60+ Christmas Day Traditions

A few weeks ago, I got this message on Instagram:

Hey! I’m wondering if you have any great tradition ideas for Christmas Day. We have tons of wonderful traditions leading up to Christmas and then the actual day sort of feels flat and boring. I’d love to make some traditions to look forward to after all the gifts are opened and played with.

Our Christmas Day usually looks like opening stockings, having a nice breakfast, opening gifts as a family (we go in age order choosing a gift for someone else to open and since it’s not a flurry of frantic opening, it takes us a quite a while).

After gifts, we have a low-key afternoon while we play with new games or toys – which we all love – and then usually host a Christmas dinner for family in the evening.

For some people, the idea of MORE traditions on Christmas Day is pretty overwhelming.

One Instagram commenter said, “I am thrilled to have a low-key boring day after all the craziness. Zero help here.”

Another said, “Christmas Day is a day of rest. We did all the holiday things and it’s our one day to rest.”

And I’m inclined to agree – I love a day to just stay home and enjoy being together. In fact, a year or two ago, my husband suggested that we skip the annual extended family Christmas Day lunch that he’d been going to since he was a child – he just wanted to be home and not feel pressure to do a lot of driving and visiting on Christmas Day.

But others feel like just like that original commenter!

One said, “I don’t have any but please share! I feel the same way!”

So if you love a lazy stay-at-home Christmas Day, feel free to ignore all these suggestions.

But if you want to add something or several somethings to your Christmas Day traditions, here are some of the terrific ideas that came in on Instagram!

christmas day traditions

60+ christmas day traditions

  • Sledding
  • We bake Jesus a Birthday Cake. He likes confetti cake and lots of sprinkles according to my kid
  • We do breakfast together and games/puzzles all afternoon before the big dinner
  • Christmas movie marathon
  • Go caroling
  • This is the day we make our gingerbread houses!
  • Big brunch board, hot cocoa, fondue for dinner
  • We watch Elf and eat Thanksgiving leftovers and dessert that I put in the freezer
  • We sing carols before opening presents and make a crock pot breakfast the night before
  • Watch a movie while the kids assemble Lego kits on blankets
  • Movie theater trip! (This was a very popular suggestion!)
  • Hit the road for family visiting!
  • Big Lego set as a gift for the family
  • We do gifts in the morning and gingerbread house in the afternoon!
  • Church in the morning (yes church on Christmas Day!) and fondue after.
  • Play the game we gifted to the family together.
  • We go skiing if it isn’t on a Sunday
  • Make a point to go outside- yes it’s usually cold but the fresh air does wonders!
  • We open one gift or set of gifts per person at the top of each hour!
  • Stay in Jammies all day, play with new toys, read books, and watch movies! No cleaning up!
  • Liege waffles! I only make them once a year and this is the day!
  • I used to always receive a book for Christmas and then spend the day reading.
  • Go on a walk
  • We like to go to a diner for breakfast and to have Chinese Food
  • We moved our family nativity to be on Christmas Day. That way we don’t have to plan two different nights, and we get to think of Christ on Christmas.
  • Walk after lunch then like quiet time for new books/ toys
  • A leisurely hike while playing high, low, baloney-o about the Christmas season
  • Big Christmas breakfast with special foods before we dig into gifts.
  • We frost and decorate cookies together.
  • Family Talent Show
  • We are hot tubbing with friends this year!
  • My friend’s family did a scavenger hunt for the last gift! (This is our favorite Christmas tradition too – I have a whole blog post about it here!)
  • Bingo to open presents
  • We slow walk gift opening. If the kids want to pause and play with a gift for 30 minutes, we let them!
  • We pick a few presents and save them to open on New Years.
  • Delivering cinnamon rolls with our kids to some of our closets friends before starting our day.
  • Family walk between breakfast and presents. Stockings then breakfast, then walk, then presents
  • I do the same puzzle every Christmas Day from my favorite grandpa who died
  • We stay home in our PJs, eat a bunch of frozen appetizer foods and play with new gifts
  • Big breakfast with more options than are necessary for a family of 6
  • We always are in our PJs and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas movie
  • Hoping to start a new one with Merry Bells
  • Everyone gets a new magazine and we snuggle on the couch to read
  • We spend the afternoon with extended family and then go to the movies in the evening.
  • Monkey bread for breakfast, Read Luke 2, stocking and gifts, after lunch go to the movies
  • Apps and snacks buffet all day, stay in Pjs, play games or make puzzles. Christmas music on.,
  • Going to the candle light Christmas service with family
  • I have a friend that does a family polar bear plunge every Christmas
  • Nice Christmas Eve dinner so easy leftovers on Christmas Day and I can play games and enjoy the day.
  • No names, just numbers on gifts, Kids find the number, I say who it’s for. Open one at a time.
  • Cinnamon rolls in the shape of a Christmas tree for breakfast.
  • We stay in PJs all day and eat appetizer in the living room instead of a big fancy meal
  • Sibling gifts before going down to the tree. I love how focused they are on each other for a bit.
  • We make Chex mix and 1 final batch of Christmas Cookes then play board games all evening.
  • Waffle brunch at my in laws
  • Big Brunch with all the family; pajama day; going for a drive to look at Christmas Lights with cocoa
  • We keep old classics on in the back ground- White Christmas, holiday inn, it’s a wonderful life
  • Last gift is always a family gift- usually that we can all enjoy
  • Adults take down Christmas while kids are playing with new toys!
  • Homemade personal size pizzas for dinner
  • Fancy hot chocolate bar with brunch and cinnamon swirl bread.
  • We will walk to our local fire station and bring treats while they are away from family
  • We fly! Family of 5. It’s a great day to go somewhere, airports/planes are so friendly
  • When I was a teenager we would go snowshoeing in the afternoon and then to a movie that night
  • We have a big breakfast with all family in town, each family brings 1-2 easy dishes
  • Going to the beach is my favorite California Christmas Day tradition!

Any other terrific Christmas Day traditions? I’d love to hear!


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  1. Great list! We have a tradition of playing pipe chimes as a family. There is no musical talent needed since you don’t have to read sheet music. If you can hum the song, you can play it. Kids get to play with grandparents and everyone can join in playing Christmas songs by hitting their one chime when it’s their turn in the song.

    1. In the morning we bake sweet braided pastry and later we buy coffee and cookies for our car ride to deliver gifts for few close friends.

  2. We would always go to the zoo Christmas Day. Nobody is around and usually the animals are active. Not all zoos are open but worth looking into your local one.

  3. Thank you for compiling all these ideas! I love it when you summarize what people said on Instagram, since I don’t use that site myself. It’s great that I can be a blog-only reader and still get the best information. I love all the contributions everyone makes.

  4. We usually do something outside (weather permitting) either a longer hike or nature walk. When I was growing up, we would host an open house in the afternoon on Christmas for my sister’s birthday. It was very low key and also gave us an opportunity to include those who don’t have family nearby.

  5. Ty we lost my hubby/kids dad recently to terminal brain tumor & we need new traditions!! Made my day cuz im struggling to make a great day. They are preteen & not really into toys anymore as we used to spend all week letting them open stuff putting it together & playing & then next gift. This list is wonderful. Happy holidays!!💜💜

  6. I planned Christmas between Christmas and New Years Day—whenever everyone could make it, due to having to be with their other side of the family. I made dinner that took a LONG time to eat so everyone would sit and talk. One time I prepared crab legs and everyone was at the table for over an hour. That was my Christmas gift to me. Seeing everyone just sit and talk for a long time. Then we opened gifts.
    Another Christmas we went to a Chinese Buffet (not on Christmas), then came back to the house and the kids made a Christmas ornament, then we opened presents and had dessert.

  7. Love this list! My family plays a fireplace video in the living room to get that extra cozy feeling. Beach walk in the afternoon to get some fresh air between all the feasting and chillaxing.

  8. Thank you for taking the time to compile this list.
    Big question… what is “high, low, baloney -o”? I tried a google search with no luck.

  9. I started reading this post thinking, oh, something new might be fun. When I finished reading I decided, nope, I’m happy with the slow, no-go Christmas (like you describe) 🙂

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