Kids laughing while eating gingerbread cookies.

5 Most Loved Christmas Traditions For Kids

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Three kids sitting at a table eating gingerbread cookies while laughing and smiling.

Are you looking for a way to make the Christmas season even more magical and memorable for your kids? According to experts (my kids), these are their top five most loved Christmas traditions for kids.

Decorating a Christmas Tree Themselves

Collage of kids hanging ornaments on a Christmas tree

Are you like me, and love having a theme or color scheme for your Christmas tree? Last year I used all vintage glass ornaments in bright cheerful colors. In the past I’ve used only silver and gold, or black, white and neutrals, because I love a cohesive look.

But that means I’m not using all of the kid-crafted and sentimental type of ornaments that we’ve collected over the years. And these ornaments are so special to my kids.

So what we do is we have a second Christmas tree just for them. This tree is usually in the play room/rec room. They get to decorate it with their favorite ornaments however they like, and enjoy it in their hang out space.

We make tree decorating time a family activity. First I bring out all of the boxes and have everything laid out for them. Then I put on Christmas music and let them take over, while I sit back and relax, and take some pictures of course! We talk about memories as they pick each ornament out of the box.

Sometimes I offer advice on where something could go or shouldn’t go if it’s a tricky ornament, but I don’t manage them or rearrange things. This is how the kids participate in our holiday decorating in a way that gives them freedom and makes it fun. It’s one of their most favorite Christmas traditions.

Kindness Elves / Elf on the Shelf

Collage of Kindness Elves posing with kids and note cards.

We have two Kindness Elves who come and visit us every December. The kids are always excited when the elves arrive, and wake up every morning excited to see where the elves moved to during the night, and what new message they’ve left.

The daily messages generally have a task for the day, which is a small act of kindness. Sometimes they are acts of service, acts of giving, reminders of manners and kind behaviors. The kids are asked to be kind with each other, parents, other family members, friends, school mates and even neighbors and strangers.

We never know when exactly the elves will arrive, but it’s usually in the middle of December. They always leave on Christmas Eve when Santa comes and brings them back to the North Pole in his sleigh.

The kids just love the magical little elves and it brings them so much joy to have them in our home.

Advent Calendars

Collage of Advent Calendars, kids opening toy advents, a stack of wrapped books, kids opening and reading a Christmas book.

Advent Calendars are one of the time-honored favorite Christmas traditions for kids. We like to open them either after school or in the evenings, because mornings can be busy and rushed.

I’ve made home-made advent calendars in the past, with a variety of small items and candy. 

One year I did a Christmas book advent where I wrapped up 24 books, and each night they unwrapped a book and read it together.

I’ve also bought them chocolate advent calendars and Lego and toy advent calendars as well.

Just that excitement of opening a tiny surprise each day makes the holiday season feel so special.

Decorating Cookies

Collage of kids decorating Christmas cookies

Baking is a big part of the Christmas season for so many of us, and my kids love to get involved. Their favorite part of baking is decorating Christmas sugar cookies and gingerbread men and houses.

I think it’s because they can be creative. In recipe baking there’s not much room for creativity – you measure and follow the directions to make sure it turns out how it should. But with cookie decorating, the kids can get hands on, and have the freedom to get creative! My kids absolutely love it, so it’s a holiday tradition that we do every year.

Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot cocoa bar at home: glass jars with cocoa powder, mini marshmallows, mini candy canes, shortbread cookies and butter fudge on a vintage silver tray. Santa mugs on a tiered tray. Kids holding Santa mugs.

There’s nothing like coming home from school on a cold day to a stocked hot cocoa bar, ready to warm you up with a little treat!

My kids are huge fans of hot cocoa, which we drink year round including on rainy summer days. But only at Christmas time do we have a hot cocoa bar set up with various toppings and treats to go along with it.

I fill some containers with holiday treats like shortbread and candy canes. More containers have toppings like marshmallows and white chocolate chips. Then I add in some decorations to make it look festive and magical.

We don’t drink hot cocoa every day, because I think it’s just too much sweets along with advent treats and Christmas cookies. So we drink it probably every second day 🙂

The great part about these Christmas traditions for kids is that pretty much any parent can do them! Plus since they’re all at home, they won’t be limited by your location, and your kids will see the magic in being together at home for Christmas.

You probably do some of these traditions already unless you’re a new parent. But I hope I’ve inspired you to try one or two new ones that your child will absolutely love!

What’s are some Christmas traditions that your kid loves? Let me know in the comments below!


Courtney shares party inspiration, DIYs, and free printables on her blog, and designs art and party printables for her Shop. She loves Farmhouse home décor, photography and movies.

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