16 Classic Holiday Traditions Your Whole Family Will Love

From trimming the tree to caroling to watching the Grinch's heart grow three sizes, how many of these classic holiday traditions are on your "nice" list?
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Sure, it's fun to start new holiday traditions, but we love the nostalgia factor of tried-and-true classic holiday traditions. Check out our favorite "old favorites" and see how many are on your family's "nice" list.

1. Trim the tree

Okay, first, cut it down Clark Griswald-style, if you dare. Then go through all your fav ornaments with the kiddos and decorate a Christmas tree that wins the season!

2. Decorate gingerbread houses

Christmas is the perfect time to buy a new home—a gingerbread home, that is. Go homemade if you dare, or buy a kit that comes assembled and ready to decorate. 

3. Watch all the animated specials you loved as a kid

Cuddle up on the couch with fresh-from-the-oven cookies and share the animated Christmas classics you loved as a kid, with your own littles. Required viewing includes A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman.

4. Read all the classic Christmas stories

A cozy fire, Christmas lights ablaze, and a classic holiday tale: sounds like a recipe for a family tradition you’ll want to keep alive for years to come. Must-read books of the season: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, and The Nutcracker.

5. Deck the Halls

A.K.A. go caroling. Hot cocoa optional, but highly recommended! Not up for embarrassing yourselves in front of the neighbors? Keep it indoors with Christmas karaoke instead.

6. Snuggle on the couch for movie night—holiday-style

After you've watched all the animated TV specials, settle in for some serious couch time and queue up A Christmas Story, Miracle of 34th Street, and maybe even Home Alone. It’s not Christmas without these classic film favorites.

7. Take in a holiday performance

If you’re lucky enough to live near, or plan to visit NYC during the holiday season, you’ll def want to catch Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. Otherwise, see if your local community theatre puts on a holiday-themed show. 

8. Host a cookie swap

You’ll need cookie cutters, sprinkles, mom’s sugar cookie recipe, and an eager taste-testing team to pull off everyone’s favorite holiday tradition: baking cookies! Christmas music mandatory.

9. Look at the Lights

Christmas isn’t complete without a PJ-clad drive around your area to oogle the twinkling holiday light displays.

10. Visit Santa

Whether it’s a trip to the mall, or Santa’s village, visiting jolly old St. Nick is a Christmas rite of passage. And remember: the more photos, the better!

11. Pen letters to Santa

Help kids write wish lists for Christmas, as long as they’ve been mostly nice this year! Fun fact: Elf on the Shelf Scout Elf Express Delivers Letters to Santa is a cute kit that lets you shrink letters down to elf size—for faster delivery to Santa!  

12. Stroll past Christmas windows

Visit your town center or local shopping mall to show your sweeties holiday window displays that will wow them.

13. Count down with an Advent calendar

This fun Christmas tradition ramps up kids’ anticipation for the big day as they count down to Christmas.

14. Steal a kiss under the mistletoe

Pucker up for your Christmas cutie and give ‘em a smooch any chance you can get!

15. Find your Elf on the Shelf

Invite an Elf on the Shelf to live with you, and liven up the season as he hides somewhere new every night. (Need inspiration? Check out these fun Elf ideas.)

16. Send holiday cards

Whether you customize cards with a family photo or go with store-bought, ready-to-send options, mailing actual paper cards is a fun way to keep your far-flung friends and family up-to-date on what's been going on with your crew. Besides, who doesn't love holiday mail?!

For more fun ways to make the holiday extra-magical for your family, click here.

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