Avoiding the airport and traffic-jammed highways to stay home this holiday season? Just because you’re not spending Christmas with the grandparents or other family, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have plenty of magical moments! Not everyone will be home for Christmas—but you can count on these sweet traditions all the same.

We polled our community of moms to discover some unique and just-as-special holiday traditions for when you don’t travel to see family this time of year.

Photo: Sarah Pflug via Burst

Christmas In Italy

” ‘Italian Christmas…’ One year as a kid my sister and I were BEGGING to be allowed to open just one present on Christmas Eve. After several hours, my dad relented, claiming ‘Well, it’s Christmas in Italy!’ He is a former submariner and his favorite ports were in Italy. Even after growing up and moving on to having my own children, the tradition has stuck and we still open one present the night of Christmas Eve.”—Ashleigh B.

I Scream, You Scream

“On Christmas Eve we go out for an ice cream lunch! It’s a fun way to celebrate the holiday with just the four of us before the craziness officially sets in.”—LeAnn G.

International Christmas

“Since we’ve always celebrated on Christmas Day, we started a fun Christmas Eve tradition a few years ago, where we celebrate the traditions of a different country. So far we’ve done English and Italian. This year we’re celebrating traditions of Mexico. It’s a lot of fun!”—Rhiannon B.

Five Generations without the Travel

“We’re originally from a tropical island, so not much traveling by plane. There we have everyone of our 5 generations gather at the eldest family member’s house and BBQ/pot luck. We play the Elephant game, do gift exchanges for the kids and Grandparents usually pass out money. In our immediate family, we open one gift before midnight, then play the Elephant gift exchange game. In the morning, we open all the gifts in our respective homes.”—Betty Rose C.

Christmas Multitasking

“We bake a special Christmas morning treat and while it is in the oven, we open stockings, listen to holiday music, in our pjs.”—Jodi B.

Photo: candice_rose via Pixabay

One Plus One

“On Christmas Eve, I let them each choose one gift to unwrap plus one of mine. The ‘one of mine’ is always new pajamas. I like the way everyone looks in Xmas morning pics when they’re all in new pajamas.”—Lisa Russell

Potlucks & White Elephants

“Potluck lunch with the family and some close friends, and we play white elephant after we eat!”—Samantha T.

Holiday Picnic

“In California, we took advantage of mild weather and had a picnic every year on the beach, followed by binge-watching family holiday movies with hot chocolate and popcorn.”—Jacqui B.

Pajama Day

“We stay in our pajamas on the 26th, eat leftovers and let the kids play all day. After a busy month of holiday activities, it is a much needed lock-in day of play!”—Pam Frazer H.

Swedish Style

“On Christmas Eve we celebrate with some family and friends Swedish-style with a visit from Lucia. The kids dress up in nightgowns, sing songs and pass out cookies.”

Yup, that last one is from my family. Happy holidays to you and yours, wherever your travels may take you!

—Shahrzad Warkentin



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