Can I just say how excited I am for this family traditions blog post? When I do Q&As on Instagram, I often get asked what family traditions I'd like to incorporate with Eleanor and our future kids - and the truth is, I don't know! I know I'd like to have her grow up with traditions, but wasn't sure exactly what. I LOVED reading through the traditions that made your childhood feel like magic. Charlie and I read through every single one of these and had such fun conversations about ones we'd like to incorporate for our family - I hope you have fun doing the same! If I left yours out, feel free to leave a comment, as I think we could all use inspiration here when it comes to family traditions!
Holiday Family Traditions
New Year's Eve/New Year's Day
- "We do fondue on New Year's Eve!"
- "NYE - pajamas and Indian food at home playing games with friends."
- "Chinese food on NYE."
- "Breakfast for dinner on New Year's Day."
- "On Christmas Eve, we decorate a small tree outside and sing Christmas songs."
- "Elves bringing us pajamas and a small gift (usually a book) every Christmas Eve."
- "Every trip/new place we visit, we always get a Christmas ornament. That way, we had a new ornament every year with a memory from that year!
- "Christmas Eve right before bed, we sprinkle 'reindeer food' in the yard."
- "Every year, my dad and I go Christmas shopping together for my mom and go out to a nice dinner."
- "Christmas Eve: my mom made homemade manicotti, church, got new PJs and opened one gift."
- "Small Lego set in our Christmas stocking. We can't wake mom and dad/open gifts until they're built!"
- "Christmas Eve we do new PJs and an ornament. My mom started that tradition so when we moved out or got married, we got a box of ornaments."
- "We do a gift an hour on Christmas to enjoy each gift and spread the fun all day!"
- "My dad reads The Night Before Christmas every Christmas Eve."
- "Built a gingerbread house at Christmas and brought it to a nursing home for a resident without family."
- "Progressive Christmas Eve block party!"
- "Cinnamon rolls Christmas morning."
- "Christmas Eve breakfast at Waffle House. Leave the waiter a $100 cash tip when you go!"
- "Pizza on Christmas Eve around the tree with music playing!"
- "On Christmas Eve, we would all pile into the biggest family car and go look at the lights."
- "Taking kids Christmas shopping for each other. Open sibling gifts Christmas Eve to celebrate each other!"
- "The night BEFORE Christmas Eve, the kids all sleep together under the Christmas tree."
- "My family rents out a Christmas cabin every December. We play board games, bake cookies, watch Christmas movies."
- "Having a Star Wars movie marathon on Christmas Day when we were little."
- "Christmas breakfast on fancy dishes but everyone wearing pajamas."
- "On Christmas, we do a big breakfast but kids always help make waffles while Home Alone plays in the back."
- "Rudolph present on the end of your bed for when you wake up Christmas morning. Genius for parents to sleep!"
- "Chinese food while we wrap Christmas presents and Chick Fil A on Thanksgiving."
- "We throw Jesus a birthday party on Christmas - cake, decorations, you name it!"
- "We play minute to win it game Christmas night!"
- "Every year, first thing Christmas morning - pictures on the stairs in matching PJs!"
- "Pie for breakfast on Thanksgiving!"
- "Thanksgiving morning we have 'breakfast in the forest' in the yard. Pumpkin pie on the menu!"
- "Thanksgiving Eve we made our own 'turkeys' - just chickens - and tore bread on a sheet in the living room for the stuffing while watching movies!"
- "Gingerbread house making competition on Thanksgiving!"
- "Family bingo on Thanksgiving night. Prizes could get stolen like dirty Santa!"
- "Cinnamon rolls and Parade watching in bed on Thanksgiving morning!"
- "Exchanging Christmas ornaments after Thanksgiving dinner."
- "The day after Thanksgiving, me and my dad would hang the outdoor Christmas lights while my mom made chicken pot pie."
- "The day before Thanksgiving is a pie party. We have pizza and everyone makes a pie!"
- "We went to Disney on Ice the day after Thanksgiving every year!"
- "For Hanukkah, my parents would hide our presents every night so we'd search the house for them!"
- "For Hanukkah, my parents laid all of the presents out and each night I got to pick one for my brother to open and he picked one for me to open!"
- "On Halloween, my mom makes chili every year and all of my cousins bring their kids to eat and trick-or-treat."
- "Hocus Pocus on Halloween with hot chocolate while eating the candy and sorting through it!"
- "Making homemade pizza on Halloween and taking it trick or treating for snacks on the way!"
- "We read Green Eggs & Ham on Easter."
- "We would go to the zoo on Easter! Loved that as a kid."
- "Homemade Hot Cross Buns for Easter."
- "Valentine's Day - fondue with the kids, candlelight, play romantic music."
- "Valentine's Day is Chinese food on the couch in PJs and a Netflix movie."
- "Special gifts from my mom on Valentine's Day. One of three daughters and I always LOVED it!"
Fourth of July
- "Every 4th of July we watch National Treasure!"
- "Drink-themed competition on holidays!"
- "Champagne every holiday morning - sparkling juice for the kids!"
Weekend Family Traditions
- "Friday night family pizza every single Friday. Set out a blanket and we would watch a movie."
- "Friday nights = breakfast for dinner in pajamas. Almost 20 years strong on this one!!"
- "Ice Cream Sundays. We ate them out of ice cream bowls kids made at a pottery studio when they were little. My best friend and her husband also take their daughter out for ice cream every Sunday."
- "Sunday brunch. My dad would walk us to the restaurant so my mom got a chance to get ready."
- "We do Sunday movie nights. Chicken nuggets and fries in front of a movie."
- "Friday was movie night and junk food for dinner. We'd have queso, Cheetos, cookies, etc.!"
- "We do pancakes every single Saturday morning - my husband makes them. FAVORITE part of the week!"
- "Every Friday during the school year when I pick my son up from school, I bring him his favorite drink (lemonade/hot chocolate)."
- "Screen-free Friday night dinner out - everyone gets a chance to pick the restaurant!"
Birthday Family Traditions
- "Donut breakfast cake for birthdays (a bunch of donuts stacked with a candle)."
- "Waking up to streamers in my doorway and balloons filling the living room on my birthday."
- "My family would wake me up with birthday presents in my bed on my birthday."
- "My husband and I take off every year on our son's birthday and have a special day with the three of us!"
- "Our chair at the table would be decorated with balloons and streamers for our birthday."
- "I always snap a picture of them tucked into bed the night before their birthday, the last time I tuck them in as that age. It's more of a memory for me." (I'm not crying, you are!)
- "Half a cake on your half birthday! Bake one round cake and cut it in half to make a two layer "half" cake."
- "For birthdays, we always read the book 'On the Night You Were Born' - even 13 years later!"
- "Birthday cake pancakes on their birthday morning! You can find a recipe on Pinterest."
- "Breakfast with Mom and Dad every birthday (no siblings go). Still do it 32 years later!"
- "Breakfast in bed on our birthdays on a breakfast tray! We did the same for Mother's Day and Father's Day."
- "Birthday signs! Every year, our mom would make decorative signs and hang them all over the house. When we woke up, we would walk around finding all of them!"
- "Once we turned 10, birthday parties couldn't have gifts, but had to have donations for a charity."
- "On our birthdays, my mom would take us out of school and to lunch! I loved this tradition."
Seasonal Family Traditions
- "Early morning coffee/donuts on the beach and kid pictures in the lifeguard stand during vacation."
- "My dad used to make eggs Benedict every time it snowed. One time he woke me up the day after Christmas saying 'it snowed!' I couldn't see it and thought he was crazy. Came downstairs to eggs Benny."
- "Summer traditions - 'Super Saturday' on the beach. Pick a date, everyone comes, we order pizza and stay until it's pitch black outside."
- "We go apple picking every September and make a day of it."
- "Last day of summer was always DIY ice cream sundaes."
- Each month of summer: mini weekend getaway (camping, rent lake cabin, hotel staycation)."
- "Taking a family photo for my husband's phone background on vacation for 20 years in a row!"
- "In the summer we do s'more Thursdays! My oldest son suggested it and it's so fun to have something to look forward to each week in the summer."
- "My Grandma held a pumpkin-carving day every fall with homemade donuts! She also held a Valentine's Day cookie-decorating party every year with pre-baked cookies and all the toppings."
- "A summer fun list to check off - older kids still talk about it!"
- "Get together at my grandma's house for the 'summer birthdays' and have a giant water balloon fight!"
- "'Summer Fairy' on the last day of school with summer fun toys and a summer bucket list!"
- "Croc-tober party. Everyone wears crocs (even the kids) and brings a crockpot dish to pass!"
- "Fall Funday! The last Saturday in September we go apple picking, make a fall-inspired drink of the day, make something with our apples, make appetizers, and watch football."
- "Tacos on the beach for the first beach trip of each vacation, ice cream on the way home."
Miscellaneous Family Traditions
- "Our girls have a 'sleepover' and watch a movie every Friday night. It's so special to them!"
- "Ice cream at the neighborhood ice cream shop on the first and last day of school!"
- "Candy forest! On hikes, my mom would sneak ahead and 'plant' candy around the trail."
- "Saturday night burgers - goes back to my dad's childhood. Lost my Dad in 2019 so this is a way to honor him."
- "Every day at dinner, your 'pit' and your 'peak' of the day - plus something you learned!"
- "Homemade ice cream at big family events. Still do it!"
- "We always go out for late night pancakes after any of my kids' performances."
- "We played guess the animal at dinner as a family. Yes or no questions only. So fun!"
- "Any time my parents went on a date night, my dad took the kids out for fast food before they went. Looking back, it was probably so my mom could get ready :)"
- "My mom would make a turkey the night before the first day of school so we would sleep!!"
- "Letting them 'skip' a day of school every year and getting to choose how we spent the day."
- "First day of school as a kid each year - mom would take PTO and we'd come home to cookies and share stories."
- "Homemade pizza once a month growing up. We used cookie cutters for fun designs!"
- "Ice cream for dinner on the last day of school!"
- "Ice cream when we brought home report cards!"
- "New book for vacation for everyone!"
- "When my kids were little, we did "Friday Junior" picnics in the living room on Thursday nights."
- "Oh! The Places You'll Go" sent to school each year for my teachers to sign for my boys. I'll give it to them at their high school graduation."
Did I leave any family traditions out? Did you read some here that you want to incorporate? Leave a comment and share yours so we can all get some inspiration!
Love!! So many great ideas I hope to incorporate some into our family. Thank you for creating this wholesome resource ☺️
For the month of February we decorate the kids door with things we love about them. Every day gets another heart. (100% stolen from Instagram!)
Omg I can’t believe I missed you asking about traditions because I’m obsessed with my family Christmas tradition!! So my mom is from a bigger family and she said Christmas morning was pure chaos every year. All the kids ripping open the gifts at once like animals. Lasted maybes 15 minutes tops. So when she had me and my sister she implemented “the game” one person at a time opens a gift and before they can open it they have to try and guess what it is! If you guessed right, you get a point. We usually do teams (kids vs. parents) and we’ve only actually kept track on paper one year the points. But it’s just fun and it makes the experience last for literal hours.
So many great traditions! I can’t wait to incorporate some of these into our lives! ❤️❤️❤️
This is wonderful! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up at many of these. ❤️
Sooo many great ideas. Thanks for compiling in a list! Bookmarking to save for each holiday to start some traditions of my own!
Loved reading these! So many fun ideas. Thanks for putting it together!
need to adopt some of these!
Love these ideas!
My family watches Trains, Planes, and Automobiles every Thanksgiving. Steve Martin and John Candy get us laughing so hard every time and we always tear up at the end.
Christmas time my husband cooks a traditional German meal he grew up eating with our kids and they love helping. He cooks it in a big cast iron pot that is over 100 years old passed down.
Oh I love these! The one where the dad and child hang Christmas lights the day after thanksgiving while mom makes pot pie 😭😭😭😭
Melissa K says
Such great ideas! We’ll be starting 12 days of Christmas with holiday books! I’ll wrap 12 holiday themed books to open and read each night at bed time leading up to Christmas! I’ll put them away and maybe add a couple new ones each year to rotate! I do this in my classroom and the kiddos love it! Great way to learn about other holidays too!
We did beach parties in the winter where my mom would turn the heat up and we would pretend we were on the ‘beach’ and make beach foods and play beach games!
Basically cried through this whole post. Traditions are so important and mark the passage of time. They always makes me so emotional to hear about! Thanks for writing this
My family loves traditions!
As kids we would have fort nights in the living room. We would build forts with blankets and the kitchen chairs and sleep in the living room.
We would also go fishing every year at the local regional park (they always picked the week that they stocked the lake so we would be able to catch something)
We go to the pumpkin patch and apple farm every year to take family photos.
We do ornaments every vacation because we hate clutter on our counters so this is a nice way to take it out and display every year but not have things all over the house.
Every year we would get tickets to go to my moms alumni university to watch a college football game. It always motivated me to go to college. Now my husband and I are season ticket holders 🙂
Love this Bailey! My son starts nursery school this year. I bought him a tshirt in adult large from Etsy with his high school graduation year. I plan on taking a picture of him in it on the first/last day of school each year.
Definitely snatching some of these!! My husband and I go to his grandpas house every Sunday for breakfast. It’s grandpas favorite meal and he loves “sneaking” our dog some bacon! The dog doesn’t mind either!!
Kaitlin Feldman says
I read one of these as “Elvis brings the Christmas pjs” and I am kind of thinking that should be a thing now.
Wow, taking the kids out to eat so mom can get ready for date night is the CUTEST and SWEETEST idea!!
Every Christmas my grandmother gave each cousin a Christmas ornament so as we all get older and settle into our own places we have a little sentimental Christmas ornament collection to build off of. The sweetest!