Family Life

3 Simple Christmas Traditions for the Whole Family

3 Simple Christmas Traditions


I absolutely love this time of year.  Christmas time is full of memories and traditions.  There are so many Christmas traditions in our house- but the ones that make us all smile are the most simple.

December is full of nonstop fun with visits to Santa, trips to the panto,  parties,  meeting up with friends,  I love ALL of it.

There is another side to Christmas though-  the stress of a never ending to do list. The pressure of wanting to make the holiday great for the whole family.

Stressful or not it is our traditions that bring us together as a family.  Some of those traditions take time and hard-work, but through the years we have found that it is the SIMPLEST of traditions that bring the most joy.

1)  Christmas Lights Tour

simple christmas tradition christmas light tourGrowing up in Upstate NY we went each year to the local ‘Lights on the Lake’ where you drove a few miles to look at Christmas light installments.  I haven’t found anything similar in Cork so we improvised and have come up with one of our easiest, most fun traditions.  One night every year around now- when the weather is dry- we get the kids all cosy in their pyjamas and ready for bed.  Once they are all tucked in and we have said goodnight we rush back into their bedrooms, toss back the covers, throw on slippers and rush them down the stairs and into a warm and cozy car!!  The kids at this point are squeeling with delight- we spend the next hour driving around singing Chistmas songs, checking out lights and eating Christmas cookies.

2)  A Christmas Eve Present

I spent my childhood (ok let’s be honest my ENTIRE LIFE) begging my mom and dad to let me open JUST ONE Christmas present on Christmas Eve.  JUST ONE!!  Every year they would reply the same “when it’s your house and your traditions you can open one but we don’t open presents on Christmas Eve.”

christmas eve present simple traditions

Well now it IS my house and OUR traditions so you bet there is a present opened on Christmas Eve!!!  In our house on Christmas Eve the children exchange their presents with each other.  (I totally stole this from my sister after spending Christmas with them one year before I even had kids of my own.)  Christmas eve tends to be that bit more relaxing and quiet for us.  We have a chance to slow down and the kids are entirely present as they give and receive their gifts to each other.  The undivided attention coupled with the excitement of the first gift of Christmas is a guaranteed win. Each year the kids love this tradition of exchanging gifts.  Their gifts for each other don’t get loss in the mayhem Christmas morning and they are guaranteed to share a sweet moment together.

3)  The Waiting…

Our kids aren’t allowed downstairs until the entire family is awake and ready.  Once everyone is up the kids sit not so patiently at the top of the stairs while mom and dad have a minute to wake up and grab a cup of coffee ( & the camera).  As the excitement builds we position ourselves perfectly so we can catch that magic moment when they first see Santa has been.  We also take turns opening presents so we can see what Santa brings everyone.  The waiting helps add to the excitement and make the morning last even just a few minutes longer.


We love those simple family traditions-  we also love the ‘harder’ traditions like baking and wrapping etc.  We love having so many traditions but the easy ones are the best by far.

Leave a comment with your favourite tradition!




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  • Reply Michelle Mccormack December 19, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    While we’re on wrapping – tell me how Santa wraps your gifts – does he have special wrapping paper? My daughter has requested that Santa wraps her gifts this year and I’m so excited to see what he does!

    • Reply Denise December 19, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Santa wraps using his own paper (& tags).he puts them all under the tree all mixed up. The kids hand them all out and we take turns opening.

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