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100 Christmas Traditions You Can Start This Festive Season

Christmas is a tapestry of lights, sounds, and traditions that span cultures and centuries. But how much do you actually know about the customs that make this holiday season so special? In this extensive series, we will explore the origins and significance of 100 different Christmas traditions.

From timeless classics like decorating the Christmas tree to lesser-known rituals from around the world, each tradition has a story that adds depth to the festive celebration. So, gather around the virtual hearth as we embark on a captivating journey to unveil the rich narratives that make Christmas the globally beloved holiday it is today.

1. Decorating A Christmas Tree

100 Christmas Traditions - Decorating A Christmas Tree

Many families around the winter holidays put up a tree, whether real (and they can pick out which one they want at the nursery!) or fake.

Then they’ll spend an afternoon with hot cocoa and Christmas music, putting up ornaments, stringing garland, and topping off the tree with a star or angel.

2. Exchanging Gifts

100 Christmas Traditions - Exchanging Gifts

Tis better to give than to receive, but when you participate in a Christmas gift exchange, you get to do both!

Lots of families, friends, coworkers, and more wrap up gifts festively and then trade them off; the best part is seeing the delight in the other person’s eyes when they open yours!

3. Hanging Stockings

100 Christmas Traditions - Hanging Stockings

The traditional places for hanging stockings include a fireplace mantle or a banister, but you can make do with any location in your house, like a wall or a table.

The stockings typically have each family member’s name, and you cannot forget about stockings for your dog, cat, or other pet!

4. Writing Letters To Santa

100 Christmas Traditions - Writing To Santa

Letting Santa know what your child wants for Christmas is an adorable tradition that has gained in popularity in recent years.

Even better, the USPS has a program that allows children to write to Santa, while an adult in their life can respond as Santa, and the child will receive the letter with a North Pole postmark!

5. Santa Claus

100 Christmas Traditions - Santa Claus

This jolly elf is the face of Christmas, and you can kick off the holiday season by reading books about him or writing letters to him.

Then on Christmas Eve, your child can leave out milk and cookies for when Santa whisks down the chimney and leaves their presents.

6. Caroling

100 Christmas Traditions - Caroling

What better way to show off your pipes than by going door-to-door in your neighborhood, singing Christmas songs in a group?

Caroling is a splendid way to get into the holiday spirit, and if you don’t have a caroling group, you can form one by posting to social media and holding a few rehearsals before hitting the streets.

7. Attending A Christmas Eve Or Christmas Day Church Service

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Mass

For many families, Jesus’s birth is the reason for the season, and Christians the world over attend church service.

It’s a great way to remember why all the fuss occurs during this time of the year, and it offers the opportunity for churchgoers to center themselves and pray for blessings in the year to come.

8. Viewing Christmas Lights

100 Christmas Traditions - Viewing Christmas Lights

One of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions is taking the kids to view Christmas lights (just as my parents did with me!).

You can drive from neighborhood to neighborhood (some communities make interactive maps with the best displays!) or see a professional display by a park organization or township.

9. Making And Decorating Christmas Cookies

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Cookies

This is a great tradition to get grandma in on if she’s still making Christmas cookies each year!

Your kids will love learning how to bake, licking the batter from the spoon, and helping to put the finishing touches onto the cookies, like sprinkles, candies, or frosting.

10. Watching Classic Christmas Movies

100 Christmas Traditions - Watching Christmas Movies

Gather your family ‘round the TV, get snacks and drinks at the ready, and settle in for a night of Christmas movie classics.

These can include old Hollywood films like It’s A Wonderful Life or The Bishop’s Wife, but also more contemporary films like Elf, The Polar Express and A Muppet Christmas Carol.

11. Reading “The Night Before Christmas”

100 Christmas Traditions - The Night Before Christmas

This classic poem tells the story of how Santa came to visit a house on Christmas Eve and how one person – magically – witnessed it all!

Written in just 1823, it features well-known lines such as “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,” and “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

12. Sending Christmas Cards

100 Christmas Traditions - Sending Christmas Cards

Maybe you get the whole family dressed up and have photos taken professionally, or you simply pick up a pack of cards from the dollar store.

Either way, sending out Christmas cards to those you love and hold dear is a timeless tradition that lets people know you are thinking of them this holiday season.

13. Drinking Eggnog

100 Christmas Traditions - Drinking Eggnog

While it makes some people gag, those who are in the pro-eggnog camp tend to be well in.

This creamy, spicy, thick beverage can be homemade or store-bought, and you would not be remiss in adding a dram of bourbon, Bailey’s Irish Cream, brandy, or dark rum.

14. Making A Gingerbread House

100 Christmas Traditions - Gingerbread House

You can use a kit – which are sold in most grocery stores around the holidays – or you can really get in the spirit and bake and plot your house from scratch.

Your kids will love putting the house together, frosting it, and adding the little grum drop doorknob or cinnamon candy window outline.

15. Mistletoe

100 Christmas Traditions - Mistletoe

This plant has become synonymous with kissing underneath it, so hang some around your home and steal smooches whenever you get the chance.

It can also be highly entertaining to hang some in doorways before a Christmas party!

16. Wearing Ugly Christmas Sweaters

100 Christmas Traditions - Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Ugly is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but there are some truly heinous Christmas sweaters out there that deserve recognition.

Have an Ugly Christmas Sweater-themed party or make a day of it in your office; or, you can simply bust yours out on Christmas Day, to the chagrin of your entire family.

17. Poinsettias

100 Christmas Traditions - Poinsettias

Buy a pretty poinsettia plant (or five!) for your home and immediately take up the holiday spirits a notch or two.

You can also find beautiful poinsettia centerpieces for your dining room table, which will look stunning with your Christmas feast laid out around it.

18. Volunteering/Donating

100 Christmas Traditions - Volunteering

Very many people opt to volunteer their time or make special donations around Christmastime as they are reminded of how lucky they are.

Helping those less fortunate is a main tenet of Christianity, so it is very much doing Jesus’s work right around the time we celebrate his birth.

19. Christmas Parades

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Parades

If you live in an area that doesn’t see all four seasons and is instead warm and sunny all year round, you can participate in or attend Christmas parades.

These often feature Santa and Mrs. Claus! If you do live in an area where it is too snowy for live Christmas parades, you can watch them on TV.

20. Secret Santa Or White Elephant Gift Exchanges

100 Christmas Traditions - Secret Santa

Whether you’re coordinating with a group of friends, or a work group, Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchanges are a fun way to get in the holiday spirit.

Draw names from a hat, and if you’re really clever, have people include a few items they’d like that fall under the price limit.

21. Listening To Christmas Music

100 Christmas Traditions - Listening To Christmas Music

It can be in the car (radio stations tend to play Christmas music around the holidays), while you’re baking or at a party, but either way, just listening to Christmas tunes uplifts the spirits.

You can go for classics sung by Bing Crosby or more contemporary artists like Kelly Clarkson or Michael Buble.

22. Nutcracker Ballet

100 Christmas Traditions - Nutcracker Ballet

Get dressed up and make a night of attending the most famous Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker, with music by Tchaikovsky.

You’ll hear all the most famous songs, like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and March of the Toy Soldiers while marveling at the feats of strength, grace, and beauty by the dancers.

23. Advent Calendars

100 Christmas Traditions - Advent Calendars

Advent calendars have gotten wildly popular in recent years, with everything from beer and wine to cheeses and meats contained within.

Yet the simple act of counting down to Christmas Day is exciting enough for some, and you can find Advent calendars made of wood, cloth, and even plastic.

24. Christmas Brunch

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Brunch

Instead of baking a turkey or ham and everyone sitting down formally to dinner, why not host an informal Christmas brunch instead?

You can do more hors d’oeuvres-like plates or set up a buffet with the best of both worlds: Christmas dinner-like foods plus brunch foods, like eggs, bacon, and toast.

25. Candy Canes

100 Christmas Traditions - Candy Canes

Candy canes are the ubiquitous candy of Christmas, and aside from their strong peppermint flavor, they make cute decorations, too.

You can hang them on your Christmas tree, for example, or string them together to make bunting for your wall or over a doorway.

26. Christmas Crafts

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Crafts

If you’re snowed in on a wintery afternoon, get your kids’ creative juices flowing (and put an end to their “I’m bored” whining) with some Christmas crafts.

Many crafts use items found around the home that you already have on hand.

For more adult pursuits, you can quilt, knit, crochet, or sew a Christmas blanket and then give it as a gift to someone special.

27. Christmas Pageants Or Plays

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Pageants

There is nothing more adorable than watching your kids participate in a Christmas pageant or play, particularly if they have a “lead role”!

Make a point to attend each year your children participate – it means so much to them to have you in the audience, watching them and cheering them on.

28. Christmas Ham Or Roast

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Ham

It wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without a ham, roast, or even turkey to sit on the table as the centerpiece, buffeted by a plethora of side dishes.

So what if you had to get up at 5 a.m. to prepare it? Christmas only comes once a year, and the looks on your family’s faces when they taste it is so worth it!

29. Yankee Swap

100 Christmas Traditions - Yankee Swap

This is a gift-giving game where participants open a present, then can swoop in and swap their gift with another players’ if they like.

It’s less about thoughtful gift-giving (since you don’t know who will end up with what) and more about the highly amusing swaps and steals that take place during the game.

30. Visiting Santa At The Mall

100 Christmas Traditions - Visiting Santa At The Mall

The longstanding tradition of dressing up your kids and taking them to meet Santa at the mall continues on.

Kids can give Santa their list face-to-face or simply whisper into his ear what they would like for Christmas. And don’t forget to snap a picture – the screaming baby or toddler photos are priceless!

31. Setting Up A Nativity Scene

100 Christmas Traditions - Nativity Scene

Whether it’s as small as miniature figures or as large as a life-size display in your yard, setting up a nativity scene reminds people of why Christmas exists.

The birth of Jesus in a humble manger, surrounded by his parents, farm animals, angels, and the Three Wise Men, is always an apt scene around the holiday season.

32. Making Homemade Ornaments

100 Christmas Traditions - Homemade Ornaments

There are so many different ways to make homemade ornaments, from wooden cut-outs to shrink sheets and ribbon.

But just the act of making them creates fond memories with you and your children, memories that you can cherish when they’re off to college or starting families of their own.

33. Ice Skating

100 Christmas Traditions - Ice Skating

If you live near an ice-skating rink or a pond that is completely frozen through, the holidays are the perfect occasion to partake in this wintry sport.

Now, if you’re not so great on skates, you can always sit on the sidelines and enjoy a cup of steaming hot cocoa!

34. Holiday Parties

100 Christmas Traditions - Holiday Parties

Whether it’s a work gathering or a celebration that includes family and friends, attending a holiday party is always a way to raise your spirits and get you feeling that Christmas magic.

If you’re drinking, though, be sure to book a rideshare or designate a sober driver so that you get home safely to enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

35. Christmas Shopping

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Shopping

Perhaps one of the least enjoyable traditions is Christmas shopping – or trudging around a mall for hours while navigating the multitudes.

Luckily, many of us have turned to online shopping for some, if not all, of our Christmas shopping, thereby making the process much smoother and less stressful!

36. Boxing Day

100 Christmas Traditions - Boxing Day

For many countries that once formed or continue to form the Commonwealth of Britain, Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas, the Second Day of Christmastide.

While it is primarily recognized as a public holiday and shopping holiday, some take the traditional view of it and make charitable donations to the poor.

37. Hanging Wreaths

100 Christmas Traditions - Hanging Wreaths

Whether you’re hanging multiple wreaths in your window for decoration or just one big one on your front door, the added cheer will brighten your home this holiday.

While you can definitely hang up fake wreaths that you can use again and again, live wreaths do add a magical touch for as long as they last.

38. Making Popcorn And Cranberry Garlands

100 Christmas Traditions - Popcorn And Cranberry Garlands

This tradition is beautifully old-fashioned, harkening back to the days before electric lights and plastic décor.

Using needles and thread, you can pierce the popcorn and cranberries, alternating pieces or whatever pattern you like, until you have enough to string around your Christmas tree.

39. Making And Eating Fruitcake

100 Christmas Traditions - Eating Fruitcake

While out of fashion for some time, the tradition nonetheless remains, and the earliest recipe for this cake originated from the ancient Romans.

Today, you can bake your own with candied or dried fruit and nuts, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg; you can even soak the cake in spirits, like rum.

40. Reading Christmas Books

100 Christmas Traditions - Reading Christmas Books

There are so many Christmas books out there, both for children and adults, so why not gather around and read one or two as a family?

For example, you could enjoy A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or the beautiful Polar Express book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Longer books can be spread out over the weeks before Christmas, while shorter kids’ books can be completed in a night.

41. Christmas Pajamas

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Pajamas

Many families love to get matching Christmas pajamas and then show off their digs in cute photos on social media.

You could also have your Christmas card photos taken in your family pajamas – and don’t forget the dog or cat if they will tolerate outfits! It makes for an adorably cohesive photoshoot.

42. Christmas Pickle

In some families, it is tradition to hide a pickle ornament on the tree and then have everyone search for it.

The person who finds it wins a prize or a gift! The true origins of this tradition are debatable, with some claiming it comes from Germany and others saying it comes from the Civil War era.

Whatever its history, today, it’s a cute and fun tradition that is sure to bring a lot of laughs.

43. Making Snow Angels

100 Christmas Traditions - Making Snow Angels

If you live somewhere that sees snowy winters, you can bundle up the kids, take them outside, and have them make snow angels.

This is accomplished by lying on your back, sticking your arms and legs out, and then wafting them up and down like you’re doing jumping jacks.

44. Building a Snowman

100 Christmas Traditions - Building A Snowman

In a similar vein, you can instruct your kids on how to make a snowman, starting with small-ish snowballs and rolling them in the snow until they get bigger.

Grab an old scarf and hat and a carrot from the fridge to finish off the snowman with its traditional accouterments. You could also use real buttons to put down the front.

45. Sleigh Rides

100 Christmas Traditions - Sleigh Rides

If you look around in the winter season, you might find horse farms that offer sleigh rides through the snow for a small fee.

This is a beautiful way to be outside, experiencing the magic and wonder of nature in the winter, snuggled up with your special sweetie or with the entire family.

46. Hot Chocolate

100 Christmas Traditions - Hot Chocolate

Drinking hot chocolate or hot cocoa is such a tactile experience, from the warmth of the mug in your hand to the rich, creamy sweetness of the liquid.

It’s perfect after a long afternoon of ice skating, sledding, and building snowmen, but also just for any wintery day, especially Christmas Eve or Christmas.

47. Candy Cane Hunt

100 Christmas Traditions - Candy Cane Hunt

For some families, a candy cane hunt is just the thing to get everyone in the holiday spirit. The parents hide candy canes around the house, and the kids must find them.

You can turn it into a bit of a scavenger hunt, with clues as to the next location, or simply turn the kids loose throughout the house or yard.

48. Christmas Popcorn

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Popcorn

There are different variations of Christmas popcorn, but none are wrong, and all are welcome at any holiday gathering!

There is the chocolate-drizzled, candy cane pieces version or the kind with red and green M&Ms mixed in.

It’s also very popular to toss the popcorn in melted white chocolate or marshmallows before mixing in the candies.

49. Christmas Breakfast Casserole

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Breakfast Casserole

For many families, Christmas morning isn’t complete without a breakfast casserole to kick things off.

There are lots of variations on this breakfast meal, but most feature sausage, cheese, and eggs, with some including green bell pepper, bread, or even potatoes.

They’re most often baked, but some prep it the night before and leave it to cook in the slow cooker so that it’s hot and ready the next morning.

50. Cutting Down a Christmas Tree

100 Christmas Traditions - Cutting Down A Christmas Tree

For some of the most traditional families, simply picking out a live tree isn’t enough – they want to be the ones to actually cut it down!

You can go to your local tree nursery in some cases, but in others, if you have land that you own and appropriate trees, you can take a saw and have at it.

51. Yule Log

100 Christmas Traditions - Yule Log

This old tradition goes all the way back to pre-Christian times, and if you have the fireplace for it, then by all means.

You’ll need a large tree trunk (which you can cut down into pieces, no one will know!); place it on the fire and let it catch.

The idea is that it will burn for all the days of the Christmas season, providing warmth and light to your family.

52. Peppermint Bark

100 Christmas Traditions - Peppermint Bark

Nothing is sweeter at Christmastime than making, gifting, and eating peppermint bark, and it’s surprisingly easy to make, too.

This chocolate and candy combination, which can be white, milk, or dark chocolate and features pieces of candy cane inside and often topping the chocolate, makes delightful stocking stuffers.

53. Visiting Family

100 Christmas Traditions - Visiting Family

What would the holidays be without family? 

Whether you’re making it a week-long affair or just visiting Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, spending the holidays with your family helps you to appreciate all that you have.

Exchange gifts, hold a feast, and then nap the afternoon away – this is the joy of visiting family on the holidays.

54. Christmas Festivals

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Festivals

Many cities and towns in the U.S. hold Christmas festivals, with tree-lighting ceremonies, food and craft vendors, sleigh rides, and even a reindeer to pet.

It’s the perfect way to get outside in the winter, get in the holiday spirit, and feel the sense of community and togetherness that Christmas brings.

55. Outdoor Decorations

100 Christmas Traditions - Outdoor Decorations

While some prefer to have beautiful indoors, the more enterprising like to decorate the outdoors, putting up lights, wreaths, figures, and even blow-ups in their yard.

Get your family in on the action by having them help you put out the wooden nativity set, string lights along the low parts of the house, or tap poles into place.

56. Christmas Puzzle

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Puzzle

Some families like to put together a Christmas-themed puzzle around the holidays, with a view to finishing it by the big day.

Family members can work on it as much or as little as they like, a piece here, a section there, everyone contributing until the picture is complete.

57. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Lots of cities and towns host Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, where they symbolically “start” the season.

Often these ceremonies are accompanied by live music, vendors, and other activities for the entire family, so head out to your area’s ceremony and be a part of your community.

58. Holiday Hayrides

100 Christmas Traditions - Holiday Hayrides

If you live in an area that doesn’t see much snow around the holidays, you can still participate in a Christmas-themed hayride.

Often these are pulled by horses or huge tractors, and they may follow a prescribed trail, leading through wooded areas that have been decorated for the season.

59. Tamales

100 Christmas Traditions - Tamales

For those with Mexican heritage, especially in Texas, making and eating tamales is a Christmas tradition that’s also as American as roast ham at dinner.

The family gathers, and each person has a role to play, whether it’s grinding the masa, making the pork or beef, filling the tamales, or being in charge of steaming.

60. Window Decorations

100 Christmas Traditions - Window Decoration

There are lots of window decorations you can co-opt into your Christmas traditions, from a single candle in each window to wreaths.

You can also put up window clings of snowflakes or wreaths, snowmen or sleighs, or even Santa, with his ruddy cheeks and reindeer.

61. Making Paper Snowflakes

100 Christmas Traditions - Paper Snowflakes

I love making paper snowflakes each winter and hanging them in the windows of my house. 

It’s such a fun activity to do with kids, and it teaches them geometry as well as helping them perfect their cutting skills.

Just the same as there are no two snowflakes that are alike, there are no two paper snowflakes that are exactly the same!

62. Watching Sports

100 Christmas Traditions - Watching Sports

There are lots of sporting events happening around Christmas, including games for the National Basketball League and the National Football League.

For many, before, during, or after Christmas dinner comes watching the big game, and it’s a time for entire families to gather, eat snacks, and share in the thrill of athletic feats.

63. Feeding the Birds

100 Christmas Traditions - Feeding Birds

There is something so lovely about thinking of our furry and feathered friends around the holidays and feeding them something special to celebrate.

There are actually specialty birdseed ornaments shaped like Christmas trees or ornaments that you can leave out for your avian friends to enjoy.

Who knows, you might even attract a beautiful red cardinal!

64. Christmas Crackers

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Crackers

This is actually more of an English tradition, but making and gifting Christmas crackers has gone transatlantic.

Christmas crackers, which are actually tubes covered in wrapping paper and filled with candy or gifts that can be “cracked” open, are a wonderful addition to any Christmas party.

65. New Year’s Resolutions

100 Christmas Traditions - New Year's Resolutions

As the end of the year approaches, it’s not uncommon for people to start thinking around Christmas about their New Year’s resolutions.

Whether it’s getting in shape (after this cookie), committing to journaling every day, or reading one new book a month, after the gorge of Christmas, it’s time to reconnect with ourselves.

66. Pinecone Crafts

Pinecone Crafts

If you live around trees that have pinecones, you can partake in the making of pinecone crafts, which often includes turning the pinecone into a Christmas tree.

You’ll need just the right pinecone – one rather on the larger side, whose “leaves” are well-spaced and outward reaching.

But with a little paint and some ribbon or popsicle sticks or pipe cleaner, there are lots of crafts you can make.

67. Making Christmas Fudge

100 Christmas Traditions - Making Christmas Fudge

Fudge-making is surprisingly easy with the right recipe, so you can make a lot for gifting (and eating at home).

To make the fudge truly celebratory, though, some top it with red and green sprinkles of the traditional variety, or for more impact, sprinkle shapes like stars, snowflakes, or orbs.

68. Bird’s-Nest Pudding

100 Christmas Traditions - Bird's Nest Pudding

Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic novel “Farmer Boy,” Bird’s-Nest Pudding has many variations, but most feature apples or cranberries baked in a pie shell.

Other ingredients include spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, butter, eggs, milk, and brown sugar – all things most kitchens actually have on hand.

If you have apples, too, you can make this delightful treat in the afternoon and serve it for dessert after Christmas dinner!

69. Cinnamon Ornaments

100 Christmas Traditions - Cinnamon Ornaments

All you need to make cinnamon ornaments is two ingredients – applesauce and cinnamon.

You’ll simply mix the applesauce and cinnamon together in a 1 C applesauce/5 oz. cinnamon ratio, until it forms a soft dough that you can work with.

Then you’ll cut out your shapes, bake them, and decorate them as you like. Don’t forget to poke a hole at the top for the ribbon to go through!

70. Christmas Day Walk or Hike

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Day Walk

Many families start off their Christmas day with a group walk or hike, the better to take in the snowy surroundings – or not, if you live somewhere warm.

Your local nature center or park might even organize a Christmas Day walk – keep an eye out for announcements in the weeks leading up to the day.

71. Visiting a Live Nativity Scene

100 Christmas Traditions - Live Nativity Scene

Some churches stage live nativity scenes, complete with actors such as Mary, Joseph, and even the baby Jesus, as well as farm animals!

Even if you live somewhere snowy – remember, it was warm, if not hot, in the Middle East where Jesus was born – the live nativity scene is moving and a reminder of what the season is about.

72. Wrapping Presents

100 Christmas Traditions - Wrapping Presents

Pour yourself a glass of wine, Diet Coke, or eggnog, gather your supplies around you, and embark on an evening of gift wrapping.

You can get the family in on the action or complete it solo, but either way, it’s always a good reminder of everything you purchased and a great way to just chill out for a few hours.

73. Christmas Eve Box

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Eve Box

With this cute tradition, a small box or crate is filled with toys, candy, books, and other small gifts and given to your kids on Christmas Eve.

It’s a sort of pre-cursor to Christmas Day, and if your kids still believe in Santa, it can come from him.

But it can also be a gift that is from the parents, seeing as though Santa gets all the thanks on Christmas Day!

74. Creating a Christmas Playlist

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Playlist

Whether you’re playing it on Christmas morning as you open gifts or in the car as you travel to Grandma’s, a Christmas playlist can liven up the proceedings.

You can pick from classics, like Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, orchestral pieces like Manheim Steamroller, or contemporary artists like Mariah Carey and Pentatonix.

75. Pantomimes

100 Christmas Traditions - Pantomimes

Christmas Pantomimes are actually more of a British thing, but before that, they were popular with the ancient Romans!

While the ancient Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a polytheistic precursor to Christmas, today’s holiday celebrations may include pantomime, which includes audience participation and song.

76. Making Reindeer Food

100 Christmas Traditions - Reindeer Food

While Santa has his milk and cookies, what about his reindeer?

You can make reindeer food part of your Christmas traditions by mixing oats, dried fruits like cranberries or raisins, and seeds, like sunflower seeds, and leaving them on the table.

You could also create a more fanciful version of reindeer food by mixing Chex mix cereal with candy and pretzels.

77. Christmas Day Swim

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Day Swim

Some people start their Christmases off with a cup of coffee and a cookie; others with a dip in some frigid water.

A Christmas Day swim might also be known as a Polar Plunge, and it’s a hilarious – and hair-raising – way for some to start off the holiday, especially in the colder states.

Often, it’s done to raise money for a cause, too.

78. Christmas Potluck

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Potluck

Rather than stick one person with all the cooking, some friend groups and families host a Christmas potluck, where everyone brings a dish to share.

You can assign courses ahead of time and make sure there is lots to drink, both alcoholic and non, to keep the good vibes going for the duration of the party.

79. Gift Wrapping Party

100 Christmas Traditions - Gift Wrapping Party

While gift wrapping can be a solitary pursuit, some gather their friends and hold a party, where everyone brings their gifts and supplies.

There’s really not much else to it, although if you are hosting, you may want to provide some light snacks and beverages – wrapping is hard work, after all!

80. Make Christmas Punch

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Punch

Everyone’s recipe is a little different, but the basic gist of Christmas punch is cranberry juice, ginger ale, or another sparkling beverage, plus fresh fruit.

If you want to walk on the wild side a bit, you can also mix in an alcoholic drink, like Prosecco or rum or a fruity vodka.

Serve in a large punch bowl with a big dipper so that everyone can get some of the fruit that’s swimming around.

81. Christmas Scavenger Hunt

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Scavenger Hunt

A fun tradition that gets the kids moving and using their brains (just when they thought they were on hiatus), a Christmas scavenger hunt will have everyone laughing.

You can either make a list of items that the kids need to bring to you (a candy cane, a Christmas sock, etc.), or you can make it so that one clue leads to another until they find the grand prize.

82. Decorate Your Pet

100 Christmas Traditions - Decorate Your Pet

If your cat or dog tolerates clothing and headgear, dress them up for Christmas and take lots of pictures for social media or even your Christmas card!

All pets look adorable wearing reindeer antlers, but if your pup or kitty simply will not allow it, settle for cute Christmas-themed pajamas or sweaters.

83. Take a Family Photo

100 Christmas Traditions - Family Photo

Each Christmas is a great way to mark the passing of time, whether it’s watching your baby turn into a toddler or your tween turn into a teen.

Some families choose to mark that time passage with a family photo op over the holidays, whether it’s a small group or a large gathering.

Bonus points if everyone is in matching PJs or wearing their ugliest Christmas sweaters!

84. Make Homemade Candles

100 Christmas Traditions - Homemade Candles

Making homemade candles is surprisingly easy once you have all the materials (and there are really only six).

You can scent them with the smells of the holiday, like fresh pine or sweet cinnamon, and then gift them to your friends and family.

85. Visit a Christmas Market

100 Christmas Traditions - Visit A Christmas Market

Vienna, Austria, has one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world, as well as Prague in the Czech Republic and Budapest in Hungary.

If traveling to those Christmas markets is a bit out of your budget as it is for many Americans, there is always the local event, where you can shop small for all the people on your list.

86. Listen to a Reading of “A Christmas Carol”

100 Christmas Traditions - A Christmas Carol

Often, schools will perform a live table reading or play of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, as it is one of the most popular holiday stories.

Gather your family, especially if you have a little one in the play, and make a point of sitting front and center for the event to enjoy the magic of how Ebenezer Scrooge found Christmas joy.

87. Attend a Holiday Gala or Ball

100 Christmas Traditions - Holiday Gala Or Ball

Lots of people put on their glitziest outfits and attend a holiday ball or gala, whether it’s a corporate event or a fundraiser for a charity.

You can’t beat the free food and drink or the feeling of knowing that you have contributed to making sure someone who is less fortunate has a Merry Christmas.

88. Have a Christmas BBQ

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas BBQ

If the weather permits in your part of the country, then you can join others like you in mixing things up a bit for Christmas dinner.

Instead of a roast, consider breaking out the grill and having a Christmas BBQ for supper.

It also frees up the oven so that there is more time and space for delicious pies and sides!

89. Christmas Morning Run

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Morning Run

If you’re the active type, you can seek out Christmas morning runs that have been organized in your community.

Often 5Ks or trail runs, these events may be linked to a charity or good cause and can also help you put a little pep in your step before the Christmas festivities (and feasting) begin!

90. Watch Christmas Cartoons

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Cartoons

Lots of cartoons have Christmas special episodes, and you can surely find many of them on YouTube or streaming services.

Grab your kids, bowls of cereal, and lots of blankets and pillows, and get comfy as you enjoy the Christmas episodes of your favorite animated characters.

91. Hang a Christmas Star

100 Christmas Traditions - Hang A Christmas Star

Some people might hang their Christmas star off the roof of their house, while others choose to place it on a tall pine in their yard.

Wherever it goes, it’s a beautiful reminder of the star that the Three Wise Men followed, that led them to where Jesus lay in the manger on that first Christmas Day.

92. Midnight Mass

100 Christmas Traditions - Midnight Mass

For Catholics, Midnight Mass is a solemn and beautiful affair, taking place when the world is at its most quiet and introspective.

It’s a lovely way to usher in Christmas Day with the right mindset and heart-set.

93. Make and Hang Paper Chains

100 Christmas Traditions - Paper Chains

Some families still continue the tradition of making and hanging paper chains, and it’s a wonderful craft that your kids will enjoy, too.

You’ll simply take strips of white, red, and green construction paper, loop them into each other, and continue until you can hang them up or line a banister with them.

94. Visit an Ice Sculpture Display

100 Christmas Traditions - Ice Sculpture Display

Ice sculptures are truly wonders, and the artists who render them are absolute marvels. 

Take your whole family to view ice sculptures and appreciate the hard work and painstaking dedication that goes into the craft.

If it’s part of a Christmas market, you can also grab a hot chocolate and maybe a snack to eat while you look at the pieces.

95. Make a Christmas Scrapbook

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Scrapbook

For many, Christmas is one of the most memorable times of the year, filled with family, feasts, and fun.

Create a Christmas scrapbook with pictures from previous years and get it out every holiday season to look through the images of the past and fill it with new memories from the present.

96. Watch a Christmas Light Show

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Lights Show

Pile the family in the car and take in a Christmas light show, usually put on by your city, community organization, or simply an enterprising neighbor.

You’ll likely tune your radio to a specific setting so that you can watch the light show that is synchronized to Christmas music.

97. Make Mulled Wine or Cider

100 Christmas Traditions - Mulled Wine

It is a common tradition in some families to sip on a mulled wine or cider on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in the evening after everything is cleaned up.

You can make the mulled wine or cider on the stovetop, but another method is to use the slow cooker – which also fills the house with gorgeous scents for hours.

98. Host a Cookie Exchange

100 Christmas Traditions - Cookie Exchange

Cookie exchanges are becoming much more common among friend groups and families as it spreads the cookie wealth in a cost-efficient way.

The idea is that everyone brings a few dozen cookies to share so that everyone leaves with a few dozen different cookies than they arrived with.

99. Host a Christmas Tea Party

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Tea Party

For a Victorian take on Christmas, tea parties with special blended teas, sandwiches, and dainty cakes are a sophisticated way to celebrate the holiday.

It’s also the perfect excuse to break out the fine China that you keep hidden away 11 months out of the year.

100. Create a Christmas Video

100 Christmas Traditions - Christmas Video

For families that are far apart on Christmas, making a video is a special way for them to feel closer.

Turn the camera onto the kids and adults as they open their presents, sing carols, or carve the Christmas turkey or ham.

Send the videos to Grandma and Grandpa or your loved one serving overseas.

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