It seems that everyone these days has an Elf on the Shelf, a Christmas tradition that all kids adore. The jury is out on whether moms and dads find it as charming! While our family did end up “adopting” an elf that sometimes forgets to move each night, we do have other traditions that we’ve been diligent about keeping up over the years. We have your usual bake Christmas cookies and decorate the tree together but some are a little more “special.”

I thought it would be fun to share a few of our other family traditions this time of year. I’d love to hear if you have any in your family too! Be sure to comment below. I’d love to learn about your family!

Our Family’s 6 Christmas Traditions 

Here are our family’s 6 fun Christmas traditions! We look forward to these every holiday season. 

  1. Christmas Books 

We wrap up Christmas books and put them under the tree. Each night leading up to Christmas, the kids open one new book for me to read to them. They love reading all the Christmas stories from year to year and it’s a nice way to spend time together each night during the busy holiday season. If that seems like too much work you could always put the Christmas books in a basket near the tree and skip the wrapping.

  1. Holiday Lights Night

We hop in the car (in our jammies when the kids were younger) with hot cocoa mugs in hand and drive around the town looking at everyone’s holiday lights. We all vote on the best house and award the owners with our homemade salsa made from our garden veggies the past summer. It’s so much fun!

  1. Family Secret Santa

It’s fun to practice kindness during the holidays (and always) so we started this tradition a few years back and the kids LOVE it. They ask if we can do it every year. We draw names in our family for a “Secret Santa” tradition. Your job is to secretly perform kind deeds for your chosen person. Maybe you secretly make their bed one day. Or maybe you do their chores without them noticing. Perhaps a homemade gift appears on your pillow. The sky’s the limit! Our children love trying to figure out who their Secret Santa is and it’s fun for everyone!

  1. One Gift on Christmas Eve

As a special treat, our kids get to open one gift each on Christmas Eve. We do this prior to leaving for Christmas Mass.  

  1. Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunt

The last day of the advent calendar has a clue to kick off our Christmas morning scavenger hunt. The clue sends them somewhere in the home (and sometimes outside the home…to the mailbox or car, for example) where another clue awaits them. This continues all around the home until they come to the end, where they find a wrapped gift for the four of them. Sometimes that gift is a new board game for the family, sometimes it’s much bigger. One year the gift at the end sent them to the bathtub where there were four new pieces of luggage waiting for them. When they opened them up they found tickets to Disney World. This is very much anticipated by our kids and adds to our excitement of Christmas morning. 

  1. Four Gifts Per Child

 Long ago we adopted the four gifts per kid tradition (something you need, something you want, something to wear and something to read). You might think four gifts isn’t enough but when you add in gifts from each grandparent, aunts/uncles, etc. it ends up being just fine. The “something you want” is the gift from Santa. The other three are gifts from mom and dad. The gift at the end of our scavenger hunt is additional and it’s our “something to do.”

Family Christmas Traditions 

I love seeing the magic of Christmas through my children’s eyes! I’m always happy to share our family’s traditions along with parenting tips and tricks with my community. If you’re not already, I’d love for you to join my VIP newsletter so that I can send them to you! Interested in family photos in Lake Country, WI? I’m your gal! Let’s connect and schedule your session. 

Advent calendar with scavenger clue for Christmas Tradition


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