We recently started staying home for Christmas Eve and most of Christmas. In the past, we have spent most of the time everywhere else BUT our home. So, we decided to pull the plug, turn down family party invitations, and do our own thing. It wasn’t easy! It’s hard to think about what fun you’re missing out on at the extended families homes. It’s hard to think that you might be disappointing people by not coming. But, it’s also so exciting and so important to spend some of these special times with your own little family. It’s the chance you have to start your OWN Christmas traditions and grow closer together.Christmas Eve, we spend the entire evening at home. Christmas morning, the in-laws came over for breakfast and to see the kids. Christmas dinner, we spend with my family. So, overall…we only leave the house once…to go to Grandma’s for dinner. It’s sooooo wonderful, so relaxing, and we still get to see both sets of parents.
Anyway, I thought I would share with you my Christmas traditions…
P.S. Wrap all your presents before Christmas Eve. You will enjoy the evening so much more!
Christmas Eve Dinner
Dinner is so fun! We bust out our super cute Reindeer plates and bowls and have our favorite potato and bacon soup, with bread sticks. This is even better done by candlelight…the kids love it! I also buy those plastic wine goblets to serve sparkling cider. All the while, we are listening to some great Christmas music. While sitting around the table, everyone shares a favorite Christmas memory. I also set out some fun treats/snacks for everyone to munch on throughout the night.
The Christmas Story
After dinner, we gather around the family room for the Christmas Story…sometimes we watch our Living Scriptures video “The King is Born”, other times we read straight from the scriptures.
Then it’s game time! I bought several extra small gifts to use for prizes for our Christmas Eve games. I bought one for each child and wrapped them. We kept playing the games until everyone had a chance to win. If they didn’t get what they wanted, they could trade after all the games were over. Gifts might be something like a DVD, a book, a $5 dollar coupon book for McDonalds, etc.
Blow Out the Candle
Set a stool in the middle of the room with a lit candle on it (don’t burn your house down, please.) We just put a votive candle, on top of a plate. Blindfold one person, spin them around, and they get ONE blow to try and blow the flame out. The kids thought this was SO hilarious to see people blowing in the complete wrong direction. The first person to blow out the flame, wins.
Just like “Simon Says”…but, Santa Says. Add some clever Christmas commands in there like “Say Ho, Ho, Ho”, shake your belly like Santa, sing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”, pretend to wrap a present, melt like a snowman, etc. Obviously, they are out if they do the command without you saying “Santa Says” before it.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
We picked up this cute book. Everyone sits in a circle and one wrapped prize is given to someone to hold. I read the story out loud and every time I say the word, “and”…the prize is passed to the next person in the circle. It gets a little crazy, because sometimes there are a bunch of “and” words in a row! But, it’s really fun! Whoever ends up with the prize at the end of the game, gets to open it.
Fill a stocking with a variety of different candies. Have everyone take turns putting their hand in, feeling the different items. Whoever can guess what candy they are feeling gets to keep it, if they are right! Make sure to buy different sizes and shapes (suckers, Kit Kat, Snickers, pack of gum, Ring Pop, Pop Rocks, etc.). We have a lot of other stocking ideas HERE on the blog.
Christmas Eve ~ Sharing the Love & Sibling Gift Exchange
First of all, as of November 1st…my kids get no allowance for themselves. Half of their money goes to buying gifts for the “angel tree” child they chose off the tree at the mall. The other half of their money goes to buying small gifts for their siblings. So, that’s leading into what we do next….
We start with the oldest kid and everyone in the family has to take turns saying nice things about them. When everyone has had their turn, they give that sibling the gift from them. Then, it goes right on down the line…kind words…presents… I really LOVE this part because not only are they saying kind, loving things to each other but they get really excited about these small ($10 dollar) gifts that they are given. The gifts don’t get overlooked in the excitement and seem insignificant like they might on Christmas morning. It really is a super special family moment when we do this, love it.
Sleeping/Movie in Our Room
After some last minute snacks, making a plate for Santa, we let them pull some sleeping bags in our room and sleep there for the night. This is a tradition continued from my husband’s family. We turned on a Christmas movie for them (love The Polar Express!), shut the door, and told them they would basically be kicked out of the family if they tried to come out. While they are all nestled in their beds, we let them watch a Christmas movie while we prepare for the next morning.
Hope that gives you some Christmas traditions ideas and encourages you to stay home, you’ll love it!
Other posts you’ll love:
- Christmas Activity Advent ~ Celebrate All Month Long!
- 12 Days of Christmas Family Fun ~ Christmas Traditions
- 5 Tips for Christmas at Disneyland ~ Including How to Manage Crowds
Our picks for starting your Christmas traditions:
Child to Cherish Santa’s Message Plate Set, Santa cookie plate, Santa milk jar, and reindeer treat bowlLenox Holiday Melamine Dinner Plates (Set of 4), IvoryAmazonBasics 16-Piece Cafe Stripe Dinnerware Set, Service for 4 – RedThe Christmas StoryUniqhia zy-Antler Ring Toss Game Two-Player Inflatable Reindeer Antler Ring Toss Game for Christmas Party,, Game Rules Included, 2 Antlers, 8 RingsPin the NOSE on the SNOWMAN Christmas HOLIDAY Party Game with BLINDFOLD & INSTRUCTIONSSpot It! HolidayIKEA SINNLIG Scented Tealight, Sweet Berries, Red – 30 packThymes – Fragrant Frasier Fir Votive Candle with 15-Hour Burn Time – 2 OuncesGod Gave Us Christmas (God Gave Us Series)The Night Before Christmas Oversized Padded Board Book: The Classic EditionTwas The Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st CenturyA Visit From Saint NicholasTwas the Night Before ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic Seuss)