Author: Kristen Tucker
Christmas is more than a pile of presents under the tree. Christmas is about family and creating memories together that will last a lifetime. I have so many wonderful memories from growing up and celebrating the holidays, it wasn’t always about the presents. My family always made it a fun and magical experience so we weren’t only thinking about the presents we would hopefully find under the Christmas tree on Christmas day. That fun experience doesn’t have to stay behind in your childhood! Continue getting in the Christmas spirit with these fun ideas! This list is a combination of traditions I remember from my own childhood and some new ideas that I intend to try out.
1. Make a gingerbread house.
This is such a family friendly activity that could last for hours! You can get creative, stay realistic, create a story with your design; so many opportunities. A gingerbread house is not only fun to decorate, but fun to eat too!
2. Wear matching family pajamas.
You had to know that this was going to make the list! We’ve all seen the Christmas photos of families in their matching PJs. You can go just the matching pattern route, or even get your own custom set for your family! Whether you love it or hate it, at least you’re comfortable right? Plus, family photos will last a lifetime.
3. Watch your favorite Christmas movies.
Watching Christmas movies has to be one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I don’t care if I’m watching the same movie I’ve seen a thousand times before or a new one that I’ve never seen. It’s an activity the entire family can enjoy! Some of my favorites are Elf, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Or if you’re like my husband and consider Die Hard a Christmas Movie then go for an action pact Christmas movie instead! That’s the great thing about movies, so many different options.
4. Open one special present on Christmas Eve night.
Something I always loved doing on Christmas Eve night growing up was opening one special gift. It’s something that became a tradition in my household and we still look forward to it every year. Sometimes it’s a thoughtful gift or something homemade but it’s always something that I look forward to.
5. Make homemade Christmas ornaments.
I don’t know if I’m just a sentimental person but I really love homemade things. Christmas ornaments are no different. My mom still hangs my Christmas ornaments that I made for her when I was a kid. Don’t just leave it as a ‘school tradition’; bring the fun home to the entire family! The is such a fun activity for the whole family. You don’t have to be super artistic or creative to make it fun! Plus, you can make them into whatever you want. And you’ll have such special ornaments for many more years to come!
6. Go see the Christmas Lights.
Christmas lights are so beautiful to look at! I remember my parents driving me around to look at the Christmas decorations in our neighborhood. Simple but fun! Hopefully you have a neighborhood near you that goes all out, but if not don’t worry! Turn the lights down, get cozy and turn on YouTube! There are tons of videos of drive through Christmas lights so you don’t have to miss out!
7. Bake Christmas cookies.
I definitely have a sweet tooth and eating Christmas cookies is not only for Santa Clause to enjoy! Make different types of cookies, try using some cut outs of holiday themes and decorate them and then simply enjoy your creations. If you aren’t up for doing the Gingerbread House, this is just as fun for the family! Decorate cookies instead!
8. Giving back! Volunteering!
Giving back is always a great thing to do! You can sponsor a child in foster care and buy them Christmas presents, donate to a children’s hospital, send a Christmas letter to children, run a race for a good cause, pay someone’s layaway balance, spend your time in a nursing home with those who don’t have families, take lunches to people who work on the holidays, give blood, or visit your local animal shelter and volunteer to lend a hand! The list goes on and on. There are so many ways to give back this holiday season.
9. Go on a relaxing stay in a cabin
Nothing is better than a relaxing getaway with your family! What’s more picturesque than spending Christmas in a cabin? It’s like a scene from a Hallmark movie. (I probably don’t have to tell you, but I will. Did you know that StayOver has 36 beautiful cabins and homes to stay in during the holiday season?)
10. Go pick out a real Christmas tree
This is a tradition I have never tried! I always see it in the movies, I think it would be quite fun. There are sustainable options now more than ever for getting yourself a real Christmas tree. I understand if you’d rather have your artificial tree (less bugs and mess), it would still be fun to go to a Christmas tree farm. The embracing smell of pine, snow flurries, surrounded by your family – sounds like a memorable time to me!
11. Decorate the Christmas tree together
What’s Christmas without a Christmas tree? As a kid this was probably the most memorable part of Christmas. It’s what I looked forward to every year. Bringing out the ornaments (some I even made in school) and enjoying time with my family. Now, I love coming up with unique ideas on how to decorate a Christmas tree. This year we did a Nightmare Before Christmas Tree and we love it! Go traditional, or get creative. Either way, we know it’ll look beautiful!
12. Singing/Playing Christmas music
Now hear me out, I know this isn’t the most popular tradition. I have never had carolers myself, but would I love to! Opening your door unknowingly being greeted with the sound of Christmas feeling your ears. It sounds absolutely magical! “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” – Buddy the Elf.
13. Make homemade hot chocolate
Really nothing much to say here. Chocolate? Marshmallows? Whipped cream? YES PLEASE!!
14. Have a ugly Christmas sweater party
This is a popular tradition and I think we all know why. Find your the brightest, most glittery, obnoxious sweater you can find and enjoy a good laugh with friends! I know I for one love seeing those pictures on Facebook. And you know what I would love to see even more – voting on Facebook! Post everyone’s picture and let your family and friends vote for the winner! Share the fun with everyone!
15. Go ice skating.
I can’t skate but I would enjoy laughing at myself trying to stay on my feet. And hey, if you need to use the milk crates, I’m not judging. You may even see me using one!
16. Read a holiday book each night of December.
If you have children, this is a great idea! I bet they would look forward to it every night. There are tons of Christmas books out there to enjoy. It could be a family tradition that stays with your children forever. (While it’s not a Christmas book, but I still have a childhood book that I cherish!)
17. Make homemade Christmas cards for the family.
Whether you go all out or keep it simple at home, family Christmas cards are the best! Not only is it a fun activity for the family to enjoy, but your friends and extended family as well! I love receiving cards from my loved ones. They are different every year and really helps me feel like we are celebrating it together!
18. Go to a local Christmas parade
A lot of hometowns have local Christmas parades. They are fun for all ages! If your hometown doesn’t host a Christmas parade, look for one in a neighboring town. (Again, you can find anything on Youtube, get comfy and enjoy larger Christmas parades that are too far to drive!)
19. Host a game night
Let’s be real, game nights are fun to have for any holiday. Have everyone who comes bring a game along with them and a snack of their choice. It gives you the chance to play different games, and even a little ‘pot luck’ for everyone to enjoy!
20. Host a Christmas brunch
The holidays should always revolve around yummy food, in my opinion. Savory or sweet, I’m ready for a feast. There is just something special about the first meal on Christmas!
I know the past couple years it might’ve been hard for some to get into the Christmas spirit. I hope this list inspired you to plan your family’s traditions (and hopefully even add some new ones)! I can’t wait to do them with my family.
The team here at StayOver wishes you and your family the happiest of holidays! We hope they are filled with love and happiness. See yall next year!