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I’ve been thinking a lot about all the different fun Christmas traditions people have recently.
Not only because I’ve been researching frugal ways to enjoy the holiday season, but also because I have readers from all over the world (which blows my mind), and I love finding out all the different ways people celebrate this time of year.
(P.S. If you want some money saving tips for Christmas, check out my post on having a frugal Christmas – without sacrificing the fun!)
My family has a few Christmas traditions that we keep almost every year.
We always decorate the Christmas tree together (although under the watchful eye of my mum when we were kids – she hated it when we put the decorating too close together!).
We still have advent calendars – and a more recent Christmas tradition is that our dogs even have their very own dog-friendly advent calendars!
Below, I’ve listed all the Christmas traditions my family love to do, as well as some of the best ones I’ve found around the web – hopefully, there are a few new ones that you’ll love turning into a new tradition for your family this Christmas!
20 Christmas Traditions To Try This Year:
Kicking off each day of December with a chocolate treat is one of those Christmas traditions that has been around since I was a child – and it just makes the festive month seem that bit more special!
There are tonnes of different Advent Calendars on the market to suit everyone, even those with dietary requirements.
If you’re not keen on a food-related calendar, you can get awesome gift-themed ones like this, too.
2) Christmas Jumpers
Is Christmas even Christmas if you don’t go full Mr Darcy and channel the ugliest Christmas jumper you can find?
3) Go Christmas Light Spotting!
One of my family’s favourite Christmas traditions is to take a drive around our local neighbourhood and spot the brightest Christmas light displays houses nearby have put up on their homes.
It’s especially fun when you find a house that’s gone all out with reindeers, Santa and elves dotted through their driveway (yep, I’ve seen that!)
4) Remember the Less Fortunate
Christmas is a time for giving, and remembering the less fortunate at this time of year is something we should all be doing.
There are many different ways you can give back, including:
- Food banks
- Donate to Christmas toy appeals
- Reverse advent calendar
- Volunteer for a local charity, food bank, or soup kitchen
- Perform random acts of kindness (you don’t have to make a big change to make a difference)
- Give a gift to charity – allocate some of your gift-buying budgets to a charity of your choice
5) Set Out Mince Pies, a Carrot, and a Drink for Santa
We don’t have any small children in my family right now, so the Santa-themed traditions are out the window.
However, when I was younger, one of me and my sibling’s favourite Christmas traditions was to set out a mince pie and a drink for Santa, plus some carrots for his reindeer.
We loved coming downstairs in the morning and finding the snacks eaten up!
6) Write Letters to Santa
Another of our favourite Christmas traditions on Christmas eve was to write a letter to Santa.
One of my mum’s favourite stories is when my sister and I asked Santa for his signature in our letter, hoping to catch him out by checking his handwriting!
7) PJ Christmas Eve Gift
I’ve seen this tradition listed everywhere, and I can’t believe it’s something that my family have never done!
This Christmas tradition is where you and your family buy each other Christmas-themed pyjamas, and you then exchange these gifts on Christmas eve to wear overnight and for Christmas morning.
I’ve also seen people do whole boxes, featuring PJs, hot chocolate, fuzzy socks, and maybe a Christmas film.
8) Decorate on 1st December
D-Day (Decoration Day) is a debate that every household goes through at this time of year.
I see some people decorating before November is over so they can enjoy their decorations for as long as possible, while others (I’m looking at my mum here!), don’t like to decorate until mid-way through December.
I love the idea of making a tradition of decorating on the 1st December though, giving you an entire month to enjoy having your house decked out in decorations and lights!
9) Secret Santa
Secret Santa is where people in a group are randomly assigned a person to buy a gift for, so everyone receives a gift from someone. The idea is not to reveal who you had, but I find that it always comes out in the end!
This Christmas tradition is a great idea for big friendship groups and big families and provides the perfect way to ensure everyone gets involved in gift buying while still saving money.
10) Make Gingerbread Houses
The best Christmas traditions are the ones that everyone can get involved in, whether you’re 9 years old or 90.
You can buy pre-made gingerbread house kits all over the place these days, and putting yours together and decorating it is great fun as a family.
11) Christmas Movie Night
I can’t remember there ever being a Christmas day in my home without us all sitting together, tummies full of Christmas dinner, and putting on a festive-themed movie.
We used to make sure at least a few people got a DVD so we’d have a few choices – but with Netflix and Prime having so many options these days, you could easily just do some research beforehand so you know you’ve got a few picks to choose from!
12) Split Up The Christmas Dinner Duties
My mum loves hosting Christmas day, and that always includes a huge three-course meal for around 10 people. Needless to say, it’s a lot of work.
We like to share the load by assigning each person a different task. For example, this year I might cover the entire starter, my parents will be in charge of the main, and my brother will do the dessert.
It’s a newer Christmas tradition but it makes the whole process of cooking a Christmas dinner a lot less stressful for any one person!
13) Make a Night of Christmas Eve
Stretch out Christmas as much as possible by creating a tradition for Christmas Eve. That could be going down the pub with friends, for a light meal out with your family or partner, or simply staying in and watching Christmas films and drinking hot chocolate until you fall into a warm and snuggly sleep.
14) Christmas Morning Music & Treats
Everyone’s Christmas traditions when it comes to Christmas morning are different, whether they involve diving into gift giving straight away, or having a lie in and a nice brunch.
What should always be a constant, however, is the gentle background music of timeless Christmas hits, and a few treats that your family loves (whether that’s in the form of chocolates or a fancy breakfast is up to you!).
15) Christmas Tree Decorations
Make a tradition out of how you buy your Christmas decorations rather than just bulk buying baubles with no sentimental value. Every year, we buy 1 or 2 new Christmas decorations that we hand-pick, and now, we’ve accumulated Christmas tree decorations that we love unpacking every year.
Even better, if you have younger children, assign each one with the task of picking (or making!) a new decoration for the tree and you’ll have ornaments with sentimental value that you can keep for years to come.
16) Christmas Crackers
I only recently found out that Christmas crackers are more of a UK tradition than a universal thing, but I just can’t imagine Christmas dinner without crackers!
For those who don’t know, Christmas crackers look like this:
You pull them with the person sitting next to you, and whoever wins the bigger half gets the gift inside (usually something weird like a puzzle, a sewing kit, or a pair of nail clippers!), a joke to read out, and a paper crown to wear throughout Christmas dinner.
Now that I actually explain it, this is a pretty weird Christmas tradition – but it’s a fun part of the day!
17) Boxing Day Buffet
After many hours spent shopping, prepping, and cooking Christmas dinner (not to mention indulging in as much food and drink as you want), not many people are up for cooking all over again on Boxing day.
An easy and practical Christmas tradition is to have a Boxing Day buffet, with cold cuts from the day before, some jacket potatoes that you simply need to throw in the oven, and any other dips and salads that take little effort. After a heavy day of indulging on Christmas day, a light and simple buffet is one of those Christmas traditions that is not only practical but very much needed, too!
18) Do A Family Gift
Sometimes the people you know best are the hardest to buy for.
If your family is struggling to come up with gift ideas for one another, why not all chip in for one big family gift, such as a trip somewhere? If you have young kids this could be a trip to Disney World, or for older families, a city break or even just an evening out for dinner and a show. Investing a little money and time into each other can mean far more to each other than simply buying a material item.
19) White Elephant
This is a tradition I only became aware of through watching Colleen Ballinger’s vlogs on YouTube, but it looks like such a fun Christmas day game that I’m planning on trying to convince my family to take part!
White Elephant is where each family member brings a small gift to contribute to the game, and numbers are then drawn to decide who picks a gift and opens it first. Then, the next player can choose to either open a gift from the pool or to steal the gift someone has just opened.
The full rules are listed on this website if you are planning on playing this year!
20) Games Afternoon
Without fail, every Christmas afternoon when everyone is full and lethargic from Christmas dinner but not quite ready to retire to the sofas to put a movie on, we’ll play some silly board games. It’s definitely one of our favourite Christmas traditions, and I know my mum always keeps an eye out for funny games that will have everyone in stitches around the table.
A few of our favourites include:
- Watch Ya Mouth / Speak Out
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf (Ages 8+)
- Cards Against Humanity (definitely not for kids!)
I hope you found some inspiration from this list – it’s never too late to start some Christmas traditions of your own, so hopefully you’ve got some ideas to make this Christmas extra special for you and your family!