Special Family-Friendly Christmas Traditions Everyone Can Enjoy


When my husband and I got married, I was really excited about all the traditions we would have together and as a family. Whether it was yearly, weekly or a family related tradition, it didn’t really matter.

I am a big fan of consistently celebrating good things, the holidays and Christmas time are no exception. The only thing is, right now, we have very young children. So, cutting down our own Christmas tree and making cookies seems more of a pain (and mess) than a fun family tradition.

If you’re like us, it might seem hard to keep traditions because the kids may not be able to fully participate and enjoy them. And you don’t want to leave anyone out, it’s the holidays!! So, here are some special family-friendly holiday traditions everyone can enjoy (no matter your kid’s ages)!

Christmas Decorations

Are you one of those people who decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving? Are you a solid “the day after Thanksgiving” decorator? Or do you lean more towards Dec. 1 or sometime thereafter? We all have our preferences, stick to it, it will be “your thing” and your kids will love it and take comfort in it.

Tree Decorating

Let the kids pick out their ornaments and decorate their own Christmas tree. You could have them help decorate the main tree too, but if you want to keep that one pretty, get them their own tree to decorate every year. 😉

Christmas Music

I used to work retail, so I know all about hearing Christmas music for what seems like months before it’s actually Christmas. BUT if you’re not in retail, you’re limited in options. We’re a solid “the day after Thanksgiving” for Christmas music. I like to give each holiday its own time. But once Thanksgiving is over, it’s all Christmas, ALL the time.

Christmas Movies

I’ve been noticing that Christmas movies are coming out earlier each year. We wait until after Thanksgiving to start watching them. I probably watch one a day in December until Christmas. And we definitely have our favorites, including Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas, The Holiday, Elf, all the Home Alone’s, Christmas with the Kranks, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th St., The Polar Express, the Hallmark Channel and Netflix Christmas movies.

Advent Calendar

I love the idea of a Christmas advent calendar every year. I tried to start a tradition with one made of stockings, but I have nowhere to hang it, so I’m going to have to rethink how to display it. They have advent calendars with chocolate, socks, beauty products and probably a million DIY options. Find one you like and bring it out year after year.

Get Crafty

There are so many Christmas crafts you can do with kids of all ages. Make your own snow globes, fruit garland, construction paper crafts or handmade ornaments to name a few. I am hoping to get my kids to help with some DIY gingerbread ornaments but we’ll see.

Christmas Cookies

Looking for easy and mess free? Get the pre-made cookie dough from the fridge section, either the roll or the break-apart kind. Prefer to make your own? That’s great too, especially if you have some extra hands in the kitchen. Cut out cute shapes or leave them as circles. Add icing or sprinkles for a fun festive cookie. Bam! Christmas cookies every year.

Holiday Festivals

During the holidays there are always a million things going on. Pick one or two favorites to do every year, you can always add more if you want, but keep it simple starting out. Follow local Facebook pages, Columbia Mom and your favorite venues for the most current and up-to-date events and information.

Christmas Lights

We just went to Saluda Shoals Holiday Lights for the first time tonight!! There is so much to do there! I haven’t gone before because I didn’t grow up here, and our kids weren’t old enough to enjoy it until now. We have gone to the Zoo Lights before. That’s a fun one too, especially to see the nocturnal animals. There are also several beautifully lit neighborhoods for a fun, free, family experience, or check out some of the best light displays Columbia, and South Carolina, has to offer!

Family Pictures

The end of the year is the perfect time to get family portraits. Either hire a professional or get a tripod and do it yourself. You can dress up, be casual, or wear matching PJs. Whatever you choose, just have fun with it and don’t expect everyone to be looking at the camera. Candid lifestyle shots are the best anyways.

Christmas Play/Musical

I remember seeing A Christmas Story when I was in high school, and it was so fun! It was something our family hadn’t done before, and I really enjoyed it. When I was younger, we used to go see the Nutcracker. I would love to take my kids to see the Nutcracker every year, but they aren’t old enough yet. Definitely, want to save this tradition for later!

Santa Pictures

We don’t really celebrate Santa or talk him up in our home. We want to focus on Jesus’ birth and having a generous spirit during Christmas. But they know who Santa is. And they’ll get pictures with him if it’s free or convenient. But if your family is big on Santa, or it’s sentimental to you, make it a yearly Christmas tradition! Here’s our Santa picture from this year, and I’m not mad about it one bit. 😉

Christmas Eve Church Service

Growing up, we spent every Christmas with my grandparents (and entire extended family) in Charleston. Every year we would go to their Lutheran church’s Christmas Eve Candlelight Service. We would sing Christmas hymns, read about the birth of The King and light candles. Our local church didn’t offer a candlelight service until this year, so we’ve really missed going. I’m so excited to be able to do this tradition again!!

Christmas Eve Present

We’ve always picked one present to open on Christmas Eve. I also heard someone say their family got new pajamas every Christmas Eve. I think I’m going to give my kids each a new book on Christmas Eve to open. You could choose the same item every year or it could just be the theme of getting to open a present on Christmas Eve. Either way, it’s a fun one!

Family Dinner

No matter what your family does for Christmas dinner, make it a tradition by doing the same thing every year. Like pizza on Christmas Eve and the big family dinner Christmas day. Or have a big potluck with everyone you know or extended family and everyone brings their best dish.

All right, these are the best of the best Christmas traditions that our family has, what I grew up with, and what I’ve heard other families do as well. Did I get them all? Is there something your family does every year that you just can’t live without? Any unique traditions? We would love to read about them in the comments below! Merry Christmas y’all!!

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Amanda Rollison
Amanda and her family live in West Columbia. Her husband works in graphic and web design, and rides in a Christian Motorcycle Club. She has two degrees, one as a cosmetologist (although she doesn’t practice) and an Associate of Art. For the past two years, she has been a stay-at-home mom taking care of their only son. Before that she was a nanny for two kiddos and learned ways to beat the boredom of staying at home. She and her son travel all over the state, going on little adventures, earning her the label “the stay at home mom who’s never home” by her husband. Their favorite thing to do is visit the zoo, because it’s right there in their neighborhood. They also enjoy playdates with other moms from their church, Midtown. Amanda loves thrift shopping, using her creativity and is obsessed with DIY projects.


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