30 Magical Christmas Traditions

It’s the 1st of December, and in our household, that means the festive season has officially begun. I don’t know about you, but Trying to juggle my family, home, and work seems almost an impossible feat; so I decided to make Christmas planning a little easier. I’ve put together 30 Magical Christmas traditions that are sure to make this festive season spectacular for you and all the family.

1. Christmas Markets & Fairs

Christmas Market

Christmas markets originated in Germany and date back as early as 1384. Here in the UK, they have become an integral part of the Christmas festivities, and several are found in every area around the country.

Christmas Markets – Home & Away

Christmas Fairs in Leicestershire

Snizl’s Selection of Christmas Markets

The Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair

Alternative Christmas Market

2. Santa’s Grottos

santa grotto - shutterstock image

Nothing says Christmas is around the corner like visiting the big man himself in one of his magical Christmas grottos.

The Best Santa Grotto’s

Santa Grottos in Nottingham this Christmas

Santa Grottos in Leicestershire this Christmas

Santa Grottos in Chesterfield this Christmas

3. Christmas Carols


An evening of Christmas carols is a sure way to sprinkle some holiday spirit on to a cold winter’s evening. From grand affairs in majestic venues like Westminster Abbey to small services in your parish church and charity fundraisers down at your local pub, carol services are guaranteed to leave you with a warm glow.

The Best Carol Services

Carol Services in Nottinghamshire this Christmas

Carol Services in Leicestershire this Christmas

Christmas Carols in Chesterfield this Christmas

Carol Services in Sheffield this Christmas

Alternative Xmas Carols (for Adults Only)

4. Ice skating Rinks

ice rink

One of the best things about the approach of Christmas is that it heralds the return of many ice rinks located throughout the country. So head to your local rink and join in the fun

The best Ice Skating Rinks

Leicester’s Ice Rink

Nottingham’s Ice Rink

5. Christmas Coca-cola Truck Tour

coca-cola truck

The coca-cola annual Christmas truck tour started on 11th November and is bringing Christmas cheer to 42 destinations up and down the country up until 17th Dember.  See when the tour will be in your area with the familiar jingle #HolidaysAreComing

Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour Dates

Win a nights stay in the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck

6. Winter Wonderland – London 2017

carousel in hyde park

For over 10 years, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has been spreading the joys of Christmas throughout London. This extravaganza is offering a dazzling array of activities and entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy ice skating, a deep sea adventure in the Magical Ice Kingdom, circus shows, world-class ice dancing in Cinderella on Ice, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars, live music, and see stunning views across London in the Giant Observation Wheel

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland

7. Film & Theatre

threatre audience

There are always lots of magical theatre productions at this time of year, as well as fantastic new movies out at the cinema, and not forgetting the pop-up cinema events showing the classics. Alternatively, you can stay snuggled up at home for a movie night.
London Theatre

The Curve – Leicester

Theatre Royal – Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

Chesterfield Theatres

Sheffield Theatres

Showcase Cinemas



Drive-in Movie Loughborough

8. Santa’s Sleigh

santa sleigh

If you’re looking for an amazing way to build some excitement before Christmas then looking for the International Space Station and pretending its Santa’s sleigh is a great way of doing it.

iPhone App

9. Track Santa

santa and snow

From 1 December, you can start tracking Santa’s progress on the NORAD Santa Tracker.
It’s a great way to build up excitement for Santa’s arrival.

NORAD Santa Tracker

10. Christmas Cards


In the UK people have been sending Christmas cards to one another since 1843. Although for many people emails and social media have taken over somewhat from the classic paper cards, there are still plenty of people who love to send and receive their Christmas post every year

Recommended last dates to post Christmas cards

Christmas Cards from John Lewis

Personalised Christmas Cards from Funky Pigeon

Make your own Christmas Cards

11. Write a Letter to Santa

One of the most magical things about Christmas is writing a letter to Santa.
For over 50 years, the Royal Mail has been helping to make Christmas wishes come true by sending letters to the North Pole. To ensure Santa can respond to your child’s letter, Royal Mail needs your child’s full name and the correct address writing on a stamped envelope.

Write a Letter to Santa

12. A Phone Call from Santa

phone santa app

This Christmas, you can amaze your children by requesting a free personalised phone call from Santa. There are several apps available, some of which are free to download from your iPhone or Android.

Personalised Phone Call from Santa

13. Santa’s Visit Application

santa visit letter

Santa is a very busy man, with lots of homes to visit on Christmas eve. Therefore he needs to be prepared, and I’ve found the perfect templates to use from Netmums.

Santa’s Visit application for younger children

Santa’s Visit application for older children

14. Christmas Gifts

xmas presents

Finding the ideal Christmas present can be stressful at this festive time of year. The Snizl Team have put together a list of the most popular gifts to give your loved ones this Christmas.

The Best Christmas Gifts for Men

The Best Christmas Gifts for Women

Top 12 Kids Toys to Buy this Christmas

15. Stocking Fillers

christmas stockings

This year, get organised early and fill up your loved ones’ stockings to the brim. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

The Works – Stocking Fillers

M&S – Stocking Fillers

Hawkin’s BazaarnStocking Fillers

John Lewis – Stocking Fillers

16. Christmas Trees & Decorations

christmas decorations

Now is about the time to start thinking about bringing the decorations out from storage. Do you prefer a real Christmas tree or an artificial one? Are your decorations colour co-ordinated or random pieces? Do you prefer wooden, glass, or glittery baubles? And most importantly, do your Christmas tree lights work? Here are a few ideas on whats available on the high street.

Debenhams Christmas Decorations

M&S Christmas Decorations

John Lewis Christmas Decorations

The Range Christmas Trees

Argos Christmas Trees

And if you’re looking for a real Christmas tree, check out your local tree plantations.

17. Advent Calendars

advent calendar

You’re never too old for an advent calendar. As well as all the classic and delicious chocolate offerings, big kids can choose from beauty, coffee, scented candles, alcohol, and even cheese. There truly is something to suit everyone.

The best advent calendars for Christmas 2017

Adult Advent Calendars

The Best Non-Food Kids Advent Calendars

You could also make a reverse advent calendar. Simply pop a food item into a box every day in December and then donate to your local food bank.
This is another lovely Christmas tradition that sums up the spirit of Christmas.

18. Elf on the Shelf

elf on the shelf

The origin of “elf on the shelf” started with a book, The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition (2005) by an American author, Carol Aebersold. It tells the story of Santa’s elves who visit the homes of children in the run-up to Christmas. Once everyone is tucked up in bed, the elves fly back to Santa to let him in on all the goings on in the house. Before the morning breaks, he returns to his family’s home and will hide in a new place, waiting to be found. This tradition has found it’s way to the Uk, building momentum each year as more and more parents become obsessed with creating mischievous acts for the little cheeky-faced character. Here in the UK, the elf tends to arrive at your family home on 1st December. I’ve found some great suggestions for this year from Family days tried and tested.

100 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

More Elf on the Shelf Ideas

19. Make a Book Advent Calendar

book advent calendar

Wrap up 24 Christmassy books and number them from 1-24 forming a book advent calendar. They don’t have to be new books, I tend to buy a few Christmas books each year to add to the collection. Each night throughout advent get your child to unwrap the corresponding numbered book and read it together while wrapped in a cosy Christmas blanket.

The Works Christmas Books

Waterstones Christmas Books

20. Make some Gingerbread


Gingerbread houses, gingerbread men, trees, bells, and everything else Christmassy. Get the kids to help make and decorate them either for the family to enjoy, or to give as little gifts to your neighbours. It’s a Christmas tradition all the family can get involved in.

BBC Gingerbread Recipe

Jamie Oliver Gingerbread Recipe

21. Christmas Eve Treasure Hunt

treasure hunt

Put clues out for the kids (and rest of the family) in the house and garden for the kids to solve. These clues could be riddles, chocolate coins, sting or pictures for the younger ones. The treasure at the end could be their Christmas eve box or some other small gift.

22. Christmas Light Spotting

On a dark evening gather up all the family and head out for a walk (or drive) around your neighbourhood. Look at all the pretty lights in peoples gardens and windows. Vote on which house is the prettiest.

23. Go to a Christmas Service


Even if you are not particularly religious, it might be nice to take the family to a Christmas Eve service at your local church.

24. North Pole Breakfast

north pole breakfast

The kids North Pole breakfast will be delivered by the elf on the shelf. This breakfast can be made up of anything you like really but typically contains things like marshmallows, candy canes, and anything to do with Christmas and winter.

North Pole Breakfast Ideas

25. Christmas Eve Box

christmas eve box

Add some magic for the kids on the eve before Christmas. Pack a box full of treats to excite the little ones. You can put together your own boxes or buy them pre-filled for those of you short on time.

Santa’s Workshop Christmas Eve box from Twinkle Box Co

Christmas Eve box with magic reindeer food from Just Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve box with a Christmas craft from Sweet Bella Gifts

I’ve put together a list of the sort of things to include in your kids Christmas Eve Box

New Christmas Pyjamas & Slippers

A lovely gift to make getting ready for bed on such an important night all that more fun.

A Christmas Movie

Get the family together and snuggle up in front of the fire wearing your new PJs and slippers and watch a classic Christmas film to get you into the festive mode.

movie list

Reindeer Dust

Get your child to sprinkle little packets of reindeer dust (glitter) on your doorstep or garden path to light up the way for Rudolph and Santa’s arrival.

Hot Chocolate & a Mug

You can’t beat a mug of hot chocolate while sitting by the fire enjoying a Christmas movie.

26. Food and Drink to Leave Out for Santa & the Reindeers

food and drink for santa

Don’t forget to get the kids to leave out a drink (of something you like) and a mince pie for Santa, and carrots for the reindeers, on Christmas Eve before they go to bed.
If you purchase Magic reindeer food, remember it’s for Santa’s crew only. Please don’t sprinkle this in the garden as many labels suggest, as this could be really harmful to wildlife.

Mince Pies from M&S

Urgent Plea regarding Magic Reindeer food

27. Make Santa Footprints

santa footprints

After the kids have gone to bed on Christmas Eve, add to the magic of Christmas morning by making Santa footprints. You can buy stencils of Santa boots, and then mix flour with glitter to make the footprints from the door of your house all the way over to the tree, or wherever you leave the kids presents.

Santa Footprint Stencils

28. Reindeer Poop & the Magical Lost Sleigh Bell

sleigh bell

On Christmas Eve after the kids have gone to bed, drop a sleigh bell on the garden path along with some reindeer poo for the kids to stumble upon in the morning. The sleigh bells can be bought from any Christmas decoration shop, and the reindeer poo can be made from plasticine or playdough with a bit of glitter mixed in.

29. Christmas Memories Book

christmas notebook

This really is a beautiful Christmas tradition. Buy a notebook to leave under the Christmas tree, and get all the family members to write down all their thoughts, wishes, and moments shared. At the end of the festive season, pack it away with the rest of the decorations, ready to add to again next year.

30. Christmas Decoration Present


chritmas tree decoration

Buy your child one Christmas tree decoration each year from their first Christmas up until they leave home. When they leave home, they’ll have a collection of tree decorations full of beautiful memories.

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