Come December, you’d think we’re all just getting geared up for the holiday season. But surprisingly many already feel burned out and stressed. Christmas decorations have been appearing in my stores for a month already and there’s constant pressure in advertising to buy more stuff. I aim to keep things simple and sweet for my kids, without the big commercial push. As a family, we try to keep the season about making memories with a focus on Christmas traditions.
I received a complimentary gingerbread house kit from Bee International and compensation in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #Sponsored
I had a pretty sweet childhood and my parents absolutely did all of the Christmas traditions on this list. I was fortunate in that all of my family lived close to me and we were able to get together frequently during the season. But even if your childhood was less than idyllic or you don’t have nearby relatives, you can still start these Christmas traditions with your own children this year. Nothing on this list is overwhelming (who needs more stuff to do during the holidays, right?). But these Christmas Traditions to do with kids will add joy to your entire season.
Christmas Countdown Chain
Having a Christmas countdown chain is a simple way to appreciate each day leading up to Christmas Day. Change it up by helping children write something of gratitude inside each of the rings when assembling the chain.
Christmas Tree Night
The night we go out to choose our Christmas tree is a looked-forward-to yearly tradition. We put something to cook in the slow cooker, bundle up and head out to choose the perfect Christmas tree. After a warm dinner, we play Christmas music, trim the tree with lights and pull out our treasured decorations. Christmas tree night sets up the feeling for the entire season!
Yearly Christmas Ornaments
When my kids were young, I started purchasing them an heirloom quality Christmas ornament each year. Add in a few more kids and that started to be a pricey expense to do yearly. I do still purchase them a special ornament occasionally. Crafting your own ornaments as a family is another option. Maybe you have a classic Christmas classic ornament that you make each year, like salt dough hand prints or clothespin reindeer. If you’re looking for something fresh to make this year, search Pinterest for all the new and trendy holiday crafts for kids.
Wear Christmas Pajamas
Don’t leave the new jammies just for Christmas eve! Choose a Christmas print or a classic style that kids can wear year-round starting at the beginning of the month.
Give a Gift
Don’t leave the gift giving just to the grown ups. Have siblings choose a small something for each other too. Another great idea that I do with my kids is having them choose gifts to donate for local children’s charities. My kids are thrilled to choose a special gift for a child who might not receive anything else.
Sing Christmas Songs
Come the day after Thanksgiving and let the Christmas sing-a-long begin! I play Christmas music when I’m in the car. I play Christmas music when I’m cleaning house. I play Christmas music when I’m cooking dinner. Sing along and soon enough the kids will hear their favorites and start singing along too!
Bake a Favorite Holiday Treat
Every family has “their” recipe. For my family it’s oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookies and we love to bake and give them to family and friends. If your family doesn’t have a traditional recipe yet, try out a new recipe and make it your own.
Christmas Movie Day
We choose at least one day during the holiday season for a Christmas movie day. We usually take advantage of a chilly or wet day (those are hard to come by in Southern California!). We lounge in our pajamas, the kids drag their pillows and blankets onto the living room floor and we watch our favorite Christmas movies together while snacking on popcorn and hot cocoa.
Make a Gingerbread House
The iconic gingerbread house is a whimsical symbol of the holiday season with icing frosted rooftops and colorful candies. Kids not only love building and decorating a gingerbread house but then of course, eating it!
The last time I attempted to make a gingerbread house with my eldest son, it was a messy and frustrating proposition, with candy that wouldn’t stick to the icing and gingerbread walls that kept collapsing. Bee International has made a Gingerbread Cottage Kit that has streamlined this tradition with pre-baked gingerbread pieces and a new Link & Lock system. Seriously, it couldn’t be easier!
Everything you need from the pre-baked gingerbread pieces, icing and candy decorations are included in the kit. There are several kits available including classic candies, popular brand like NERDS and SweetTarts and even a few featuring character designs.
The simple instructions are printed on the back of the box. My 6-year old was able to help decorate after his teenage siblings built and iced the house. The patented Link & Lock design makes the gingerbread making process so simple; definitely look for the Bee International brand when shopping for your gingerbread house. My kids decided to change up the design and did their own thing with the decorating. I was happy to find something they were all loving to do together this holiday season and there wasn’t one argument between them the entire time, a Christmas miracle!
Pick up the Bee International Gingerbread Cottage Kit at your local retailer. They can be found at Target, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar Tree, Big Lots and Walgreens.
One Gift at a Time
In my family we’ve always opened gifts one person at a time. If I’ve spent the time carefully choosing a gift for someone I want to see that person opening it! If you’ve always opened all the presents in a Christmas morning frenzy, consider slowing things down and having family open gifts one person at a time.
Christmas Morning Breakfast
We take a break in the Christmas festivities to enjoy a nice Christmas morning breakfast. Prepare something the night before like a French toast bake or egg casserole that can be headed and warmed in the morning. We always have bacon!
Viewing Christmas Lights
While we usually go out walking through the neighborhood at least once during the holiday season, we always drive through after Christmas festivities for another peek. It’s a fun way for kids to wind down after a busy day before heading to bed.