Favorite Christmas Traditions

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Written by Lindsey Marx | Last Updated January 30th, 2020
Lindsey is passionate about healthy living in all aspects of life. She enjoys the outdoors, loves to travel, and especially loves to dance.

One of my most favorite Christmas traditions started when I was in junior high. My parents decided one year to do "Secret Santa/12 Days" where we would all go to the store and pick out 12 items to give to a family in need. We loved looking through the Chirstmas decorations, smelling the candles, looking at the lights, and trying samples of christmas cookies and treats. We would each pick out a few items, and made sure to have 12 in total. The rule was to include at least one item that represented the true meaning of christmas and we would try to look for an ornament of a manger or somthing similar.

Then, we would wrap each individual gift and leave a note saying "On the first day of Christmas, Santa gave to _____" and leave the family's name. Then we would sneak up to the door, leave the gift, ring the doorbell, and run as fast as we could back to the car. It was so much fun, and as we approached Christmas Eve, being the 12th day of Christmas, we would have to get super sneaky, sometimes waiting until 1 or 2 a.m. to leave the gift so we wouldn't get caught. In the last few years, it's gotten very difficult with Ring door bells making it a challenge to not be caught. But innovation and challenges spark creativity so we will see what happens with this Christmas tradition!

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Do they include homemade goodies, cozzying up to a holiday movie, or creating ornaments as a family? Check out some unique and fun christmas traditions. Let us know which traditions are your family's favorite on our social media polls!

Food

"Baking Christmas cookies is one of our main activities before the holiday. We buy a lot of decorations and make different types of Christmas cookies. When we first started, we only made cookies for ourselves. However, we’ve noticed that all of our friends and family loved them, so we made tiny gift baskets out of our Christmas cookies. Now, we make enormous quantities and share them around the neighborhood and among each other. "Tony Arevalo, Carsurance

"Now that we're all older, our traditions have changed a bit. We mostly drink Christmasy cocktails and eat our favorite foods on Christmas Eve (deviled eggs, grinders, meatballs, shrimp cocktail, and other finger foods). " Alicia Butler, NYC in a Day

Holiday Cookies

"I like to make my mom's secret chili recipe and have dinner on the couch next to the tree. We MUST watch the original Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph movies that I grew up with (the new ones just aren't the same!) or it just doesn't feel like Christmas. " Kara Harms, Whimsey Soul

"We make homemade waffles and homemade ice cream for christmas breakfast." Ben Smith, Marketing Content Specialist

Activities

"On Christmas Day, I exchange stocking stuffers with my parents before heading to my sister's house to give my niece and nephew their presents." — Butler

"As it turns out my daughter as she was growing up (she’s a freshman in college now) always tended to obsess over different holiday movies in different stages of her childhood and would listen and sing to the movie's soundtracks long after Christmas had come and gone. Usually some holiday movie would be “the one” for a year or two before she discovered something new. (Elf was clearly the all-time winner… Thank god it had a great soundtrack…Ha!) We’d laugh as she was singing and humming Christmas tunes from the movie on the beach at Spring Break for example. Ha!

For that reason I would always make a point of making sure that I had learned the chord changes to a tune or two from her fav holiday movie of that year so that when we’d get to the next year I would start playing one of those tunes and she’d be thrilled and fired up and excited to sing along.

We still are doing it today and it brings up really great memories for all of us from different eras as she was growing up. It’s a real hoot and we all love it!" Scott Houston, Houston Enterprises

"On Christmas morning we all agree for a time to wake up. Then we'll head downstairs to see the hall flooded with gifts and go to our family room to open them. My mom plays Santa and hands out the gifts, making sure we go around the circle and each gets a turn to open. We'll play Christmas music in the background and it's a very cozy sight!" — Ciara Hautau, Fueled.com

"My dad sets up a scavenger hunt of sorts. We open up smaller gifts around the tree in the morning and then we find clues around the house that my dad has hidden and we have to decipher the clues. Eventually the clues lead us to our main gifts (which are typically hidden somewhere in the house). It can get pretty competitive (see who can find their gift first) and fun." Alayna Okerlund, Social Media

Decorations

"Every year we go to the same Christmas tree farm in Connecticut as a whole family and search around the huge farm for the best tree. My mom is a very picky about her trees so it will take quite a bit of time and ends up with us each at a different quadrant of the farm to hold trees we think are worthy. At the end, we celebrate by gathering around the fire they have at the farm and ordering hot apple cider and apple cider donuts." — Hautau

"My family and I love driving around and looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve." Rochelle Burnside, Marketing Content Specialist

Christmas ornaments on a tree

Movies

"My family's Christmas traditions pretty much revolve around Christmas movies. We have a list of classics we watch each year and some newer ones that have made it into the rotation. " Butler

"My family enjoys a weekly family movie night all year round, and this tradition is easily upgraded for the holiday season. Depending on the week, we'll choose a favorite Christmas movie to watch (Elf and Home Alone are the big ones for us) and snuggle up in pajamas with a plate of Christmas cookies or a mug of hot chocolate with all of the fixings. I love that it's a tradition that's already meaningful to us, is easily incorporated into our lives during this busy season, and doesn't require any expensive tickets or travel!" Kelly Rupiper, Content Director

"My husband and I have been married for 19 years and have always LOVED Christmas! As the years have rolled on and our family has grown to include a son and a daughter, our traditions have evolved to be one of the most meaningful parts of the year. Christmas movies in particular play a huge part in our annual rituals, starting with the decorating of the tree (and occasionally, the cat…) whilst watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (our daughter singing ‘You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch!” at the top of her lungs) through baking gingerbread to have with hot, hot, hot chocolate during the Polar Express (our son leaping off the furniture in ecstatic dance mode) and culminating with the pinnacle of Christmas delight, The Muppet Christmas Carol, watched with almost holy reverence every Christmas Eve at sundown, whilst tucking into our traditional feast of homemade sausage rolls and pickles. Every year these moments become more and more special, and I’m sure we will continue to add to our traditions as the children grow." Kath Gilbert, Writer

"Every year my family and I watch A Christmas Story on Christmas Eve and we have some sort of Chinese food as they did in the movie. Some years we have gone out for Chinese food Christmas Eve. Other years we’ve cooked a feast at home for friends and added spring rolls. It’s a funny way to add a nod to the movie. We also remember that not every holiday meal and party is perfect but that we are together.” Kristy Richardson, Writer

"We've done this since we've been kids — probably because it's on non-stop on TNT. But it's one of my favorite traditions. We'll put Christmas music on all day, bake cookies, and then enjoy the cookies while watching A Christmas Story. This tradition really brings me back to the good old days of our childhood and always makes me feel at home." Hautau

"Christmas movies are a holiday staple for many families, and mine is no exception! Every year, on Christmas Eve, my family will read, and then watch, Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original animated short movie specifically). And then on Christmas the next day, while opening presents, we catch A Christmas Story playing on TBS’s 24-hour movie marathon. Throughout the season, we watch countless other Christmas films and shows, between the Hallmark Christmas movies on TV, and Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” as well." Jennie Neylon, Content Writer

"In early December, we mix up Moscow Mules, put on a classic movie we've all seen a bunch, like Harry Potter or Christmas with the Kranks, and decorate the tree together. The days leading up to Christmas are my favorites, though. More nights than not, we'll pick out a new cheesy holiday movie, like The Christmas Prince, pop open a bottle of wine, turn the tree lights on, and gather on the couch together. " — Harms

Holiday traditions are great ways to connect with friends and family. We would love to hear about your family's traditions! Follow us on our social media accounts and let us know your favorite holiday traditions.

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