Looking back on my childhood, I remember my mom making Christmas fun and creative – we made our own Christmas ornaments from Christmas cards and canned food tops, we strung popcorn for garland and grandma always had candy canes on the tree for all the grandkids on Christmas day. The memories of these Christmas traditions have far outlasted the gifts that I received.
Since then, I have started my own family Christmas traditions that have created so many precious memories over the years. There’s no better time to start something new than the present. (See what I did there?)
1. Make a Family Holiday Bucket List
Let each family member choose one thing they would like to do as a family in the month of December. It could be making a ginger bread house, ice skating, going for a drive to see the lights, building a snowman, baking cookies – whatever they want! Then schedule the activities so everything on your “holiday bucket list” gets checked off.
2. A Tree Full of Candy Canes
As I mentioned above, grandma always had candy canes on her Christmas tree. It’s a tradition we have continued not just for the candy but as a visual reminder of the sinlessness of Jesus Christ, the spotless lamb who was slain who is the Great Shepherd.
3. Christmas Ornament Keepsake
We take our son to the Hallmark store every year to pick out his own keepsake ornament. Each Christmas as we decorate the tree we reminisce about Christmas’ past.
4. Christmas Cards
Whether you make your own Christmas cards or buy them at the store, write a personal note and sign each card you send to your friends and family.
The Lottie Moon Post Office is a great way to send Christmas cards to your church family and help missions. Sign your store bought or handmade cards and put the recipient’s name on the envelope and place them in the Lottie Moon Post Office alphabetically by last name. Donate the cost of postage to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.
5. Living Christmas Trees
Pick out and cut down the family Christmas tree. Take it one step further and plant it after the season. Just dig a hole when you buy the tree, save the loose dirt, and be sure to keep the ball moist throughout the season then plant the tree after Christmas.
6. Handmade Ornaments
A dear friend handmade salt dough ornaments to commemorate events at church such as Vacation Bible School, Children’s musicals, or baby’s first birthday. Pastor Gordon was gifted with handmade ornaments with the name “Jesus” in different languages and the name of the language. His family prays for each country as they put them on the tree.
7. Advent Calendars
Counting down the days until Christmas is a great way to expectantly wait for the Messiah to come. There are so many creative and fun ways to experience Advent with one of these calendars.
8. Make Some Snowflakes
If you are fortunate enough to have snow for the holidays, make snow angels together. If there’s no snow around, make some paper snowflakes or better yet, snowflake shaped tortillas. Yum!
9. Make a Gingerbread House
It is so much fun making gingerbread houses (or trains) with oh, so easy pre-baked kits. And remember, it’s not about creating a masterpiece but spending time with the people you love.
10. Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
It’s so easy to forget that Christmas is actually all about the fact that Christ came here for us, to be with us, to save us. Take time out of the busy Christmas season to focus on Jesus, and worship Him.
Eastwood Tulsa’s annual Christmas Eve Candlelight Service begins at 6pm. Come with your whole family as we celebrate the birth of the King of Kings. This special candlelight service is filled with joys of the season, carols and the sacred remembrance of our Savior. Hot cider and coffee will be available and a Christmas cookie or two.
11. Christmas Eve Gift Box
Choose one little gift to open on Christmas Eve OR one gift that’s for the whole family – like a family movie night. Your Family Christmas Eve box could include a movie, matching family pajamas and snacks.
12. Go Christmas Caroling
Visit a local nursing home or go door to door in your neighborhood and sing your favorite Christmas carols. Bring along some hot chocolate and spread some Christmas cheer!
13. See the Lights
Get in your car and see the lights such as Rhema Christmas Lights in Broken Arrow or the Philbrook Festival in Tulsa. You can even stay in your car and drive through the light display at Garden of Lights in Honor Heights Park, Muskogee.
14. Christmas Dessert
For your Christmas Eve or Christmas day dinner, make this oh so yummy Trifle layered with strawberries, whipped cream, and bananas. Put birthday candles on top for Jesus’ birthday cake. He’s the reason for the season.
15. Angel Tree
Many department stores have an angel tree where they give information about a child in need. Purchase presents for the “angel” you choose from the tree.
16. Donate Food to Your Local Food Bank
Food banks are very busy this time a year and are always in need. Donate non-perishable items to your local food bank.
17. Make Christmas Candy
Let the whole family work together to make their favorite Christmas candy and make enough to supply all your neighbors with a special treat!
18. Go to a Christmas Concert
The Christmas season is full of music that all can enjoy. Here is a quick listing of concerts in Tulsa this year.
Free Christmas Concert with This Hope at Eastwood Tulsa Friday, December 14th@ 7:00 pm.
The Roadshow Christmas with Matthew West, Matt Maher, Building 429, Plumb, Josh Wilson, and Leanna Crawford December 6th, BOK Center.
Gaither Christmas Homecoming December 8th, Mabee Center.
David Phelps December 15th, Broken Arrow PAC.
Christmas Celebration with Selah December 16th, FBC BA.
19. Decorate Christmas Sugar Cookies
Make your own delicious, moist sugar cookies with these great recipes. Let the kids decorate the cookies with frosting and candy!
20. Have a Hot Chocolate Bar
Make a big batch of hot chocolate and set out toppings like whipped cream, chocolate chips and peppermints so they can create the ultimate holiday treat.
21.Read the Christmas Story
Before tearing into the presents stop and remember the real reason we celebrate. You can invite your children to act out the nativity. Luke Chapter 2.
22. Christmas Morning Family Photo
Whether everyone is dressed in their Christmas sweater or in their jammies, with their hair crazy, surrounded by wrapping paper, these are some of my favorite photos to look back on.
23. Want, Need, Wear & Read Gifts
To keep Christmas from getting too materialistic, gift everyone with something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.
Isn’t it awesome to realize that our favorite traditions aren’t about opening gifts and getting stuff?! I love that!
We would love to hear any Christmas traditions you have with your family!