Christmas Time is Here
Now that we are knee-deep into November, my mind is officially switching over to holiday mode.
With that said, I’m a huge stickler for fully embracing one holiday before moving on to the next.
While the tradition of changing my holiday decorations from fall to winter is still a few weeks off in our home, my mind has been racing with all the upcoming holiday fun we are about to embark on!
Including holiday family traditions.
The Importance of Holiday Traditions
Spending time connecting with family over the holidays is one of the things I treasure most.
That’s why I view holiday traditions as an absolute must for our family!
Holiday Gift Traditions
While all of our family holiday traditions are great, the gifting traditions are some of our most memorable!
In our home, we do gift-giving in a very specific way.
While we do like to mix it up slightly on occasion, we generally stick to the same base idea.
Check out our holiday traditions for gift-giving below!
Pre-Christmas Gift Tradition
Have you ever heard of the 25 Days of Christmas books tradition?
Well, this first gift-giving holiday tradition is my personal (and condensed, cause let’s be honest – I’m a little lazy) version of that.
Each year I wrap up 4 new Christmas books for my kids and we open one each week in December leading up to Christmas.
On the rare occasion, I will wrap a 5th book to open up on Christmas Eve.
I like to pretend that I do this because it’s fun to add an element of surprise from time to time, but in reality, it just meant I struggled with narrowing down my choices for the year. Haha!
I try to get the following type of books each year…
- 1 Family Devotional (or advent book)
- 2 Story Books
- 1 Activity Book
We typically open our family devotional first, leaving us all month to read from it and enjoy the advent activities together.
I tend to follow that up with a storybook more geared towards my youngest child (book 2) and a longer storybook for my older children (book 3).
Finally, we finish up this simple Christmas tradition with a fun activity book we can work on that final week leading up to Christmas.
Christmas Eve Gifts
Yes! This is a super fun Christmas tradition that I look forward to every single year.
I try to keep gift-giving simple and minimalistic in our home and Christmas Eve is no exception.
My kids get the following Christmas Eve gifts every single year…
- Matching Pajamas
- Shared Family Movie
- Shared Family Game
I typically buy and wash all pajamas in advance, then wrap them and place them under the tree where they stay for the entire holiday season leading up to Christmas Eve night.
I also grab a fun movie we either love and don’t own or simply pick a new one we haven’t seen yet.
Then, I purchase a fun new game for us to try out as a family.
My kids start this Christmas tradition by opening and slipping into their new Christmas pajamas, then they open their new movie & game.
Sometimes we play our game right off the bat, other times we save it till Christmas day.
Then, we snuggle up with snacks & watch our movie together as a family.
This is definitely one of my favorite holiday traditions!
Christmas Day Gifts
This holiday tradition is just another example of how I like to keep gift-giving super simple around the Christmas season.
While I do love watching my children light up when they open a new gift, I also don’t like Christmas to only be about the getting.
I want to teach my children to be appreciative and content during the holidays – and always.
In our home, we all get 4 gifts – 1 gift in each of the following categories…
When opening our gifts we tend to start with the reads and inch our way up to the wants.
Even though I want to make my kid’s dreams come true to an extent, I still tend to keep their want gift pretty simple.
I don’t like to spend a large amount on something my kids may only want for a small period of time, so I simply pay attention to what makes them light up in the months that lead up to Christmas and focus on the one thing I think will be most valued by them.
That said, even though we thoroughly enjoy this tradition every year, I do mix things up from time to time.
While the amount and type of gifts remain the same, the way we gift them changes.
Wrapping Paper Surprise
This little addition can be so much fun, you guys!
We’ve been doing this one for a few years now and my kids absolutely love it.
How it works…
Each person gets their own wrapping paper, but it MUST remain a surprise.
In our home, I choose who gets what paper.
Then, I spend a little time making a personalized card with a scrap of their wrapping paper inside.
This card goes in the bottom of each person’s stocking on Christmas Eve night.
My kids always love waking up to see Christmas gifts of many shapes and sizes, while guessing which gifts belong to them.
Such a fun little holiday tradition!
Name Drawing Game
Mixing up your gift-giving game can make Christmas morning exciting and fresh.
Last year, we decided to draw names and it was such a fun twist, you guys!
Each family member drew 1 name of another family member in each category (want, need, wear, read).
They were then in charge of taking care of those particular gifts.
With that said, wrapping paper wasn’t exactly a surprise that year.
However, it was still a fun way to complete our Christmas traditions – with a little twist!
Family Bonding Holiday Traditions
While gift-giving tends to be a huge part of the American family Christmas, there are some other fun ways that we love to celebrate the season in our home each year!
Check out our favorites below.
Elf on the Shelf Alternative
I was recently introduced to this little guy last year and it was such a blessing to add him to our family holiday traditions!
If you are on the lookout for something new and exciting to add to your holiday line-up, I encourage you to check this one out.
You can however still shop all things Shepherd on the Search below!
- Advent Activity Set
- Activity Book
- Cloth Advent Calendar
- Magnetic Advent Calendar
- Stuffed Camel
- Encouraging Notes
- Board Game
- Coloring Placemats
Scripture Reading Tradition
Throughout the years, our family has always read Luke chapter 2 every Christmas morning (and we still do).
However, last year we added to that by reading the entire book of Luke throughout the month of December.
It was such an awesome experience!
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Other Fun Holiday Traditions
As much as we enjoy the gift-giving traditions and our family time traditions, there are a couple of other things we look forward to every single year!
You can find those fun ideas below!
Hot Cocoa Station
This is a holiday tradition that I had way too much fun putting together!
With a quick trip to Hobby Lobby under my belt and a simple Target pickup order, I was able to put this little masterpiece together in just a handful of minutes.
I made it as self-serve as possible, but really I just love the way it looks on my counter each year.
Shop all the supplies below!
*Note: I made our hot cocoa bar a couple of winters ago and some items may no longer be available. For those things, I tried to find similar items or something I would use if I were currently building my hot cocoa bar this year! Check out my selections below and don’t be afraid to mix it up and make it your own!
- Metal 2-tier tray
- Statement mug (for holding candy canes or other cocoa stirrers)
- Mason jars (for marshmallows, candies, and cocoa)
- Festive Mugs (for drinking)
- Decorations (just because)
Time off from Homeschooling
While taking time off isn’t technically a tradition, having the ability to slow down and focus on all the little things is.
Skipping formal homeschool lessons and taking an extended break from homeschooling around the holidays gives us the ability to participate in our other family traditions such as Christmas movie watching and baking!
We did this for the first time last year, and I will never go back.
Taking extra time off around the holiday season simply allows me to reset.
Plus, the no-rush feeling helps me to be able to soak up all those little moments.
Life is just way too short to be confined to a schedule all the time, you guys!
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