22 Special Christmas Eve Tradition Ideas

Between holiday stuff and sicknesses, I haven’t had my head in the “blogging” game, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few things for the holidays.

Carl and I have been talking a lot about traditions (we came from different worlds when it comes to this stuff) and we’ve been trying to find ways to make the holidays special and also meaningful.

Here are a few of our Christmas Eve traditions.  These are small things, but the kids look so forward to them and it makes our day really special.22 Special Christmas Eve Tradition Ideas1. Movie.  Ever single holiday my mom would buy us a new movie.  This is the only time we really got new movies, so we really looked forward to it.  It gave us something fun to do while my parents would be getting ready or cooking for the evening.  With digital movies now (amazon, etc) it does take the fun out of presenting a wrapped VHS to the kids, but hey, this is the world we live in.  We buy one from Amazon and pop some popcorn.

2. Live Nativity.  Each year, we go to my moms and we have the kids act out the nativity scene while someone narrates by reading in Luke.  The kids LOVE this.  We have robes, a star costume, an angel, a baby Jesus, etc.  It gives a little break to the gingerbread houses and presents, and reminds us all why we are doing what we are doing.

3. Food.  Every  Christmas Eve, we have an “Hors D’ouvre Party {Competition}”  This is one of my favorite traditions.  We do it on my husbands side.  Each sibling takes this VERY seriously, and we spend time during the year looking for the BEST recipe.  We have prizes for presentation, taste, and after a particularly spendy appetizer one year, we added the category of “most expensive to make” 🙂  We all vote, and the appetizers are the dinner for the night.

4. Christmas mugs.  Each Christmas, I buy each member of the family a new holiday mug.  My husband thoroughly resists this tradition, because we are collecting a LOT of mugs, but I’m the boss;)  We spend all winter drinking hot drinks and the kids love their new mugs.  I try to buy them on sale right after Christmas for the next year, so it doesn’t break the bank.  One day, the kids will get married and move on and take their 18 holiday mugs with them:)

5. Christmas PJs.  Each Christmas Eve, the kids get to open one present and it is always something they get to wear to bed.  A new robe, PJs, slippers, etc.  Nothing like going to bed in new cozy pjs on Christmas Eve.  I even started doing it for my husband and I, because….  I wanted new jammas,  too.  🙂

6. Reindeer Food. My kids make a concoction of oatmeal, sprinkles, and anything else they feel like putting together.  They call it reindeer food and it entertains them for a good hour.  It’s pretty fun.  They sprinkle it on our front lawn and of course, that keeps Santa’s reindeer from going rogue.

7. Cookies and carrots of course.  Need I say more?

8. Each Christmas Eve, I buy the kids a new Christmas story.  We spend time reading them that night and we have fun collecting new ones each year.

9. Resolutions.  Every Christmas Eve, we open our stockings and pull out the previous year’s New Year’s Resolutions.  We all go over our resolutions and see how we did!  Each year on New Years Eve, we write down our resolutions and put them in our stockings before we pack the Christmas stuff away.  Then, on Christmas Eve, before Santa fills the stockings, we take out the resolutions and we all evaluate how we did (or remind ourselves of the resolution, ha ha) and talk about it.  This is really fun!

10. Christmas gifts to Christ.  Each year we have a little basket that we use to fill with Christmas gifts to Christ.  These are pieces of paper that we have written things on that Christ would like.  For example, the kids gave a gift to Christ last year that they would be treating each other kindly and not fighting as much.  This turned out to be more like an IOU, but you get it. (PS- do ALL kids fight this much?  Ugggh.)

Here are a few other fun Christmas Eve traditions that my friends and I discussed.  

11. Watching the Grinch that Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, or even Elf, {which is our personal favorite.}

12. For those without a fireplace, hang a “magic key” for Santa to get in.  Cute!

13. My husband’s family always went on a drive on Christmas Eve to look for Santa.  While they were gone, he would come and lay out their presents.  When they came home, they would open everything up.  Then, they went skiiing on Christmas day and enjoyed a very empty mountain all to themselves.

14. Lining the hallways with lights directing the kids to the living room, or wherever Santa has left the loot.  This is a cute idea!

15. Midnight caroling

16. Taking a drive to look at Christmas lights

17. Going out to a late night dinner and looking at Christmas lights

18. Spray the bottom of your feet with fake snow and leave Santa tracks from the chimney to the treats, etc.  Very cute!

19. Hot Cocoa and Christmas stories

20. Sibling slumber party- all the kids sleep in one room together- I did this as a kid, and will do this when my kids are old enough to handle it 🙂

21. Christmas Eve Mass or services

22. Have the kids pick out a few of their old toys to donate to charity or to other families in need.  Leave them in a bag by the tree with a note for Santa to deliver them to someone in need.  I love  this and I am trying this out this year.

Not all of these are “meaningful” to everyone, but to me and my family, the time spent together as a family bonding and building traditions is priceless.  These are the things that bring us closer together and help us celebrate the birth of our Savior.  And that is what Christmas is about.

8 comments for “22 Special Christmas Eve Tradition Ideas

  1. January 2, 2015 at

    What some wonderful ideas! Simple, meaningful, and fun!

    • Cheryl wolfert
      September 14, 2019 at

      When we set out our nativity set, we leave the Christ child beside the manger, not in it. On Christmas Eve, before any celebrations or gift openings we put everyone’s name on a piece of paper in a hat and have the elder chose a name from the hat. The name chosen then has the privilege of placing the Christ child in our nativity set while we all sing Silent Night

  2. Jason
    September 12, 2015 at

    i just figure I’d say what one of our traditions are we play a find the present game where we get a clue that send us to the next clue and so on till we find the present

  3. Diane
    September 15, 2015 at

    Those sound like you don’t by family. We have any where from 9-16 up to 18 people for Christmas eve. We eat turkey as usual. Ever one runs off and doesn’t hang, because then they go home and do their Christmas Eve. Which kid of disappointments. I have tried to play games, and some play and some don’t so if they aren’t going to play I won’t make them and so I stopped playing games. Some times I do a theme, like one year a $1 gift. One year we had to wear Santa hats for a game. maybe I should bring those hats back and we will make pillows out of them. I also do little gifts, and last year no one hostess gift, although I always bring one to their house. So I don’t know throw some traditions out and start new one when my kido 22 has his own kids I guess, if the wife wants to spend on event with us.

  4. Stephanie
    December 11, 2015 at

    Santa always left my kids movies in their stockings. They were allowed to get into their stockings without my husband and I being up. So while they enjoyed their new movies, we could sleep in…Gotta love Santa

  5. Diana
    December 20, 2015 at

    Wow, this is really good! Thanks for these great ideas! I’m going to try out a lot of them 🙂
    Maybe you should try: Decorating rooms with Christmas stuff as a family (Bedrooms, Kitchen, Livingroom, ect.)
    Making card (Treats, Gifts, ect.) for seniors, family, or friends
    Thanks again, Merry Christmas!

  6. Michelle
    October 31, 2017 at

    Great ideas. I guess I don’t always have to do PJ’s and can just do a robe or slippers some years. I do a love letter for each grown kid. Something written that reminds them of what they did that year & how proud of them we are. It takes awhile to write, so I pace myself. 🌲

  7. Clare Kennedy
    December 26, 2018 at

    the resolutions is a fabulous idea!

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