Night of the Christmas TreeSomething we did as a family when we were young that was a fun tradition, happened on the night we finished decorating the tree (and house). I believe we always decorated for Christmas the Monday following Thanksgiving. It might have been another night and it wouldn't matter when you choose to decorate.
What we would do is make egg nog (store bought and sprite added to it, yum!) or hot chocolate for everyone. We would all come and sit around the Christmas tree and turn off all of the lights except for the tree. Dad would tell a Christmas story or talk about the REAL meaning of Christmas to start us out. Then we would sing Christmas songs for a while. We probably each got to choose our favorite song and would sing until everyone got a chance to choose a song. I don't know what it was about the singing under the lights, but it sure put us into the BEST Christmas mood and spirit!
Light SightseeingAnother tradition we had every year, maybe a week or two before Christmas, was to go look at everyone else's Christmas lights. My mom would usually make some Hot Chocolate or something we could drink to keep us warm while we looked. We would all pile up in the car and just start driving around for an hour or two looking at the beautiful lights around us. There were usually a few neighborhoods or single houses that always had good lights we would make sure to hit.
One of the homes we always went to went WAY out of their way to show their spirit. It was SOOOO much fun to see as a kid. They had decorated several different "scenes" throughout their yard, from the front to the back of the house. There was Santa's workshop with his elves, Mickey Mouse and his crew working on presents, kids ice skating in a pond, trees and animals in a winter wonderland, a scene from The Nutcracker. Just about anything you can imagine, he had out there. You would get out of your car and go walk around. When you left the yard, the old man was always out there passing candy canes to everyone who came to look.
As an adult, I have tried to keep up this tradition with my kids because I loved it so much when I was little. When we lived in Texas, there was this GIGANTIC neighborhood that had competitions each year. It was really amazing. Each street had a theme they were in charge of. They would take a certain Christmas carol or story and starting with the 1st home on that street, they would break the story or carol up with each house doing a small phrase. It was really incredible how it all went together and how the entire neighborhood participated. My understanding is that when you bought and sold a home in that neighborhood, the new owners had to agree with participating in their purchase contract! What a neat idea!