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15 Amazingly Free Festive Christmas Traditions For Your Family to Enjoy

15 Amazingly Free Festive Christmas Traditions For Your Family to Enjoy

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Are you looking to create some new Christmas traditions for your family this year that don’t cost a lot of money? Keep scrolling for some amazingly festive (and completely free) things to do for Christmas this year!
This post about FREE Christmas traditions was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

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Do you want to create some new and free Christmas traditions for your family to enjoy this year?

Christmas is, hands down, the most magical time of the year. Making memories and creating traditions doesn’t have to cost a lot. In fact, I’m a firm believer that the best moments don’t actually have to cost anything at all!

If you’re wondering how to have a magical Christmas without breaking the bank, here are some of my favorite family Christmas traditions.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on Christmas gifts or decorations in order to create lasting memories with your family. These simple and inexpensive activities can be done by anyone!

Whether you want to try out one tradition or all of them, these ideas are sure to bring joy and magic into the holiday season. I promise they won’t disappoint!

You can have a magical Christmas without breaking the bank. Here are some of my favorite free Christmas tradition ideas.

Thinking of how to spend Christmas without breaking the bank.? Here are 15 amazingly free Christmas traditions that your family will enjoy!

Family Christmas Traditions FAQs

What is the most common Christmas tradition?

While there are lots of Christmas family traditions, the most common one is decorating a tree. Other popular traditions for Christmas include watching Christmas movies, baking/decorating cookies, and sending Christmas cards.

What do families do on Christmas Eve?

Many families do a big Christmas Eve dinner with friends or family. While it varies from family to family, one of the best Christmas present traditions is getting to open one on the night of Christmas Eve. Sometimes, they are matching Christmas jammies that the whole family wears that night.

How do you make Christmas Day special?

If you’re able to visit friends or family, that’s a great way to create some nice memories. You can tell family stories, play games together, and enjoy a few Christmas traditions. It’s also nice to give back by donating items to charity or volunteering in a soup kitchen.

15 FREE Christmas Traditions Your Family Will Enjoy

1. Go on a Christmas lights walk around the neighborhood

One of the most magical things about celebrating Christmas is, obviously, the lights!

Getting creative while putting them up around your house is super fun. You can go focus on a theme like Minions, the Grinch, Elf, or anything you come up with. Buying new decorations will cost money, but it’s an investment.

Putting up Christmas lights and going from house to house could be a great free Christmas traditions to enjoy with your family.

But another incredibly cool (and totally free) activity is to put on a jacket and go for a long walk (or drive) around the neighborhood in search of the best lights display.

You can even make a game of it, rate each house’s light display, and decide which one is the best!

2. Follow Santa’s Journey Around The World

Technology has changed the world, and your kids no longer have to wonder whether Santa is currently in Finland or flying over the closest city to yours.

Add tracking Santa on Christmas Eve in your list of free Christmas traditions.

Even though Santa doesn’t have an Instagram profile *yet*, you can track his journey around the world using Google’s Santa Tracker.

It’s a fun thing for kids to check on Christmas Eve in between family festivities, watching Christmas movies, and certainly right before bedtime.

Plus, it’s one of the Christmas traditions to start doing with your kids ASAP (before they no longer believe in Santa).

3. Creative Christmas Tree Challenge

Set a timer and get everyone in the family to create their own Christmas tree using random items they find around the house.

Get competitive with these free Christmas traditions like challenging everyone in the family to make a Christmas tree.

You’ll be surprised how many things you use on a daily basis can be turned into a super creative DIY Christmas display!

For some bonus fun, turn it into a contest and have family members vote on their favorite. The winner can pick the Christmas movie to watch that night!

4. Throw a Sleepover in the Living Room

Get your sleeping bags, put on those ugly Christmas sweaters, and gather the whole family in the living room for a fun sleepover!

Want some quiet free Christmas traditions? Read a Christmas story with your kids!

Seriously, these are the kind of activities everyone will remember for years to come.

As for fun things to do to keep everyone entertained, think of watching Christmas-themed movies, reading a Christmas story (favorite Christmas stories are always great!), or family games.

Popcorn and hot cocoa are mandatory, of course!

5. Write a Letter to Santa

Sometimes, the old Christmas traditions are the best.

One of the sweetest FREE Christmas traditions kids have been doing for generations is writing a letter to Santa every holiday season.

If you want free Christmas traditions that your kids would enjoy, how about writing a letter to Santa Claus?

While you can have your kids do the typical list of things they want Santa to bring them for Christmas, you can also make it a bit more robust.

Help your kids craft a genuine letter to Santa where they ask him questions, talk about someone they’d like to help, about their own lives and their hopes for the future.

Letter writing is a good skill that will get them far in life!

Plus, you can reply to them as Santa himself, which they can open on Christmas morning, or sign up to get an official email from Santa!

Click here to get my free printable Santa envelopes and stamps!

6. Throw a Movie Night Week

Even though Christmas movies are fun to watch year-round, there’s something extra magical about Christmas-themed movie nights.

Watching Christmas movies is one of the free Christmas traditions that we all love!

Cozy up in the living room and pick a movie to watch every evening the week before Christmas Eve.

Since our kids go to bed fairly early, we usually make an Instant Pot meal and enjoy an early dinner so we can finish the entire movie before bedtime.

Or, we do breakfast for dinner to add to the festivities!

7. Organize a Christmas Photoshoot

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is taking super Christmas-y photos of my kids.

Photos are the best way to remember moments, so get everyone together and organize an at-home photoshoot using props you find around the house.

Gather your family and bring in the cheer with one of the best free Christmas traditions that will bring you closer.

Props that work well include a string of battery-powered Christmas lights, cookie cutters, ornaments, Christmas wreaths, signs, stockings, garlands, Santa hats, Christmas jammies, and so many other items.

You can find a ton of stuff at your local dollar store or in the Dollar Spot at Target. Look around your house and ask friends/families to borrow Christmas decor.

Get as creative as it gets, and don’t forget to shoot at least one or two pictures with that ugly Christmas sweater you secretly love!

You can also head to a local Christmas tree farm for an outdoor Christmas photoshoot.

Get all my top tips for how to take your own Christmas photos this year.

8. Make a Christmas Bucket List

Starting December 1st, get everyone together and make a list of fun activities to do before Christmas Eve – one for each day.

List some must-do free Christmas traditions on your family's holiday bucket list.

It can be as simple as decorating the house, building a snowman, ice skating, going for a Christmas lights drive, reading a Christmas story, or volunteering at a soup kitchen for a day!

Then, start crossing them off throughout the month and culminate all the activities on Christmas morning.

You could even turn it into a Bingo game!

I’ve got a really fun Christmas Countdown activity that’s a great way to keep track!

9. Do a Winter Clean Up

Spring clean-ups are cool and all, but what’s better than getting it out of the way before the year ends?

Spring cleaning and donating your unsused stuff are two free Christmas traditions you might want to start doing this year.

We’ve done a few KonMari purges at our house, and it feels SO good to de-clutter our home before the slew of Christmas presents.

You can also do this on Christmas morning after you open your gifts so you can decide which ones to keep and which ones to let go.

You can also donate old clothes you no longer wear to local charities. After all, they need more clothing donations during the winter than ever!

This is one of the best family Christmas traditions to start while your kids are still young. That way, they get in the habit, and it will (hopefully) carry on through adulthood.

10. Volunteer At a Local Charity

Helping the less fortunate is not only a wonderful way to learn about others, but it’s also a great way to practice gratitude and spread that Christmas spirit.

Donating gifts and Christmas Eve boxes are two free Christmas traditions to spread the holiday cheer to others.

Even though many people choose to donate to their favorite charities during the holiday season, volunteering and giving your time to others is an amazing way to give back and create memories with those you love.

You can collect items to donate and place in a Christmas Eve box or fill Christmas food baskets for local families who could use a bit of holiday cheer.

11. Make a Christmas Craft

There are SO many awesome Christmas crafts that it would be impossible to make all of them.

Look around your house to see what craft supplies you already have. I bet you’ll be able to find cute Christmas decor to make with them.

Creating crafts for Christmas is one of the many free Christmas traditions your kids would enjoy.

I’m pretty partial to Christmas paper crafts because we always have a stack of colorful paper to use.

This year, we’re making origami poinsettia flowers and this red Christmas truck craft.

You can also easily make paper chains, string popcorn for garland, or collect small toys (like from Happy Meals) and turn them into Christmas decorations.

And if you’re looking for an awesome Christmas countdown printable, I have one that’s easy to turn into a fun Christmas decoration!

Doing Christmas crafts is one of the cheap Christmas traditions that work well year after year.

Find other Christmas crafts like these Printable Twas The Night Before Christmas Craft and Nutcracker Craft: The Nutcracker Ballet Stage Kit with FREE Nutcracker Printables.

12. Build a Snowman

Building a snowman is probably one of the best FREE Christmas traditions. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place that sees snow in December, get out of the house and build that snowman (nope, it doesn’t matter if you’re an adult!).

With or without snow, building a snowman is a must-do free Christmas traditions in the family.

If you don’t get snowy winters, you don’t have to miss out on the fun.

There are so many easy DIY snowman ideas on Pinterest to get you crafting! No one said your snowman has to be made of snow!

13. Read a book, or “Jolabokaflod”

Jolabokaflod roughly translates into “Christmas book flood,” and it’s an Icelandic tradition.

Essentially, in Iceland, people celebrate Christmas Eve by gifting each other books and spending the rest of the evening cozied up by the fire reading and drinking a cup of hot cocoa.

This is one of my favorite free Christmas traditions! Reading a book encourages a little down time during the holiday.

We love this idea because it encourages a bit of quiet time during a season with a lot of over-stimulation.

And babies and toddlers can also participate in this. There are tons of Christmas board books for toddlers they will love thumbing through on their own!

This is one of the Christmas traditions to start with your kids, especially if you want them to grow fond of reading.

You can head to your local library and check out a bunch of books before winter break starts, so you’ll have lots of reading material. This is definitely one of the best easy Christmas traditions!

14. Learn How Others Celebrate Christmas Around The World 

Speaking of Jolabokaflod, getting to learn about other countries’ traditions is always a fun way to spend a few hours, especially if you have a travel lover in the family.

You’d be surprised by how different Christmas traditions are all over the world!

There are many free Christmas traditions from all over the world that you can start doing with your family.

Like in Germany, kids leave their shoes out, and Saint Nicholas fills them with treats.

There’s also a German-American family tradition called the Christmas Pickle, a pickle ornament hidden under the tree. The person who could find the Christmas Pickle will receive a reward.

In Denmark, families set up their Christmas tree in the middle of the room and dance around it while singing Christmas carols.

And in Norway, families hide their brooms on Christmas Eve so evil spirits can’t steal them.

These are great Christmas traditions to learn a bit more about the world around us.

15. Create an Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars are one of the best ways to count down the days until Christmas.

Add all these free Christmas traditions and create an Advent calendar for your family.

While stuffing them up with candies or toys is the usual way to go, you can switch it up this Christmas and instead write down a fun list of Christmas tasks and activities to complete before the big day!

A few ideas include building a snowman, writing Santa a letter, adding your favorite Christmas music to one playlist, decorating the house, or going Christmas caroling!

Free Christmas Traditions Wrap-Up

I hope this post gave you some fun, budget-friendly ideas for celebrating Christmas. Now you know what to do without spending a fortune.

You’ll definitely want to add these fun Christmas traditions to your annual celebrations!

In the meantime, check out some of our other content for more festive cheer, including how we make Christmas placemats for kids and tips for taking your own Christmas photos.

Happy Holidays from the minds at Marcie in Mommyland!

Loving this Free Christmas Traditions and looking for more ways to celebrate Christmas? Find out my top Budget Christmas Gift Ideas That Look Expensive, Easy Winter Break Activities, The Best Christmas Present Hiding Spots, and Top Christmas Countdown Ideas!

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