Our Family’s Favorite Christmas Traditions

It’s Tuesday of Christmas week, and Christmas Day is just six days away. Today I’m sharing some of our favorite Christmas traditions that our family has shared over the years.

I love the days surrounding Christmas, when our adult kids come home and school is out for Caroline.

We have so many cherished memories wrapped up in sweet holiday traditions, so I wanted to share a few of the special things our family looks forward to every year, even as the kids have grown into adults in hopes that it might inspire you to start traditions of your own.

Christmas home tour in the kitchen -- poinsettias on the counter

1. Baking and Decorating Christmas Cookies

We’ve been making the same Christmas cookie recipe for years and years. It’s an old Southern Living recipe. I make the dough ahead of time and then we roll it out, cut out the cookies, bake them, and then decorate with colorful powdered sugar icing and sprinkles.

We’ve never been ones to use the packaged tube icings, and our iced cookies are colorful pastels instead of rich reds and greens. But these cookies are decorated with lots of love and creativity, and they are so pretty and delicious!

Decorating Christmas cookies

This year, I found the cutest little Christmas village house cookie mold from Michael’s and we made a colorful village of Christmas cookie houses!

We just used our normal cookie recipe, but instead of rolling and cutting out the shapes, we pressed the dough into the molds. It made the cutest cookies!

Colorful Christmas house cookies

Caroline won the prize this year for most attention to detail!

Decorating Christmas cookies - a family Christmas tradition

If you don’t have time to make the dough, use package cookie dough to roll out and cut out your shapes. It’s a great shortcut when you’re short on time (or energy)!

2. Counting Down to Christmas

Ever since our kids were toddlers we counted down to Christmas in some way. Long ago we made Hershey’s kiss garland out of plastic wrap, kisses, and ribbon. We cut away a Hershey’s kiss each day counting down to Christmas.

Advent Calendar

We eventually graduated to an Advent house with a door to open everyday leading to Christmas revealing special treats inside.

DIY Advent Calendar Idea with vintage family photos

One of our favorites is our DIY sentimental Advent calendar full of Christmas memories. It’s a family photo Advent calendar full of lots of treasured memories from past Christmases. You can read about how I made it here.

3. New Christmas PJs

Each year on Christmas Eve, our children received a new pair of Christmas PJs. When they were younger it was easy to find and get them to wear matching pajamas. It was fun to open a gift on Christmas Eve. While the older adult children have moved on from this, Caroline still looks forward to this Christmas Eve tradition!

4. Reading and Reenacting the Christmas Story

We always read the Christmas account from Luke 2 on Christmas Eve as a family. Many years ago, my sweet husband thought of a creative way for us to include everyone in the reading of the Christmas story.


We have three children, and there is a 10 year age difference between our second son and our daughter who is the youngest. Before Caroline was old enough to read, she was assigned the job of collecting all of the nativity figures and moving them into place while the rest of us read our assigned passages of Scripture.

It was a great way to include everyone, and keep our focus on the Reason for the season.

5. Delivering Baked Goods to Neighbors

We tend to bake or make the same favorite treats every year at Christmas. You can see some our favorite Christmas treats here.

Wrapped Treats for Christmas Gifts

We make LOTS of loaves of chocolate chip zucchini bread to share with friends and neighbors. When the kids were little it was fun to drive around (or walk around to those nearby) delivering our baked goods.

6. Attending Christmas Eve Service

We love attending the Christmas Eve service at our church. It’s always a special time for our family to center our hearts and minds on Jesus.

Nativity at Night

7. Looking at Christmas Lights

It’s fun to drive around looking at Christmas lights around town. Some neighborhoods go all out, and it’s fun to see the pretty homes, and the ones that are over-the-top!

Christmas Lights Home Tour

8. A New Christmas Ornament for the Year

As long as I can remember, we’ve given each of our kids a new ornament each year to represent something they’ve done or accomplished, or a special event or interest for the year. These are all on our “fun” family tree in the basement, and now that the kids are grown they try to guess what they think their ornaments will be each year.

9. Playing Games and Working Puzzles

When all of our kids are home we love spending time playing games together. Sometimes there can be some fierce competition between certain family members, though!

Jeff and I love to work jigsaw puzzles over the holiday break, so you can bet that’s what we’ll be doing (but most likely after all of the big Christmas festivities are over).

10. Big Family Gatherings

Plaid Christmas tablescape in the kitchen

We’re blessed to have lots of extended family in town, so much of the week of Christmas is spent at large family gatherings. As our parents have grown older, we’ve taken on a lot of the hosting responsibilities, so we’ll be opening our home to both sides of our family for our Christmas gatherings this year.

Christmas Candlelight

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into our family during this sweet season. Our activities aren’t outlandish or extravagant, but simply centered around home and family as we try to keep our focus on the reason we celebrate.

This year, we are so excited to share our Christmas traditions with our new granddaughter. As our family grows, we look forward to creating wonderful new traditions with our grandchildren!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

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