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Festive traditions: your families celebrating your way

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Festive traditions: your families celebrating your way

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The Christmas season means a lot of different things to a lot of families. For many families it is a joyful time full of festive family traditions that are carried out year after year. For some families it is a time to reconnect with each other and take joy in making each other happy. Other families are all about the gifts! For some families it can be a difficult time as they remember those who are no longer with them. Christmas can become a very intense and emotional time for all. Social media can make everyone feel like there is a right way they ‘should‘ do Christmas – so we wanted to share a range of different Christmas traditions.

We asked a people what their favourite family Christmas traditions were to share with you and hopefully spread a little bit more joy this Christmas.

Food: at the heart of many festive family traditions

Festive traditions involve food for a lot of families! From the traditional Christmas turkey dinner to buffets and party food, it’s a big part of the season for many families.

Many people have a big Christmas day lunch, gathering family together to share traditional food and family recipes. Other families have different traditions.

Over in Europe it is common to have the large meal on Christmas Eve. Lorette’s family has this meal as a buffet with everyone requesting a favourite dish to be amongst the spread of food.

Smaller families, such as Em’s, back when it was just the two of them, dispensed with the big meal altogether and cooked a mix of foods they loved along with nice bread and cheese. Jodie’s family enjoys bacon sandwiches together!

Finding a way to enjoy food as a family can be tricky when everyone has different wants and needs so many families stick to a tradition once they have found one which works! Do you have a favourite festive food?


Decorating for Christmas can be a wonderful family activity, but like with everything else lots of families do it differently.

Some families festive traditions involve putting their tree up early. Lorette travels to see family in France for Christmas so her decorations go up in November. That way her family has time to all enjoy decorating and the joy of a decorated house for as long as possible. Jane’s family wait for the last birthday of the year before the Christmas decorations go up just a few days before Christmas.

Who does the decorating also varies a lot. Emily’s family have several trees, two for everyone to decorate and one just for Emily to decorate! In Ro’s house everyone gets involved, and in Em’s house she helps the children make new decorations every year to add to the tree.

Do you put a tree up? When? Do any of your festive traditions involve decorating?

festive family traditions gifts


Buying gifts can become a very stressful part of the Christmas season. This particular festive tradition can cause both much stress and much joy.It can also be something that people take a lot of joy in. If you have many people to buy for it can be daunting, but also a challenge to find the perfect gift for your loved one.

Some families have creative ways of tackling gift giving. Some families choose to only buy for children, or to do a secret Santa style gift exchange to avoid the worries about over spending on lots of gifts.

This year more people seem to be thinking of the environmental impact of their gift giving too and looking at different ways to spread the love!

Families often also have different festive traditions about the role of Father Christmas or Santa too: does he bring all the presents, or only stockings? Maybe he delivers the gifts, but the family buy them like a magical courier service!

Families also have lots of fesitvetraditions about when and how gifts are opened. Lorette’s family don’t label gifts with who they are from, and once all are opened everyone thanks everyone else. Emily’s family open stockings all together before going downstairs but then wait until after lunch to do the main presents. Em’s family have breakfast and then do all the gifts!

How do you do it in your family?


Films have slowly become a staple of many family festive traditions as well. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have increased the number of festive offerings and how they can be watched without needing a big cinema trip (I highly recommend Christmas Chronicles on Netflix!). Some families have films that they always watch together, and others enjoy exploring new films.

Em’s family always watch The Snowman on Christmas Eve, as part of their Christmas Eve tradition, Ro watches Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas and Hannah watches Santa Claus The Movie! Vic’s family also watch a film but a new one each year. One year Jenni did a Christmas film advent with a different film each day!

Do you have a Christmas film you watch together?

Other festive traditions

There are many many more traditions which make up every family’s Christmas. Nicole’s family have a longest night bonfire, Vic’s family goes hunting for Christmas lights together, Em’s family watch carols from Kings College. We all have a myriad of ways in which we enjoy the festive season as a family.

We’d love to hear about your festive traditions. What do you do as a family?

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