12 Magical Christmas Eve Traditions – It's a Lovely Life!

12 Magical Christmas Eve Traditions

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The mountains are yearning.

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year. 

It's one of the only days of the year when our whole family is together. Everyone from Pete's side and almost everyone from my side is there and we enjoy dinner and these magical family Christmas Eve traditions all together.

1. Norad Santa Tracker You can track Santa's sleigh as he delivers presents to children all over the world using the Norad Santa Tracker. The kids get so excited seeing Santa sleighs get closer and closer to delivering to our home! 

2. Hot Chocolate This favorite drink is a must in our house on Christmas Eve. Set up a hot chocolate bar and let the kids choose their toppings and mix in. Some of our favorites are marshmallows, nutmeg, peppermint sticks, and gingerbread cookies for dunking. 

3. Cookies for Santa Right before going to bed, let the little ones choose some cookies to put on a plate for Santa. They will love picking out the perfect cookies for the man in red. Don't forget the glass of milk!

4. Reindeer Food Set out glitter food (oatmeal the kids mix with glitter) outside for the reindeer for the reindeer to nibble on. You can also have the little ones put some carrots inside by Santa's cookies for him to take back up the chimney for the reindeer.

5. Cheerio Donuts for the Elves Of course, you can't forget those special little helpers that make all that Santa does possible! Leave little cheerios with frosting and sprinkles on a tiny napkin or plate for Santa's Elves to enjoy.

6. Read The Night before Christmas This classic Christmas story is so timeless. Make a special tradition by reading the same book every year. It will become a family keepsake that will hold many memories for years to come. Pete reads it to the girls right before they go to sleep. 

7. Proof of Santa After the children are in bed, take one of your husbands large boots and sprinkle flour and white glitter around the outside of the shoes making sparkling white Santa footprints leading up to the tree. 

8. New Pajamas This fun tradition gives everyone a new set of pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. You can have a lot of fun with this tradition. Choose matching pajamas for everyone or pick a silly theme such as camouflage, Disney, or footy pajamas for everyone, including mom and dad!

9. A New Christmas Book Add to your Christmas book collection every year with a new Christmas book to unwrap. Read it in front of the twinkling lights of the tree with the whole family gathered around.

10. Unwrap One Gift Let everyone pick just one gift under the tree to open on Christmas Eve. This really helps the little ones who are VERY excited about opening presents and having a hard time waiting.

11. Thank you letter to Santa Have the kids write a special thank you letter to Santa to leave next to the cookies. They may not know exactly what they will be getting from Santa, but they can thank him for all of his hard work and the magic he brings to Christmas. 

12. Christmas Lights Tell everyone to make a cup of Hot Chocolate to-go and put on their new Christmas pajamas. Pile the whole family in the car, turn on the Christmas music and tour your town and enjoy all the magical, twinkling Christmas lights. 

What is your favorite Christmas Eve tradition?

Heather Delaney Reese is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer currently on the road with her family 150 days a year, sharing exceptional family memory making moments and life's everyday fun times. She is a big proponent of encouraging others to join her journey and become a professional blogger so that they too can make money at home and spend more time with their families.


  1. I love all these Christmas Eve traditions. My family opens one gift on Christmas Eve and it’s almost always new holiday pajamas. We love setting out cookies and milk for Santa.

  2. We used to put out reindeer food, and also left some snacks for Santa. We also go to a place locally before Christmas Eve and drop off a letter to Santa where the Santa & Mrs Claus there actually hand write letters back to the kids after Christmas Season! It’s really fun. Our normal Christmas Eve, by far our favorite tradition, is Pizza n presents with my Dad and Step Mama!

  3. Hot chocolate and new pajamas are somewhat of a tradition for us. I hadn’t thought of the others the cookies for Santa or reindeer food might be fun to try out.

  4. Love the proof of Santa.

    We read a very old copy of Twas the Night Before Christmas that my parents read to me as a child. Kids get Christmas PJs, and we leave cookies for Santa.

  5. Christmas is so much special & we have some special traditions as well that we follow every year. Christmas Lights, Colorful Christmas Trees & Delicious Chocolates has been part of our tradition over the years.

  6. I love this list! We have started with many of these even though my boys are just 3 and 1 but this momma here just gets so excited to have traditions! I love the idea of reindeer food – we will have to do that this year! My son really got a kick out of the Portable North Pole free Santa video. Thanks for sharing!

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