustard Turkey Sandwich bookmarked for this year
  • Lastly, we always take down the tree before the new year starts


So, What are your Christmas traditions? Are they new or are they passed down?


This post is sponsored by Butterball Canada. In exchange this review, I have received special perks in the form of
products and monetary compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.



  1. Well for me it’s all about the Christmas dinner, as well as the usual stuff we always have stuffing balls and pigs in blankets (little sausages wrapped in bacon incase anyone didn’t know) and this came from my parents so I guess that is one of our traditions!

      1. Aww cool 🙂 and the kids will love it, you can get them to help make them as well. Don’t forget the little cocktail sticks to hold the sausages together!

  2. Coming from a split family, we never really had any family traditions because I was rarely ever in the same place or with the same group of people. Last year I moved in with the love of my life, and he and I have started our own family traditions. Each Christmas (well, last year and this year so far) I purchase a Christmas tree ornament that Andrew gets to open Christmas eve to hang on the tree. Hopefully once we have a family of our own that will be starting their own family(ies), we will be able to pass the ornaments along for others to enjoy and remember!

  3. We also open one present on Christmas Eve! We get a new ornament for the tree every year ~ a souvenir ornament from that year’s vacation.

  4. I think too that older traditions dont necessarily have to be kept but try to keep them as long as possible.

  5. Christmas is an enjoyable time when we make it enjoyable and the memories are cherished forever. We open our Christmas presents on Christmas morning at our house!

  6. Sounds like you have some great traditions in your family. We open all our presents on Christmas morning and then together make a yummy breakfast.

  7. My family traditions include re-watching all of our favorite Christmas movies, eating a specially made breakfast casserole/quiche on Christmas morning, and we get new ornaments every year. My mom started that one when we were babies; that way we have a collection of our own ornaments when we get our own homes.

  8. We have a lot of traditions similar to yours…The Butterball and the leftovers, the stocking getting “opened” first, One of the traditions I miss most from my childhood is getting together with my Mom’s brothers and their families on Christmas Eve and Day. But as we got older and found spouses of our own and had children, it became too complicated and we had to give that up. We have carried on the tradition for our kids, in a way. They get together with their cousins, all three of them, and their aunt, just one of her!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. I love Christmas traditions and reading what other people do! As a child, we opened the gifts under the tree on Christmas Eve (after a BIG supper and reading the story of Christ’s birth from the book of Luke) and then Santa brought stockings in the morning. I do that with my kids, too. Santa usually brings them a big gift as well. I love the stockings!!!

  10. I love Christmas traditions. We also open one gift on Christmas Eve. Then we get hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights.

  11. This season is so special and joyous. I absolutely loved reading your traditions and share many of them!

  12. As you get older and family members pass on, one of our family traditions is to set an ‘extra’ place at the table to remember who we might be missing that year. It sounds odd, but we also try and fill that spot with someone who doesn’t have anyone to spend the Holidays with for whatever reason and share the food and laughter with them.

  13. I am Cuban-American and my family tradition is to open presents on christmas morning.

  14. My entire family gets together on Christmas Eve at my brother’s place (he’s the only one with a house that’s big enough to fit us all in!) and we talk, eat, have a few drinks and play games.

  15. Oh my gosh…I knew your girls looked like you, but seeing that photo of you as a little girl…WOW!! They look SO MUCH like you!! All gorgeous, of course. 🙂

    My parents started a Christmas tradition one year when we had gotten dressed up for a Christmas Eve service at our church, but the weather had turned so dramatically that we couldn’t go. They decided we’d have our own service. We gathered by the fireplace and my brother, mom and I all found holiday stories or poems (mostly from *Ideals*) which we read out loud. Then my dad read the Christmas story from the New Testament. After our service, we opened one present each (pajamas) and went to bed. It was such a nice way to spend Christmas Eve that we continued it every year after that! I have tried to do the same with my family, and I think my brother does, too.

  16. This is a nice list of traditions. We had some that were similar, and some that I still carry on with my kids. The one big thing we do different w/our children, that we didn’t do when we were kids, is open everything on Christmas Eve. It’s too stressful to do it on Christmas morning, make a big breakfast, and then have to get to my in-laws (they live an hour and a half away) too. I miss opening the gifts on Christmas morning a LOT, but I’d rather do that than be running around stressed on the day we’re supposed to enjoy. 🙂

  17. aww i love all your traditions! im going to take the one of reading the night before christmas book to my kids!

  18. My family tradition is just trying to not get into a huge argument. I have four sisters and getting us all together is always dangerous.

  19. Aww, I love reading about other family’s traditions. We buy new ornaments every year, decorate cookies/gingerbread houses together, and drive around and see the Christmas lights.

  20. My family always has ham sandwiches on Christmas Eve. Not just any ol’ ham sandwich, my mom always gets a pretty spiral ham with fancy bakery breads. The Christmas Eve dinner has evolved to quite the event, and we usually have appetizers and dessert too. The tradition comes from my dad’s family who always used to have plain jane ham sandwiches before they went to church on Christmas Eve. I definitely plan to keep the tradition going!

  21. Christmas dinner with my mom’s siblings and their families has been a tradition for all my life. I just hope it continues into the next generation.

  22. ours was to get up christmas day open our gifts have a bite to eat then we would start cooking our christmas meal it was just us 4 now mom and dad has past away and it is me and my brother and we live in the same town but for the last 25 years i have not seen him on christmas because his wife has it another persons home i just wish i could spend it with him again

  23. When I was a little girl, I would bake cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. Now that me and my sisters are older we have a new tradition. On Christmas Eve, we eat dinner and watch Christmas movies. Then on Christmas Day we eat breakfast, open presents, and go to my grandmother’s for dinner.

  24. I wished I could Ice Skate. It would be an amazing tradition, You are so luck! I live in Tx so everthing is different! Riding the horses is what I grew up with! We open presents At the traditional Christmas EVE Party!
    I lost my Mother this year so new Traditions are starting!
    Happy Holidays,

  25. We always have ham for Christmas dinner. This one is silly but I always get my sons a Nerds Rope for their stocking. They are 18 and 20 now and I still got them one this year! I plan on doing this for as long as I can…they may be 40 and if they still make them I’ll get them a Nerds Rope for Christmas. 🙂

  26. We have many of the same traditions, but we started emailing our Christmas letter because of cost. This year will be a little different, my family already came down and his sibling joined a cult and won’t be celebrating. So we are having my MIL Christmas day so she can enjoy the holiday with us.

  27. I love that you read a book that was your husbands I wish we had one from when we were little! For our traditions : We decorate the tree and house together as a family. We have an advent calendar that my daughter opens up and gets out an ornament to put on a mini tree each day. She loves the countdown and each tiny ornament! My husband and daughter build a gingerbread house every year . My daughter and I decorate either Gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies together. We also make sure to watch Rudolph and Frosty (the originals) .On Christmas Eve we open one present and put on our Christmas Jammies so we look festive for our Christmas photos. On Christmas day we open presents stockings first. Then we head over to the Grandparents along with my other 4 siblings and their families and have a huge feast!

  28. My husband and I are starting new traditions now that we have our own family. Christmas eve we spend with family that doesn’t live with us, Christmas day we spend with the kids, my husband makes pumpkin cookies every Christmas, the kids make their own ornament to add to our tree and we decorate together. My kids are young now so hopefully in time we can add to traditions. Next year I want to wrap with brown packaging paper and have the kids customize it, make it personal to the recipient. Thanks for sharing your traditions, I enjoyed reading them.

  29. Wow, the good old days!! I think I had PJ’s like that too and I KNOW for sure we had the same chair in the background!!! LOL 🙂

  30. As times change so do values and traditions. I think it’s important to keep valuable traditions for as long as possible.

  31. We have on activity that we do together, Christmas Mass on Midnight Christmas Eve, then we go home and open one present. We also try to go to the Nutcracker ballet annually, but lately thats not been possible. We go for a walk to see all the city decorations together. We decorate the tree together… most of these are passed down, the Ballet is mine though.. I love it.

  32. Dinner with my family. Sounds simple, but to me, it is the most welcomed tradition I know of during these special moments.

  33. We actually save the cardboard tubes from wrapping paper and sneak them into my moms house and hide them xmas day – after dinner someone randomly pulls one out and we have a “bonker fight” hitting each other LOL it’s awesome!! We have done it since I was little and stopped last year because Gramma is a bit too old to handle it anymore 🙁

  34. Driving around looking at Christmas lights was always something we did when I was young. We started the same tradition with our own kids. However, now that they are teens, we haven’t done it for the last year or two and I really miss it. We will have to try and get to it again this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.