Family Traditions for the Christmas Holiday Season by Author Patti Greene
It is amazing what you find when you start cleaning out files (I am speaking of file folders – the old manila ones that we used to use religiously). I pulled out these files from the garage that I haven't looked at for 20+ years. One of the items I found was a list of family Christmas traditions that I typed up (with a real typewriter) in December, 1989 for our Sunday School Class at First Baptist Church, Humble, TX.
So, knowing that Christmas is around the corner, I am going to share these with you now in hopes that maybe, just maybe, you will find one or two Christmas traditions to start in your family.
1. Read Christmas books and bedtime stories around the tree. It is best if you cuddle up in a blanket too.
2. Give each child a Christmas ornament annually, so that when they leave home, they will have their own childhood ornaments to take with them as they start their family.
3. Have a birthday party for Jesus. Let your children invite some friends over for a Jesus birthday party. Serve cake and ice-cream, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, blow out candle, etc. Give out Christian party treats. Each child could bring a Christmas book to exchange.
4. Tie Christmas bows on your pets.
5. Show videos of past Christmases.
6. If you put Christmas apples (or fruit) on the tree, talk about the fall of Adam.
7. Go Christmas caroling with the family. But, be safe!
8. Have a Christmas photo taken each year of the entire family together. Over the years, you can see how much you all have matured/aged. LOL.
9.Old-Fashioned - Make separate photo albums for your Christmas photos. Date each yearly section of photos. Then during the Christmas season, leave the albums out so all the family members can look and recall previous Christmases.
New-Fashioned - Save Christmas photos on separate flash drives and have them scroll on a photo picture frame during the Christmas season.
10. On Christmas Eve, give everyone a new pair of pajamas to wear that evening. That way, everyone has a nice new pair of pajamas on for the pictures on Christmas morning. You can vary the themes each year. One year we had all camo pajamas; another all college-wear.
11. Drive around and look at the lights in your neighborhood. Take a widow or elderly neighbor or church member with you.
12. Use an Advent wreath or an Advent calendar.
13. Save your previous year Christmas cards for art projects.
14. Purchase a plastic manger, including all the Biblical characters, so that even the youngest member of the family can play with it. Keep it accessible throughout the holiday season.
15. Read Luke 2:1-20 (The Christmas Story) on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. If you have an old family Bible, it is a great time to use it.
16. Bring a meal and/or gifts to a needy family.
17. Give favor coupons as gifts wrapped in Christmas boxes. Ex. Good for one free babysitting night.
18. Decide on one family to have over for dinner and/or desserts.
19. Start a Christmas diary. Write down a description of your holiday season each year. Be sure to note all the cute or unusual comments the children make.
20. Light candles for your Christmas Eve or Christmas dinner.
21. Have a Christmas bulb hunt - similar to an Easter egg hunt. Then, let each child hang the bulbs they find on the tree.
22. Have a cookie exchange party. Each person who is invited brings 4 dozen “homemade” cookies. Then, after some fellowship time, each person takes home 4 dozen different cookies from all the varieties brought. The host makes more cookies so cookies can be eaten at the party.
23. Make a birthday cake for Jesus. Allow each member of the family to participate in decorating it.
24. Wrap each child or grandchild's gift with a different designed paper. Tell them what their wrapping paper looks like. They will enjoy the anticipation seeing the various gifts awaiting them.
25. Merry Christmas.
c2013 Patti Greene