25 Days of Christmas Traditions

25 Days of Christmas Traditions

If you haven’t already guessed, Christmas is one of my absolute favorite holidays.  Full disclosure: I did make this known here in my 5 Things you Don’t know About me post. It’s time to start thinking about Christmas as a whole season, rather than just one nightmarish blur of obligatory events.  In the past, I would spend my time thinking about all of the fun things I would like to do, only to be sidetracked by the preparations.  Last year, that all changed. I made a vow to write down all of the things I wanted to during the season and then I scheduled them.  Now, that might sound a bit type-a, but it really helped me to prioritize the most important events.  Even more fun was getting my daughter involved in the process. Here’s how I started:

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Make your bucket list:

This may sound easy, but it can be tricky when there are so many festive things to do! I had to prioritize and recognize that I could say yes to every single invite. If it’s not on the list, we are not going.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t deviate from our schedule if we happen to get an invite that doesn’t conflict. It does mean that something else will NOT bump out an existing event. If you have pre-planned events like a holiday party or tickets to a Christmas show, these can be on the list too!  Our family did a total of 24 events so that there is one for each day leading up to Christmas Day.

Be Creative:

Now y’all know that I am no Martha Stewart, but I did want something fun and visual that my daughter and I could “open” together that would announce each day’s events.  Enter the Christmas treat bag and stickers.  You should know that stickers are pretty much my answer to everything “crafty.” I grabbed two packages of 12 bags and a package of stickers that were numbered 1-24. Since I already had some green card stock, I simply wrote each event out and added one to each bag. For all you creative mamas, there are wood style or DIY calendars that would work just as well.

Holiday gift bags and tags

What to put in the bag?

You can keep it super simple and just add in the strips of paper.  Maybe you want to add a holiday treat.  For our bags, we also added the “supplies” for each of the events.  For example, one day we will be decorating my daughter’s room with Christmas lights, so I enclosed the actual string of lights inside.  We also have a visit to the north pole train and I enclosed her new t-shirt and Santa hat. You could really go crazy with all the possible options, but simple also works just as well!

Holiday gift bags and believe t-shirt

Map it out:

Once you have your list, you will want to select the days for each activity. Pre-planned activities are easiest because the date and time is already decided for you. For activities like delivering cookies to our neighbors, I chose a day that I don’t have to be at work too early so that we can pop them in the mailbox before they get their mail. You want to consider timing and how long each activity might take. Some days you will have something simple like going to take a picture with Santa. Other days, you might be decorating a gingerbread house.  You will want to space each event out so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or rushed.  Remember, YOU decide which events are important to you and your family! Before I put the events in each bag, I mapped it out in my Erin Condren planner. 

Begin on December 1st: Once December 1st rolls around, you can treat this just like an advent calendar.  We will open ours each morning at breakfast, which will give us some time to discuss the day’s events and get excited together.  We will also use this as a way to countdown the days left until Santa arrives.  You can also add in some bible verses for each day if you would like.  Some people even turn this into a kindness calendar, where giving is the most important activity of the day.  You will find that we have a little bit of everything on ours!

child decorating christmas cookies

Our 25 Days of Christmas

  1. Christmas Lights: Grab some lights like these and make your child’s room as festive as the rest of your home! We love these PHILIPS Indoor/Outdoor Mini Lights
  2. Spend a day at local Christmas Festival: Lots of local towns have Holiday Strolls or Christmas Craft Expos and these are always fun and certainly kid-friendly.
  3. Book a Day:  I pre-wrapped all of our Christmas books and my daughter will get to choose a different one each night to read before bed!
  4. Letter to Santa: Grab some hot cocoa and have your child write a letter.  If they cannot write yet, coloring a page or creating a drawing works just as well.
  5. Decorate a Gingerbread House: We used the Build It Yourself Wilton Gingerbread House Decorating Kit last year! Pro tip: I built the house the night before and let my daughter decorate the next day. No need to wait for the icing to dry on the structure.
  6. Photo with Santa: It’s been our tradition since she was one, so we plan to do it for as long as she will let me.
  7. Christmas Pancakes: If you want to get creative, there are lots of options on Pinterest!  Since I try to modify our breakfast pancakes by season (more breakfast ideas here), I will use this recipe for the hot chocolate pancakes.
  8. Christmas Party with School Friends: Since we had a very small preschool class, we did a gift exchange and small party with our school buddies. You could easily do this in the evening or as a daytime play date.
  9. North Pole Express: Just about every town has their answer to the Polar Express and this is ours. We first started going when my daughter was three and we try to coordinate with friends each year.
  10. Firetruck: Our town’s Fire Department has a beautifully decorated firetruck that will deliver presents to individual homes. Groups of families get together and let the kids play until the truck shows up.
  11. Christmas Movie and Hot Cocoa: There are so many to watch, but this year’s will be The Polar Express but our favorites include  Paw Patrol: Pups Save Christmas and Mickey’s Christmas Carol!
  12. Deliver Treats to Local Police Department: With family in law enforcement, I know how tough the holidays can be when these first responders spend them without family.  A delicious baked treat is just what this mama orders!
  13. Christmas Craft: There are so many great options on Pinterest, but we will probably do an ornament together.  I love the Plastic Ball Ornament that you can decorate easily using your child’s hand print or with paint and glitter. You can even do these with friends during your holiday party!
  14. Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees: I saw this super cute recipe and thought this would be a fun thing to make and eat. My daughter agreed.
  15. Host a PJ party: We started hosting this last Christmas and we will host our second one this year.  The kids come in Christmas PJ’s and have a fun craft, Christmas cookies and some dinner together. For the moms? It’s wine and appetizers.
  16. Family Party: Because my husband’s family is spread out across two states, we all get together before Christmas to spend time together and exchange gifts.  Having it before Christmas makes it easy for everyone to make the time to show up.  It’s always a fantastic time.
  17. Attend a Christmas Concert: My church hosts a beautiful concert right before Christmas.  Although it’s a busy time, I never miss this one hour of beautiful and peaceful music.
  18. Deliver cookies to Neighbors: I love to bake (check out my cake decorating tips here). That means I end up making loads and loads of cookies each year.  What better way to share Christmas cheer than to deliver a bunch of sweet treats to your neighbors?
  19. Take a Trip to NYC: As a NY native, going to see the tree at Rockefeller Center was an annual event.  Even though it takes a bit longer to get there these days, I never want my daughter to miss out on NYC at Christmastime.
  20. Ice Skating: Ice skating was one of my favorite things growing up and going skating is always so festive. Don’t like to ice skate? Grab some hot cocoa and watch others do the skating!
  21. Decorate Christmas Cookies: For these cookies, I will cheat and buy the store bought sugar cookies.  Royal icing works best for decorating!  It’s easy to set out some chocolate chips, sprinkles, and decorating sugar for the kiddos.  Definitely line your table with newspaper for drips and spills.
  22. Candy Cane Bombing: I just recently heard about this Christmas tradition and it seems like a fun way to spread some Christmas cheer!
  23. Neighborhood Christmas Lights: I usually like to leave this one until late in the season for maximum light sightings!  If you have a local house where the owners go really crazy, you can make that the final stop. Bring cookies and hot cocoa for the ride.
  24. Christmas Eve Service: When I was a teen, my friends and family always made it to midnight mass.  These days, we opt for the evening timing, which is so nice for the little ones.  We don’t have to wake up and rush out on Christmas Day either!

child laughing with homemade christmas tree snacks

Don’t have the time to do all 25? Totally okay. You can always do 12 or even less if your schedule is tight. The important thing to remember is to have fun. It’s your holiday season so make it your own and enjoy the festivities!

 

This post was originally posted on November 23, 2017 updated November 4, 2018

 

 

 

Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.

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2 Comments

  1. November 7, 2018 / 10:28 pm

    I can wait to experience some of those wonderful Christmas traditions with my family and thank you for sharing!

    • Keira Robilotto
      Author
      November 8, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      So glad! Take lots of pictures 🙂

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