Simple and easy Christmas Eve traditions to make this season

Christmas Eve traditionsI love Christmas Eve traditions that are quick and simple, and won’t cost a fortune.

I don’t want a Christmas Eve box, or Christmas PJs or anything else I buy at Tesco in a panic the week before Christmas. Obviously, being a ridiculously nosy sort of person, I love to watch other people’s DITL videos on YouTube and read about their Christmas Eve routines. But that’s not for us.

As a single parent, we’ve had the chance to build our own Christmas Eve traditions. Flea’s not old enough to want to be out with her friends just yet, but neither does she want to watch a Disney movie and make reindeer food.

So I thought I’d share the things we usually do on Christmas Eve – but I’d love to hear your suggestions, too!

(PS – big props to iCloud, which allows me to see all the photos I’ve taken on the past few Christmas Eves!) 

A Bike Ride

Flea on a bike

I know the smug marrieds love a Christmas Eve walk, but my tween gets bored on long walks if there isn’t an ice cream at the end of it.

That said, I’m very conscious that over Christmas, we’ll be spending more time than usual indoors. So we usually make the effort to go for a bike ride or a walk along the beach on Christmas Eve, weather permitting. We take Teddy, who will delight in getting as wet and muddy as possible. Obviously.

Seeing the Family

Our family situation is – complicated – so we no longer see Flea’s cousins or her aunt and uncle at Christmas. But we do try to spend time with our chosen family at this time of year, and also go to see my parents. For many years, our family alternated Christmas arrangements so we’d spend Christmas alternately with my parents, or with my parents at my brother’s house.  Visiting my brother’s house usually meant a family video game tournament. Perhaps one of the bonuses of them not seeing us is avoiding the annual humiliating defeat (theirs) and easy victory (ours).

Eating Out

Christmas Eve meal

If we have time, then I like to take Flea out for a late lunch somewhere local. We’re lucky to have so many amazing restaurants in Lytham, and it means we get some time to dress up fancyish and eat our favourite food. Last year we went for Tapas, but this year I think we’ll be going to our favourite Chinese restaurant.

Dressing up the Dog

teddy christmas antlers

It’s a firm family tradition. And I think we can all tell from that photo that Teddy LOVES it.


As the saying goes, “tis the reason for the season”.

On Christmas Eve, our church has a lovely family service, with carols.

There’s also plenty of bonus entertainment including the vicar doing a puppet show, the choir leader talking on the phone to Father Christmas, and a live donkey carrying a (usually) terrified small child.

It’s always a chance to swap last-minute Christmas cards with friends we haven’t seen, too. That’s the thing about a small town like Lytham – EVERYONE goes to church on Christmas Eve.


christmas gingerbread

You’ll note I said ‘baking’. Not necessarily ‘good baking’.

Although Gingerbread Man Number 1 could have a bright future starring in horror movies and haunting the nightmares of small children.

Christmas Movie

hallmark the mistletoe inn christmas movie

After church, we’ll come home and watch a Christmas Eve movie. Most years, we try and ‘save’ a film so that it’s something we haven’t yet watched in the run up to Christmas.

This year, I am thinking it will be a toss-up between Just Friends or Gremlins. (If you’d like to see all my Christmas movie recommendations, do check out this post).


Thorntons christmas elf

Let’s be real. Food is a huge part of our Christmas Eve.

While we watch our movie, we’ll usually have sandwiches for dinner along with some festive treats, and some home-made popcorn.

This year, I’m also pretty excited by this cheeky chocolate elf we were sent as a festive gift by Thorntons. Although I have some feelings about whether it’s allowed to gnaw on an elf’s face so close to Christmas Day.

The Second Movie

After Flea has gone to bed, I’ll settle down and wrap presents.

Why yes, I am firmly of the belief that a sense of last-minute panic and looming disaster makes life more festive.

While watching, I like to watch a disaster movie, and it turns out there’s a whole category on Sky Cinema this Christmas just devoted to disaster movies, so I’m pretty excited.

What does your family’s Christmas Eve look like? 

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