'Tis the season for family traditions, and as your baby keeps growing, it's important to start some new ones while they're young! I have the best memories watching Christmas lights with my family and having a gingerbread house building competition with in-laws - it was one of my favorite parts of the season.
Making new traditions with your baby is fun and so worth it. Here a few ideas for Christmas traditions you can start with your baby this year!
1. Bake Christmas Goodies & Give to Neighbors
The Christmas season is a great opportunity to teach your kids about generosity, and a great way to do that is to bake Christmas goodies for your neighbors! Not only will you get to have fun with your babies baking Christmas cookies, caramel popcorn, or holiday candies - but you'll get to give with them, too.
We've collected a few favorite Christmas recipes throughout the years, and they're perfect to try with kiddos. Check out our Molasses Cookies, Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, and Christmas Crunch. They are delicious and so easy!
2. Decorate the Christmas Tree Together (With Homemade Ornaments?)
Decorating the Christmas tree as a family is a tradition that will follow you for years. My family still does it, even as kids move out of the house! Usually my mom will lay out a big folding table and set all our ornaments on top (she'll unbox everything in advance). We'll have a fancy dinner and then decorate the tree together afterwards! It's a holiday tradition we look forward to every year.
Get creative with your kids as you make this your new tradition! Play "Christmas tree I-Spy" (your kids will love this game for years to come). You can even make it an all-day activity by making fun homemade ornaments with your kids before.
3. Make Vanilla Snow!
Whenever it snowed at my house growing up, my dad always grabbed a bowl, filled it with snow, and sprinkled a few drops of vanilla extract on top as a winter "treat" for me and my brothers. Not sure why I loved dad's "vanilla snow" recipe so much (it wasn't sweet at all lol), but I'll forever treasure this yummy winter snack haha:)
Your kids might not like my version of "vanilla snow," but you can always make homemade snow cones with them! Grab some snow outside, pour syrup on top (buy some at a Hawaiian shaved ice near you or follow this simple recipe), and voila! You have the perfect winter treat.
4. Look at Christmas Lights
My all-time favorite Christmas tradition! Every year, my family would pile in our van, my parents would grab hazelnut lattes from Starbucks, and we'd drive around the neighborhoods in our city looking at all the beautiful Christmas lights. May favorite part was that my parents let us wear pajamas and socks (no shoes!) because we were staying in the car the whole time anyway 😆
If your baby does well in the car, this is a great chance to go on a fun drive with your family and listen to Christmas tunes on the way. And if the car is currently a nightmare with your little one? Go on a walk! You won't be able to see as many lights, but at least you'll be able to get some fresh air and appreciate your neighbors' hard work this year.
5. Gingerbread House Decorating Contest
Baking gingerbread can be a little time consuming, and unless you're a baking wizard who makes gingerbread in bulk from scratch, you'll need an easy method to pull this Christmas tradition off. Of course, you can always buy gingerbread house kits at your local grocery store. You'll have fun with your kids and your house will look pretty no matter how much icing you put on it!
But - if you want to get a little more competitive, try using less conventional materials. My family got pretty serious with our houses back in the day, and we didn't use gingerbread at all! Graham crackers and matzah crackers formed the walls, pretzel sticks secured, and gobs of frosting sealed everything together. You can make some pretty crazy houses if you use cheaper stuff!
6. Visit Santa
This tradition might be a little difficult if your baby has a hard time with strangers. But it gets better as the years go on! It quickly turns into a beloved Christmas outing as a family each year, and your baby will warm up to Santa eventually. (Check out these tips on visiting Santa with your kids)
You can even grow the tradition as your baby grows. By the time they can formulate their own list, help them write down what they want to share with Santa. As they get older, encourage them to write a thank you note for them to give to Santa when they visit! There's tons of opportunity for sweet memories here.
7. Take a "Baby's First Christmas" Photoshoot
Your baby's first Christmas only happens once! Make sure to seize the opportunity and have a fun holiday photoshoot with your Christmas babe. Dress them up in Christmas pj's, catch them at a good time, and start snapping photos - you'll treasure them for years.
Our Lumberjack Bandana Bibs are the perfect baby accessories for a Christmas photoshoot! They come in festive patterns and will keep your baby dry, warm, and happy as your take pictures. Need inspiration? Check out one of our recent reels on Christmas baby photoshoot ideas!
8. Watch the Classics
Once your kids are old enough, you'll need to share all the family classics with them. Charlie Brown Christmas is great for your younger kiddos, Elf is awesome when your kids start understanding the humor, and Home Alone is great after your kids grow up just a little bit more;)
Have a Christmas movie family night every December! Make White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn, snuggle up with your favorite Christmas jammies, make some hot cocoa, and watch a new classic each year. This is a great holiday tradition that's super easy to pull off each year!
9. Elf on the Shelf?
Elf on the Shelf can be magical for your kiddos during the month of December, and it can help them anticipate the big day. Grab an Elf on the Shelf while your kids are young and as soon as they're able to understand the game, start hiding your elf every night.
Your kids will have so much fun looking around the house for that elf, and it'll entertain them in the morning for a bit (time for mom to sip coffee and relax for a bit, yesss). Overall, this is a super fun tradition to start early with your kids!
10. Get Advent Calendars
Advent calendars were my favorite part of December mornings growing up (I mean who doesn't like starting their day with chocolate??). When we were really young, my mom would always grab the cheap cardboard calendars you can find at your local grocery store. But as we got older, she got a nicer wooden one and filled it with Hershey Kisses (my fav!)
Whether you let your kids pick out their favorite cardboard design, or your set up a fancy one with doors and chocolates, your kids will love looking forward to this Christmas tradition. It's simple and fun!
11. Read the Christmas Story with Your Kids
Had to save the best for last! My family always read the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, but you don't have to wait until then to talk about the reason for the season. You can even go through each of the gospel accounts on different nights, and talk about the differences with your kids.
Make it a fun tradition. Get hot cocoa for the family, cozy up around the fireplace, and make reading the Christmas story fun with your kids. Even if they don't fully understand the story yet, that time is precious and that tradition is worth keeping.
Those are all the Christmas tradition ideas we have for now, but let us know in the comments what other traditions you keep! Christmas is the sweetest time to make memories with your babies - don't let it slip by. Merry Christmas!