We are a very low key family around here. We don’t do elaborate or themed birthday celebrations nor do we spend a lot of time and money preparing for events and special occasions.
Christmas is pretty simple at our house too — we have a few family Christmas traditions, bake our favourite treats, visit with family, and tuck a few presents under the tree.
These are the family Christmas traditions that bring excitement and joy to our family and have become a somewhat distinct aspect of our family culture over the years.
Our Family Christmas Traditions:
Gingerbread is my favourite non-chocolate dessert. Nothing tastes like Christmas to me the way gingerbread does!
Ever since my oldest was a toddler we have been baking and decorating gingerbread cookies as a family, and have sometimes enjoyed having friends join us for the decorating.
This is actually something I have incorporated from my own childhood — my mom used to bake piles of cookies and invite a table full of happy boys and girls over for a decorating party. I have a lot of memories of gathering with my cousins, friends, and neighbours for a sweet afternoon of cookie decorating!
We like to roll our cookies fairly thin and bake them until nice and crispy. We also have a favourite gingerbread recipe that we use every year.
This is a relatively new family tradition for us — but it has much deeper roots.
About 3 years ago I found this lovely set from my childhood in my parents’ basement after not having seen it in years! I asked my mom if I could have it and it has been one of my favourite parts of our family Christmases ever since.
This tradition is not one that originated from my own childhood. I’m not sure that we ever even had one of those cardboard, chocolate filled advent calendars or any other type in my home growing up.
But when I found this lovely, wooden, Christmas tree advent calendar, I thought it was just perfect for us! Behind each door, I tuck a little activity card (or sometimes a sweet treat!) so that each day we have some special Christmas activity to do together.
Some of our activities have included skating, Christmas card making, watching Christmas movies, baking, and making Christmas themed crafts. Sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch coming up with 25 ideas!
My children are just so excited each morning as they discover what special holiday activity we will be incorporating into our day.
Over the years I lost most of the original, handmade cards I created that first year, so I recently made some printable advent activity cards that I can reuse or reprint if they get lost.