20 Christmas Traditions and Tips

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern



What does your family love to do around the holidays? These are some of my family’s favorite Christmas activities and my tips on where to go and what to do.

  1. Christmas pajamas: Our grandparents always got us these growing up. They live out of state so they came in the mail (but of course we had no idea, we thought they just magically appeared under the Christmas tree.) We still do this tradition! We usually open these on Christmas Eve and wear them to bed and on Christmas morning.
  2. Santa: Do you teach your kids to believe in Santa? I think most do, although focusing on the giving of the season instead of Santa is another great way to get your kids excited about Christmas.
  3. Skiing: Snowbowl in Flagstaff and Sunrise in Greer are both great ski lodges in Arizona that my family likes to go to in the winter.
  4. Ice Skating: There are lots of great places to go ice skating in Arizona! I know, shocking, right? There’s AZ ICE in Gilbert, CitySkate in downtown Phoenix, and Christmas at Schnepf Farms: A World of Illumination also has an ice rink.
  5. Eggnog: There’s always store bought, but homemade is better in my opinion! Here’s my mom’s recipe she always made when I was growing up: add 12 ounces of milk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla to a blender. Blend ingredients together. Optional: add a dash of nutmeg on top.
  6. Mistletoe: Get fresh sprigs of mistletoe from The Arboretum at Flagstaff or order it online through Walmart or Amazon.
  7. Poinsettias: You can get these beautiful, bright red flower plants almost anywhere, from Walmart to your local flower shops and nurseries. They are sure to bring the spirit of Christmas into your home. Just make sure your pets don’t get a hold of them, they are poisonous! Put them on high, isolated shelves so your cat can’t jump up to them.
  8. Tamales: Make these homemade or buy them from a local business to support others during Christmas time.
  9. Advent calendars: These are easily bought at the stores in paper packaging, which makes it very convenient. But if you have a reusable advent calendar made of fabric or wood, its about the same price to buy the good chocolate like Ghirardelli, Lindt Lindor, or Dove and put them in your advent calendars! You can make these with some inspiration from Pinterest or buy a cute reusable one at the store. I recommend making or getting one for each child because they will definitely fight over who gets the chocolate that day.
  10. Snowball fight: Drive up north to play in the snow, or buy real snowballs from Bahama Bucks! They sell them in packages and you can have a snowball fight right in your grassy front yard in the valley!
  11. Ugly Christmas sweaters: If you’re looking for actually ugly Christmas sweaters in hopes of winning this year’s ugly Christmas sweater party, the best places to find these are at thrift shops like Deseret Industries or Goodwill. If you want a busy but nice sweater, go to Target, Amazon, Walmart, or your favorite clothing stores, who usually make better versions of ugly sweaters during the holiday season.
  12. Making Christmas cookies: Try on a new recipe by finding one on Pinterest! This year I’m thinking of making crinkle cookies or blossom cookies.
  13. Put Christmas lights up on the outside of the house: Support a small business by hiring a local company to hang your Christmas lights. Not wanting to put in a lot of effort to hang lights this year? Get a holiday light projector to project snowflakes, snowmen, Santa’s, or polka dots in your favorite holiday colors.
  14. Watch Macy’s day Parade: I don’t know about you, but I always forget to tune in to this parade at 7 am on Thanksgiving Day. Thankfully it’s always recorded! Find this year’s parade as well as previous year’s parades on YouTube and watch it with your family.
  15. Pick a name of an angel tree: These can usually be found at a mall or in a local church. Buying toys for kids who’s parents aren’t able to afford it has always made me grateful for what I have and grateful that I can give that to someone else.
  16. Hallmark movies: We all know the cheesy Hallmark movies that come on the tv every year. Streaming has become more popular than cable, but you can still find these on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more, as well as the streaming service’s own Hallmark-like Christmas movies.
  17. Classic Christmas movies: You know, the ones that aren’t on the Hallmark channel? We love to watch Elf, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (live action or animated), and Home Alone 1 and 2. But there are so many good ones. What are your favorites?
  18. Make a hot chocolate bar: Dip plastic spoons in melted milk, dark, or white chocolate, and while its still melted, sprinkle crushed candy cane, oreo, graham cracker, chopped Andy’s mints, caramel, cinnamon sugar, dor any topping you like. Mix these spoons into your hot chocolate to flavor it!
  19. Pictures with Santa: This definitely will look different this season because of the pandemic. I highly doubt the malls will still be doing this, so you may just have to order a Santa Claus suit on Amazon and have someone in your family dress up as Santa this year!
  20. Do some service: Volunteer at a soup kitchen, write thank you letters to veterans, first responders, or currently deployed military members, or go to Feed My Starving Children in Mesa, where you can pack food that is sent to starving children in third world countries.
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