20 Meaningful Traditions to Start on Baby’s First Christmas

If you’re anything like me, you’ve looked forward to Christmas ever since your baby was born. Not only does the idea of reliving some of my greatest childhood memories appeal to me, but creating new traditions specific to our family is so exciting! Creating fun new traditions for my daughters to enjoy (and hopefully pass along to their kids) has been one of my favorite aspects of parenting! If you’re searching for meaningful traditions to start on baby’s first Christmas, you’ve come to the right place.

This is the time to spend time with each other, give freely, and celebrate the greatest Gift in the world. Our family traditions are just another way to display that philosophy. Here are a few of our favorites to try THIS YEAR that the whole family will enjoy. 

Baby Christmas Traditions


20 Meaningful Christmas Traditions to Start with Baby

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1 Read a New Christmas Story Every Year

I think everyone reads a Christmas story for Christmas. In our house, we like to read a new one every year. Sometimes, that’s a different version of Jesus’ birth. Sometimes, it’s something completely new.

Below are a few of our favorites!

This year, and every year afterward, purchase your baby a unique Christmas story. Maybe for his first Christmas, you could buy a personalized Night Before Christmas book or next year it’s a baby nativity book. This new Christmas traditions renews the excitement of an old story year after year.

2 Reenact the Christmas Story

If your baby can’t sit still (I know mine can’t!) he can gradually learn about Christmas traditions through toddler nativity sets

Related Post: What to Do When Your Baby Has the Flu: 10 Infant Flu Home Remedies

Meaningful Traditions to Start on Baby's First Christmas

3 Shop for Operation Christmas Child

One of my most cherished Christmas memories was waking up to a ginormous teddy bear sitting on our porch, donated by the local charity. Many times we forget how impactful our donations are to children in need.

When you shop for your Operation Christmas Child donation, really play into it! Give your recipient a name, ask your baby what he thinks the recipient would like. As your baby grows into this tradition, he’ll understand that this isn’t about donating to a charity, it’s about giving to another kid.

4 Countdown to Christmas

As your baby grows older, he will really appreciate this one. Build your child’s anticipation with an Advent calendar (This felt nativity advent calendar is so cute!). It’s the perfect tool for explaining the events leading up to Christmas.

5 Make an Annual Ornament

Baby Christmas Traditions to Start on Baby's First Christmas (1)
We try to make at least one new ornament every year. It’s so fun taking these out of the box every year!!

I’m sure baby’s first Christmas ornament is already on your radar. But why not make a new one every year? These ornaments make beautiful decorations and also cherished keepsakes. 

Fill your Christmas tree with homemade ornaments, starting with year one! Creating a handprint ornament is a pretty popular choice among families.  Alternatively, you could also make a new Christmas stocking! 

6 Make a Family Christmas Card

I’m not gonna lie, last year we dropped the ball, but every year we try to send out an updated holiday card. First and foremost, it’s a way to keep in touch with our many out-of-state friends and family. 

Secondly, I love seeing the progress of our little family.

Christmas cards do NOT have to be a huge deal either. They can just be a collage of your favorite pictures throughout the year. Having said that, if you want to want to try your hand at a newborn Christmas photo shoot, here’s some fabulous poses to try with your little one

7 Visit the Reindeer at the Zoo

Many zoos offer the coolest Christmas celebrations. And many even have reindeer and Santa visits! Now, your newborn might not be too keen on poor Santa (mine weren’t), but I bet they’ll get a kick out of the Rodulph!

Brighten up a holiday worker’s day by giving them a small gift. This could be the gas station worker, an on-duty police officer, or perhaps a barista.

8 Decorate a Gingerbread House

_Christmas Traditions to Start on Baby's First Christmas - Decorate a Gingerbread House (1) (1)
This year we made cardboard gingerbread houses. A fun budget-friendly Christmas craft!

Making gingerbread houses is about making memories! Although, the first year your baby will probably be much more interested in shoveling icing into his mouth!

Take a picture of each year’s creation and add it to your Christmas album.

Last year we actually made gingerbread houses out of cardboard. Yes, cardboard. It was actually quite fun and we didn’t feel as bad about throwing it away!

9 Make Cookies for the Homeless Shelter

Baking cookies is another Christmas staple. You can make this an act of giving by donating these cookies to the less fortunate.

10 Visit a Christmas Service

If you haven’t been to church in a while, Christmas is the perfect time. Christmas Eve services are open to the public and won’t require any commitment from you.

11 Donate a Christmas Tree

Brighten a veteran’s Christmas by donating a tree to the Christmas Spirit Foundation. Although donations take place online, this can still be a great tradition to start on baby’s first Christmas.

_Christmas Traditions to Start on Baby's First Christmas - Decorate the Tree
Decorating the Christmas Tree has always been one our favorite traditions…but apparently my youngest likes to trim it instead!

12 Host a White Elephant Exchange with Your Mom Friends

This special white elephant exchange is just for your mom friends and the kiddos. No one knows what a mom wants more than another mom, right?

Related Post: How to Make Mom Friends When You’re an Introvert

13 Open One Special Gift on Christmas Eve

In our house, our Christmas Eve gift is special and intentional. It’s usually sentimental or something that will prepare us for the gifts on Christmas.

14 Hop on the Polar Express

Did you know that many larger cities host a polar express train? Yup. It’s amazing. We didn’t get to go this year, but you might consider it for a magical ride!

My friends rave about this. The kids always have fun and every year is a new experience.

15 See a Holiday Parade

Most cities host holiday parades, either on Christmas Eve or Christmas. After the unwrapping frenzy, bundle up and check it out!

16 Visit a Tree Lighting

Tree lightings are a little boring for single adults, but is a perfect tradition to start on baby’s first christmas. Watch your baby’s face light up in amazement!

Christmas Traditions for Baby's First Christmas

17 Go to the Big City

Visiting the big city was a favorite Christmas activities!

When I was a kid, my mom would take us to Chicago, where we would watch the ice skaters, stare at the light displays, and sip hot cocoa in the frigid streets. This was an annual trip we really looked forward to!

18 Explore a Foreign Tradition

Implement a new foreign Christmas tradition with baby every year, just to expand your child’s cultural horizon. As your child grows, you can ask him to research which tradition they’d like to try.

\Just to get you started here are a few of our favorites:

  • The Christmas Pickle
  • Christmas Eve Book
  • The Yule Log
  • The Christmas Goat (Maybe not this one…)

19 Write Thank You Notes

Many parents worry that the “gift frenzy” takes away from the spirit of Christmas. Bring it back by writing thank you notes on Christmas. After a little bit of play time of course 😉

20 Visit a Christmas Light Show

After unwrapping the gifts, take a breather by visiting somewhere beautiful. This is our favorite time to visit light displays at the local lake or park.

Our current city has a fantastic Christmas light display that draws families from several counties. My best tip (after a disastrous 2-hour wait last year, is to go on a weeknight a couple weeks before Christmas. Our friends have gone every year since they’re children were born. It’s one of those traditions you can start early on and never stop!

21 Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

Favorite Family Christmas Traditions - Go to a Christmas Tree Farm (1)
I realize that my “babies” are much older now, but we started going to the tree farms when they were newborns. I recommend bundling up and taking a baby carrier!

It’s always fun to buy real Christmas trees. But have you visited an actual Christmas tree farm? The owners usually plan seriously fun activities for kids! Hay rides, Santa visits, letters to Santa, hot cocoa and more!

Try it out! We try to go every year now!

23 Stay in Your Christmas Pajamas All Day

Uh, this was kind of an unintentional tradition.

It just kind of happened one year and it stuck. So, this year, buy your little one a cute pair of pjs, grab some for you, and plan to chill out in them all day!

Tell Me Some of Your Favorite Holiday Traditions to Start with a Baby!

I hope these baby Christmas traditions gave you some inspiration to start your own! Don’t let the social media pictures and posts give you false expectations. Whatever you choose to do will be unique to your family and that in itself makes it special.

If you liked these traditions to start on baby’s first Christmas, you should check out our other baby-related posts as well! I’d love to hear some of your Christmas traditions. Let me know in the comments below!


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  1. This is the cutest list ever! I am not big on traditions but these ideas are so sweet and I am absolutely going to try to incorporate some. of them this year with our little guy. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Love these ideas! We’ve started a tradition of taking a family photo in front of the tree. Because last year was my baby’s first Christmas, we had her in a little Santa hat. But I really like the idea of putting her in a holiday pajamas. We’ll have to do that one for this year’s photo!

    1. Aw, that’s so sweet. We did the same for our first Christmas as well! That’s actually how we announced our pregnancy!

  3. Thanks for the ideas. I’m going to implement a few and keep them going as my little guy grows. He’s going to be 6 months just around Xmas.

    1. Wow, congratulations! I’m so glad you liked the post. The first Christmas is so special. I hope he has a good one 🙂