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These Christmas Day traditions are fun and family-friendly. While there are so many fun things to do on Christmas morning, these traditions will last a lifetime. The day is filled with so much joy, and when you have traditions that your family can remember (like these Christmas games that you play in the afternoon after opening presents), it just makes that day a little bit better (if that’s even possible). 😉

10 things you need to do on Christmas Day

Ten Christmas Day Traditions for Families 

We love the Christmas season! It starts with a Countdown to Christmas, and it stays filled with fun activities: Christmas books, Christmas songs, crafts, movies & so much more. However, our favorite things would definitely be our Christmas Day Traditions with our family.

They are so much fun.  These traditions are ones that your children will remember for years to come. I hope that they find a place with your family. 🙂

10. Have a family breakfast.

Here are a few breakfast ideas:

9. Watch a Christmas Movie.

Within 30 minutes of being awake, at least one family member asks about watching A Christmas Story. It’s on repeat on the 25th, so we just keep it on in the background.
Here are a few more movies you might like:

8. Look at Christmas Lights… and leave a note!

Number 8 on the list of things to do on Christmas Day is one of my favorites! We drive around, in Christmas pajamas on the night before Christmas and again on Christmas night, looking at lights.  You can listen to  Christmas music and drive to your favorite fun Christmas-themed houses.

Our kids know exactly which ones to see every year (each of the kids has a favorite).  This tradition isn’t complete until we put these notes about finding Jesus in their yard in their mailboxes.

7. Bake Cookies

I love to bake cookies, and so do the kids. Baking is the perfect Christmas tradition. Here are some favorites:

6. Call your family

Make sure to include calling family members as a Christmas day tradition.  Our kids like to Facetime with their cousins every Christmas morning.

5. Write Thank You Notes

Write a thank you letter to Santa and your relatives, too (anyone given a Christmas gift).
Your kids can help you by just filling in the gift name and their name while you write the rest.

It’s easy when you make a printable that says, “Dear ____, Thank you for my ______. Love, ______.”
If they are too young to write, let them draw a picture of the gift.

4. Have a Candy Cane Hunt!

Every year, my parents host a Candy Cane Hunt. We usually have it a few days before the 25th, in the week leading up to Christmas, but you could always have it on Christmas Day.


  •  Get multiple colors of candy canes. We get enough for 6 per person.
    Candy Cane hunt
  • Each child will choose their color – they will hunt for ONLY their color of candy cane.
  • Next, one person (adult) hides the candy canes.  My mom hides them outside if it’s not too cold (and if it’s not raining).
  • When she is done, the kids then go outside & search for them, but they can only find their color.  If they find another color, they don’t pick it up or tell anyone.Candy Cane Hunt (
    A group of kids running down the street to play basketball.
  • The hunt is over when they find all of their candy canes.
    Candy Cane Hunt (
  • The prize is… you can eat a candy cane before dinner. 😉

3. Hold the Elf! 

Yes, on Christmas day, our kids are allowed to hold our elf on the shelf.  Our elf leaves a note every year that gives them permission to hold him before he heads home to the North Pole for the year.

2. Write it Down… and Save it!

Everyone writes down their favorite things that happened this year, their favorite gift this holiday season, and one thing they hope to accomplish by next year.
Put it in the Christmas Tree box, and when you get the tree out next year, you can see your list and see if anything comes true.

1. Relax and enjoy the day

Spend time cuddling on the couch, drinking hot chocolate, and enjoying time together… relaxing and being together as a family.   My favorite part is just being together, watching the kids enjoy their new gifts, and hanging out with one another. We have Christmas Story playing in the background ALL day long while we just enjoy our day, our company, and our time.

Here are a few more fun ideas that make a great family tradition: 

  • Sing your favorite Christmas carols, and then make up your own song! Everyone picks a Christmas word out of a hat, and they have to start a song using that word.
    Example: If my word was “Tree”, my song might be “Trees are light, and trees are bright when they are covered in lights!  We love to gather around the tree and open presents in the morning!”
  • Decorate Gingerbread houses
  • Leave a small gift at someone’s house.
  • If you are using an Advent Calendar, be sure to move to the last day!
  • Go through the Christmas cards together.
  • Play a Christmas-themed game, like the ones that you can download HERE.
    (Ex: Christmas Charades & Christmas Scattegories)

    Christmas game pack

Here are a few more Christmas posts that you might like:

Last Minute Christmas recipes
last minute Christmas recipes (1)
Candy Cane Glasses CC1
Christmas Day Traditions for Families 
Christmas Day Traditions
Gift ideas for YOUR parents.Meaningful Christmas gifts for YOUR parents who already have everything 1

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. LOVE this list. We do about half (maybe a few more) on it, YAY! I’m up now, in fact because I’m so excited for our first part, going over to open stockings with our daughters and my husband’s ex (for whom I adore), a tradition we’ve had for all his and my years together. Pancakes for breakfast and then back here to enjoy the second part of the day. I love watching others open gifts and we went lite this year – practical, meaningful – I am BURSTING, lol.

    Merry Christmas and Enjoy!

  2. A few years ago we played Christmas carol charades! It was fun but definitely got competitive! Our family also tends to put together big puzzles and play Monopoly on Christmas!

  3. Beautiful traditions, Becky. Our favorite so far is the board games. It’s great fun when the whole family play Dixit or Dobble. I hope you had an amazing Merry Christmas!

  4. This list is WONDERFUL! I will definitely be implementing these ideas next year (although our family does not participate in Elf on the Shelf). Thank you for sharing!