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Christmas Traditions
with a Christian Emphasis

Christmas traditions have played an important part in our family holidays to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ. Family traditions can bring lasting bonds within a family too. These in turn can be passed along through the generations and give children as well as adults special memories and a sense of roots and belonging.

Following are several Christmas family traditions that we have used in over the years. We'd love to hear from you about other Christmas traditions that you have in your own families; just send us a note through our Contact Page.

The Nativity with Christmas Story

We may consider the Christmas tradition of reading the Christmas story a given, but after hearing others talk, it often gets overlooked in the hustle and bustle of opening gifts and preparing a big meal.

Take time this Christmas to sit down with your family either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to read the story of the first Christmas in the Bible. When our children were little we would have them add the individual pieces to our Nativity set as we read the story.

As they have gotten older, we no longer put our wrapped gifts under the tree. Instead we set up our Nativity set under our Christmas tree to represent God's greatest gift - Jesus!

Setting up a Nativity set is a wonderful family tradition in itself! There are all sorts of Nativity Story activities for fun or interactive Christmas Bible lessons!

The First Gift

Still another family tradition we have is that the kids may open one single gift early on Christmas Eve. As they do we emphasize that God has given us the single greatest gift that was ever given in His Son, Jesus.

The Christmas Nail

Story of the Nail Ornament
By Abbey & CA Gift

Nail shaped Christmas ornament features solid metal nail with pewter finish. 7" long on red ribbon hanger; gift boxed with story card.

Story of the Nail
Every year on our Christmas tree, we hang a nail for all to see. A reminder of the nails of the manger where the Christ Child lay, and of those piercing His body as life drained away. A reminder of love in the green of the tree, the greatest gift that was given to you and me. Hanging brightly from its little red cord, the story of Jesus, our Savior, our Lord.

We purchased the Christmas Nail several years ago. Each year it is the first item to hang on the tree - before any other ornament. It hangs close to the center of the tree where no one else can see it. It is a reminder to each of us as a family member that we celebrate not only the birth of Christ, but also remember that He lived a perfect life and died on a cross made from a tree to pay the price for our sins. Therefore, we can also celebrate the fact that He was resurrected and lives! Because it hangs close to the center, it also reminds us that Jesus is to be the center of our lives as well.

The Story of the Christmas Nail

This is the Christmas Nail. It is to be hung on a sturdy branch, a branch near the trunk, a branch that will hold such a spike without being noticed by well-wishers dropping by to admire one's tinseled tree. The nail is know only to the home that hangs it. Understood only by the heart that knows its significance. It is hung with the thought:

The Christmas tree but foreshadows the Christ tree which only He could decorate for us, with nails such as this.

This year we're starting a new tradition by making a Salvation Nail Ornament.

Special Christmas Ornaments

We have four children, and each year I make it a point to buy each a new ornament that in some way is special for them. For example, our oldest daughter was interested in horses for several years; therefore she has various horse ornaments. Also, each of our children played different sports; so some years they got ornaments that had to do with their various sports. Our oldest son is into hunting; he has several deer and hunting ornaments.

Christmas traditions can also remind us of loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord. The years we lost my dad and mom they each got a special ornament in memory of my parents - butterflies for my dad and hummingbirds for my mom. (That's an inspiring story in itself for another time.)

Each of our children are different and unique. We want them one day to take their ornaments with them to their own homes to help them remember our family times together, but also to remind them of how God created them each unique and special.

Christmas Baking

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

Memories are created through shared experiences and Christmas baking is an excellent choice!  

Bake goodies to take and share with others - shut-ins, nursing homes, children's homes, neighbors, etc. 

It doesn't matter what or how well you bake; it is sure to be received for the thoughtful effort and generosity put into each morsel.

Some Christmas baking/cooking gift ideas may include:

  • Breads
  • Cookies
  • Gingerbread
  • Homemade Candies
  • Homemade Cocoa mix

Christmas Cookies

Our family has enjoyed baking and decorating Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses and people since the kids could stir with a spoon.

Even now that they are grown adults, they enjoy using their creative flare in decorating and let me tell you, our boys can get pretty creative!  Below is our favorite recipe for the Christmas cookies we bake every year.

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies


1 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 ½ tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt

2 ½ cups sifted flour


Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~40 cookies.

"Happy Birthday, Jesus" Cake

When our kids were young, we had a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve. We made a birthday cake, sang "Happy Birthday," and opened a gift. We really tried to emphasize that the real reason for the season is Jesus.

"And there were shepherds residing in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. Just then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord! And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:8-12

Christmas Games

Christmas games can add a lot of fun & laughter to your family's time together no matter the ages.  Both young and old, from grandparents to little ones, can bond during times of play!

A Christmas Bible Scavenger Hunt is a fun way to team up and actively focus on the Christmas story from the Bible.

Check out our Pinterest board for more great Christmas tradition games or take a look at those found on Bible Game Central!

Other Christmas Traditions:

  • 25 Days of Christmas Count Down
  • Teach Bible object lessons from Christmas decorations
  • Serve together at a soup kitchen, nursing home, church mission, etc.
  • Ride around and look at Christmas lights. Discuss how Jesus came to be the Light of the World.
  • Watch a special Christmas movie together.

Family Christmas traditions don't have to be complicated or big. It's the small things that we do every year together that make an impression. We hope that one day our kids will pass these and their own Christmas traditions down to their children.

These are just a few of the Christmas traditions we have woven into the framework of our family's holidays. Family traditions can take place any time of the year and become an adhesive that holds a family together as well as set the stage for sharing the Christ of CHRISTmas.

Each year is just another opportunity to weave in new traditions. This year we're making homemade ornaments, some for which we'll use Chrismon patterns and other Christian Christmas ideas.

Also, don't miss out on these Christian Christmas object lessons; these too can become great Christmas traditions!

Special note: We do preview the websites to which we link, but are unable to peruse them completely. We try to check others' faith statements and make sure they do profess Jesus Christ as God's Son and salvation is found only in Him. It must, however, be your responsibility to personally dig into God's Word and allow the Holy Spirit to be your first and final teacher on all subjects.

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