Christmas Travel Tree

Family Travel Christmas Tree

Christmas already?! Not yet, but I wanted to share one of our most beloved traditions so that you may be able to start the tradition with your family this year.

a family travel tree

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Beginning of the tradition

Many years ago, on our first vacation as a family we started the tradition of buying ornaments, At each place we would pick out an ornament and bring them home. Then, when it was time to get out the Christmas tree, we got to bring them out and relive the trip. 

After a few years, our travel ornaments were taking up a lot of space on our main tree. So, we decided to have a dedicated family travel tree. Each year, we make hot chocolate, get out the ornaments and talk about each trip, memories, funny stories and special moments. 

Christmas Ornaments

What If You Forgot Or Couldn't Find An Ornament

Not to worry! There are a lot of options to find ornaments from your vacation.  A lot of places have online stores with Christmas ornaments. Bronners’s Christmas Wonderland offers several travel ornament options as well. 

If you aren’t able to start the tradition this year, know that you can always start it at any time! 

christmas ornament
Christmas Ornaments

Other Ways To Remember Your Travels

  • Buy postcards on your vacation and have yours kids write what their favorite part was, or what they thought of the new food they tried or just their favorite memory. Once home, use hole punch on the corner and put them on  key ring. After each trip add the new postcards
  •  Collect soil, sand or even rocks from your travels. Once home, put them in labeled bottles or write the location and date on the rock
  •  If you go to a destination using a different currency, save a few paper bills and frame them 
  •  Shadow boxes are great! Inside you can place airline tickets, entry passes, brochures etc.. 
  •  If you frequent beach destinations, collect sand and/or seashells. Displaying them in a vase or decorative jar is always pretty. 
  • Each child gets a memory box to decorate and place items/memories from vacation inside
sand and shells with tipped over vase

Additional Ideas

If you don’t collect travel ornaments there are numerous other ways to make ornaments that are meaningful 
Here are three other low cost suggestions:
1.If you enjoy beach vacations, bring home some sand and small shells from the beach. Place them inside a clear ornament and voila! A perfect way to remember that vacation at Christmas time. Ours is from our vacation to Gulf Shores.
Tip: Make sure you superglue the top on the ornament, sand is heavy and you don’t want it to come apart and break

2. If you have younger children, have them write down their Christmas wish list on a smaller piece of paper and write the year on the corner of the paper. Use a pencil to “curl” it slightly and place inside a clear ornament. We did this when our boys were younger and we love seeing what they asked for each year. 

3. After our wedding we had several extra invitations. I cut the invitation into strips and curled each strip on a pencil and placed them inside an larger clear ornament. This ornament is incredibly special to us and a way to remember our wedding during the Holidays.

Final Thoughts

Our family travel tree has become such a beloved tradition for us, I hope this article inspires you to find a tradition that works for you and your family! 

There is something so special about just getting out each ornament and reminisce about where we’ve been as a family. While traveling we get really excited to look for Christmas ornaments and deciding which ones to buy. 

Do you have a family travel tree? 

Travel Well,


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Tina

    Oh wow what a smart idea! So fun buying Christmas ornaments instead of other souvenirs, great way to remember your travels 😀 thanks for the idea

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Thank you! We love it and hope you do too!

  2. Lauren

    We collect Christmas ornaments on our adventures! I love re-living the fun we’ve had each year when we decorate the tree.

  3. Jacquie

    This is such a lovely tradition. We like to collect memories rather than objects for most of our travels but I do love the idea of christmas tree ornaments.

  4. Emma

    Love this idea. Such a great way to remember your trips, and really celebrate with your family

  5. Kay

    I never even thought of ornaments! That is so cute!

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Thank you! It is such a fun tradition that we treasure.

  6. Jenia

    We started collecting ornaments from trips some 15 years ago and are still going strong! I love this tradition 🙂

  7. Sana

    Really liked the idea of collecting soils or shells. Going to do that from now on. Thanks fr the idea!

  8. Charlotte Lint

    I love this idea! Plus it gives me another reason to leave my tree out as long as possible :p

  9. Sarah

    What a great idea, love it. I have picked up a few during travels, but more if I happened to come across one. Rather than specifically buying one on every trip.

  10. Kelsey

    This is such a cute idea! I usually collect postcards, but I love the ornament idea, too! I know my mom would especially love it if I brought her ornaments from my travels, haha.

  11. Maggie

    I love the idea of a travel tree! My family also collects ornaments from the places we’ve gone (though we have had to buy them online once we got home a few times if we couldn’t find a good one haha)

    1. Nicole Claesen

      We’ve had to do the same thing! 🙂

  12. Nicole Fiorante

    We do the exact same thing. On our 1 year of travel this was the really the only thing we bought from each country and city. The kids takes turns on choosing one out. It’s our favourite part about getting ready for Christmas to talk and decorate the tree.

  13. Aww I love these!! We have a couple but they don’t say the place on them (like a hula Santa from Hawaii lol). I also worry about breaking baubles in my bag, which is why I haven’t started doing this more! But I really love the idea, and they seem to be becoming more popular which makes it much easier to collect them.

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Thank you so much! It is nice that you can find a lot online. I also get nervous about them breaking, but we generally buy unbreakable ones or I ask them to triple wrap them. 🙂

  14. Gabby

    I love the idea of buying traditional ornaments from other countries!

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