This post is part of the 2017 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series and was written by Meghann from Practically Hippie.
Christmas Eve is a night filled with wonder and anticipation for children all over the world! Meaning and simplicity can get lost in the shuffle on Christmas day, but Christmas Eve is the perfect time to focus our hearts on the truth, beauty, and goodness of the season.
Especially when you have young children, keeping traditions simple is key.
These 6 Simple Christmas Eve Family Traditions will create magic without added stress:
1. Christmas Eve dinner
We like a no-fuss Christmas Eve dinner so that I get to spend time with the family instead of working in the kitchen. For us, we embrace the Tex-Mex culture in our area and do tamales with chips and guacamole for dinner. Some people like to do a spread of snacks and appetizers, and I know one family who does breakfast for dinner. Whatever you decide, keep it simple to ensure you’re not adding unnecessary work to the day.
2. Birthday cake for Jesus
Sometimes it’s hard for very little ones to grasp the concept of what Christmas means, but birthdays and cake are something even two year olds can get excited about! We bake a cake together, talk about Jesus and how special he was, and the kids get to go crazy with the decorations. My husband’s childhood church sings “Happy Birthday” to Jesus during the Christmas Eve service, and we’ve borrowed that tradition. We sing and eat cake for Christmas Eve dessert.
3. Write a letter to Santa
Our kids love writing their letters to Santa (or dictating to an adult if they can’t write yet). We put the letter out with the cookies and milk before bed, and say a prayer he brings the right gifts! It’s so fun to look back at their letters through the years.
4. One special gift
We always got to open one gift on Christmas Eve when I was growing up. A lot of families do pajamas for the Christmas Eve gift, but we like to wear our pajamas all month long. A personalized Christmas ornament is a fun and meaningful option that kids will remember for years to come. We like to pick out ornaments that represent the year for each child as a way to celebrate their growth and accomplishments.
5. Songs around the fire
If you are blessed to have someone musically inclined in your family, now is the time to use those skills! Singing Christmas carols with a piano, guitar or just a cappella is a beautiful way to spend an evening. At the start of advent, we focus on learning all the verses of one Christmas carol. In just a few years, your family can have quite the repertoire.
6. Stories by candlelight
Send the little ones off to bed on Christmas Eve with a sweet story in their heart. We light a candle, gather on a cozy rug and tell stories about St. Nicolas and Father Christmas and how a miracle baby was born in a manger. If you have extended family like grandparents, let them tell a story about their favorite Christmas. My kids especially love to hear the story of all the Christmases they’ve ever known.
Meghann is a writer, blogger and proud lefty who enjoys living the simple life of a homeschool family on 6.5 acres in South Texas with three children, a dog, a cat and a soon-to-be-added flock of chickens.
She has spent the last three years decluttering and downsizing and now helps families find joy by making the most of doing less.
Find more from Meghann at Practically Hippie.