Other Holiday Traditions to Start if Elf On the Shelf Isn’t Your Thing

If your home is an elf-free zone, you can still have a merry little Christmas with these fun traditions.

By: Amanda Mushro

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A boy and girl having fun at home.


A boy and girl having fun at home.

Photo by: Halfpoint Images

Halfpoint Images

If the month-long antics of the Elf on the Shelf are just too much for you to juggle during the holidays, there are still plenty of other fun traditions you can start for your family. From new books and pajamas to fun activities that last one night or twelve, the holidays should be about celebrating and joy, not overwhelming yourself. So, give yourself permission to start a new tradition this year that will make you smile and help your kids create magical holiday memories. Here are eight festive ideas to get you started!

Holiday Countdown

During the holidays there are so many activities we want to do with our kids, but when the season gets busy, those fun activities don’t always happen. However, if you create a countdown where you list everything you want to do all month long — bake cookies, watch Chrismtas movies, make ornaments — and then plan on one activity a day, it becomes a new tradition for you and your kids. Here’s how to make the countdown festive and fun.

Christmas Book Countdown

Whether you choose two books or twelve, set a number of days that works for you and your family and each morning when your kids wake up, they will find a new Christmas book waiting for them. They will love opening their books and snuggling up with you to read — and you’ll love this very sweet tradition.

Christmas Pajama Package

On Christmas Eve morning, wrap up a cozy pair of Christmas pajamas so your kids have something new to wear when they wake up to see everything Santa has left for them. You can even fill the package with treats and a new Christmas movie to enjoy together. This cute tradition also ensures that you’ll get to take plenty of adorable pictures of your kids in matching Christmas PJs.

North Pole Breakfast

Skip the cereal and toast on the weekends and host a North Pole breakfast! Make pancakes that look like Santa or waffles that are covered in whipped cream alongside red and green candy pieces that look like an Elf whipped them up. Get your kids in the kitchen to help you make the Christmas-themed breakfast for this delicious December tradition.

Christmas Tree Slumber Party

Break out the sleeping bags because for one night, it’s time to sleep under the Christmas tree with your kids. Leave the lights on all night — or maybe for a few hours — and let your kids fall asleep to the twinkle of their favorite ornaments.

Caroling and Cocoa

Get those voices ready to sing because this tradition means it’s time to make some delicious hot cocoa and take your family caroling. Whether you visit friends, family, or neighbors, this sweet tradition is one everyone will enjoy.

Kid-Friendly Tree

When it comes to holiday decorations, there are so many kids that can't touch. However, if you buy a smaller tree and let your kids make or pick out the decorations, they can have their very own special tree that isn’t off-limits. Each year you and your kids can add to the tree for this special holiday tradition.

Holiday Light Show

Pack some cookies, make hot cocoa, and put everyone in the car because it’s time to drive around and look at Christmas lights! Whether it’s in your neighborhood or you find a drive-thru show, this merry and bright tradition is one that you’ll look forward to all year long.


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