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20 Christmas Day Traditions For Families To Start

The holiday season seems to arrive sooner each year, and having kids seems to speed this process along even more quickly!  

Before you know it, the tree has been decorated with Christmas lights and the Christmas music is playing in every store.  

Then you have the various Christmas traditions your family likes to be involved in as well.

Then you blink and it is already Christmas morning and the kids are jumping on your bed because they are so excited to see what Santa and his reindeer brought!

I know that by the time I get to Christmas morning, a bit of fatigue has set in that is only helped by the adrenaline produced by being excited for my son to experience a fun Christmas!

It seems that in all of the whirlwind of holiday activities, it might be nice to have some traditions for Christmas day that can serve the dual purpose of spending quality time and also being somewhat relaxing at the same time!

We have gathered a few ideas below that you might be interested in to help you out as you head toward the last part of your holiday season.

If you’re checking this list out before Christmas day, be sure to check out our list of Christmas Eve traditions too.

Christmas Day Traditions For Families


1. Take Turns Unwrapping Gifts One By One

Depending on your own particular family Christmas traditions, you may still have gifts to unwrap on Christmas day. 

Instead of having one person open all of their gifts at one time, try to have everyone take turns while they open presents.  Doing so is one of the best ways to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere.

It also gives everyone a chance to truly savor each gift instead of jumping from one gift to another without being able to truly appreciate it in the moment.

Your own family could choose to go in order by age or maybe pull numbers and go in order that way.

2. Allow Kids To Unwrap Stockings (While Mom And Dad Sleep!)

Among holiday traditions, this one seems like a win-win (especially for tired parents!).  

Since the gifts in the stockings come from Santa Claus, it seems completely ok to let the kids unwrap them on their own (especially when they get up at 5am!)

This of course depends on age, level of trust and maturity, but imagine how much more energy parents would have to make Christmas dinner if we actually had a good night’s sleep!

This tradition could result in a very Merry Christmas for everyone in the family.

3. Eat Breakfast First

Give the whole family a chance to wake up on Christmas morning by eating breakfast in your Christmas pajamas.  Get everyone into the holiday spirit with a morning hot chocolate bar!

A bonus is that you can set most of this up together with your family on Christmas Eve.  Setting up the Christmas morning hot chocolate bar could be a new Christmas eve tradition for your family.

Making breakfast is a great way to get all family members involved, especially if you choose foods that are easily cooked.

I know my son has so much fun being a little helper in the kitchen!  It really is a productive and joyful way to get in some of that all too important quality time.

Not only will the kids love it, but this tradition also gives us adults a chance to be awakened by some delicious hot chocolate or hot beverage of their choice in their Christmas mugs.

4. Have Christmas Cookies For Breakfast

If you want kids of all ages to feel like it is the most wonderful time of the year, let them eat cookies…for breakfast!  You could connect this with one of your Christmas Eve traditions and make cookies the night before.

This fun Christmas tradition will even have your older kids looking forward to breakfast on Christmas Day.  

On a parental note, you could include a warmed up milk of your choice, so that there is some nutritional value involved!

5. Play Christmas Games

Pull out all of the board games and have a game-a-thon!  

Gather everyone in the living room, grab some hot cocoa and a favorite holiday movie and get ready to enjoy a new Christmas tradition of playing board games!

There are also many traditional games that have been recreated with a holiday theme.  In addition, there are games that are geared towards holiday traditions and stories.

Lastly, you could task the kids with creating their very own holiday games that may be the most fun of all!  This fosters their creativity and gives them some input in family activities.

6. Complete A Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Give the kids something fun and adventurous to do on Christmas day!  With clues to figure out and puzzles to solve, the entire family will be entertained!

This could be as simple as a family scavenger hunt for a new ornament or a Christmas present scavenger hunt!

7. Make Christmas Cards For Family And Neighbors

With everyone feeling happily cozy with the holiday spirit, it is a nice time to appreciate those around you.  This can most definitely be a fun one among family traditions with self-decorated and written cards.

Encourage your kids to send messages of gratitude and all good wishes for a wonderful new year!  The cards will be received when the holiday has come and gone and will bring some extra joy to their recipients!

8. Sing Christmas Karaoke

Christmas carols can get most everyone into a really fun holiday mood!  You can even prepare for the fun by creating a Christmas karaoke playlist before the festivities even start. 

Make sure to get input from the entire family so that everyone feels like they were part of putting this fun tradition together and everyone has at least one song that they love on the list! 

Your family could even turn it into more of a Christmas karaoke show by practicing duets and solo karaoke of their choice or have a sign-up sheet for a realistic feel.

No matter how you choose to participate in this activity, it should bring out the joy and laughter of this amazing holiday season!

9. Make A Christmas Mocktail

Get the whole family involved in creating a delectable Christmas mocktail!  Pull out all of the possible ingredients and let everyone’s imagination run wild.

You can either work on a special family mocktail together or have everyone make their own and then vote on the favorite one!  You never know when someone will create a recipe that may be handed down to the next generation.

10. Fill Out A Year In Review Sheet And Place It In The Christmas Tree Box

This is one of those fun activities that will continue to pay off into the next year!  You could start a new fun family Christmas tradition by gathering your immediate family to create your year in review sheet and place it in the box with your tree.

Making this list can also be done with taking down Christmas ornaments, which gives you all something interesting to talk about while undertaking an otherwise mundane task.

It is a wonderful way to start your next holiday season by being able to look back on the past year when you unpack your tree.

11. Write Thank You Cards

It is always amazing to me how quickly the weeks after Christmas go by!  One of the things I still insist on is thank you cards.

While the thoughts of that special gift your children received from friends and family are still fresh in their minds, have them sit down and write or draw a little note of appreciation.

This helps them connect with feelings of gratitude and these little good deeds can also make them feel good!  It is also a perfect time to get your kids back into drawing and writing after the long break!

12. Be Of Service To Others

Since we are in the season of giving, it is a perfect time to show your kids by example how to give back to others.  For example, finding a home for the elderly that allows visitors and go visit with some of the residents.

Your family can also find many opportunities to lend a hand at a shelter or a food pantry.  It just takes a little bit of research beforehand and you can make a world of difference in the lives of others.

13. Gather Or Create Holiday Cards For Service Members

There are many programs that help gather holiday cards for service members that are serving overseas.  Many of these people do not have the opportunity to spend the holidays with their families.

The programs help collect cards to send to these soldiers and give them a bit of holiday cheer.  

While you are starting to put away holiday items, take a moment to gather any unused holiday cards or have the kids make their own special cards to send for the next holiday season.

Make sure to look these programs up before you start; many of these programs have specific instructions to keep everything safe and happy for those involved in this amazing project.  

You can also use this time to talk to your children about who they are sending greetings of cheer to and how happy they will be to receive cards sent with kindness!

14. Spend The Day In Cozy Pajamas

After all the business of the holiday season, spend Christmas with your family in your comfortable pajamas.  You know the kids will love wearing their pajamas all day!

Get even more creative and have matching pajama sets for the entire family to wear together and sneak in a quick photo shoot in front of the tree.

15. Have A Holiday Movie Marathon

Gather the family together and vote on your favorite holiday movies.  

If agreeing on the same movies becomes an issue, as it can become sometimes, write all the names of the movies on pieces of paper, place them folded in a bowl and have someone randomly pick. 

Then grab some hot cocoa and warm blankets and be lazy together while enjoying the show!

16. Have A Christmas Music Dance Party

Put on your favorite holiday tunes and boogie down!  If your family is so inclined, you could even turn this into a little dance show for added fun and laughter!

Add some more creativity to it and have everyone dress up in holiday costumes like Santa Claus, elves, reindeer or snow people!

17. Organize A Family Skype Gathering

We are so very lucky to live in an age where loved ones are just a skype call away now.  If you happen to have family that can not celebrate with you in person, make plans to get everyone together virtually.  

You could even save presents to open while you are on skype to share the moments together. 

Have family members tell their favorite stories from holidays of the past to bring some wonderful memories and nostalgia to the gathering.

This will mean so much to everyone and remind them of the love and joy that comes with the season.

18. Start Your First Annual Christmas Day Family Snowball Fight

Get everyone together and let the games begin!  You can split into teams by choice or by age- it is always fun to see the kids versus the adults!  

It would also be fun to have each team build a home base to protect from snowballs.  The victors of the snowball fight have first choice of hot cocoa when everyone goes inside to warm up after the battle!

If your family decides that this is fun tradition, you could even have the kids craft a trophy that gets passed on to the winning team each year and they have bragging rights until the next year.

19. Create A Holiday Photo Album

Spend some time together as a family looking through all of the photos taken during the holiday season and create a holiday album to commemorate the time spent together.  

Have family members recount memories of different events and intersperse the photos with short stories.  This works so well as the stories are all still fresh in everyone’s memories.

There are many different platforms you are able to use to accomplish this, and I would advise you to do your research and find the one that will work for your needs.

20. Have A Family Spa Day

By the time we reach Christmas morning, most of us are very ready for some much needed and deserved down time!  But how do we get our kids excited (or relaxed!) about this idea?

Get your family to make a list of things that are relaxing to them and then do the things on that list.  This is such a wonderful way to do something relaxing as a family while spending that very important quality time.

In this manner, everyone gets to do at least one thing that they enjoy doing and may discover a new way of relaxing that they have never thought of before!

No matter which Christmas day traditions you and your family choose, the most important thing is to have fun and to be able enjoy your time together with the ones you love.  

As you can see in the suggestions above, the traditions do not all necessarily need to be overly complicated or include you staying up late into the night before to make them all happen.

I know that some of my favorite traditions and time spent with family are usually simple things that we arrived at in a natural way.  

As we know, sometimes that works, and sometimes you do have to give it a little bit of a parental magic push to make things happen.

While we all want to create a beautiful and magic filled holiday season for our family, we must remember that what makes it the most magical to our families, especially little ones, is that we are actually there-physically and mentally!

So, once you are there, make a concerted effort to really be there and stop thinking about the list of things that still need to be done, hard as I know that can be!  

These memories with your kids, spouses, parents, siblings, cousins and older generations are too special to miss because you are always busy behind the scenes!  So take a breath and be there- the dishes will wait for you!

And as always, you’ve got this!


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