Our Christmas Traditions

This time of year always seems to be busy, but wonderful, spending time with loved ones, gift giving and magical Christmas traditions. Every year we add to our Christmas traditions list because as the kids get older, they have become more involved and find a lot of joy in participating.

We ended up decorating very, very early this year, so we’ve been in the Christmas spirit for quite some time (oh darn!), but we’ve tried to hold most traditions off until December because I kind of like packing everything into a few weeks even if it is a little chaotic!


The days leading up to Christmas, we decorate of course, and this year, both kids had fun hanging ornaments and putting up the Christmas village Brett had growing up. I also get my advent calendar in order and try my best to plan out what I’ll include in the brown bags each day (treats, little gifts, activities and ways to give to others). Click here to see the DIY advent calendar I created last year.

Here are some of our other Christmas traditions:

  • Christmas jammies – we usually only buy them for the kids and this year, we purchased this set for Peyton and this set for Emory.
  • We gift the kids a new Christmas book (or two) December 1. This year we purchased Mice Skating, The Great Spruce, Last Stop on the Reindeer Express and Pick a Pine Tree. We have a big collection and try to read a new one each night.
  • We like to check out a couple of light shows in the area. If you’re local these are some of our favorites: Morton Arboretum Illumination, Cosley Zoo’s Festival of the Lights and Brookfield Zoo Lights.
  • Homemade hot cocoa in Christmas mugs – my homemade hot cocoa recipe can be found here. We plan on enjoying this tradition a couple of times this year. 🙂
  • Breakfast with Santa. The Morton Arboretum hosts this every year and we went for the first time this past Sunday! It was so much fun and the kids really enjoyed meeting Santa. I’d recommend checking out local nonprofits or community websites to see if organizations host something similar near you.
  • Attend a nativity play. This year, we plan to start a new tradition and check out a nativity play that will be performed at a church near our house.
  • Make homemade ornaments for our trees. We also like to gift the kids’ grandparents and great-grandparents with a Christmas craft or homemade ornament each year.
  • Snowman french toast for breakfast – my recipe can be found here.
  • Bake all the Christmas cookies. We like to make a ton and bring them in tins to neighbors and friends. I’m hoping to share some on the blog this month!
  • Brett made his dad’s coffee cake recipe for the first time last year and he did such a great job. We decided we want him to make it every Christmas Eve morning.
  • I make homemade cinnamon rolls every Christmas morning. I use Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe. They are SO good!
  • Every Christmas we do stockings and like to include a new ornament for the kids each year.
  • Watch as many Christmas movies as we can as a family. Some of our favorites to watch with the kids include: Charlie Brown Christmas, Frozen, The Grinch, Beauty and the Beast – The Enchanted Christmas and Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
  • Scattering reindeer food (glitter and oats) on the front lawn Christmas Eve night so Santa knows to stop at our house!
  • Visit the Christkindlmarket in Chicago and pick out an ornament for the tree.


What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear what you and your loved ones do throughout the month!


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