Simple Holiday Traditions for Families

I had 3 boys in 3.5 years, so for quite awhile, survival was the name of the game. I am practical and not at all extravagant, and I didn’t have the money, time or energy for extra traditions that would waste funds and stress me out, especially if my boys didn’t really care about them anyway. I learned quickly simple holiday traditions for families were going to be the best fit for us but I didn’t have any idea where to start.

So, for each holiday, except Christmas and birthdays, I would just do whatever I felt like, which worked fine. But, as I was reading Live Free Miranda, I was inspired. She has a very simple traditions for each holiday, so the kids have an easy plan to remember and look forward to. Plus, she can plan and shop in advance each year, which helps with planning and budget. I also like how her ideas can continue as kids get older or you have adult kids or grandchildren in your family, and there is still a little room for variety and change each year.

I told my sister that I wish I had started with something like that! She reminded me that IT ISN’T TOO LATE! Most of us only remember life after about 12 years old anyway, so I shouldn’t write any good intention off. She is so right! Now I do have the energy to create something simple, useful, and memorable in our lives, so I am going to.

I asked for suggestions for holiday traditions for families from friends and readers and got so many simple but awesome ideas, I wanted to put them all together in one place. One thing everyone enjoys doing is dollar store paper goods for each holiday! Cheap and feels special! Add your ideas in the comments…this has been so much fun to explore all kinds of ideas and decide on our own!

holiday traditions for families

My Favorite Holiday Traditions for Families


  • a decorated room
  • a birthday sign with the things we love about them (one for each year old they are turning)
  • birthday breakfast out with dad before school
  • birthday lunch with mom
  • king or queen for a day
  • a birthday questionnaire
  • one on one dinner with mom and dad and then shopping for a birthday present (makes gift giving so easy!)
  • cake for breakfast
  • a printed Chatbook for each birthday
  • old photos on the table of the birthday girl or boy to bring back memories
  • birthday person chooses a family activity for the day


  • a family celebration day
  • watch mom and dad’s wedding video or look at the wedding album


  • a picture slideshow of all the year’s fun (so easy with the highlight memories on most photo apps)
  • vision boards
  • goal setting
  • select a family theme


  • fried chicken, pecan pie and a service activity


  • make a cake for the Presidents
  • share cool facts about your favorite president


  • watch the movie, “Groundhog Day”
  • do a “white groundhog” gift exchange like a white elephant
  • do the exact same thing every year on February 2…make it your own family Groundhog Day
  • If the groundhog sees his shadow, do something to celebrate winter, and if he doesn’t do something to celebrate spring!


  • love note on a heart
  • heart attack on door
  • love notes 14 days before
  • box of chocolates on pillows
  • family Valentine dinner
  • new book with a note inscribed from mom and dad
  • candy tackle box on the dinner table
  • family fondue dinner with candles and sparkling cider
  • Papa Murphy heart shaped pizza
  • giant heart shaped sugar cookies
  • heart attack for a neighbor
  • waffle bar dinner
  • red dinner
  • red velvet pancakes
  • Valentine’s shirt
  • flowers for the girls in the family
  • secret flowers for a single woman in your neighborhood
  • watch Enchanted
  • chocolate covered strawberries
  • secret cupidĀ 


  • everyone takes the day off, no school or work


  • chicken pot pie for dinner
  • a variety of pies for dessert
  • see who can memorize the most numbers of Pi and give them a prize
  • out to dinner for a pizza (Pi)
  • stop at a bakery for pie for dessert
  • make a pie for a neighbor



  • lucky charms for breakfast
  • green dinner or green lunch
  • leprechaun footprints to new, colorful socks
  • rainbow themed dinner
  • gold coins
  • turn toilets and milk green
  • make a leprechaun trap


  • practical jokes
  • a dinner with only crazy utensils
  • a small gift hidden somewhere unexpected that they have to find
  • jokes in lunch boxes


  • Jerusalem dinner



  • spa day provided by the kids
  • a one-on-one walk with each child
  • girl’s day out the Saturday before
  • new flowers for the garden
  • fill out the birthday questionnaire on Mother’s Day…one on one time as a gift


  • a candy bar poster
  • massage from the whole family
  • photos of dad with all the kids from the year in a frame or Chatbook


  • tell stories of family members who have passed on
  • visit the cemetery and place flowers on graves that look lonely
  • mail a letter or care package to a soldier
  • read a story about someone who has lost their life fighting for our country
  • bring a gift or treat to someone who has lost a family member in the military
  • send flowers to a family who has lost a son/daughter/mother/father in the service of our country


  • place dollar store flags in neighborhood yards


  • water fight, shaving cream fight, or silly string fight
  • new, patriotic shirts
  • crepes with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream (red, white and blue)
  • a day on the lake or at the pool with yard games
  • small town parade
  • fireworks
  • BBQ or In-N-Out burgers


  • sparklers
  • red, white and blue rice krispies
  • pioneer stories
  • pioneer games


  • back to school feast fancy-style
  • a favorites dinner…every child chooses one food that they love and you eat them all together
  • blessings from dad
  • theme for the year


  • a day of service


  • ghost pancakes
  • make white chocolate ghost suckers
  • mummy dogs for dinner
  • family Halloween party the Monday before the holiday, make sure all costumes are ready, get photos, play games so Halloween night is smooth
  • the day of the dead to celebrate ancestors
  • chili and cornbread


  • Write a letter or send a package to someone serving in the military
  • Ask a Veteran to tell you a story about their life
  • Visit a VA and bring treats or gifts
  • Take a treat or a gift to a Veteran in your neighborhood
  • Donate to a Veteran’s cause with your own money
  • Take a family movie night package to a family who has someone serving in the military





  • pizza for dinner (easy and everyone loves it!)
  • open one gift every 20 minutes, unwrap, take it out and play with it first
  • jammies all day
  • special Christmas breakfast


What Are Your Favorite Holiday Traditions for Families?

Every year we continue to check in and trim our traditions. Family traditions for holidays do not have to be crazy, busy, or run you into to debt to be meaningful guideposts for your family. What are some of your inexpensive, simple traditions?