Family Christmas Traditions
Yesterday we looked at some ways to celebrate Christmas Eve, so of course today we’ll share some of the ways we celebrate on Christmas Day! If you’d like to share your family’s Christmas Day traditions, be sure to leave a comment telling us what you and your family like to do. You just might inspire other families to take up your traditions or create some new ones!
As I was reading over these submissions from ladies in the Hip Homeschool Moms Community, I was once again surprised by the similarity of so many families’ Christmas traditions. Another thing I noticed was a wonderful menu of yummy traditional foods as well as some that are not traditional at all for most folks but which are part of an important tradition for a particular family.
I began to try to break down these submissions into family activities, food, etc., but I realized that, for Christmas Day traditions, it’s almost impossible to break these down into categories because food is such an important part of different parts of each family’s Christmas Day traditions. It’s often not a separate event but instead is part of the gift opening process or part of special time spent with family.
It’s my hope that reading about these traditions will help you cherish your own family’s traditions even more. And if you don’t happen to have any Christmas Day traditions with your family, it’s never too late to begin!
Go to the grandparents’ house to open presents on Christmas morning.
Stay home in our new Christmas PJs.
Get up early to open gifts. Then have a big breakfast together. After that, take a nap, play with new toys, watch Christmas movies (In our new PJs that we got last night and will wear all day today too!), eat leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner, and play some more ‘till bedtime!
One family is starting a brand new tradition this year. They are opening their Christmas stockings and then going to help pack and deliver meals and gifts to people in a homeless camp before coming back home to open their gifts.
Get up and open presents, attend a Christmas service at church, then go back home to play and have dinner before bedtime.
Go to the grandparents’ house where everyone pitches in to make some amazing chicken egg rolls that Granddad created the recipe for! The whole family loves them, and they only get together to make and eat them once a year. Yum!
One daughter and her mom started wearing matching Christmas sweaters back in the year 2000, and they still do it to this day. After a few years, her Nana joined the tradition, and a few years later a new sister-in-law joined in the fun! The daughter stated that, 14 years later, it’s lots of fun to look back at each year’s picture to see how clothing and hairstyles have changed over the years!
Another family created a new tradition this year because the grandparents are farther away this year and the family can’t visit them this Christmas. This year they opened their gifts, ate breakfast, played for a little while, and then went to see a movie. They’d never thought of going to see a movie on Christmas before, but this change made it a little easier since they couldn’t visit the grandparents.
A family tradition for one family is “Nanna’s in pajamas.” They all show up in their PJs at Nanna’s house to open gifts and have a huge breakfast together.
Since Mom is the first one up, she tosses a quiche and some cinnamon rolls into the oven. The family then opens stockings while the quiche and cinnamon rolls bake. Then they open presents at home while they eat. After spending the morning at home together, they go to her sister’s house or to the in-laws’ house. (They alternate going to one or the other each year.)
One family has a traditional Christmas meal of ham, potatoes, and sweet potato pie! This year they’re adding a gluten free version of chocolate cream pie and pumpkin pie since the family is now gluten free. Because they don’t live near family, they spend the day at home. They always eat a special breakfast together (like red velvet pancakes or waffles with lots of toppings) before opening gifts. Some years they do something else fun like go see a movie together as a family.
Another family enjoys opening gifts together while listening to Christmas music. Then they eat French toast, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. After that, they put toys together and play all day. This year, they’re starting a new tradition! The family will work together to make a birthday cake for Jesus. They intentionally stay home on Christmas day and enjoy being home together playing and relaxing.
Some kiddos wake up bright and early on Christmas morning! They open presents, eat breakfast together (of Christmas cereal from Santa and cinnamon rolls and sausage), and then they head to the grandparents’ hosue. There, they have Finnan Haddie, English muffins, bacon, and egg nog. The siblings have a great time visiting, and the kids have fun playing with cousins. After that, they go to the other grandparents’ house to play board games for the rest of the day.
Some families like to have a relaxed day at home. One family opens stockings while monkey bread bakes for breakfast. After eating, they open presents. Then they play for a while before going out to eat lunch. They enjoy having a peaceful day and not spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
This family has had to create new traditions because, a few years ago, they moved away and are no longer able to spend Christmas Day at Grandma’s house. Now they sleep late, eat pancakes and sausage for breakfast, open presents, and then go to a Chinese restaurant that they like for lunch. They even dress up a little for the outing!
A family in Michigan enjoys eating a big breakfast, opening gifts, and going for a hike! (These are brave folks! Those of us who live in the South can’t imagine going out for a hike in freezing cold temps!)
Coffee for Mom and Dad followed by orange rolls for breakfast is another yummy Christmas tradition! Then they go see a movie later that day.
Go to Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve, and wake up on Christmas morning to open gifts. Then go to the other grandmother’s house for breakfast casserole (a Christmas specialty!). After that, presents are opened beginning with the youngest child and ending with the older children. Then they go back to Grandma’s house to visit with aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. After a lunch of soup and sandwiches, they open presents (They draw names at Thanksgiving.)After playing and visiting for a while, they all head their separate ways.
Mom and Dad get up early to get hot water going for cocoa. They uncover the fully assembled presents and then wait for the kiddos to get up. They unwrap gifts while sipping hot cocoa and listening to Christmas music. Then Mom makes breakfast while the kids play.
One family has a rule that the kids can open their stockings in the morning, but they must wait to open presents until the other family members arrive after breakfast. Other traditions may change, but it’s been a tradition to wait to open gifts until after the other family members arrive ever since Mom was a baby.
Some more yummy traditions are cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then meatballs in Swedish sauce, mashed potatoes, a green veggie of some kind, and orange fluff for lunch! Some time that day, they visit the cemetery to visit the grave of a dear friend who passed away on Christmas Day a few years ago. After that they head home to play games and have wassail.
One family recently decided to begin staying home on Christmas each year so they can relax and enjoy the day with their family. They see the grandparents on Christmas Eve so they can stay home on Christmas Day. On Christmas morning, they eat an egg casserole (that’s refrigerated overnight to make it quick and easy to prepare that morning). Then they open presents and have time to play.
The kids get up and wait until Mom has her coffee to open presents. After that, they open gifts and then sing happy birthday to Jesus. Then they each say 3 wishes (for the 3 wise men). One is a wish for someone else, one for the world, and one for herself. After going out for breakfast, they come home to play with toys. For dinner, they go to an aunt’s house and visit with family until late in the evening.
Have cupcakes for breakfast to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. They all get silly string in their stockings and have a silly string battle after presents have been opened.
Kolaches for breakfast while opening gifts! Yum!
Baked French toast for breakfast. While it bakes, they read the Christmas story from Luke and then open stockings. Finally, after breakfast, they take turns opening gifts from youngest to oldest.
It’s often very hot in Sydney Australia and so we sometimes leave deciding on the menu until a few days before (seafood crepes if it’s too hot to cook much or lamb roast with all the trimmings if it will be okay to have the oven running for a few hours.) I struggle with not being able to forward plan! We wake up, open all the presents and then have a brunch of Eggs Benedict with the ham leg we began eating on Christmas Eve. We call family after breakfast and then snack play board games and play with toys until we have an early dinner. We spend Boxing Day with friends (our substitute family) every year and celebrate Christmas with them that day.
Others in Sydney Australia visit their relatives who have air condition and a swimming pool and enjoy buffet of seafood and salads. Growing up there was always lunch at midday and an afternoon cricket match.