As we’ve ventured into parenthood with these three amazing little ragamuffins (only seven years in!), it has been fun working to establish our own Christmas traditions as a family! We are trying new things each year, and still figuring out which traditions will stick (while some traditions might come and go as the kids grow), but there are a few that we have loved and hope to maintain.
Who doesn’t LOVE Christmas and the magic and meaning behind it all? I see it as a chance to create memories as a family and grow closer together. It’s an opportunity to teach our kids about our Savior. Christmas is a time to be more giving, offer more acts of selfless service, and to show greater kindness.
Of course, December is also a crazy busy time of year, and I always feel overwhelmed with the to-do list and hustle of the holidays, but thankfully, traditions are the perfect way to remind ourselves and our kids what Christmas is all about.
One tradition I started five years ago when we moved into our first home was a 12 Days of Christmas Advent calendar! I found and purchased 12 mini-stockings and hung them up on the staircase, and inside I will put a treat for each kid, an activity, and a scripture. We open one stocking each night leading up to Christmas.
Well, in years past it has been difficult to keep up with the activities (since there are so many variables to when, where, and how we might squeeze them in), so this year, I have simplified by only putting only the treats and the scripture inside the stockings. We still do PLENTY of Christmas activities, but now we aren’t tied to doing them on a specific day.
Below I will share some of our activity ideas, as well as a link to the scriptures I print out and put in the Advent stockings!
One of our first December traditions is to open their first gift — Christmas PJ’s!! Afterward, we help the kids write letters to Santa. I have loved combining the two. They get to enjoy their Christmas jammies early and I get a better idea of what they want for Christmas.
We did it last week and I recorded it all with my d750 — my first SLR video!! It is a super amateaur film, and I have so much to learn, but I had fun putting it together.
Here is the Jackman Family list of [possible] Christmas activity ideas and traditions! Some we do every year, while others we’ve only done once, but I share in case it might inspire a new tradition of your own!
- Design, stamp, and mail Christmas cards.
- Write letters to family, friends, military, or missionaries.
- Make neighbor gifts and deliver them.
- Donate toys, books, and clothes that you don’t need anymore.
- Read Luke 2 in the Bible and use a kid-friendly Nativity scene to act it out.
- Visit a nursing home.
- Donate to or serve refugee families.
- Decorate the Christmas tree as a family while listening to Christmas music.
- Open Christmas jammies and write letters to Santa!
- Visit Santa at the mall (or other Santa location).
- Go on a drive to look at Christmas lights. Find an especially cool display in your area (Denver’s City and County Building is one of our favorites!).
- Shop with the kids individually for sibling gifts, and open them on Christmas Eve.
- Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn.
- Make homemade ornaments.
- Go sledding.
- Build Gingerbread houses.
- Read from our collection of Christmas books every night. Read a new Christmas book from the store or library.
- Play a game and drink hot chocolate.
- Secret Santa: leave a treat or gift anonymously on someone’s doorstep.
- Enjoy a “Shepherd’s Meal” or a “Night in Bethlehem” on Christmas Eve. Eat a variety of cheeses, meats, nuts, crackers, and fruits by candlelight, while talking of Christ’s birth and planning acts of kindness for Christmas Day.
Below is a printable of the 12 scriptures I like to use in our 12 Days of Christmas Advent! Most are from the account of Christ’s birth in the Bible, while two are from the account in the Book of Mormon.
Click on this link to download the printable: christmas-advent-scriptures-jpg
I would LOVE to hear about your family’s favorite Christmas traditions, please share in the comments! Merry Christmas!!!