Looking for creative and inexpensive Christmas Eve traditions? Here are 7 ideas to make this holiday season even merrier.

Christmas Eve Traditions

Merry Almost Christmas.

Only 12 more days to go.

I’m sitting here with my Santa mug and my tree twinkling back at me and I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the season. It’s going by so quickly and the days are speeding by and I’m trying to soak up every minute and be present.

Slowing down.

Singing more Christmas carols.

Talking walks with Buddy to look at Christmas lights.

Starting new traditions this year.


Decorating and baking and singing and organizing and planning and decking the halls is amazing. But the most important thing this holiday season?

Spending time with family.

Looking for ideas to make every moment count?

Here are 7 Christmas Eve traditions to start this year.

7 Christmas Eve traditions to start this year

1. Take a drive-through tour of Christmas lights with hot chocolate and Christmas music

Not sure where lights are in your neighborhood?

Here’s an app that helps you find Christmas lights in your neighborhood.

You can see it here.

2. Have a Christmas carol sing-along

We do this every year and my husband plays the guitar.

Set up a family hot chocolate bar with sprinkles and marshmallows and whipped cream.

And pass out Christmas carol books so everyone can sing along.

Christmas Eve Traditions back door decor

3. Read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

We do this every Christmas Eve.

My mother has a vintage ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas book from when she was a child.

She sits in a chair and our family all gathers around and tries and recite it together.

Those reindeer on the rooftop always trip us up.

4. Decorate a gingerbread house together

You can even have a gingerbread decorating contest with prizes.

Then let everyone snack on the gingerbread houses and open up one present on Christmas Eve.

Our present that we open?

Matching Christmas jammies.

5. Take a family photo together

After you open those jammies?

Put them on and take a family photo all together.

Set the phone or camera on a timer so everyone can be in the photo.

Then schedule a holiday movie marathon of everyone’s favorite movies (we love Winter Wonderland on Hallmark).

6. Schedule a group video chat with friends and family that are out of town

This year so many of us are unable to be together.

Even though we are far apart, celebrating together on ZOOM or Facetime is so special.

Set up a call and invite family that can’t be there in person.

7. Attend a midnight Christmas Eve service

This is one of our family traditions.

And one of my favorites.

It’s the most amazing celebration to walk outside after church and see the stars sparkle and know that it’s officially Christmas.

Guess what? In amazing news? Santa told me that you’ve made the nice list this year.

I so appreciate you.

May your holiday season be warm and welcoming and Christmasy.

And full of hot chocolate.

And laughter.

And seasons greetings.

And full of joy….

…with extra merry on top.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Mary Evans Mary Evans

    Such great ideas to do with family. I like reading the Night Before Christmas as a family. Do our own Gingerbread houses, etc. wonderful ideas for families. Love your blog. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  2. Image for Liz Shivel Liz Shivel

    I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year 2023, KariAnne! 🎄. How did you come up with the Thistlewood Farms name? I don’t recall ever reading about that, so just thought I’d ask you. And do you still have your wall section that holds your platters and your recipe printed on the wall? Always liked that! 🎄🎄

  3. Image for GAIL GAIL

    I so appreciate you, KariAnne, with your busting-outside-of-the-box kindness, decor ideas, and enthusiasm! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  4. Image for Nancy Nancy

    What a great list!!! We always attend a Christmas Eve candlelight service but this year, we are going to go into Atlanta to an old cathedral with a big pipe organ. The other thing we do? Appetizers for dinner and the kids have a peppermint shake before bed.

  5. Image for Monique-Marie Monique-Marie

    So lovely KariAnne Thanks for the great traditions ideas. Love and Warm Wishes for a Happy Christmas to you and all of the family.

  6. Image for Marlene Marlene

    Traditions are so important even when they have to change as out families grow. I love reading in Luke, about Jesus birth. Thanks for all the ideas you share with us. I pray you have a blessed and Merry Christmas with all your family and a Happy New Year.

  7. Image for Debrah Debrah

    Merry Christmas Karianne, I enjoy your blog so much!!! I wish I had you in my real life. lol!! You are just the kind of friend I would love to have. Your personality is so positive and energetic and with the wonder and excitement that is fun and childlike. You are just wonderful!! I was curious about the glass door cupboard that faces the outside on your porch. You have dishes in it, it looks like. Just curious about that. Never saw that before, at least not with a glass door. I used to have something similar years ago on a back porch of an apartment that I lived in. It had a little door on the outside and then there was also a little door on the inside, I thought perhaps they received their milk delivery or something in there back in the day?

  8. Image for Katy Katy

    Great ideas KariAnne! You’re always coming up with terrific suggestions for us. Wishing you and yours the most lovely and meaningful of holidays! Merry Christmas & Happy 2023! Katy

  9. Image for Debbie King Debbie King

    So happy to see your holiday posts. Am struggling with the loss of my beautiful Mom this year. She was the center of our family and was everything Christmas is meant to be. She was my sister and my best friend. I can’t put up a tree or decorate. My poor hubby. He asked if we we’re putting our tree as we have done for 30 years. I just can’t. He is letting me be me this year. BUT I love seeing your “joy” and your beautiful home. Bless you and your beautiful family KariAnne. You honestly have kept me going this year with your joy and your Wednesday shopping finds. Soooo as we near the end of this year, Thank You Dear Friend❣️🎄

    1. Image for Clare Godleski Clare Godleski

      Debbie King, I just want to say how sorry I am about you losing your mother. I have already lost both of my parents and it is extremely hard to get through the first year after losing someone so important in your life. Something that helped me after the loss of my Dad was to throw myself into something different for Christmas Eve. It was always such a traditional and special time for us. So I invited many of my friends to come and I served up a special dinner and poured myself into the planning and the meal. It helped me get through a rough time that held so many precious memories of celebrations past. In serving others that Christmas Eve I helped myself get through that most difficult Christmas Eve. It prevented me from crying all that night bc I was involved with all of the responsibilities of hosting and serving others. The following Christmas Eve I was able to return to our regular traditions. I still miss my parents - over the holidays, especially. I try to celebrate them in different ways though. Today I went through my Mom’s cookie recipes and chose several that I would make for my family for this Christmas. In these small ways I still honor her memory and share a little part of her with my children and grandchildren. God bless you with peace and strength this Christmas season.

  10. Image for Barb E Barb E

    Thank you for your never ending positive energy and inspiration. Wishing you and your family a very happy and blessed holiday!

Comments are closed.