15 Classic Holiday Traditions to Start This Year

There’s no time quite like the holidays! The familiar sound of Christmas music, festive lights, and the smell of fresh baked goodies has a way of bringing back all of the nostalgic memories that come along with the season. With the rush of the holidays, it can be easy to skip over some of the most classic traditions. We’ve put together this list of 15 traditions to help you get the most out of this holiday season. These simple and classic traditions are affordable ways to celebrate and make memories with your friends and family that you'll cherish for years to come.

Advent Calendar

Kick off December with an Advent Calendar. An Advent calendar is a special calendar used to count the days until Christmas. There is nothing more exciting than the suspense of what will be revealed in the advent calendar each day. You don’t have to invest in a fancy advent calendar either, there are plenty of DIY options out there. 

Decorate the Christmas Tree

Decorating the Christmas tree is always a memorable tradition. Whether you’re headed out to a local Christmas tree farm or setting up an artificial tree it is so much fun to warm up with some hot chocolate and pull out the ornaments. Watching the tree light up and sparkle with beautiful ornaments is enough to get anyone in the holiday spirit.

Watch The Nutcracker

There is nothing more whimsical than getting dressed up and heading to the theater for a special holiday performance of The Nutcracker. The incredible music, gorgeous costumes, and fanciful storyline make watching The Nutcracker one of the most special holiday traditions. The best part is that it’s suitable for the entire family! If you can’t find a local theater to attend there are several movie versions available.

Look at Christmas Lights

Get cozy and pack up some hot cocoa for a holiday lights tour. This free activity will cost you only the gas to get around and will create memories you’ll cherish for years to come. A simple Google search of your town will provide you with the address of the best places to check out colorful holiday lights.


Build a Snowman

Bundle up in your full snow clothing attire, find a carrot, and head outside to build a snowman! Building a snowman provides hours of free entertainment and is a group activity that’s fun for everyone!

Family building a snowman

Host a Cookie Exchange

The holidays have a way of bringing everyone together. What better way to create new memories with family and friends than inviting them over for some holiday fun. Host a cookie exchange where guests bring their favorite Christmas cookie recipe. Once everyone arrives at the party, your guests will get to sample a variety of yummy cookies and then exchange them with each other. What a fun way to spend time with loved ones and leave with fresh baked goodies!

Have a Family Game Night

Let’s be honest, the holidays can get hectic! With shorter evenings and busier work schedules, it can be easy to forget to slow down to spend quality time with family. Break out the old board games and have a family game night. Add a festive touch by adding a few holiday themed games into the line up.

Make a Gingerbread House

Gingerbread houses are so much fun! You can make them from scratch, but if you’re short on time, consider purchasing a pre-baked kit. Whether you’re into decorating it extravagantly, or going for a more simple look, you’ll enjoy watching how unique your loved ones' gingerbread houses turn out.

Gingerbread house

Do a Random Act of Kindness

The holidays are a perfect time to practice gratitude for our lives and loved ones. What better way to practice gratitude than to do a random act of kindness? Donate to your local food pantry, bring some freshly baked holiday treats to a neighbor or give your server a generous tip. Not quite sure what to do? Check out this list we’ve put together of 50 Random Acts of Kindness


Watch Classic Christmas Movies

Get in the holiday spirit with some classic Christmas flicks. Snuggle up with your most cozy comforter and have a Christmas movie marathon. There are so many free options available now with Netflix, Amazon Prime and regular cable TV. Some of our favorites are: Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and Home Alone

Visit Santa

It doesn’t matter how old you are, visiting good Old St. Nick is sure to bring a smile to your face. Check around for local events where you can visit with Santa and tell him what’s on your list. Visiting Santa Claus is by far one of the most popular traditions to do with young children. If you are unable to find an event to visit Santa this year there are plenty of apps and websites that let your little ones interact with Santa without even leaving the house.

Donate Old Clothes, Linens and Toys

Make room for new toys and gifts by donating items that are no longer being used to the less fortunate. Go through your closets and round up clothes that have been sitting, gently used linens, and toys that are no longer being played with and donate them to your local homeless or domestic violence shelter.

Christmas Eve Box 

Christmas Eve boxes are a fairly new tradition and have been taking over Pinterest. The idea is simple. Get a box and pack it with new Christmas pajamas for the family, hot cocoa, popcorn or other favorite snacks, and a holiday movie to watch on Christmas Eve.


Bake Cookies

Don’t forget to bake some fresh sugar or gingerbread cookies for Santa! Falling asleep on Christmas Eve can be incredibly difficult for children. Build up the excitement for Christmas morning by baking cookies and leaving them out with a glass of milk for Santa. Don’t forget a couple of carrots for his reindeer!

Christmas cookies and hot cocoa

Make a Special Holiday Meal

Make a special meal to celebrate the holiday season with your family and friends. Hosting holiday dinners can be stressful but they don’t have to be. Host a holiday potluck for a less stressful alternative.