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Christmas traditions ideas to start with your family

Do you have certain Christmas traditions you do as a family every year?

I never bothered when the boys were younger, seeing as they were more concerned about pulling decorations off the tree, than whether I’d bought a gingerbread house for someone to build (demolish).

But now the twins are 6.5 and the oldest is 8.5, they are massively into Christmas. It’s bloody wonderful to be honest. So over the past couple of years, I’ve started introducing some stuff that we can do annually so it can become our ‘thing’. Like making a book advent calendar for them, or doing a certain activity every Chrristmas Eve. Even though it’ll no doubt be the same as thousands of other people’s ‘thing’. But you know what I mean.

Getting ready

A few years ago I ordered some *Christmas Eve boxes, and some *personalised hessian sacks to go with the beautiful stockings a friend made them when they were tiny. I spent ages choosing the designs but ended up playing safe and going for three all the same to avoid fights. As my boys definitely like to fight. 

Three boys with their Christmas eve boxes in front of the tree as one of several Christmas traditions the family does

Then came the decision of what to put in the Christmas Eve Boxes. Possibly unpopular opinion but I don’t always put Christmas pjs in there. Mainly because I spent an absolute fortune on 5 sets of pyjamas a couple of years ago, and I made sure I bought them so big that they lasted. And this year, now those original ones don’t fit, I’ve managed to jiggle around the sizes between them plus a hand-me-down set, so I’m still getting wear out of them!

I also buy them a Christmas *book each, some socks, a personalised Christmas decoration, and some reindeer food and hot chocolate (If you fancy something a bit fancy, try this white chocolate mocha recipe) . You could also think about a *festive film to watch but most of them are streamed at the touch of a button these days, aren’t they?

I ordered a *personalised plate ready to put out for Father Christmas which is lovely. The boys put on the carrot, mince pie and glass of milk, and I love how shocked they are the next morning when it’s miraculously gone!

We’ve also attempted to build a gingerbread house the last two years. Albeit the first year was a disaster as when it was delivered it turned up all broken in the box. Last year’s was a better attempt though!

We’re also going on a Santa train with my parents, that we’ve done for the past few years and have booked to see Father Christmas at a Grotto. Another thing that seems to becoming a biannual tradition is a weekend at Bluestone’s Christmasland that you can read all about here. We’ve been twice already and are booked again for this year. It’s absolutely magical! If you’ve never been, then you should definitely consider it.

On Christmas Eve for the last couple of years, we’ve done a drive around our local area looking at some awesome Christmas lights.

Last year we went to the pantomime at Theatre Royal Plymouth for the first time and LOVED it, so I’ve booked again for this year. So that will hopefully become an annual Christmas tradition too.

Toddler taking decorations off the Christmas tree

Although am firmly steering clear of Elf on the Shelf until I absolutely HAVE to do it. So far so good on that front!

If you’re looking for some other ideas for Christmas traditions, here are some from my fellow bloggers:

Christmas Traditions ideas

  • We have breakfast with Santa at our local carvery every Christmas Eve. It’s my favourite day of the year. Jennifer from  www.mightymamabear.com
  • Make a bauble or a decoration for the house. My son loves it and it brings back fab memories year after year. Rebecca from www.thegreyhome.co.uk
  • We do matching pyjamas, hanging Santa’s magic key on the door, leaving cookies and milk out for Santa (plus carrot for Rudolph, obvs) and then we watch a Christmas film with a mug of hot chocolate. I also have a photo taken of me and the twins in front of our Christmas tree. I’ve done this since the year I was heavily pregnant with them! Rebecca from www.beccablogsitout.com
  • We go out for a drive around the middle of December to look at all the Christmas lights (obviously poor Daddy doesn’t get to look because he’s our chauffeur) then we go home and warm up with hot chocolate. Josie from www.businessformums.co.uk
  • This is a new tradition for us this year. Making a Christmas shoe box for an underprivileged child. We fill the shoe box with goodies as well as some essential items like toothbrush and flannel. It’s a nice way to start Christmas off and think of others before all the Christmas madness commences and will hopefully help teach my little man about charity and compassion too. Rowena from www.mybalancingact.co.uk
  • Our family Christmas tradition is to buy presents and food for our local hospital and foodbank. Raimonda from www.cosmomum.co.uk
  • We have a Christmas Eve box which is delivered whilst we are out for Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. We also go on a walk around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights. Becka from www.mummyest2014.wordpress.com
  • We adapt the four gift rule for Christmas to giving our child something he wants, something he needs, something to experience and something to read. The big presents always come from family members and the small presents from Santa. Speaking of Santa, we make sure he knows that Santa = St Nick and we watch videos about St Nicholas so he knows the difference. And we never use Santa as a means to manipulate his behaviour. Jade from www.liveablissfullife.com 
  • We go to a friend’s house. We have a lovely meal, get the children to sing songs and play games, and we sprinkle some reindeer food on their lawn. One of our friends surreptitiously opens the top window and jingles bells so the children think Santa is on the way. The children run riot actually, but it means that they are tired enough to go to sleep! Jo from www.arosetintedworld.co.uk
  • We do a reverse advent box for our local food bank so each day add in something to donate. Hollie from www.thriftymum.com
  • We have activities that we add to our advent calendar to spend some time together as a family doing – like baking cookies, watch a Christmas film etc. Louise from www.thimbleandtwig.com
  • We watch the Polar Express every Christmas Eve evening while we wait for the local Father Christmas sleigh to come around and deliver some early presents. Such a magical evening. Ami from www.amielizabeth.com
  • I do an elf breakfast on December 1 to introduce the elves’ arrival and the elf brings them advent calendars and they have breakfast on Christmas paper plates, cups etc, and a special breakfast like pancakes and bacon. They absolutely love it. Lianne from www.anklebitersadventures.co.uk
  • We don’t send Christmas cards anymore but instead me and the kids go to Tesco and buy food for the food bank with the card/stamp money. It’s become a real tradition and the kids really look forward to it. Amy from www.allaboutamummy.co.uk
  • We love decorating a gingerbread house together. We may try and bake our own this year though, fingers crossed it turns out okay! Laura from www.threelittlezees.co.uk
  • We take part in the UK Money Bloggers reverse advent calendar to collect and donate food in the food bank in November so they have more stock ready for the run up to Christmas. Victoria from www.lyliarose.com
  • I’ve always done a book advent calendar with my kids. Each morning they unwrap a new Christmas or winter themed book to read together. I don’t buy 24 new books each year. I reuse the ones we’ve collected over the years and add some from our local library. To reduce waste I bought some Christmas fabric. Each night I wrap a new book in the same fabric for them to open the next morning. Claire from www.theladybirdsadventures.co.uk
  • We buy a bauble for each child and write their name and the year on each year. The idea is that they can have them for their own tree when they leave home. Erica from www.theincidentalparent.com
  •  Presents always opened in age order from youngest to oldest with everyone watching one at a time. Also the tree goes up on my December birthday. Both of these are long-standing from my childhood and I now resent being second oldest as was the baby of the family for many years. Kate from www.kateonthinice.com
  • We don’t open presents from under the tree until after the Queen’s Speech. We open stockings in the morning. Sarah from www.champagneandpetals.com
  • We always have a last present Christmas tradition. It’s kind of like a way of saying thank you and goodbye to the festive season. It’s a family present that gives us a chance to spend some time together, encourages some reflection on our Christmas and puts a close on the festive season. The last present sits under the tree and will not be unwrapped on Christmas Day. Instead we wait until just before the new year, and have a Last Present Picnic. The present will be filled with items to make hot chocolate with an array of toppings, sprinkles and squirty cream, a box of biscuits, new mugs, and a box of crackers to see Christmas out with a bang! Deborah from www.familydaystriedandtested.com
  • We bake cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve and do crafts. They have a Christmas Eve box with new pyjamas, film and some snacks. We watch the film and eat pizza on the evening. Nicola from www.themerrallshome.com
  • We make and decorate a Peppakaka Hus (basically a gingerbread house) as a Christmas tradition. The children then smash and eat it on New Year’s Eve. I lived in Norway as a child and this is a tradition we borrowed from Scandanavia and have done every year since we were kids and now I do it with my kids and God kids. We also have a tradition of having an after dinner present so we all have something else to look forward to, and it was often a game for us all to play as a family when we were kids. Kirsty from www.navigatingbaby.com 
  • Ours is around merging the narrative with what we bring from our traditions. It can get very complicated between who Santa is to St Nicholas, and who brings what presents when! Monika from www.mumonthebrink.com
  • We make a wishing tree at New Year and write out goals and wishes we have as a family and hang them on stars on a tree to welcome in the New Year. Becky from  www.babybudgeting.co.uk
  • As a lover of travel and adventures, I’ve always preferred to give experience gifts at Christmas time. I often like to find a fun, family friendly activity to do together or surprise my partner with a spontaneous weekend getaway. The best part for busy parents? You can buy and send a Gifting Owl experience gift anywhere in the world in just a couple of minutes. Jackie from giftingowl.com

Any of these take your fancy? There are some brilliant ones here. And if you want even more inspiration head over to the Lifestyle Blogger UK to see Becky’s suggestions.

If you still want to read more Christmassy stuff head to 31 ways you can have Christmas on a budget, for some top advice from Laura at Savings4SavvyMums, read 19 of the best advent calendars for teens by Emma and 3 or even How To Do Lapland On A Budget.

This post has been included by Twinkl among their top picks for their favourite Christmas traditions

What are your Christmas traditions? 

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How did I do?

Did you enjoy this post? You might like some of my others. If you’re local and looking for some ideas for Christmassy things to do with the kids, check out my Ultimate Family Guide to Christmas in and Around Plymouth, or read all about our weekend at Bluestone’s Christmasland. Or what about some other Christmas posts – 20 ideas for Christmas Eve Boxes, Simple Christmas Crafts for Kids, or Top Must-See Christmas Movies for Kids.

Or check out some of my more usual parenting rants in my Mum Life section. And if you want to read more about different people’s Christmas traditions, head over to the lovely Carly from Mom of Two Little Girls blog here.

If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.

And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at helen@twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com and I’ll get back to you.

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