Here are 15 Easy and Fun Christmas Traditions for Kids

This post is sponsored by Kohl’s. I was paid for this post and received the included pajamas as compensation.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions for kids?

Despite my love of the holidays, I have a problem. My husband is a Grinch. He hates the holidays, for a variety of reasons. We’ve been together for almost 15 years, so I’m used to his grouchiness around the holidays. However, I still want my kids to love the holidays just as much as I do. My husband keeps his grumpiness to himself, most of the time, so I want to start some fun holiday traditions this year that are simple to accomplish with preschoolers.

For example, a really simple little tradition I started this year was getting my kids to wear matching Christmas pajamas from Carter’s. It’s an inexpensive, adorable, and surprisingly simple way to get my kids in the holiday spirit. If you’d like to get your preschoolers in on some new holiday traditions, here are 15 simple Christmas traditions for kids you can try this year.

15 Christmas Traditions for Kids

1. Give Gifts to Others

It is very important to me that my kids understand just how lucky and privileged they are. There are so many families in need, especially during the holidays, but all year long. By picking out gifts for other families and explaining to my kids how it’s important to help people who are less fortunate will hopefully teach them about their privilege and the importance of charity. A lot of churches, malls, and other public places have ways to give gifts to people in need. As a child, my mom would choose a family or a child off of a holiday tree at a local store and we would donate (usually toys and winter clothes) to that child or family. I’m sure you can find something like this in your hometown too.

2. Wear Christmas Matching PJs

As I mentioned above, this year, I bought Christmas matching PJs for my kids. As preschoolers, my kids absolutely loved the idea of wearing matching PJs. I’m sure there will come a point in time where they are not so excited to match one another. For the time being, I’m all about the cuteness factor of getting them to wear matching PJs.

Our favorite PJs are Carter’s and I got these matching sets at Kohl’s. I mean, how cute are their matching striped PJs with the “never naughty always nice” written across the chest? Carter’s has an extensive holiday sleepwear collection with new color schemes and holiday themes. Their jammies come in sizes for babies, toddlers, and little kids too. You can get them in cotton, polyester and fleece options.

My kids prefer the fitted two-piece jammies at their age. They used to love the one-piece with the footies, but once we got to potty training age, I found the two-piece sets so much easier. I also tend to prefer cotton PJs because my kids tend to sweat a lot when they sleep, so they are the most breathable option. Matching jammies is a simple little tradition that my kids love and is one of the easiest holiday traditions for preschoolers you can start this year.

3. Let Them Help with Decorating

My kids aren’t quite big enough to help with a lot of the decorating, but they are big enough to help hang their stockings, add (non-breakable) ornaments to the Christmas tree, hold the lights as we string them outside, etc. Getting them in the act of decorating is a great way to get your preschoolers interested in the holidays. At this age, they just love to help!

4. Volunteer as Bell Ringers

The holidays are a great time to get our kids involved in their communities. Why not volunteer at a food pantry or get your kids to help by volunteering to be a bell ringer. Not only will your kids learn about service, they will (likely) make some good money to help the Salvation Army. You know people are suckers for giving money to kids!

5. Make Christmas Cookies

It’s never too early to get your kids involved in cooking and baking. Christmas cookies are perfect for kids too because there are lots of recipes that work great for kids to help. Obviously, kids can help with sugar cookies that need frosting and sprinkles, but they can also help with other cookies. For example, they can help you make crinkle cookies by rolling the dough into balls or dipping the cookies in the powdered sugar. If you’re looking for some other cookie ideas, here are some of my favorites for the holidays: gingerbread men; gluten-free almond thumbprints; Italian wedding cookies; chocolate snowcaps.

6. Create Holiday Handprints

Last year, we made little baking soda clay handprint ornaments. They turned out so cute and the kids love comparing their hand sizes from last year to this year. I think we’ll turn this into a yearly tradition – well, as long as they are interested in making handprints, that is!

7. Make Cinnamon Ornaments

There are a lot of different types of DIY ornaments you can make, but one of the easiest (and best smelling) are the cinnamon ornaments. Just like playdough, your kids can use cookie cutters to make little shapes and their own holiday ornaments. If you’re looking for some other DIY ornaments, here’s a post I wrote a couple years ago.

8. Write Letters to Santa

Without my prompting, my kids already create their own lists for Santa. You can turn it into a holiday tradition by asking them to write a complete letter to Santa. By preschool, they might be able to write some letters and words (with your help), but they can definitely draw pictures of the items they want. You can turn it into a little tradition by finding some cute stationary or asking them to decorate their letter so it’s Christmasy and fun. Even better, save the letters from year to year so you can show them when they are older.

9. Start an Ornament Collection

Either by making or buying, you can start an ornament collection with your kids. Each year, my mom would let me select a special ornament. When I moved out, she gave me many of the ornaments I had selected as a kid. It is fun, every year, to take those ornaments of my childhood out and hang them on the tree. My favorites are the bear I got from Santa when I was 3 or 4 and the little reindeer I made out of clothespins. This year, I’m going to take my kids to the holiday store to pick out their first ornament. I did get them ornaments for their first Christmas, but I forgot to start the tradition with them – it’s never too late to start this one!

10. Make Homemade Garland

My husband talks about the time he tried to string popcorn for their holiday tree. I actually remember doing this as a kid too. It is very time-consuming, but definitely a lot of fun. I also remember making the paper chain garlands as a kid. These little craft projects are a fun way to get preschoolers involved in holiday traditions early on. This post has 60 DIY garland ideas

11. Go Light Seeing

One of my favorite family traditions that we’ve kept going all of these years is driving around at night and enjoying the holiday lights. My parents always make a point to find interesting places with lots of amazing lights. We are going to be in San Diego over the holidays this year, so I definitely want to take my kids around San Diego to enjoy all the gorgeous lights!

12. Pose for a Family Portrait

I know it might sound trite, but posing for a yearly holiday photo with your family is a great tradition to start early. Not only are those pictures fun to look back on, they can often be quite comical when you’re older (check out these 25 funniest family holiday photos)

13. Play Secret Santa with Your Neighbors

Assuming you like your neighbors and know they (fairly) well, you can start a fun tradition of either playing secret Santa, and leaving little gifts on their porch, or just bring them little gifts, like homemade cookies, a bottle of wine, or some other holiday treats.

14. Start an Advent Calendar

You can find a cute advent calendar to fill with little chocolates or prizes for your kids. You could also make your own – here are 33 DIY advent calendar ideas.

15. Plan a Hot Cocoa Night

Especially now that we live in a cold climate, I’m looking forward to the nights when my kids come inside from playing in the snow to a warm cup of hot cocoa and maybe even a fresh fire in our fire place. Whether or not you live in a cold climate, you can plan a hot cocoa night – make a little hot cocoa bar (how cute is this one?!) with all the fun flavors and toppings.

I hope these 15 Christmas traditions for kids give you some new ideas to try this holiday season. Now that my kids are a bit older, I’m so excited for the holidays and all the fun memories we are going to create together. This year, we’re starting with the matching Carter’s pajamas and plan to incorporate other little traditions throughout the holiday season.

How are you planning to incorporate holiday traditions this year?

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Stacey Freeman: I am a Style Maven, Mommy, Educator, and Traveler.