Christmas Eve is one of the most magical nights of the year for children as they eagerly await the arrival of Santa. With this anticipation filling their hearts and minds, planning a fun Christmas Eve can help the time seem to pass more quickly! Here are 5 kid-friendly Christmas Eve traditions you can incorporate that your children will look forward to year after year.
#1- Act out the Christmas story. Help your children learn about the reason for the holiday by retelling the Christmas story using simple costumes and props. Simple child-friendly scripts can be found online. Children love dressing up in costumes and putting on a live nativity. If the ages of your little ones is not conducive to this tradition quite yet, consider retelling the story with finger puppets, paper dolls or an appropriate picture book.
#2- Bake and decorate Christmas cookies for Santa. It’s widely known that on Christmas Eve it’s tradition to leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. Pull out your family’s favorite sugar cookie recipe and Christmas cookie cutters and let your children enjoy personalizing their own cookie with frosting and candy for Santa’s plate. I’ve also seen some cute free Christmas printables including special notes and cards for Santa that would look adorable with it. If sugar cookies aren’t your family favorite, choose a recipe that Santa will love when he visits your home. Of course, this tradition may also involve sampling a cookie or two, which is always a good thing in my book! We refer to this as “poison control” in our home.
#3- Open the first gift of Christmas. Many families with small children allow one Christmas gift to be opened on Christmas Eve after weeks and weeks of patient waiting to unwrap the gift-wrapped presents nestled under the tree. This gift can be something simple like a Christmas book or game. A popular favorite is having children open up a new pair of Christmas pajamas to wear to bed on Christmas Eve as they dream about the magic of Christmas morning.
#4- Go look at Christmas lights. Shortly after Christmas, the outdoor lights and holiday decorations start coming down. Take advantage of the opportunity to marvel at the beautiful scene in your neighborhood or local light festival. There is something so magical about Christmas time and the twinkling lights.
#5- Do an act of service. Teaching children the true meaning of Christmas is a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition. There are many ways you and your children can serve. Go caroling at a nursing home. Collect toys and clothing for gifting to those in need. Volunteer to serve a hot meal at a homeless shelter. Bake and deliver Christmas goodies to friends and neighbors. Help shovel driveways and walkways if snowy weather is a problem in your area. Invite someone lonely into your home to enjoy a warm meal or your Christmas Eve program.
However you choose to spend your Christmas Eve, if you will be celebrating with children, be sure to add in some fun, kid-friendly traditions of your own that your children will be talking about for years to come.