Toddler Holiday Traditions to Start Together

By  |  17 Comments

one of my favorite things about becoming a parent is getting to experience the world through my daughter’s eyes. toddler holiday traditions to start together are in full swing in our home!

toddler holiday traditions

i’m sure these will continue to evolve as she gets older each year. i’ve been asking around and doing some research on fun traditions to start for our family. here are my top favorite new toddler holiday traditions to start together:

learn signs for holiday songs

our toddler is super good at sign language and looooves it. i know all toddlers don’t but it’s still fun to learn some simple baby signs for the holidays. we like to sign these when listening to christmas music or when we see decorations of santa or a reindeer (attie’s two favorite at the moment).

make a ‘first snow’ dessert together!

we have yet to have a december snow in denver, so time shall tell for us. we are leaning towards making cinnamon rolls from scratch though! atlas likes to stir things and does so for about 30 seconds before she tries to shove her hand in the batter.

if you live in sunny place that never gets snow, i’m sorry. snow in the winter is really magical (and then annoying when it’s no longer the holidays). however, you could pick another thing that symbolizes the holidays for you like when the big tree goes in up in the center of town, a specific date, the first thunderstorm in december or watch a youtube video of snow falling 🙂

matching pjs

truth be told, i haven’t found a set of matching pjs that i want to spend money on yet (suggestions welcomed)! however, i love this idea and now that i know how much fun it is to force your child to wear matching ensembles, i’m all about it!

in the meantime, mimi totally wins at buying adorable matching outfits for the cousins!toddler holiday traditions

wrap 25 books to be opened at bedtime! 

wrap 25 books for the 25 days leading up to christmas! my cousin katie does this for her 3 year old and i love it! she’s also super smart because she removes 24 books that they already have a few months before christmas so her daughter forgets they exist. #perksofatoddler then she adds one new one randomly! her daughter opens one before bed and gets to pick at random. isn’t that so fun!?

toddler holiday traditions

make and deliver treats to neighbors

we moved into our first house right before christmas last year. we have such kind neighbors who came over with breads, treats and even applesauce made from their tree! my go-to holiday dessert is the blackberry jam almond bars. it’s how you make friends via sugar and butter.

christmas light stroll or drive viewing

we live on a festive street and it’s been crazy mild out weather wise. we have taken family strolls at dusk to view the pretty lights on our own street! you could also do this in a car, assuming your toddler doesn’t hate the carseat.

surprise decorate

here’s the thing about toddlers…they actually aren’t that helpful when you are trying to decorate. therefore, i highly suggest the ‘surprise!’ decorate route. when atlas went to daycare one day, we spent the afternoon decorating. my husband and i loved the alone time together getting our home festive too! she came home to a completely decorated house and it was awesome for her to come in and see a tree all lit up!

toddler holiday traditions

volunteer/donate together

atlas is a bit too young for this one but ravery and i are going to volunteer at our new favorite organization in our community (the action center). little does atlas know, she is donating a ton of her old clothes and the overabundance of toys she has to the organization as well. one of our family pillars is to always be giving so we want to start this early!

what traditions do you do with your family? what other toddler holiday traditions could we add?


  1. Elyse @ Just Murrayed

    December 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I love the idea of making treats and delivering them to neighbours and volunteering together! Growing up we volunteered Christmas eve morning every year since I could remember(okay fine since like I was 10? 11?) wrapping presents that needed to be delivered to needy children in our town. Such great ideas! I will have to pin these for near future reference!

  2. Sam truman

    December 6, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Such fun traditions!! We have a few. We have done the 25 books before but this year I’m SLACKING! Ugh.
    But we also have a Christmas eve box. It contains new(already washed) pajamas so that I’m not changing him Christmas morning into something picture worthy. And new cookie cutters (christmas themed) and then the ingredients to make cookies for santa. With a new christmas movie to watch while making them.
    *side note* I am loving the pics of atlas and miss E. And I do find it crazy how similar you and Kendal and your mom look alike, but both your girls look like their daddies!! Love it!!

    • Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

      December 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      I love the Christmas Eve box idea!

      • chelsea

        December 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

        agreed! so so cute! i totally am nabbing that, sam!

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:18 am

      this is puuuure genius sam! i absolutely LOVE the christmas eve box idea, complete with PJs, cookie cutters and a movie! that gave me all the warm fuzzies.

      and you are so right – the men we married must have some strong genes because holy smokes they are their little mini-me’s!

  3. Penny

    December 6, 2017 at 9:04 am

    hi and good morning, i just love all this information about toddlers and christmas memories that you are all making. makes me wish i had a toddler myself but since i don’t i’ll have to live these memories with you all. hugs and love aunt penny

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:16 am

      thank you aunt penny and you can come love on our little toddler any time 🙂

  4. chelsea jacobs

    December 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I love the book tradition! So cute!

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:16 am

      isn’t that so fun??

  5. Courtney {Alkeks Abroad}

    December 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    This is such a great list!! I love the book idea. How freaking cute are Attie and Elizabeth in those dresses?!

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:16 am

      i know. those dresses. it’s almost too much cuteness!!!! i really like the book idea too!

  6. Jennifer Haston

    December 6, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Love this!
    1. 1 present on Christmas Eve
    2. Giving gifts to the children’s hospital,
    My husband (then boyfriend) introduced me to this and we are going to show
    Vivienne what it looks like to give.
    3. Watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” while wrapping presents.

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:15 am

      aw you have some great taditions, jennifer! the giving gifts to children’s hospital is extra special and i’m glad vivienne is a part of that!

  7. Audrey

    December 7, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Perfectttt!! Holidays are going to be so special for little Atlas! Also… 20 points to Gryffindor for Mimi’s outfit pairings. Did two little girls EVER look so cute? No. I don’t believe so.
    My bff does Christmas day gifts for her kids that started when they were born: Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read. (She’s been doing pjs as the “wear” and she gifts them on Xmas Eve.)

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

      she’s seriously SO good at picking out outfits for the girls. mimi is totally the stylish one in the family! i really loooove what your bff does for christmas gifts! i am going to share that with mr. ws because i can see him really getting into it. thanks for sharing that audrey!

  8. Sheila Cameron

    December 11, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    I love the 25 books idea … I used to hide and recycle bins of toys through the seasons. And you are super smart to do the surprise decorating and enjoy it while Atlas is a toddler. My kids have completely taken over tree decorating the last few years (from age 10+). We have different tastes/styles, so it was a process for me to let go. It’s opened me up to a new way of appreciating them, which I love. If they could do it without fighting, that would be even better! One tradition we have had since the toddler years that we all still love is an advent calendar that is a wooden box with 24 drawers in it. Each drawer holds a tiny ornament that the kids hang on a tiny (approx 12″) tree.

    • chelsea

      December 13, 2017 at 11:13 am

      oh very good point with needing to let go of the new decorating styles your kids bring to the season (i am a huge fan of traditional white lights, coziness and reds/greens). i can imagine that won’t be there. that’s so fun that you still have an advent calendar that you use – so fun! thank you for sharing your thoughts sheila!