This post is all about our favorite holiday and Christmas traditions with toddlers. Last year with two little ones we had so much fun with the magic of Christmas and I’m so excited for all of these this year as well!
December is almost here! Christmas time with kids is the best. We get a little more chaos but we also get a lot more magic. If you’re looking for traditions for you and your little ones this holiday season, I’m sharing our Christmas traditions along with a few other ideas
Our Christmas Traditions with Toddlers
- Christmas Tree Snacks: This is my favorite tradition my parents had growing up and we started it with Lincoln last year. Each night in December leading up ’till Christmas (or most nights in December, realistically), we gather on the Christmas quilt in the living room before bed. We bring down the nativity and use the figurines to act out the story of baby Jesus, starting with the angel appearing to Mary and ending with the three wise men bringing the baby gifts. This year we’ve added on to the end, always talking about what kind of gifts we can give to Jesus and I about melt each time Lincoln says, “When we are kind, THAT’S a gift to Jesus.” “When we are helpful, THAT’s a gift to Jesus.” After the nativity story we have a family prayer and then eat a small Christmas treat on the quilt. It’s the one time they’re allowed food outside of the kitchen and treats range from homemade cookies to three teddy grahams.
- Christmas Cards: We haven’t actually ordered ours yet, I keep say it’s happening tonight but at this rate I’ll be ordering New Years cards from Mixbook instead of Christmas ones. That said, we have lots of friends who are much more on top of it than we are and we love having our fridge covered in their faces. Lincoln loves going through and naming different friends and it’s a fun way to add a feeling of love and friendship to our home.
- Christmas Lights: We saw a few lights on our way home tonight but before the week is over we’ll load the kids up in the car before bed for a special Christmas Lights drive.
- Christmas Music Dance Parties: No explanation needed (we love Amy Grant, Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, and Michael Buble Christmas CDs).
- Decorate Gingerbread Houses: These have been purchased and not used yet, but we decorate gingerbread houses every year and I’m excited to have the kids “join” in this time. Often we just use graham crackers for our houses but this year I got cute little kits for a couple of dollars at Trader Joes.
- Advent Calendar: Another Trader Joe’s find, we’ve been using ours every couple of days because I can’t seem to remember to do it nightly. Either way, it’s a fun visual to help Lincoln realize how close it is until Christmas!
- Gifts: Another thing I loved that my parents did growing up was always ask what we wanted to give for Christmas, instead of what we wanted to get. There was a huge emphasis placed on gifts, but it was on finding gifts other family members would love. Of course, I still loved coming down the stairs to see what Santa had brought, but I also remember being so excited as a kid to have a sibling or a parent unwrap the gift I’d picked out for them. This year, I’ve tried really hard not to ask Lincoln what he wants for Christmas (I caved when we were going to visit Santa), but instead focused on asking what he wanted to give different family members. He picked out a pacifier holder thing for Adelaide, he wanted to color a Nativity for Grandma, and we have yet to narrow down exactly which book he wants to give Ben.
- Christmas Pajamas: We have matching Christmas Pajamas that we all wear throughout December and specifically on Christmas Day. My kids love getting into their red + green jammies for Christmas Tree Snacks each (most) night!
Eventually I’d love to decorate cookies for friends and donate toys each year (we were able to have Lincoln pick out a few books to give to children in the hospital for a church event – but I love the idea of cleaning out toys to make room for new ones and teach kids a bit of gratitude and the spirit of giving).
I’d love to hear, what are your favorite things to do with your kids this time of year? Any favorite family holiday traditions you’ve kept alive from your childhood?
More Christmas Traditions to Try with Kids
- Book Advent Calendar! Wrap 25 books and then let kids open one book each night leading up to Christmas. These don’t need to be new books – they can be Christmas books you already own.
- Christmas morning Scavenger Hunt: Make kids hunt for their presents on Christmas morning.
- Love Calendar: Make your own advent calendar with notes you love about your kids.
- Watch the Polar Express (or find one near you and go!).
- Donate: Have your kids go through their toys and choose some to donate to kids who don’t have toys this holiday season. A great way to focus on giving (and clear out toys before Christmas morning).
- Camp out under the Christmas tree one night (not necessarily Christmas night).
- Write a letter to santa (and photo copy it so you have them to look back on).
- Encourage family members to give each other coupons as gifts. Each coupon is an act of service. This is a great way to get little kids thinking about how they can serve and show their love for each other!
- Hide christmas chocolate coins in the Christmas dinner.
P.S. Adelaide’s dress, bow, and tights are from Gymboree (recently but I can’t find them online). Her shoes are from Freshly Picked.
Lincoln’s shirt is also from Gymboree, his jeans are a favorite from Blu and Blue New York, and his shoes the best from Osh Kosh (but I just tried to find them and they’re sold out – if they restock …wool slip on sneakers and they’re great!).