23 Meaningful Christmas Traditions For Family Giving in 2024

Meaningful Christmas and gift traditions aren’t always easy to find. Many holiday traditions are fun, but don’t pass on values like giving. This is important too!

Because at holiday time, I’m afraid my kids will get a big case of the “gimmies.” Which they certainly do from time to time (adults get this way too!). There’s a lot centered around what they GET this time of year. Not much is focused on what they can GIVE. At least in our house anyway. Until recently.

Best Christmas traditions for gift giving featured image

After all, what are traditions for if not to teach the important stuff too? Those sticky life lessons!

MEANINGFUL Christmas Traditions for Giving


Try a Secret Santa gift exchange within your family. Leading up to Christmas, have family members draw names. Then, they leave a gift (without names) for their recipient somewhere it will be found. Participants can’t tell who gave it until Christmas!

A similar concept is the Secret Angel. This involves doing nice things for your recipient without being caught. Each participant draws a name and then picks a way to be helpful! The names are revealed at Christmas.

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pin of easy meaningful Christmas gift traditions family can do

Related: Use free Christmas gift tags >>


With this tradition, every family member adds money to a jar.

A small amount of money is added every week, and the kids pick what good they want to do with the jar during Christmas.

annual meaningful Christmas gift traditions - the giving jar

Pro Tip: Remember, simple = doable! We put money in after a meal together, so it’s an easy trigger to remember the jar.


Local and seasonal charities are EVERYWHERE this time of year. Take advantage of:

And finally, if you attend church, most churches also have a local charity they sponsor over the holiday season. Bring in food to help a family with a holiday meal. Or pick an ornament off of a tree for the family to purchase.


With this method, kids view their money as more than just spending.

Teach kids to divide their allowance into three envelopes: spending, saving, and giving. You choose the amounts based on your beliefs, total allowance, and ages of the kids. Here are varying envelope percentages:

  • Spending 70% Saving 20% Giving 10%
  • Spending 80% Saving 25% Giving 5%
  • Spending 90% Saving 5% Giving 5%
hand with money in it

For example, with a $2.00 weekly allowance, you could allocate $1.40 for spending, $0.40 for saving, and $0.20 for giving.

Do this year-round or just during the Christmas season. But during the holidays, take the money in the giving envelope and use it for a cause that they choose.

Pro Tip: All of those coins make it difficult to stay on top of the envelopes. So, adjust the total and change the payment schedule so that you can use dollars.


Next, most giving doesn’t have to include money!

Many service workers have to work the major holidays. So bake cookies or take food to your local fireman, policemen, nurses, or anyone else who’s working. Heck, retail employees would appreciate this too!


Similarly, older folks can be lonely this time of year. Make cards, small goodies, or gifts. Then, drop them off at a local nursing home near you.

Related: Easy Kindness Activities for Kids


A family volunteer event is perfect during the holidays. Soup kitchens, sorting food, Salvation Army, and other opportunities abound this time of year.

Check out your local church or school for more ways to create a yearly volunteering tradition!


gift in hands of a person

Most homes with kids receive A LOT of new toys around the holidays. So, take a day to go through gently used toys and donate them together. Have the kids drop off toys themselves.

Pro Tip: Be sure to have a conversation about where the toys will go and who they will help.


I’ve seen this experiment work beautifully with kids and adults. (Myself included.)

One year, my mom gave each grandchild $10 to do something good over the holiday season. We brainstormed together, but they picked exactly how and when it was used. We also encouraged our kids to add a little of their own money.

That year, they got to practice giving. And, they experienced how good it feels to do something for someone else. It’s a great starting point, even if you choose not to add to the amount.

More Meaningful Family Christmas Traditions

Some of these Christmas tradition ideas include gift-giving, while others help your family connect!

meaningful Xmas tradition ideas for simple family gift giving
Our favorite neighbor gift is a simple hot chocolate kit

10. Create homemade ornaments (then give them to grandma and grandpa)

11. Read the Christmas Story or the Bible leading up to Christmas

12. Make food together and pass down cherished recipes

13. Attend a candlelight church service

14. Go caroling! Spread positivity and cheer to neighbors!

15. Try Kindness Elves to encourage acts of kindness in your home

16. Go out to eat and pay for someone’s meal (or pay it forward in the drive-thru line)

17. Start a designated family game night by the tree with your favorite board games.

Movies for Christmas charades theme game

18. Have a Christmas Family Movie Night and discuss life lessons in the movies. Then, play Christmas movie trivia.

19. Countdown to Christmas with an Advent calendar (bonus for activities that bring joy to others!)

20. Read your favorite Christmas read aloud books for a Christmas book countdown. Not only does this build connection, but you’re getting all the benefits of reading too!

21. Give Christmas activity books to families with small kids. Your kids can be the givers! Other families will appreciate a simple activity their kids can do during busy times.

22. Kiss Under the Mistletoe. Give the gift of kisses and hugs this time of year!

23. Practice Gratitude with your family. The holidays are a wonderful time of year to be thankful for your blessings.

Make family fun a weekly affair

Join the Family Night Club and receive a done-for-you family night each week!

family night club

Want More Fun Holiday Tradition Ideas?

Check out the free calendar or activities:

To Consider With Christmas Gift Traditions

There are countless other ways to encourage the giving spirit. For giving to be effective with kids, it’s best if:

  • it’s visual
  • they get to choose where the money goes. They need to be involved and have choices in the process.

So, enjoy your silly and fun activities! But don’t forget to include a few meaningful Christmas traditions as well.

fun meaningful family gift-giving Christmas traditions

What are your most meaningful Christmas traditions? Do they include giving or something else?

What’s Next?

Check out these fun Conversation Starters for Christmas to get everyone talking!

Other family posts you may enjoy…

23 Unique Christmas Family Traditions That Are Meaningful


  1. Holiday traditions can add so much, and when they’re acts of kindness for others they’re even more valuable.

    1. You’re right Kristin! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great! At some point, our society experienced this shift towards materialism and the need to receive the biggest and best of everything over the holidays. With this new focus, we’ve forgotten about what really matters – showing care, compassion and love to others

    1. This is an excellent point Brit! Fun activities that involve stuff are easy to find, but meaningful traditions are a little harder to come by. Thanks for sharing!

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