Looking for inspiration for Christmas Eve traditions?
Christmas Eve is the perfect time to bond and to make memories with your family. It has all the excitement of Christmas day without the stress.
Clear your schedule and mark it for a day full of full, laughter and holiday spirit.
You may already have some of your own traditions. If this is our first Christmas as a family it’s the perfect time to start a few Christmas Eve traditions of your own.
We’ve picked 17 fun traditions which are easy and loved by kids. You don’t have to do them all, but you may want to start a few this year.
Pin this guide for later so you can come back to it. Remember to share it with your friends and spread the Christmas cheer.
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17 Christmas Eve Traditions for Families
1. Santa Milk and Cookies
The most popular Christmas Eve tradition had to be a snack for Santa. You probably did this when you were a kid too, so it’s a great way to pass on the tradition.
Just before bedtime, leave out a plate of cookie and a glass of milk for Santa. The idea is for Santa to eat them when he arrives to leave presents.
Just remember to take a few sips and bites before the kids wake up in the morning.
2. Reindeer Food
Make some reindeer food on Christmas Eve for When Santa’s sleigh arrives at your home.
It really simple and cheap to make, you probably have most of the ingredients in your home already.
Reindeer food ingredients:
- Christmas food sprinkles
- Glitter (red, green, silver)
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. You can then place them into little clear plastic bags.
At night-time take the reindeer food outside and sprinkle it around. It helps the Reindeer to find your home and gives them the energy to keep flying through the night.
3. Christmas Eve Scavenger Hunt
Make a scavenger hunt for your kids to do. This is a great way to keep excited kids busy for a while. It gives you time to yourself while the kids are happy and entertained.
You can even scale it from a home scavenger hunt to an outdoor one as the kids get older.
You can make the clues as creative or simple as you like, as long as your kids will understand.
I recommend have a little treat at each clue site, a small chocolate or an inexpensive stocking filler type gift.
A great way to end the hunt is a Christmas Eve box.
4. Christmas Eve box
Source: Page Brook Market on Etsy
The Christmas Eve box is a recent tradition which exploded in popularity due to Pinterest. The idea is to take a large box and fill it with gifts for more Christmas traditions.
Popular contents include:
- Hot chocolate
- Christmas movie
- Christmas Book
The box is them wrapped or closed and opened by the kids.
If you have younger kids who do Elf on the Shelf it’s a great way to send off your Elf every year.
5. Christmas book
If you want something a little more traditional, then reading a Christmas book before bed is a great way to bond.
It helps kids to have some downtime on a day where they have probably been bouncing off the walls.
You can let the kids pick which book they want, or read the same one each year.
The ‘The Night before Christmas’ is really popular choice your kids will grow to love.
6. Christmas Movie Night
A fun way to gather everyone is to set up a Christmas movie night.
You can let the kids pick the movie and send out invitations to the family. You can also gather drinks and snacks to eat during the movie.
Once everyone is ready, grab lots of pillows and blankets and snuggle on the sofa. Draw the curtains and turn the lights out for a true cinema feel.
You might even want to create your own little movie den with sparkly fairy lights.
7. Bake Cookies
Kids love to bake, and Christmas cookies are a fun way to use up all that energy.
Take a look at Pinterest for inspiration and let your kids pick which recipe they want to do.
The smell of cookies will make your home smell like Christmas.
If they are old enough, let your kids gather the ingredients and read the instructions. Try not to take over, or make things perfect, it just stresses everyone out.
You can then use the cookies to put on Santa’s plate for his snack.
8. Hot Chocolate bar
Set up a hot chocolate bar for your kids to make their own mug of cocoa.
Fill a few empty mason jars with topping such as marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes and whipped cream.
Let everyone have their own cup of hot cocoa and then choose either own toppings.
It’s a great way to warm up if you’ve been out in the cold. Plus it’s always a huge hit with all ages from toddler to teens.
9. A letter to Santa
A great way to get your kid to slow down is for them to write a letter to Santa.
Traditionally Santa letters were sent up the chimney. If you don’t have a chimney you can leave it out with Santa’s milk and cookies.
Make the letters extra special with fun Christmas paper, scented pens, glitter, and stickers.
10. A Twinkle Walk
A really fun way to keep your kids active is to take them on a walk around your neighborhood. Wait until it’s a little darker and go out to see all the Christmas lights.
There is nothing quite as magical as looking a twinkling Christmas light, on a cold crisp night.
If your neighbors don’t really do house décor, look out for areas of your hometown that are decorated and take them there.
Ask your kids to pick their favorite home or spot and try to get some fun pictures of your walk.
11. Christmas Pickle
The Christmas pickle tradition originated in German but remains popular in the USA.
The idea starts with a Christmas ornament shaped like a pickle. The ornament is hidden on the tree on Christmas Eve. When the children wake in the morning they search for the pickle.
The first to find the pickle is granted a year of good luck.
You can get your own Christmas pickle here.
12. Pajama Elves
Pajama Elves a book by Hayden Edwards with adds a little Christmas tradition for new Pyjamas.
The idea is that little Christmas elves make new pajamas from the kids and leaves them every year.
It’s a fun way to give your kids a little gift and bring a little story to it.
Plus kids in matching pajamas make for such cute Christmas photos. Just remember to a picture in front of the Christmas tree so they can look back on previous years.
13. Santa Tracking
Have you ever wondered where Santa is in the world on Christmas Eve?
With world time changes that means Santa is probably somewhere in Europe when you wake up in the morning.
A fun way to countdown to Santa Arriving is using a Santa Tracker.
These online Trackers will show you exactly where Santa is in the World. All the action happens on Christmas Eve.
14. Hanging Christmas Stockings
This is an oldie but a goodie. Traditionally people would hand socks that Santa can fill with small gifts and sweet treats.
The good news is now you can get all kinds of awesome Christmas stockings to hand up on Christmas Eve.
You can hand your Stocking on a mantelpiece, using one for each family member. Some people like to hand their stocking at the end of their bed for Santa.
15. The Santa Key
The problem with modern day housing s that some people don’t have a chimney for Santa to slide down.
As you kids get older, they may be starting to question how Santa gets into the house.
The Santa Key is a great way for kids to help him get inside and leave all those goodies for Christmas day.
You may want to leave it on your doorstep after you go outside to sprinkle your reindeer food.
16. Open One Gift
Why not let your kid’s open one small gift on Christmas Eve. This will depend on how you explain Santa to them, however, it can be made clear this is a gift from you.
Try to make it a small gift. Just enough to keep them happy and excited about tomorrow.
This tradition is particularly handy if you have a special gift you want them to focus on. It’s really easy for kids to get overwhelmed on Christmas day. The one gift tradition keeps them, from being so distracted when they receive it.
17. Christmas Eve games night
You can make this tradition as big or as small as you want. For smaller families, you might want to opt for simple board games that you can all play.
If you have a lot of family members why not team up and do minute to win it challenges.
You can get a lot of inspiration for games on Pinterest.
If your family love a good competition you can have a trophy prize. The winning team or family member get to keep it for a whole year.