9 Untraditional Ways To Celebrate Christmas With Kids

Ad failed to load

Traditions vary greatly from family to family, and culture to culture. But for most Americans, the image of the "traditional" Christmas is pretty clear. The kids wake up at the crack of dawn and run to the Christmas tree where Santa Claus has left them gifts. A very sleepy Mommy and Daddy, sit in the corner with camera in hand recalling their own childhood Christmases. Soon after, family comes over for Christmas dinner, and you spend the evening getting along and singing Christmas carols. But what if you are looking for untraditional ways to celebrate Christmas with your kids?

Because the idea of the perfect holiday is so embedded in people's minds, anything that even slightly strays away from the ideology can be a huge disappointment. It seems like no Christmas can live up to your memories and, because of this, a lot of people get the holiday blues. One way to break this cycle is to change up your holiday plans. There is no rule book that says you have to stay home, go to your in-laws, or even decorate for the holidays. OK, who am I kidding? Everyone loves to decorate for the holidays. But even so, changing up the tradition can keep your holidays exciting for years to come.

Here are some untraditional ways that you can celebrate Christmas with your kids this year.

Ad failed to load

1Go On A Cruise


Depending on where you live, you might be utterly sick of the cold weather and snow by the time Christmas rolls around. Change things up a bit and book a Caribbean cruise for your next holiday. The kids are out of school, and you'll get to have a tropical vacation instead of shoveling snow. Some cruise lines even have an in-house Santa, holiday shows, and a Christmas Captain's Dinner.

2Feed The Less Fortunate

Instead of complaining that you have to go to Christmas breakfast at your in-law's house and then to Christmas dinner at your mom's house, remember that there is a whole community of people who may not have a house to go to or food to eat this holiday season. Contact your local food pantry or homeless shelter and ask how you can help feed the homeless and underprivileged this year. Make sure to include your kids, so that they can learn that the greater value is in giving rather than in receiving.

3Take A Road Trip


I live in Florida, so my family rarely gets a cold Christmas. One of the "non traditional" holiday traditions we have is to take a road trip up into the Low Country of Savannah or Charleston, or up into the mountains of North Carolina. We might get lucky and see some snow in the mountains, but at the very least we will get our fix of cooler temps and have a reason to throw on a scarf and drink a cup of hot chocolate.

Ad failed to load

4Have A Handmade Holiday


If funds are tight, consider having a handmade holiday. This is when you and your kids create gifts rather than buy gifts for each other. Items such as photo albums, scrapbooks, drawings, paintings, handmade jewelry, or even furniture if you or your spouse are super handy, can mean so much more than something bought off the shelf.

5Learn About A Different Culture


Christmas is a great time to learn about the traditions of other cultures. I'm Cuban-American, so I grew up celebrating Noche Buena, the traditional Spanish, Latin American, and Filipino Christmas Eve celebration complete with a roasted pig (el lechón) and lots of music and dancing. I didn't realize until I was a teenager that a lot of families didn't celebrate Christmas Eve the same way. This was especially true when we introduced Noche Buena to our non-latino friends. They loved it so much that they have kept the tradition going in their own homes, as well.

6Go To The Movies


When my husband, kids, and I were living out of state, holidays were especially hard on us. We didn't want to crash someone else's family event, but we were lonely at home alone. One tradition we started was going to the movies on holidays. So many great films come out on Christmas Day. Load up on candy and popcorn and enjoy a flick this holiday.

Ad failed to load

7Go To A Theme Park


If you're anything like me, Disney World is your happy place. Sure, theme parks can be crowded on Christmas Day, but they are decorated so beautifully during the holidays. There are usually parades, Santa is sure to make an appearance, and you will hear Christmas music playing from the loud speakers. What can be better?

8Participate In An 'Angel Tree' Program

The Salvation Army USA on YouTube

A great tradition to start this year is participating in an Angel Tree program. Founded by the Salvation Army, the program involves selecting an "ornament" from a tree at a participating church, school, or office, is adorned with paper ornaments. Each of these ornaments describes one toy, clothing item, or personal item that a person in need would like to receive this Christmas. It can be as open as choosing a toy for a child of a certain age, or it can be specific.

You and you children will experience the joy of picking out a gift for a person who will truly benefit from your generosity, which is the greatest gift you can give your family.

9Go Out To Dinner


Another tradition my family started when we lived out of state was going out to dinner on holidays instead of cooking at home. You haven't lived until you've eaten Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant where you don't have to spend all day cooking or wash a bunch of sticky casserole dishes at the end of the night. Your kids can hang out at home on Christmas Day playing with their new toys and when dinner time rolls around, your family can get dressed up and head out for a lovely dinner together.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills