Lesly Gregory
family on christmas eve

Creating Christmas traditions with your family means making a special memory just for you. Whether it's how you hang stockings or decorate a special spot in your home, taking time with those people most important to you is one of the best parts of the holiday season.

Even if you don't currently have a special family tradition for Christmas Eve, it's not too late to start. Whether you're looking for ideas that are kid-friendly, all about food, full of the holiday spirit or a combination of options, these suggestions will inspire you to make Christmas Eve even more special and personal.

1. Read a good book

family reading book

There's nothing better than a family gathered around the fire or piled onto a comfy couch listening to a story read aloud. For some, Christmas hasn't officially begun until that special book is read and everyone has a chance to take a quiet moment to get into a holiday mood. It's also a nice tradition to close out Christmas Eve – one final activity before everyone goes off to sleep.


2. Play the silver screen

family watching movie

Equally relaxing, although potentially a little more noisy, turning Christmas Eve into a movie night can also bring a family together. Whether your audience is still into cartoons or leans more toward something full of adult humor, there's a Christmas-themed movie out there for your family to enjoy year after year.

Some epitomize the holiday spirit and may even bring a tear to your eye, while others will have the whole family laughing or cheering. Regardless, this tradition creates a special moment and gets your family sitting together for a decent amount of time.

3. Listen to the sounds of the holidays

christmas music

Just about every artist out there has a Christmas compilation of standard holiday favorites. You could literally hear one songs sung hundreds of different ways.

Go with who you love, whether contemporary or classic, and don't be stingy with the volume. Filling your home with music on Christmas Eve is a great tradition.

4. Get crafty for Christmas

christmas crafts

Photo by Paul Solomon on Unsplash

If you're looking for a Christmas tradition that revolves around a holiday activity, there are plenty of choices. Whether it's a craft like making an ornament or building a gingerbread house to serve as the centerpiece to your Christmas Day meal, creating something together is a great family tradition to institute.

If you're not the crafty type, rely on the artistry of others to entertain. Pile the whole family into the car to tour the light displays in all the local neighborhoods. Throw in some hot chocolate and special snacks to turn the drive into a family event, searching for the best-decorated house of the season.

5. Explore other traditions

christmas pickle tree

When in doubt, consider borrowing another country or culture's holiday tradition and make it your own. For example, you may have seen a pickle ornament while doing your holiday shopping. Your immediate reaction could have been, “Who wants a pickle on their Christmas tree?" but it's actually a Christmas tradition that originated in Germany. After the kids go off to sleep on Christmas Eve, hide the pickle ornament deep in the tree. Whoever finds it first on Christmas Day gets an extra gift.

6. Feed Santa and his reindeer

cookies for santa

One of the most iconic images of the holidays is Santa with his plate of milk and cookies. Transform the necessary activity of assembling your special snack plate into a family baking activity. Prepare your cookies from scratch, and don't forget about the decorations. Creating a family cookie especially for Santa is a holiday tradition everyone can participate in, regardless of age.

While you're in the kitchen, don't ignore the reindeer. Sure, carrots are customary, but they're so boring. Give those hungry animals something else to snack on by making your own version of reindeer food. This is also an all-inclusive activity. Kids of any age will love combining all the reindeer's favorites into a super snack of Chex, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, mini pretzels, M&Ms and more. There are so many recipes out there, or you can customize it to your own tastes.

7. Track Santa and his sleigh

girl looking for santa

Don't forget the popular Christmas Eve tradition of tracking Santa on his way around the world. NORAD Tracks Santa not only counts down the big guy's departure a month out, but allows you to follow his progress throughout Christmas Eve. Keeping an eye on Santa can be a lively holiday tradition.

8. Give Santa a key

christmas santa key

Worried about not having a chimney as Santa gets closer to your home? No problem. Create a family tradition of making a special key for Santa by decorating a wooden key or novelty item. Once it's ready, hang (or hide) it outside your front door, so Santa is able to pop in and deliver gifts without any issue.

9. Personalize your holiday

christmas pajamas

Putting your own family spin on Christmas Eve can also create a great tradition. Consider honoring all the people you love like family with a special Christmas Eve dinner. Have a potluck where everyone brings a dish that's special to them.

Make the tradition even more special by adding a small gift exchange. You can even turn the gathering into a pajama party and require each family unit to come in matching, holiday-themed PJs.

Regardless of what kind of tradition you're looking to start for the holiday season, the most important thing is to spend Christmas Eve creating special memories while reflecting on the year and appreciating the people who have made it so good.



About The Author

Lesly Gregory

Lesly Gregory has over 15 years of marketing experience, ranging from community management to blogging to creating marketing collateral for a variety of industries. A graduate of Boston University, Lesly holds a B.S. in Journalism. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, three cats and assorted fish.