11 Magical Christmas Eve Family Traditions to Start this Year

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No matter which holiday you celebrate this time of year, it’s important to have traditions. Christmas Eve traditions create memories that last a lifetime and are something families look forward to and carry on.

Here are some ideas of new traditions you can start with your family this year.

Christmas Eve tradition ideas

Many of the traditions we had during my childhood have now been carried on and shared with my children, as well as some new ones we have started ourselves.

While I love sharing traditions from my childhood, I have been looking for some fun new ideas to incorporate into our holidays to make our own. Maybe you are looking for something new to start with your family, too.

These are my favorite ideas and some we will be starting this year. I can’t wait to begin starting new memories and traditions that maybe my sons will also pass down to their future families. 

Family Christmas Eve Traditions You Can Start Right Now! #christmas #christmaseve #traditions #holidays

1) Make a Christmas Eve Box

Remember wanting to open just one gift on Christmas Eve? I love the idea of making a Christmas Eve box for the kids with pajamas, Christmas stories, a DVD, snacks, or an ornament.

You are only limited by your imagination. I love these ideas from Oh My Creative and Money Saving Sisters.

2) Have a Christmas Movie Night

Get excited for Christmas morning by having a marathon of your favorite Christmas movies. Serve cookies and hot cocoa, and the night is complete!

3) Give to the Less Fortunate

Christmas is a hard time of year for many families. If you are one of the more fortunate families with plenty to eat and gifts under the tree, why not give a gift to a needy child or family?

There are many ways to do this, such as dropping a gift in a donation box, choosing a child from an angel tree, or being matched up with a child through many different organizations.

Family Christmas Eve Traditions You Can Start Right Now! #christmas #christmaseve #traditions #holidays

4) Bake Christmas Cookies

This is such a simple yet meaningful tradition in many families. Not only does baking with your family create happy memories, but who doesn’t love having a bunch of delicious cookies in the house?

Cookies also make great gifts for family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors if you have too many. But, really, is there such a thing as too many cookies? I don’t think so.

5) Give Your Children a Yearly Ornament

Take the kids out every year to choose their own ornament for the year. We love to pick up an ornament whenever we travel or go somewhere unique, even in the middle of July.

Christmas shops in your area are also a great place to find that one-of-a-kind ornament that will remind you of the year you bought it.

Have your kids pick out their own or choose one for them as a special gift in their stockings or on the night you put up your Christmas tree.

6) Enjoy Family Game Night

Card games, board games, any kind of game. With a larger-than-normal group of people, games are even more fun!

Break out a deck of cards or board games and have some laughs and good times. Don’t forget to make the game night snacks!

Family Christmas Eve Traditions You Can Start Right Now! #christmas #christmaseve #traditions #holidays

7) Take a Christmas Light Tour

If you have a festively lit neighborhood, take a walk and look at the lights. If your neighborhood is on the more tame side, take a ride to look at lights in other neighborhoods. Some towns even have a list of the best-lit houses.

8) Make Reindeer Food

Go above and beyond leaving a carrot or an apple (like we do) and make some “real” reindeer food with the kids. I love this idea from Smart School House and think we will try it this year!

Family Christmas Eve Traditions You Can Start Right Now! #christmas #christmaseve #traditions #holidays

9) Track Santa

If you do Santa in your house, track him with the NORAD Santa Tracker. My kids both love seeing where Santa is, and as a bonus, they often get to learn about new places in the world. This is one of my family’s favorite traditions. 

10) Donate Old Toys

To make room for new toys, fill a box or bag of outgrown or no longer loved toys to donate. You could donate to a thrift store, shelter, church group, or other charitable foundation in your area. Make a child happy while decreasing clutter. It’s a win-win!

11) Read The Night Before Christmas

As a kid, my grandfather used to read The Night Before Christmas, and I loved it. I was always excited to go to bed and see what goodies would be under the tree when I woke up. 

I hope you now have some ideas to start with your family this year and for years to come. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a happy holiday season.

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  1. I have already started to put books aside and made a note on my big Mum’s calendar in November, to wrap the books. I figure if I put aside a couple of books each month, I’ll be done by then and then I just have to wrap them.
    As for the advent, I was thinking of doing the small muffin tins covered with bristle board and putting a small treat in each. Just trying to get away from so much of the commercialism of Christmas, in even the tiniest little way. 🙂

  2. I love this post. We have some Christmas traditions at our house. The children get a new ornament every year. We read Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve. We haven’t started the opening of a present on Christmas Eve with my 4 year old, although I’m not sure why. 🙂 We are planning on having a new advent calendar next year that will be homemade, as he doesn’t like most candy. We are also going to have 24 wrapped books so he can pick one to open each evening and that will be the story that he has read to him, since we read to him every night anyway, it’s a win-win. Thanks for the awesome post. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. I have seen and LOVE the book idea! I keep saying I’m going to start doing it, but never seem to get myself on the ball.

      My grandmother got me an advent calendar every year that was just a door with a scene behind it. No candy, and I loved it!

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