This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra charge to you however it helps me keep my blog up and running as I get a small commission. Thanks for the support!
Its That Wonderful Time Of Year Again!
Every year I love to come up with a new list of activities to do with my family at Christmas time. I type out and number 25 ideas from the list below and place one in each day in my Advent calendar. I also create a copy for myself and place it on my refrigerator, so I can see what I will be doing for the week and plan out the supplies I will need. Read my DIY Advent Calendar Post here!
Every Year Christmas Traditions In Our Home
These Christmas tradition/memory makers I do every year with the kids. I do some on a special day (Christmas Eve) and some I just make sure it happens in the month of December.
- Buy a gingerbread house or village and make it on Christmas Eve as a family
- Drive around (or walk if there is a whole neighborhood decorated) to look at lights. Since the kids are still young I call out things to look for like a mini scavenger hunt.
- Christmas baking, I have recipes I make every year and I try to make at least one new recipe every year. The kids have their own aprons and I have miniature baking tools for them to share.
- Make a light fort. It depends on the house we are living in that year but some years I have done a large box (when they were babies) and poked the small mini lights into the top of the box and they loved it. Since I have some big kids now, my oldest son’s bed is a perfect fort on the bottom due to us never buying the trundle portion.
- Look at the best Christmas catalogs and write (or tell Mom) what they want for Christmas on special Christmas paper for Santa
- Breakfast with Santa (I have found one in every state we have lived in so check in your area! My favorite in New York is at Turning Stone Casino.)
- Decorate the tree and house while playing Christmas music
- Decorate the outside with Dad
- Lots of Christmas movie nights with hot chocolate
- Make sugar cookies and decorate them for Santa on Christmas Eve
- Open Advent calendar each day and get a chocolate
- Visit Santa
- Find events and fun things to do around the area
- Read stories in front of/under the Christmas tree (we lay on our bellies)
- Elf On The Shelf (When she arrives she brings them a special breakfast, small toys, and Christmas pajamas to wear for the month)
- Get family pictures done and put the new pictures on the Christmas cards
- Let the kids have $1 for each person in the family and go to Dollar Tree to pick out a gift for everyone. Come home wrap up their gifts secretly and try not to give it to the person before Christmas!
- I collect Christmas books so I have a big basket from all the years I have been collecting them. We read one every day. I buy one new book every year.
- Candy cane hunt (I hide a certain number of candy canes around the house and they have to find them. They love this and ask to play 100 times!)
- Play with our old school Little People Christmas Village and Christmas train (they now have a slightly updated Little People Christmas train)
- I buy a family ornament ever year and each child gets one special ornament in their stocking each year (I put their initials on the bottom of it so I don’t forget) and when they move out they can have all of their own ornaments for their own tree.
- Special Christmas Breakfast (I change my recipe every year)
- Frosty the Snowman homemade pizza (the kids love helping make this!)
- I buy one Christmas musical creature. They are annoying but my kids love them. If I can’t find a reasonably priced one I wait until after Christmas and buy one (I don’t take the decorations down until January 2 so the kids don’t mind).
- Go ice skating (this picture is in Hawaii so it wasn’t as cold as a typical rink!)
Christmas Travel And Fun In Our Family
We have family all over Maine so we visit multiple places on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I must have the activities I have planned in the Advent calendar be easy to do in another state (our elf Jingle even flies to Maine with us!). In Hawaii we were not able to come home for Christmas which was extra hard for us but I upped my holiday cheer and memory maker fun because I didn’t want them to be sad.
I like to have the kids open presents from us on Christmas (we say some are from Mommy and Daddy and some are from Santa because my oldest is starting to question things). If we have enough money in the budget we get the kids a big together gift. Last year we were not able to do so but we were able to save up for a trampoline in the summer time. The kids had no idea and were happy with what they got which is all that matters. I put special items in the stockings from “us” and these are opened at night time as the last presents.
New Ideas For This Year
I like to add new activities and memories every year and test new things out. As my kids also grow some things become too easy for crafts and I have to change it a little but that’s the fun of it! This year I want to try the following or adapt something I have already tried:
- Christmas scavenger hunt with items you have around the house that are Christmas related(You can write words, make pictures, or have them find anything around the house(one year I verbally said the item and they still loved it!)
- Do something nice for someone else (my oldest came up with the idea to make cookies for the neighbors)
- Volunteer (we have a difficult time finding a place that allows small children to be present, so I make up our own little things like picking up trash at the school etc.)
- Pine cone Bird Feeders (put peanut butter on pine cones and sprinkle with bird seed and hang outside for the birds)
- Check out Happiness is Homemade Blog for Popsicle Stick Christmas Tree Ornaments
- Picture of Santa leaving the presents at ICaughtSanta on an a free app (my sister in law did this and my kids are hoping I can catch Santa in the act this year!)
- Check out Katy Elliott’s Blog for Cinnamon Ornaments (we have made these a few times and it makes the tree smell awesome)
- Handprint Christmas pictures (check out my Pinterest Christmas board for ideas)
- Check out Reading Confetti’s Blog for Reindeer Ornaments
- Go on the Polar Express (we have not done this yet and I’m thinking about it this year)
- Make snowflakes out of plain white printer paper
- Jingle bell necklaces (I found bells of multiple shapes and sizes at Dollar Tree)
- Check out Artsy Mamma Blog to make the Reindeer Finger Puppet
- Make holiday playdough (I’ve tried a new one every year)
- Check out Growing Up Gabel’s Blog where she created Wine Cork Snowman
- Christmas Bingo
- Check out I Can Teach My Child Blog to make a Christmas Ball Sort (I’m going to have my son use the holes as a target for his Nerf guns)
- Kindness Elf (you can make up whatever you want your kids to do: be polite, say hi, hold a door, pick out toy to give to a needy child, etc.)
- Minute to Win It Holiday Games (if you ever watched shows I just made up funny things from the show)
- operationgratitude.com write/draw cards for military or first responders (submissions need to be in by October or you can do general letters which get sent year round)
- Snowball Fight indoors (everyone gets a cup of large marshmallows and goes to town hitting each other with them!)
- The Christmas Pickle (I’ve always wanted to do this tradition and this year is the year!)
- Make Christmas pancakes by spraying your metal Christmas cookie cutters with olive oil and pour batter into it and voila Christmas pancakes!
- Check out TotSchooling Blog to get free Playdough mats with Christmas designs (I laminated mine after to make them last forever)
- If you would like even more Christmas ideas and activities please visit my I Love Christmas Board on Pinterest! I have over 135 pins of pure Christmas awesomeness.
If you can’t tell I love Christmas! I love having these special memories with my kids and showing them its not all about the presents. My kids say their favorite tradition is to put up the Christmas tree (my requirement is it’s a real Christmas tree, I have for my entire life!) and to decorate the house. I have to say that is one of my favorites as well. We play loud Christmas music from Pandora and have an exciting time making our house festive. I have 3 large totes of Christmas stuff and I think I might have to add on one more tote this year (my husband does not agree haha).
I love saving money on Christmas and strive to not spend a lot but still make the most memories with what I have. Here is my tips I do every year to save money:
- Coupons and Deals: I get them in the mail, I use my three favorite coupon sources Ibotta, Krazy Coupon Lady, and Hip2Save. The craft stores are also great at sending out coupons so get on any mailers you want to for the stores you like or reward programs.
- I shop for decorations and anything Christmas after Christmas. Depending on where you live the store could be cleaned out quickly even at 50% off so check out the store early to get what you want!
- Make crafts out of things you already have in your home
- Buy supplies at Dollar Tree
- Start collections and build on it every year to make the tradition fun
- If I’m tight on money and have jammies in a size for the baby from the year before I use those or check out kids clothing consignment shops for holiday apparel.
- Black Friday Shopping! I get 75% of my shopping done on this day and we usually go for 6am and I still get great deals.
- DIY gifts! This year I’m handmaking kid gifts and adult gifts to save money and make it more special.
- Find your favorite store and visit their website on a regular basis to get last minute deals. I use krazy coupon lady and hip2save to also track retail sales.
- I use my saved up Ibotta credits towards gift cards to purchase gifts.
- I stopped buying junk for their stockings and put less in but with better value (if you think the toy will break in a few months don’t get it unless it will bring boundless joy!)
I may go a little overboard with Christmas but it just brings me so much happiness and I love seeing my kids just as happy! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and start some great new traditions.
Do you have any traditions in your family I didn’t mention? Please share with everyone in the comments. Thanks!