{Our Family's Christmas Traditions}

In my recent Five Things Bringing me Joy right now post I mentioned that traditions are my jam and in doing so I realized that I haven't shared our family's Christmas traditions since 2013. We've changed a bit and added so many more traditions since then, so it was time to update that list. Here are our family's current Christmas traditions...

Pick Out a Real Christmas Tree:
We love picking out a real tree each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving! For the first several years we visited a tree farm, picked out our tree and cut it down ourselves and it was glorious. Then things got so busy and hectic and we started just going to our local Home Depot for a real tree. I'm happy to say that we are finally back to our Christmas tree farm tradition! We had so much fun this year and will never go back to Home Depot! There's just something so festive about getting your Christmas tree at an actual tree farm! Not to mention the many photo opportunities!

Cut a sliver off the bottom of the tree:
Every year that we get a real tree we ask them to cut a sliver off the bottom so that we can turn it into an ornament! When we get home I have Nate drill a hole into it, I add some twine and write the year on the wood slice. I love looking back on all of the year of our tree ornaments!

Deckin' the Halls and Trimmin the Tree:
Once we return home with our tree Nathan heads outside to hang the Christmas lights on the exterior of the house while Mason and change into cozy Christmas pajamas, turn up the Christmas Pandora station and deck the halls! We love dividing and conquering because everything is done in one day and we can enjoy the full house; inside and out. It's one of my favorite days of the entire year.

Ride the Polar Express // Visit the Grinch's Lair // Camping Weekend:
This is one of my favorite weekend's out of the year! We travel about 2 hours East to the Piney Woods of Texas for a festive weekend of riding on the Polar Express, visiting our favorite Grinch, and camping in the Pines! Our weekend starts on Friday where we usually just enjoy the campsite and find a place to have supper. We love camping here because they actually have leaves, color change and it just feels like fall. Saturday begins with a visit to the Grinch's Lair. Over the years we've become pretty close to the Grinch and he always remembers his buddy, Mason. Last year we won a photo contest and they used our picture for all of the promotional items this year. That was cool to see! Anyhow, the Grinch's Lair is a really fun time. I can't picture a better Grinch! That evening we gear up for a night on the Polar Express. We used to ride the North Pole Express in Grapevine, but then it became too commercialized. A quick Google search led us to the Polar Express in Palestine and we never looked back! It's such a magical and amazing experience. We always get tickets for the very last train ride of the evening so that it's dark {more like the movie} and we can cozy up in our favorite Christmas pajamas! The train ride takes you to the North Pole to pick up Santa and back. The second Santa steps on that train I tear up! It's so magical and special and I love to see all the little kid's faces light up! I pray that I never take things like this for granted, because it's something amazing.

Elf on the Shelf:
Our Elf, Max and his pet Cubby return during our Polar Express trip! Since that weekend kicks off our Christmas season they meet us in the camper. I know it's a little earlier than most start and means I have to think of more ideas, but it's worth it! Mason gets so excited when Max and Cubby meet us in the camper! I will have a full post soon on 'how we Elf', but we use our Elf for the good...no mischievousness here.

Buy Christmas Pajamas:
Oh how I love Christmas pajamas. And I'm so glad Mason still loves them too. I hope this is one tradition that we get many more years out of, even though it's getting harder to find cute ones in his size. He's growing too fast! This year I was able to pick out some plain ones and add a design using my Cricut and heat transfer vinyl! I'm so excited to have this option now.

Light photo:
I believe we started this tradition on Mason's 2nd Christmas. We were deckin' the halls and he started playing in the lights and I snapped a photo. I loved how it came out and vowed to make it a tradition! Now every year when we're deckin' the halls we pause to capture this traditional light photo!

Scripture Advent:
I made this scripture advent several years ago and Mason and I have enjoyed doing this together. I found these adorable free printable tags here. On the back of each one I wrote a scripture for us to read together every day on the coordinating date. Each scripture points to Jesus and the reason for this season!

Visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop:
We started this tradition Mason's very first Christmas in 2010! We love this Santa and the set-up. It's beautiful, and it's free! It's been the same Santa every year {which I love} and he is so personable and really takes time to spend with each kid! What more could a mama ask for?

Watch our PNP Santa video:
I found this website several years ago and I have made Christmas videos ever since! It's such a neat platform where you can personalize videos for your kid! I wrote more about this here. And I will be sharing about our 2017 PNP experience very soon!

Drive around and look at Christmas lights:
This is always a favorite of ours! We normally get cozy in Christmas pajamas, grab some Starbucks or drinks and snacks from somewhere and drive to look at lights! Sometimes we drive to North Dallas and look at the huge houses there and sometimes we just stay in our neck of the woods! Either way, it's a good time. This year we visited the house that won the Christmas Light Fight on tv. It's only about a 25 minute drive from us. It was incredible and such a magical experience! They spent 4,000+ hours on this year's display!

Christmas Movie Night:
We always pick a Friday or Saturday night in December for a Christmas movie and pajama night. Most of the time we bake some yummy delicious treats and order a pizza. The movie most often chosen is Elf. It's our favorite! This year we kicked up our Christmas movie night a notch by having a campout in front of the Christmas tree. We aired up an air mattress and kept the twinkle lights on all night! We will most definitely keep this in the traditions. We enjoyed it so much.

Make Reindeer Food:
We have been making magic reindeer food for as long as I can remember! It's such a fun little craft to do as a family. We normally use oats and sparkly glitter {so the reindeer can find our house} in our reindeer food bags. This year they had a reindeer food station set up at the Christmas tree farm so we went ahead and did it there! They had the cutest bags to put the reindeer food in, so that was a no brainer. And it's reusable, so we can use it next year.

Visit Bethlehem Revisited:
The first two weekends of every December several churches, businesses, organizations and individuals set up Bethlehem Revisited as a representation of life in Bethlehem when Jesus Christ was born! There are walls set-up with potters, blacksmiths, basket weavers, wine makers, a market, carpenters and many other artisans that you can watch as they work. They talk and interact with the crowd. There is also the Inn and Manger where you can watch a live nativity of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. That takes place every 30 minutes and it's such a moving experience. This is one of our favorite things to do each year and such a great reminder of why we celebrate Christmas.

25 Days of Christmas books:
This is actually our first year to start this tradition, but I know it will not be the last. I've seen so many of our friends do this, but never thought Mason would enjoy it since they are books he already had and we read over and over. But, boy was I wrong! Our Elf, Max, delivered the wrapped books on the 1st of December and Mason was more than thrilled. He has loved opening and reading a different Christmas book each year! I am so glad I decided to do this. I'm going to order and incorporate new books each year!

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service:
We have been going to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at the Cowboy Church for 4 years now! Our church does not have this service, so we visit our previous church. It's one of my favorite services of the year. We worship, they deliver a message to the kids and then the congregation as a whole and the service wraps up with everyone singing Silent Night by candlelight! Oh my word. It's moving and amazing.

Bake Cookies for Santa:
We have to leave our favorite jolly ol' guy a treat! Mason and I enjoy making the cookies together each year! We also leave treats for the Reindeer!

Hang the Inn Keeper's Key and Santa's Magic Key:
We hang an Inn Keeper's Key every year as a symbol that we invite the Savior into our home on Christmas! And we hang a magic key for Santa {that our Elf brought a few years ago} since we do not have a fireplace.

Build a Gingerbread house:
Mason and I love to do this each year! We have so much fun decorating a Gingerbread house and leaving it on display for the rest of the season. Mason may eat more candy and icing than he puts on the gingerbread house, but that's the fun in it.

Light up the Jeep for the lighted Christmas parade in our town:
This was our first year to actually be in the lighted parade rather than watching it. We joined the Jeep club and lit up our Jeep! We had a complete blast and I know this will become a tradition of ours.

Pray for the family upon receiving their Christmas card:
This is a new tradition I will be starting this year! I ran across this idea recently and knew it was something I had to do! I mean, how much of an honor would it be to pray for these sweet families? I am also going to start the tradition of putting the Christmas cards on a ring to keep and display each year!

As you can see, we have a ton of Christmas traditions in our family! There are so many other little ones that I didn't share. We just love this season so much! What are some of your favorite Christmas time traditions?


  1. I love all of your traditions and especially the last one, what a gift to pray for each family. PS I have never heard of the innkeeper's key, did you make it yourself?

  2. I love all of your traditions. They are all beautiful and special!

  3. What an amazing new tradition to pray for all of the families who send cards to you. I absolutely love this!

  4. You have so many fun ways to celebrate the holiday. From simple to big,you really know how to make the most of Christmas.

  5. So many great ways to celebrate Christmas. I just did a tutorial on storing Christmas cards, on a ring, hehe. I've always wondered, how do you light up the lights on the jeep? Connect to the tow hitch? The kids and I have been wondering. Love that scripture advent garland, LOVE!

  6. So many lovely traditions! We do a lot of them too in our family! I love the whole tree slice ornament idea!

  7. At the bottom photo I thought, "Hey that's me!" hehehe! You guys have SO many amazing traditions friend. You do such a great job celebrating the real reason for the season.


Thanks for the comments! Hope you are having an amazing day!!