It’s Tuesday of Christmas week, and Christmas Day is just five 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.
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!
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.
We eventually graduated to an Advent house with a door to open everyday leading to Christmas revealing special treats inside.
This year, I made a sentimental Advent calendar that I really love. It’s a family photo Advent calendar full of lots of treasured memories from past Christmases. You can read about 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!