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Christmas Eve Traditions

What are your favorite Christmas eve traditions?

When I was growing up, Christmas Eve was both my favorite and least favorite night of the year.

The anticipation of The Big Day was almost too much to bear, but at the same time, it was fun to be so excited.

My children (like most children) bounce off the walls on Christmas Eve. My husband and I realized we needed to create consistent family traditions so that our kids can manage their anticipation by staying busy! 

What we typically do is go to candlelight service at our church, then we’ll drive around and look at lights for a bit.

When we come home, I’ll read a Christmas story to the kids or watch a movie, and by then they’re ready for bed.

We’ll switch things up a bit, adding or moving activities around depending on the mood of the day. 

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions for your family? If not, here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Hide a small pickle ornament on the Christmas tree.

Whoever finds it gets to open a present that night or open the first present on Christmas Day.

I heard about this tradition at a holiday party years ago, and it’s a fun and easy tradition.  

2. Drive around looking at lights.

The lights are my favorite part of the holiday season!

Drive around with your family looking at all of the hard work your neighbors put into making the holiday season bright.

You can even create a scavenger hunt where you have to look for things like a house that’s decorated with just one color light, an outdoor tree with ornaments on it, or keep your eye out for Santa.

3. Track Santa on an app like Norad.

Read a story like “The Night Before Christmas” and then track Santa throughout the evening.

Pull out a map and it’s a great way to incorporate a little learning into your Christmas Eve fun, too!

4. Go to a candlelight service at your church.

Even if you don’t have a church home, you can visit anyone to sing hymns and hear scripture.

There’s something that’s incredibly awe-inspiring about hearing the Christmas story by the glow of candles.

5. Prepare Christmas breakfast.

There are so many overnight breakfast casserole recipes out there that look super delicious, gather the family to spend the evening putting breakfast together.

It’s a way to bond and make sure you don’t have to worry about cooking on Christmas morning!

6. Sing Christmas songs.

You don’t have to be Mariah Carey or Adele to show your Christmas spirit through song.

Turn on a Christmas station on Pandora and have a family sing-a-long. Out of all of the Christmas Eve traditions, this is my favorite!

7. Do holiday crafts together.

Even if Martha Stewart isn’t a relative, it’s fun to sit around the table with some glitter and glue and make something. 

Christine at Blooming Brilliant has a bunch of holiday crafts you can check out. This Candy Cane craft is easy to make and looks super cute. 

8. Have a movie night.

Between the cooking and Santa and that darn elf on the shelf, you’re probably tired by Christmas Eve.

Instead of going out and doing something, put on jammies (matching, obviously), turn on a Christmas classic, and chill out with your peeps.

gingerbread house

9. Make a gingerbread house (from a kit).

On the morning of Christmas eve, head to your local drugstore (trust me… fewer crowds) and pick up a gingerbread house kit.

They might even be discounted!

Building the house together is a great way to spend the night before Christmas. 

10. Read the story of Jesus’ birth aloud.

He is the reason for the season.  Santa and all of his gifts are great, but Jesus is better.

Take a few minutes to sit in reverence of Jesus and the amazing gift that He is to us.

Here’s a list of Christmas books about Jesus that you might like!