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7 Ideas to Start Holiday Family Traditions

Start some new family traditions this holiday season and make lasting memories! We’ve put together a list of simple and creative ideas to incorporate into your winter celebrations. Traditions not only give your kids something fun to do, but they also make the holidays magical and memorable. The best activities can be enjoyed year after year, like making your own ugly Christmas sweater or starting a family reading tradition. Try a few of these festive ideas with the whole family and make this winter season unforgettable!

7 Family Traditions for the Holidays

Start a “12 Days of Reading” Tradition.

Turn this popular Christmas carol into a new family reading tradition! For the twelve days leading up to Christmas Day, read a new children’s storybook every night at bedtime. Select a few favorite stories and add new books into your collection. A personalized Christmas storybook like Our Family’s Night Before Christmas makes a sweet early holiday gift that the whole family can read together. Based on the classic Christmas poem, this book features your family’s last name and first names throughout the story! Kids will love reading this keepsake every year during your 12 Days of Reading.

Create a Kindness Advent Calendar.

Spread love and kindness at the holidays! This alternative to a traditional advent calendar encourages children to perform small gestures that make a big difference. Each day of December will list a different way you can give back. Need some ideas? Check out our blog on Ways to Spread Love and Kindness.

Color Pages for a Holiday Book.

Create your own family holiday book that contains pages with drawings and photos of holidays past and present. Each year, kids can color another page and add it to their book. The holidays are a special time to celebrate love for yourself and love for others. Have your child color a selfie to celebrate the way they look and boost self-confidence. Another way to encourage self-love is through reading. A children’s book like The Magic in Me is uniquely personalized for the child and features a story that’s all about celebrating differences. It’s a perfect holiday read for storytime after your family activity.

Hold a Paint and Cookies Night.

Similar to an adult’s paint and wine party, this is a more family-friendly event! Kids can enjoy holiday cookies and milk while they paint a holiday-themed picture. For a Hanukkah party, bake dreidel sugar cookies and paint a colorful menorah. For a Christmas party, bake gingerbread cookies and paint a picture of Santa Claus or a Christmas tree.

Craft an Ugly Holiday Sweater.

Family members can create a handmade ugly holiday sweater. Hold an at-home ugly sweater party and show off your creations in funny family photos. As a yearly tradition, keep adding onto your sweater or make a new to remember every holiday milestone.

Plan a Pajama Movie Party.

Wear matching holiday pajamas and watch your favorite Christmas movies. No party is complete without hot chocolate (with loads of marshmallows) and peppermint popcorn!

Cook a “Favorite Foods” Extravaganza Meal.

Make a big meal together that features every family member’s favorite food. This delicious family tradition brings everyone together for cooking and bonding time. We also think it’s best if it’s an “anything goes” meal. You might cook anything from macaroni and cheese to spaghetti with maple syrup—like Elf’s favorite food in the movie! Get creative in the kitchen and make the best family memories.

We hope this list of ideas for coloring, cooking, crafting and more has inspired you to start a new family tradition! May your holidays be merry and full of love.