Starting a Christmas tradition can bring a family even closer together. Here are 21 traditions that will cost you very little or nothing at all, but the memories they instill will last a lifetime.
1. Add painted handprints to a Christmas tree skirt.
Include the year with each handprint and eventually, the entire skirt will be covered in handprints of all sizes. You can get a white tree skirt for around $10 on Amazon, or you can make your own for much less with cotton or linen fabric from Michaels.
This is the perfect addition to your decorations, whether you have a traditional Christmas tree or not!
2. Go on a Christmas lights scavenger hunt.
Turn this into a holiday outdoor adventure and bring some snacks whether you’re on foot or in a car. Make a list of everything you might see on the scavenger hunt, and let the kids check off items as you look at lights. If you need help, print out this Christmas lights scavenger hunt list and enjoy your new Christmas tradition.
3. Wrap holiday movies you already have and watch one each night.
Unwrapping a surprise movie each night is almost as much fun as watching it together. It’s one of those family Christmas traditions that will go on forever!
If you want to save on wrapping paper then we recommend Dollar Tree! They always have cute stuff and it’s only a buck a roll!
4. Or, wrap Christmas themed books to read every day during the holidays.
Via Simply Sara
Try to aim for 12 books for the 12 nights of Christmas. Each night one child gets to unwrap a book for you to read. You can check them out of the library or just use ones you already own. Make opening The NIght Before Christmas one of your new Christmas Eve traditions!
5. Customize Santa plates with handprints.
You and the little ones will have fun building a collection of Santa’s cookie plates over the years.
You could turn a hand into a reindeer or a tiny foot into a traditional Christmas tree! Get creative and have some fun.
6. Turn a tablecloth into a holiday heirloom.
Via Yahoo! News
This family Christmas tradition can last a lifetime and go from generation to generation. Use fabric markers or pencils to draw images or write poems and quotes. If you have a crafty family member, see if they can needlepoint some artwork. You’ll find tablecloths of various shapes for under $10 on Amazon.
7. Put together a night-before-Christmas box.
Include new pjs or slippers, a movie or a book (even if you already own them!), a fun game and maybe some hot cocoa and popcorn.
Whether you have kids under the age of 5, teenagers or adult children, this Christmas tradition is always a bonding experience.
8. Dedicate a night to play the Silver Bells memory game.
The Silver Bells memory game is just like the game Memory only this one calls for Hershey’s kisses, dot stickers and a sharpie. Make sure you make two of each number, letter or symbol — just like regular Memory! I’m all about family Christmas traditions where everyone gets chocolate.
9. Play a game of balancing ornaments on a yardstick.
This is a game where you put a yardstick on a paper towel roll and add ornaments to the yardstick without any falling, all in one minute.
We’ve also got some seriously fun Christmas party ideas if it’s your turn to host!
10. Leave candy in shoes in honor of St. Nicholas Day.
Via Crafting Chicks
Saint Nicholas was a real saint known for being kind, helping those in need and loving children. St. Nicholas Day is on December 6th, and traditionally, children leave their shoes by the door for St. Nicholas to bring them gifts and treats. Make this a Christmas tradition and fill shoes with candy. You can even sneak in candy from Halloween.
11. Create a washi-tape tree to hang holiday cards.
Via Thyme is Honey
Have the whole family help build a decorative tree on an empty wall using washi tape. Not only will you feature holiday cards, but it’s another opportunity to add some family Christmas traditions. You’ll need washi tape, string, tinsel, tacks, any Christmas tree topper and some hanging clips.
12. Make reindeer food.
Via Savvy Mom
Mix together a combination of rolled oats, sunflower seeds, and red and green sugar crystals. Sprinkle it in the snow for Santa’s reindeer for a fun Christmas Eve tradition. (Stay away from actual glitter or any non-food items which are harmful to critters who may get into them.)
13. Write a letter to a soldier.
Have every member of the family write a letter of gratitude to the soldiers serving overseas. Operation Gratitude allows you to say thank you, which is especially warming during the holidays when our soldiers are away from their own families.
It’s a great Christmas tradition that’ll help your kids to spread joy without spending a dime.
14. Adopt a family.
Via Bean Elf
Christmas is the perfect time to teach children and teens the spirit of giving. Make it a Christmas tradition to work with a local charity to find a family in need, then get your family together in buying, wrapping and delivering gifts.
In order to make your money stretch as far as possible, you can follow the KCL deals page. This way you won’t overspend and you’ll be able to give generously.
15. Make LifeSaver ornaments with the kids.
Throw aluminum foil on a cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Have the kids lay out their designs in alternating colors of Life Savers, and add a metal ornament hook in the candy before putting it in the oven.
Don’t leave them in too long! 5-7 minutes should do it. Let them cool completely before taking them off the cookie sheet.
16. Start a yearly cookie exchange.
Via Simple Bites
Do this with the extended family or your neighbors and friends. Send invites at least a few weeks ahead of the exchange so guests know how many cookies to make, and this will help you decide how many of each cookie guests can take home. This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions!
17. Send out a family newsletter of the year in review.
Via The Fourth Bud
Make sure to watch for photo deals. There are always a bunch around the holidays!
18. Set out 12 boxes filled with themes and activities for the 12 Days of Christmas.
Via Leelah Loves
Twelve days of Christmas fun means being as creative as you can — from gingerbread day to movie day. Inside each box or package is a full list of ideas, and also contain supplies for that day’s theme.
Make sure to save the best for last and a sweet Christmas Eve tradition!
19. Create hope notes for next Christmas.
Via Becoming Martha
This Christmas tradition starts on the tail end of Christmas. As you pack up your stockings for the year, each family member writes a note with a hope they want to happen by next Christmas. Put it in a stocking for the following year. It’s fun to read what everyone hoped for and a good opportunity to reflect on the previous year.
20. Turn a white door into a snowman.
Before you trim the tree, consider adorning a door in the form of a snowman. Every year, the kids get to pick which door gets decorated. Whether it’s a white Christmas or not, you’ll always have at least one door full of holiday cheer.
21. Build a Christmas campout station where you can watch movies and tell stories.
It’s as easy as building a fort with sheets or putting together a small tent. However you do it, the little ones will love it, especially if you have a fire going in the fireplace. Read a story, tell a story from your own childhood Christmas, or have the kids tell you their wishes for the year. However you choose to use your fort, it’s sure to be a favorite family Christmas tradition.
Check out these links for more holiday fun:
- Michaels coupons & deals
- Dollar Tree coupons & deals
- 15 Dollar Store Christmas DIY Projects Anyone Can Do
- 17 Brilliant Christmas Hacks You’ll Need for the Holidays
- Krazy Coupon Lady deals page
- 24 Top Holiday Hosting Hacks & Christmas Party Ideas
- 19 Frightfully Fun Ways to Use Leftover Halloween Candy
- 32 Amazing Christmas Savings Tips and Holiday Hacks
- Krazy Coupon Lady photo deals