Our Family Christmas Traditions

Family Christmas traditions are the most important aspects of the holidays. They create a sense of anticipation and comfort for the season.

Traditions are an extremely important part of the family dynamic. They create a sense of comfort and belonging. Many families bond over these shared repeat experiences. One of the biggest times of year for family traditions is the holidays. People spend the time before holidays filled with anticipation for their favorite activities.

When I got married one of the things I was most excited about was creating my own family Christmas traditions. It’s so special to have specific activities that are just for us among that hustle and bustle of the holidays. Our Christmas traditions remind me to slow down and soak up the season. The memories of things we do with our little family are so precious and they are the best part of the season.

My Favorite Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve Date Night

Christmas Eve Date Night is the first tradition that my husband and I started. It started out of necessity for us. We spent Christmas Eve with his family and Christmas Day traveling to both of my grandmothers’ houses. Our only alone time for the holiday was Christmas Eve night.

So we started having a little date night by the tree on Christmas Eve every year. We buy a nice bottle of red wine and make a cheese board. Then, we sit in the living room in the glow of the Christmas tree. We usually just talk and spend time together. Sometimes we open a gift or two.

Now that we’re older and have children, we don’t travel as much. And we’re only busy on Christmas Day. However, the tradition remains. It’s one of the things I look forward to most at Christmas.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town

Another family Christmas tradition that started before the girls were born is our annual trip to Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Christmas Town is an annual holiday celebration at Busch Gardens theme park in Williamsburg, VA. The park is decorated with over 10 million lights. There are holiday-themed shows, shops, and food.

My husband and I have honored this tradition for over 8 years. We love walking through the theme park and seeing all of the lights, plus the shows for Christmas Town are fantastic. We get peppermint mochas and cookie skillets every year too. It’s fun to have special traditions like this because each year brings back memories. We also buy an ornament at Christmas Town each year. I’m sure one day we will just have a Christmas Town tree filled with all of the ornaments.

Christmas traditions
Christmas traditions

Simple Family Christmas Traditions

A Real Tree

Of course, my husband and I each had certain Christmas traditions from our childhoods that we brought into our relationship. My husband’s biggest must-have tradition was buying a real tree every year. We don’t go to a tree farm, just to Lowe’s, but we have to get a real tree. When it was just the two of us I spent hours decorating the tree while watching Christmas movies. Now, we decorate the tree as a family. We use fewer ornaments and it doesn’t look magazine-worthy. But I love the time spent decorating together.

Christmas traditions

Pictures with Santa

One of our family Christmas traditions from my childhood is pictures with Santa. Every year my family would go to an event at my aunt’s church called The Santa Breakfast. There was a big pancake breakfast, a toy raffle and Santa was there for pictures. The church was also within walking distance to the Richmond Christmas parade, so some years we would walk there too. My mom has a collection of our Polaroids with Santa from over the years and I love looking back on them.

The first few years I took my kids to the mall for their Christmas photos with Santa. But now we take our photos at Christmas Town. Santa is inside a castle with a fun interactive line and toy shop. Plus, the photos are of much higher quality. My youngest is terrified of Santa, so our photo is now a family picture. I hold her and stand between her and Santa.

Christmas Morning Traditions

Cinnamon Rolls

After our first daughter was born, Jesse and I decided to start a tradition for Christmas morning. Before kids, our tradition was sleeping in. Now, we get up and turn on some relaxing Christmas music and bake cinnamon rolls. We all eat together before opening presents. It’s a simple Christmas tradition, but one that we really look forward to.

Santa Stockings

The trickiest family Christmas tradition for us was deciding whether or not Santa brought presents. My husband’s family didn’t do Santa. But Santa brought all the gifts to my house growing up. I always loved the idea of Santa and Christmas magic. I insisted that we involve Santa in our traditions, somehow.

We decided that Santa doesn’t get the credit for the kids’ gifts. All of those are from Mom and Dad. Instead, Santa fills stockings. We keep stockings very simple. Santa brings a few small gifts, like Crayons, books, or Play-Doh. He also leaves treats like candy and cookies. We keep it simple, but it’s also fun and magical. The girls also know that Santa isn’t real. We never wanted to lie to them. So Santa is make-believe, like fairies and unicorns. 

Christmas traditions

Our family Christmas traditions are fairly simple. But we look forward to them year after year. I love watching the kids grow into them. We will see what sticks over the years and what gets added. But I think that just having traditions for everyone to enjoy each year is so important.

What are some of your family’s favorite Christmas traditions?

Find more fun Christmas ideas here!



  1. Santa fills our stockings here too and the rest of the presents come from mom and dad. My kids never cared until year when my son asked why Santa brought his friend an Xbox and him a book. I just said that as parents we wanted to give the big gifts and asked Santa if he could fill the stockings and that worked for him

  2. Terrific photos. Enjoyed your stories.

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