20 Holiday Traditions for Couples You'll Want to Start ASAP

From gingerbread house showdowns to romantic candlelit dinners.
Holiday Traditions for Couples
Photo: Getty Images | Edwin Tan
wendy rose gould headshot
Wendy Rose Gould
wendy rose gould headshot
Wendy Rose Gould
The Knot Contributor
  • Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Along with The Knot, she contributes to Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Insider, Verywell Mind and others.
  • Wendy has a degree in editorial journalism and a second degree in philosophy.
Updated Nov 21, 2023

Holiday traditions add so much anticipation and joy to this time of year: You've likely participated in some already with your family or chosen family over the years. Now with bae at your side, it only makes sense to weave in new holiday traditions for couples as you meld your respective customs together.

From classic and cute holiday traditions—like hitting up the city's tree lighting ceremony—to romantic holiday traditions (such as snuggling up in a horse drawn carriage), we've rounded up a list of holiday traditions for couples to inspire the way you celebrate the season with your special someone.

Below find 20 of our favorite couples holiday traditions, including gingerbread house showdowns and special, seasonal breakfasts.

1. Enjoy an Advent Calendar All Month Long

An advent calendar starts the holiday season off on a high note and keeps you engaged the entire month of December. You can either purchase one that's already filled with goodies for each day, or you can buy a reusable advent calendar and split the days between each other. (We even curated our favorite advent calendars for couples here!)

2. Put Up the Tree & Decor Together

Decorating for the holidays is arguably where all the fun begins! Put on some jolly holiday tunes, pour yourself some yummy hot cocoa and deck the halls and your holiday tree. A fun holiday tradition for couples could also be coming up with a theme for your tree each year, which encourages creativity and communication.

3. Take Sweet Holiday Pictures

Whether you're setting up a tripod, bringing in a professional or simply taking some selfies, having snapshots of you two together is a great couple's holiday tradition. You can use these images for sending holiday cards to friends and family—or even as your engagement photos.

4. Gift Themed Holiday Stockings

Take the holiday stocking tradition up a notch by filling each other's stockings with themed goodies. You can discuss the theme beforehand and each lean into the same one—or come up with the theme on your own, and see if the other can guess it as they pull out each itemk.

5. Have a Gingerbread House Showdown

Building a gingerbread house is another classic holiday tradition for couples, but you can put your own spin on it with some light-hearted competition: Purchase individual kits for each of you and then decorate away. Post 'em on social media to see which gets the most votes.

6. Make a Yummy Christmas Breakfast

Whether you're celebrating with family or on your own, starting Christmas day off with full bellies is always a good idea. Keep it simple with eggs and bacon, or go to town by whipping up a great feast with a breakfast casserole and homemade cinnamon rolls. This fun holiday tradition is yours to mold!

7. Spend a Day Volunteering Somewhere

Giving back during the holidays can bring Christmas cheer to others while filling your own heart. Consider what volunteering options speak most to you and research how you can get involved. This might look like working with a food kitchen, providing gifts for local children or fostering dogs. You can change things up every holiday season, or repeat the same volunteer efforts year over year.

8. Pick Out a Holiday Candle Together

You know that feeling of having a clean house and a candle flickering quietly while you relax? It's heightened even more in the winter months with a seasonally scented candle. Indulge in that ambiance together by picking out a holiday candle in a scent you both love. You can light it throughout the rest of that winter, and it'll be fun to narrow down your selection each year.

9. Build & Dress a Snowman

If you're lucky enough to live where there's snow—and luckier yet to get some great precipitation—bundle up in cozy coats and thick gloves and build yourself a snowman. Dress it up accordingly with a scarf and hat, charcoal eyes, carrot nose or whatever details speak to you.

10. Host a Holiday Party with Friends

The holiday season encourages us to connect with others and make happy memories. Consider starting a tradition of having your favorite people over to celebrate with you. Maybe it's an ugly holiday sweater party with a white elephant exchange; or perhaps it's an occasion to dress up a bit and clink glasses. Let this fun holiday tradition be the event your friends look forward to year after year!

11. Hit the Ice Skating Rink

Ice skating is a classic winter date idea—and it offers the perfect excuse to hold hands and keep close in order to stay warm (and prevent falling)! Check out your community's event calendar to see if there are any indoor or outdoor skating rinks and make sure to dress the part.

12. Plan a Cozy Weekend Getaway

Whether you're both wanderlusts or you simply enjoy a good getaway now and then, a cozy weekend getaway is a great holiday tradition for couples to start. Keep it simple and less expensive by choosing a nearby destination (hello, road trip!)—or if you're craving an escape from the snow, jetset somewhere balmier.

13. Bake & Decorate Sugar Cookies

Baking and decorating cookies is a fantastic way to spend some wintry weekend hours together. With their limited ingredient list, sugar cookies are especially easy to make and they provide opportunity to flex your creative muscles when it comes to decorating. Consider bringing some to neighbors or friends, too.

14. DIY Your Own Ornaments

Speaking of getting creative, hunker down with bae for craft night and whip up an ornament you can hang on the tree. There are so many options to choose from ranging from painted glass ornaments to clay ornaments and everything in between.

15. Purchase an Ornament Together

Don't fancy yourself too crafty, but still enjoy the idea of having a new ornament to hang on the tree together each year? Pick out a meaningful ornament together that's pre-made. When choosing one, consider milestones you might have hit together this year, places you traveled or special moments that stand out.

16. Plan a Candlelit Date Night

Cold winter nights require staying indoors and keeping warm. Switch things up one night of the season by planning a grand candlelit dinner. Lay out a beautiful tablecloth, whip up a special meal together, pour a glass of red and light a couple flickering candles to set the mood.

17. Wear Matching PJs & Watch a Classic Movie

Um, is there anything cuter or cozier than wearing matching pajamas together? We argue, no. Plus, donning paired PJs offers a prime opportunity to snap some cute pics together for social. Slip into your cozy outfits and pick out a classic holiday movie (or maybe a cheesy new flick) and enjoy each other's company.

18. Drive Around Looking at Holiday Lights

Some people go all-out when it comes to decorating their houses for the holidays! Get some hot cocoa or tea to-go, and then drive through neighborhoods known for their dazzling displays.

19. Attend Your City's Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Along with peeping all those sparkly and festive holiday lights, plan a date night around your city or town's local tree-lighting ceremony. (Even if your town doesn't do one, one nearby likely does!) These are usually filled with fun events, yummy holiday treats and the grand "Ooh! Ahh!" moment of plugging in the big Christmas tree.

20. Enjoy a Good Fortune Meal on New Year's Day

There are so many wonderful Christmas traditions for couples to choose from, but keep the fun rolling by creating a New Year's Day tradition, too. A meal that's centered around bringing good fortune is a great place to start: Black eyed peas, pomegranate and lentils are all considered lucky foods to eat, among others.

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