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America's Favorite Christmas Traditions (& 17 From the Stars)

Posted by Parker Eakin on December 18, 2020

America's Favorite Christmas Traditions (& 17 From the Stars) | Christmas World

Christmas is America's "favorite" part of the holiday season.

90% of Americans welcome this winter holiday with open arms. Plus, the country splurges in epic proportions. We hang more than 150 million sets of Christmas lights and spend over $1,500 on gifts and decorations each year!

All families add a unique spin to their Christmas jubilees.

Maybe your family:

  • Crafts homemade ornaments around the kitchen table
  • Scouts out magical neighborhood light displays after Christmas dinner
  • Gathers around the TV to watch the A Christmas Story marathon.

But have you ever wondered how your all-time favorite stars celebrate Noel?

We've gathered a list of the top Christmas traditions of 12 Hollywood phenomena. We included everything from Reddit's Secret Santa to a spruce tree in every bedroom. Also, we asked seven left-sideof your favorite YouTubers and bloggers what their favorite Christmas tradition was growing up.

So, how does Queen Bey celebrate Christmas? And does The Wooded Beardsman live up to his name on this always jolly holiday?

Let's uncover the greatest Christmas mysteries!

The Top Christmas Traditions Across America

Did you know that 97% of people who celebrate Christmas exchange gifts? Or that around 92% of folks get into the Christmas spirit by setting up a classic tree?

There's far more to this holiday than Christmas wreaths, trees, and lights, though. So, let's take a closer look at some of the more popular and old Christmas traditions across America.

Hanging a Pickle

The Christmas tree pickle presumably originated in Germany. The tradition has spread across the globe in recent years. One family member hides a pickle ornament (or even a real pickle) in the tree. The first person to find it on Christmas morning wins a special gift.

Hanging a pickle

Visiting Rockefeller Center

Over 125 million people venture over to New York to observe the 75-foot tall Christmas tree each year. This tree is a landmark of Christmas in America. Between the ice skating, classic holiday tunes, and unbelievable light displays.

Visiting Rockefeller Center

Elf on the Shelf

There's no better way to encourage "nice" behavior than adding an Elf on the Shelf to your home. Children love searching for this adorable elf each morning. Then keep on their best behavior to avoid Santa finding out about being "naughty."

Elf on the Shelf

Gingerbread Houses

Christmas day isn't complete without a gingerbread house competition. Stock up on gingerbread slices, gumdrops, and icing to build a sweet winter cottage.

Gingerbread Houses

Secret Santa

You've participated in a Secret Santa pool at least once or twice. Each person picks a random name out of a hat and buys a gift for said person. The entire purpose is to keep the sender's identity under lock and key.

Secret Santa

Eye-Catching Clothing

Some families enjoy getting all dolled up for Christmas dinner. Others take on a more lighthearted approach to this normally-stressful holiday. We're talking about matching pajamas or even ugly sweater contests among friends.

Eye-Catching Clothing

Majestic Light Displays

Most families will bedazzle their homes with a few sets of string lights, but many take it to new extremes. Hop in the car and venture the neighborhood looking for displays that put your set-up to shame.

Majestic Light Displays

Christmas Movie Marathons

Some families like to binge-watch on Christmas Day with flicks like Christmas Story.

But many of the networks air Christmas-themed lineups to include:

  • 24 hours of A Christmas Story
  • The Home Alone Trilogy
  • The Grinch
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • The Santa Clause
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Thanks to streaming services, you can deliver the Christmas spirit without commercials!

Christmas Movie Marathons

The Mistletoe

February 14 is the unofficial "day of love" in America, but Christmas is a close second. Hang mistletoe over a doorway as we've done for centuries. Then, kiss your significant other beneath it on December 25. Doing this will bring an air of luck to your blossoming relationship.

The Mistletoe

Opening Christmas Crackers

The Christmas cracker tradition dates to the United Kingdom in the 1800s. Grab one end of the tube while a family member tugs on the other. When the cracker pops, you'll find a riddle, joke, or small plastic toy on the inside.

Opening Christmas Crackers

Milk & Cookies for Santa

Nobody anticipates Christmas morning quite like young children. Many families leave out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa to munch on after making his annual visit. Don't forget to leave a plate of carrot sticks for Rudolph and friends to eat!

Milk & Cookies for Santa

Here are the Christmas Traditions of Your Favorite Celebrities

Spruce, Spruce, Spruce - Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds

This Gossip Girl star and Deadpool headliner always turn heads when they walk the red carpet. But the duo's approach to Christmas is anything but innovative.

Lively, Reynolds and their three children see the holiday as a chance to spend quality time as a family unit. The clan adopts the role of "homebodies" for the holidays. They build gingerbread houses, bake cookies, and cuddle in bed, chatting the day away.

For Lively in particular, the aromas of Christmas bring the whole celebration together. She loves to splurge on spruce candles to get the holiday spirit to an area where palm trees outweigh firs.

Spruce, Spruce, Spruce - Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds

A McTwist on Christmas- Chrissy Teigen & John Legend

This power couple does a lot more than publishing singing double-platinum tunes. The Teigen/Legend family's take on Christmas is likely the least mainstream of all.

The Christmas celebration in the Legend household starts on the 24th with:

  • a trip to the movie theater
  • a Drive-Thru run at McDonald's
  • and a gift opening.

Teigen is a massive advocate for gag gifts and knick-knacks in Christmas stockings. But the family is more than open to new building traditions. Beef Wellington as the main Christmas dish is only their latest innovation.

A McTwist on Christmas- Chrissy Teigen & John Legend

It's Top-Secret - Bill Gates

Gates broke into the public eye as one of the founders of software giant Microsoft. But the multi-billionaire's philanthropic passion only amplifies during the Christmas season.

The tech guru has been an avid participant in Reddit's annual gift exchange since at least 2013. Gates' takes the spirit of gift-giving to unexpected and new extremes.

Redditors reportedly received signed books and memorabilia from him. One lucky user's gift had a magical Christmas light display on the interior.

It's Top-Secret - Bill Gates

Taking Noel on the Road - Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard

The Veronica Mars lead and Without a Paddle star have graced red carpets together since 2007. But now that the power duo has two children, they've fallen into a groove of Christmas traditions.

The picture-perfect family often plays it by ear the night before. Some years, the crew even treks up to Oregon to spend the holidays with Shepard's mom. Or go on a unique sightseeing road trip.

At home, the latest tradition is opening gifts on the 25th. They do so in the order of youngest to oldest. The celebrity parents remind the squad of the importance of gratitude. And in the weeks leading up, Shepard decks the halls with captivating lights.

Taking Noel on the Road - Kristen Bell & Dax Shepard

Bringing Whoville to the Hollywood Hills - The Kardashian/Jenner Family

The sisters' quintet shares over 500 million social media followers. One is even married to Kanye West. The Kardashian clan goes "over the top" all 365 days of the year, and Christmas is no different.

The Kardashian Christmas festivities begin as far back as July with intense planning. Family matriarch Kris Jenner starts decorating for the "Whoville" extravaganza in October and contracts the help of many florists and professional party planners.

Jenner is also a firm believer that there's no such thing as too many Christmas trees. Some years, Jenner's excitement for December 25 translated to nine or more trees scattered about the house (one per bedroom, plenty in the hallways, etc.).

But it wouldn't be a Kardashian/Jenner Christmas celebration without a unique twist. The crew don matching pajamas and wrap gifts together. They even set up a snow machine on the hill for a Christmas morning sledding session.

Bringing Whoville to the Hollywood Hills - The Kardashian/Jenner Family

A Philanthropic Approach to Extravagance - The Royal Family

The Hollywood stars take the cake for unique holiday traditions. But the Royal Family in the United Kingdom puts the "tradition" back in "traditional." The Windsors celebrate Christmas in Sandringham House. The celebration gets hosted by none other than Her Majesty.

The festivities begin on Christmas Eve with a lavish gift exchange at teatime. The Queen hand-delivers personalized gifts to each member of the Royal Family.

But Her Majesty sees the holiday as a philanthropic opportunity as well. The Queen arranges the delivery of almost 2,000 puddings to public servants. Plus, a gift of fir trees to local schools and charitable donations.

A Philanthropic Approach to Extravagance - The Royal Family

A New Approach Every Four Years - The White House

The Christmas celebration is the First Family's most significant annual event. They push politics to the side and zero in on the holiday spirit. Each administration puts its unique spin on the holiday too.

Franklin Pierce brought the first-ever indoor tree to the White House. Grover Cleveland first decorated the First Family's tree with electric lights.

The White House has since held steady in its indoor tree location. Erecting the luxurious Blue Room's Nationally-sourced fir is now an annual event. Each Christmas celebration theme gets chosen by the current First Lady.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis decided on a Nutcracker for Christmas 1961. Betty Ford took on a more casual approach with paper chains. Barbara Bush decorated the fir with dolls from classical children's books.

A New Approach Every Four Years - The White House

Baking Goodies in the Kitchen - Taylor Swift & Friends

The nine-time Platinum album awardee Taylor Swift's roots trace back to rural Pennsylvania. She grew up on her family's Christmas tree farm.

And with a December birthday, it's safe to say that the pop sensation goes "all in" during the holiday season. Swift begins counting down to next Christmas as soon as the calendar flips to December 26.

Christmas for Taylor is all about the spirit of giving and celebrating warm memories. She begins gift shopping for friends as early as September.

Swift sets up a massive Christmas tree decorated with nostalgic family ornaments. She spends most of her holiday in the kitchen baking homemade goods. Christmas with the Swifts is a tasty affair.

Baking Goodies in the Kitchen - Taylor Swift & Friends

Minimalism at Its Finest - Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher

These two That '70s Show alum have dozens of big-screen appearances between them. The power couple uses their platform and income for good by often donating to charities.

That's why, as of a few years ago, the couple decided against giving presents to their children. Instead, Kunis and Kutcher have a one gift limit in their home. They also donate to the local children's hospital.

Minimalism at Its Finest - Mila Kunis & Ashton Kutcher

The Human Bull - Rob Gronkowski

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a Super Bowl champion. He boasts five Pro Bowl appearances spanning his NFL career. It's no surprise that his new Christmas tradition requires a little physical activity.

Gronk posted an Instagram video of himself on all fours with young family members on his back. The NFL player then bucked around like a bull to see which child could survive the "human bull" for the longest. It created a tradition that'll last a lifetime.

The Human Bull - Rob Gronkowski

Keeping It Low Key for the 25th - Beyonce & Jay-Z

Beyonce and Jay-Z are the highly-touted "power couple" of the hip hop world. They both bring an undeniable extravagance to concert stages across the nation. But along with their three beautiful children, they take a low-key approach to Noel.

The couple spends large gaps of time apart while on the road. Christmas, to them, is about nothing more than celebrating the family spirit. The Carters spend the day in close quarters and chatting about life.

The entire crew makes ornaments and sings along to Christmas music. They open gifts first thing in the morning and celebrate with a massive mid-day feast.

Keeping It Low Key for the 25th - Beyonce & Jay-Z

A Very National Lampoon Celebration - Steve Carrell

The Office and Foxcatcher star might take his role as "comedian" in stride. But his family's take on Christmas is more National Lampoon-esque than anything. Carrell and his wife, Nancy, spend time each winter decking the house in Christmas lights.

But Carrell would instead enjoy the trying efforts of his more artistic neighbors. The star gathers the whole family into a classic family station wagon. Stocks it with donuts and hot chocolate as they search for the most extravagant yard display.

A Very National Lampoon Celebration - Steve Carrell

And Here's What the Online Stars Say About Their Favorite Family Christmas Traditions

A Very Australian Tradition - Caroline and Craig Makepeace

Caroline and Craig Makepeace - Y Travel Blog

The Y Travel Blog follows the Makepeace family. Caz (Caroline), Craig, and their two daughters as they travel the world. What started as an adventure to Indonesia in 1997 led to fourteen offset-by-one years of travel with two children in tow.

To date, some of the most envy-inducing adventures of the Makepeace family include:

  • An 18-month trip around Australia
  • A visit to the White House for a travel summit in 2014
  • Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Many 16km kayak journeys
  • Trips to dozens of American National Parks

The Makepeaces now document their excursions and offer tourist advice to travel newbies. These days the family of four never stays in one place for too long. But they still reminisce about their past Christmas traditions at home in Australia.

When asked about their favorite Christmas traditions, Craig and Caz said:

"I have two favorite traditions.

The first one is the lead up to Christmas and watching Carols by Candlelight on TV with my family. It's a very Australian tradition. Famous and talented Australian singers perform live at an outdoor theater. People in attendance join in with their lighted candles. We would watch it on TV as a family. We loved being able to take our daughters a few years ago.

My second favorite was on Christmas Day. It was traditional Christmas pudding with warm custard on top. I didn't like the pudding, but I loved finding the 20cent coin my Mum always hid in it. Again, another old Australian family tradition. I'm not too sure how many people still do that!"

These days, this travel-savvy family doesn't see Christmas as an excuse to stay home. In recent years, they celebrated it in Zimbabwe and New Orleans.

A Very Australian Tradition - Caroline and Craig Makepeace

A Two Million Light Display - Dylan Myers

Dylan Myers - Family Travel Go

Family Travel Go is one of the most popular family travel blogs on the web. It shines the spotlight on the Myers family — Dylan, Kayla, and their two young boys. This thriving family of "part-time travelers" shares their endless journeys via their blog.

So far, the Myers have kept their travels to the US, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean.

On Family Travel Go, Dylan and Kayla share their in-depth knowledge of:

  • Family-friendly outdoor adventures in America
  • The top eateries in their home state of Oklahoma
  • First-hand experiences at global destinations (like Llanos De Cortez Waterfall)
  • Weekend trips to U.S. zoos and museums
  • Tips for traveling to theme parks and beaches with children or while expecting

When we asked Dylan Myers about his favorite Christmas traditions of all-time, here's what he told us:

"Ever since I can remember, I have visited the Rhema Christmas Lights display (featuring over 2 million lights) in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

I now take my own family every year."

And when you're traveling with kids and on a budget, the $0 price tag is a strong point.

A Two Million Light Display - Dylan Myers

A Neighborhood-Wide Christmas Caroling Party - Kim Holderness

Kim Holderness - The Holderness Family

Penn, Kim, and their two children — rose to internet fame in 2012. What happened? Their video Christmas card went viral. What started as a compilation of family clips turned into a family blog.

The couple used their ensuing fame to become a beacon of support for new families and young couples.

Spanning their blog, podcast, and upcoming book, Penn and Kim introduce "tough to chew" topics like:

  • Remaining productive with stress and anxiety
  • How to overhaul your diet to change your life for the better
  • Buying unforgettable gifts for rockstar kids
  • Celebrating Christmas with the entire family while on a budget
  • Building healthy communication skills with your significant other

The Holderness family made it clear that they don't hold back on Christmas. Here is how they responded when we asked about their favorite traditions:

"In pre-pandemic times, we hosted a Christmas caroling party throughout our neighborhood. Penn, and a neighbor, led the kids of our block around the area singing songs. It was so heartwarming to see people react to the children's voices.

This year, we're going to stay in and make a ton of cookies and drop them on our neighbor's doorsteps. Not as much fun, but yummy."

It's no wonder Kim and Penn's blog turns into an expert Christmas database come wintertime. Learn about the best gifts under $20. Plus, top presents for kids, and how to give back to charities by visiting the Holderness Family blog.

A Neighborhood-Wide Christmas Caroling Party - Kim Holderness

Chicken Noodle Soup & Festive Movies- Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair

Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair - The Collingsworth Family

The Collingsworth family — Phil, Kim, and their four children — rose to fame in 2000. That is when they established an all-musical ministry. The seven left-sidefamily members later signed with a Nashville record label.

The Collingsworth family gives back to those in need. It's a big part of who they all are, and you can tell.

Thanks to their concerts which the family has been able to:

  • Donate more than $230,000 to Samaritan's Purse
  • Appear on Gospel Music Television
  • Release home worship DVDs and CDs
  • Book concerts and performances on a year-round basis
  • Release a family Christmas CD filled with their favorite family tunes

When we asked Brooklyn about her favorite Christmas traditions, here's what she said:

"One of my favorite Christmas traditions growing up would be the night we set up the Christmas tree. It was always a family affair, and I became the one who did the lights. My mom would make her homemade chicken noodle soup. We would play classic Christmas movies in the background while we worked.

It was always so festive and a super fun time being together."

Christmas is one of the favorite holidays in the Collingsworth household. And in 2003, the squad delivered a beautiful winter concert to more than 6,000 American troops in Kosovo.

Chicken Noodle Soup & Festive Movies- Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair

Eggnog, Ice Forts, and Pond Hockey - Wooded Beardsman

The Wooded Beardsman - The Wooded Beardsman

The Wooded Beardsman is an internet sensation in every sense of the word. This Canadian-born survivalist shares videos with his more than one million YouTube subscribers. He tackles outdoor topics ranging from hunting and trapping to bushcraft.

It's a rarity to see the Wooded Beardsman in his online videos in any location other than outside.

In keeping with his namesake, this crafty fellow's YouTube uploads transport us back to caveman days, featuring topics like:

  • Building a small cabin from scratch
  • Tips for hunting armadillo
  • Crafting an authentic, archaic rock oven
  • Creating a survival igloo for shelter
  • Cooking/roasting catfish, marsupials, and beavers

While the Wooded Beardsman earns a reputation living off the land, here's what he told us about his favorite Christmas traditions growing up:

"I'm not a big Christmas traditions kind of guy.

I like that everything changes every year and every month; everything has a season. But my wife is big on traditions, and so I get to play along. New PJs for Christmas morning - opened the night before, is a big tradition, along with opening one gift of choice.

On Christmas Day, we get up as early as the sun, drink eggnog, turn on Christmas music, and open gifts. After that, we gather for a big breakfast and, throughout the day, call the extended family to wish them a Merry Christmas.

The rest of the holidays we spent visiting family up North. My son gets to hang out with his cousins, who are all about his age. They play games, build ice forts, and strap on the skates for some backyard pond hockey.

I run a snare line for hares from my mom's, which keeps me busy. Then we do all kinds of outdoor adventures, including ice fishing, winter camping, and some small game hunting."

And we can assume his traditions this year will include fresh-caught fish, cabins, and fire.

Eggnog, Ice Forts, and Pond Hockey - Wooded Beardsman

Hot Cocoa, Family, and Firewood - Kevin

Kevin Leclair - Modern Self Reliance

With a YouTube handle inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, nothing about Kevin from Modern Self Reliance will surprise you.

This growing internet star shares his adventures of building with modern tools. He is also the brother of the Wooded Beardsman, who helps him edit his channel.

This modern-day MacGyver now boasts over 87,000 online subscribers.

Kevin shares content that'll make you want to get your hands dirty, like:

  • Living off the grid in a tiny, eerie cabin in the woods
  • Creating and cooking with a handmade rock oven
  • Building an authentic root cellar, meat smoker, and tiny house deck
  • The trials and tribulations of living in a 64 sq. ft. tiny house
  • Primitive cooking strategies to make dinner interesting

The nature of Kevin's YouTube channel cued us into how this up-and-coming star spends the holiday. He told us the following when asked about his top Christmas traditions:

"In my family, we stick to the classic Christmas traditions.

I use the day to spend time with my daughter doing Christmasy things. Like drinking hot cocoa and spending quality time together. Later in the day, I usually go out back and do what every natural-born survivalist would do: Cut firewood!"

We're envisioning a cozy Christmas morning in the quaint wood cabin he built on his property.

Hot Cocoa, Family, and Firewood - Kevin

Conclusion

Between donuts in a station wagon, bull-riding an NFL star, and late-night McMuffins, it's safe to say that the most well-known celebrities make the Christmas holiday their own.

And when you weigh the celebrations of blogger families on the go and survivalists in the making, it's clear that many families approach Christmas far differently than yours.

But Christmas doesn't have to come with an air of luxury or the classic holiday traditions.

The best way to ring in Christmas is by creating your unique Christmas traditions.

Do you have any traditions that your family invented? Or is there one tradition your family eagerly awaits as soon as the calendar flips to December?

Leave a comment below and tell us how you celebrate Christmastime!

Parker Eakin
Parker Eakin

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