Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog: Fun and Festive 2023!

By: Danielle Harris

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Holiday Traditions to Share with Your Dog

Looking to create unforgettable holiday memories with your furry friend? Wondering how you can involve your beloved dog in the festive traditions? Discover new ways to celebrate the season and strengthen the bond between you and your canine companion through shared holiday traditions.

Holiday traditions are not just for humans; they can be enjoyed by our four-legged friends too. Whether it’s decorating the tree together, baking special dog-friendly treats, or going on a festive walk adorned with jingle bells, there are countless ways to include your pup in the holiday festivities. These traditions not only bring joy and excitement but also create lasting memories that will warm your heart for years to come.

So, why wait? Let’s explore some pawsome holiday traditions to do with your dog and make this season extra special for both of you!

Table of Contents – Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog

Dog-Friendly Winter Activities and Christmas Markets

Explore winter wonderlands together

Looking for fun activities to do with your furry friend during the holiday season? Winter is a magical time to bond with your dog and create lasting memories. One of the best ways to do this is by exploring winter wonderlands together at dog-friendly events and markets. These events offer a festive atmosphere where you can enjoy the holiday spirit while spending quality time with your pup.

Engage in outdoor activities

Winter brings a whole new set of exciting outdoor activities that you and your dog can enjoy. From snowshoeing to ice skating, there are plenty of options to keep both of you entertained. Strap on some snowshoes and embark on a scenic hike through snow-covered trails, allowing your pup to frolic in the fresh powder. Sledding and tubing could be a fun option for your pup.

Find unique gifts for your dog

Christmas markets are not only great places to soak up the holiday ambiance but also perfect for finding unique gifts for your beloved pup. These markets often have vendors selling handmade toys, treats, accessories, and even personalized items for dogs. You can browse through an array of options while enjoying the festive atmosphere and maybe even discover something special that will make your dog’s tail wag with joy.


  • Dog-friendly events and markets provide opportunities for bonding with your pet.
  • Engaging in outdoor activities helps keep both you and your dog active during the colder months.
  • Finding unique gifts at Christmas markets allows you to spoil your furry friend.


  • Some winter activities may not be suitable for all dogs based on their breed or health conditions.
  • Not all Christmas markets allow dogs, so it’s essential to research in advance which ones are pet-friendly.

Virginia Holiday Markets:

Fairfax City Holiday Market

Colonial Williamsburg

Alexandria’s Old town north farmers market

Eat Loco Farmers Market One Loundoun

Getting Your Dog Their Own Christmas Tree

If you think that decorating the Christmas tree is only for humans, think again! You can include your furry friend in the holiday festivities by getting them their very own Christmas tree. It’s a paw-some way to let your dog join in on the joy of the season and create lasting memories together.

Letting Your Dog Express Their Playful Nature

Providing your dog with their own mini Christmas tree gives them a safe space to express their playful nature without interfering with the main tree. Dogs love exploring and sniffing around, and having their own tree allows them to do just that. They can jump, play, and wag their tails to their heart’s content without worrying about knocking down any ornaments or lights from the main tree.

Showcasing Personalized Ornaments

Just like we decorate our trees with personalized ornaments that hold special meaning, you can do the same for your furry friend’s tree. Get creative and make some unique ornaments that reflect your dog’s personality. You could use paw-shaped ornaments, bones, or even little pictures of your pup. Watch as they proudly showcase these personalized ornaments on their special tree.

Here are some pros and cons of getting your dog their own Christmas tree:


  • Allows dogs to participate in holiday traditions.
  • Provides a safe space for dogs to express themselves.
  • Creates bonding opportunities between pets and owners.
  • Adds an extra festive touch to your home decor.


  • Some dogs may be tempted to chew on the decorations.
  • Requires additional time and effort for decorating.
  • May take up extra space in your home.

Remember, safety should always be a top priority when setting up your dog’s Christmas tree. Make sure to choose non-toxic materials for decorations and avoid using any small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Keep an eye on your pup while they’re near the tree to ensure they don’t get into any mischief.

Festive Outings: Visiting Christmas Tree Farms, Parades, and Light Displays

The holiday season is all about spreading joy and creating special memories with loved ones. And who better to include in the festivities than your furry friend? There are plenty of exciting holiday traditions that you can enjoy with your dog, from visiting Christmas tree farms to attending parades and marveling at dazzling light displays.

Take your dog on an enchanting adventure to choose a live Christmas tree from a local farm.

Imagine strolling through rows of beautifully decorated trees, the scent of pine filling the air as you search for the perfect centerpiece for your home. Many Christmas tree farms welcome dogs on leashes, allowing them to be part of this magical experience.


  • Your dog gets to explore new scents and sights in a natural environment.
  • It’s an opportunity for some quality bonding time with your furry companion.
  • Choosing a live tree allows you to support local businesses and sustainable practices.


  • Some farms may have specific rules or restrictions regarding dogs, so it’s important to check beforehand.
  • Dogs can get excited around trees, so make sure they don’t knock down any decorations or ingest any harmful substances.

Enjoy the excitement together as you attend parades filled with holiday cheer.

Parades are a staple of the holiday season, featuring festive floats, marching bands playing cheerful tunes, and colorful costumes. Many parades allow well-behaved dogs on leashes to join in on the fun. This gives your furry friend a chance to soak up the lively atmosphere while being surrounded by joyful celebrations.


  • Your dog gets exposed to different sounds, sights, and people in a controlled environment.
  • It’s an excellent opportunity for socialization and training exercises.
  • You both get to immerse yourselves in the holiday spirit and create lasting memories.


  • Crowded parades can be overwhelming for some dogs, so it’s important to assess their comfort level and consider their temperament before attending.
  • Loud noises, such as fireworks or loud music, may cause anxiety or stress in some dogs. Be mindful of your dog’s reactions and provide a safe space if needed.

Marvel at dazzling light displays that will leave both you and your furry friend in awe.

One of the most magical aspects of the holiday season is the mesmerizing light displays that adorn neighborhoods, parks, and even entire towns. Taking your dog for a leisurely stroll through these illuminated wonderlands can be an enchanting experience for both of you.


  • The vibrant lights create a festive ambiance that adds to the holiday spirit.

Capturing Memories: Photos with Santa and Family Ornaments

Commemorate the season by capturing adorable photos of your dog with Santa Claus.

The holiday season is all about spreading the holiday spirit and creating lasting memories. One way to do this is by taking your furry friend to meet Santa Claus himself!

Many pet-friendly establishments offer photo sessions with Santa, allowing you to capture precious moments of your dog embracing the joy of the holidays. Just imagine the smiles and laughter that will fill your home when you display these heartwarming photos for all to see!

Create cherished family ornaments featuring paw prints or pictures of your four-legged companion.

Another delightful tradition you can partake in is creating family ornaments that celebrate the love shared within your household, including your beloved pup. You can make unique ornaments by incorporating paw prints or even attaching small pictures of your furry friend. Not only will these ornaments add a personal touch to your holiday decorations, but they will also serve as a constant reminder of the special bond you share with your dog.

Display these mementos proudly, celebrating the love shared within your household.

Once you have captured those adorable photos with Santa and created personalized family ornaments, it’s time to proudly display them throughout your home. Find a prominent spot on the Christmas tree where everyone can admire these treasured mementos. As you gather around during festive gatherings, these decorations will spark conversations and bring smiles to everyone’s faces. It’s a wonderful way to showcase just how much joy and happiness your furry friend brings into your life.

By engaging in these holiday traditions with your dog, you are not only making memories but also strengthening the bond between you and your four-legged companion.

Here are some key reasons why capturing photos with Santa and creating family ornaments is such a special experience:

  • Preserving memories: These photos and ornaments serve as tangible reminders of happy holidays spent together.
  • Inclusion in festivities: By involving your dog in holiday traditions, you are making them feel like an important part of the family.
  • Conversation starters: These mementos will undoubtedly spark conversations and allow you to share heartwarming stories about your furry friend with friends and family.
  • Unique decorations: Your personalized ornaments featuring your dog’s paw prints or pictures will add a unique touch to your holiday decor.
  • Celebrating love: Displaying these photos and ornaments is a way of celebrating the love and joy that your dog brings into your life.

So, this holiday season, don’t forget to capture those precious moments with Santa Claus and create beautiful family ornaments that celebrate the unconditional love between you and your furry friend.

Including Your Dog in the Festivities: Hanging a Stocking for Them

Make sure Santa doesn’t forget about Fido this holiday season! One of the best ways to include your furry friend in the festivities is by hanging a stocking just for them. It’s a paw-some tradition that will make your dog feel like part of the family.

Fill it with treats, toys, and other surprises to make their holiday extra special.

The options are endless. You can wrap up their favorite treats, such as chew bones or tasty biscuits. Don’t forget to include some new toys for them to play with. Whether it’s a squeaky toy or a plush stuffed animal, your pup will be wagging their tail with excitement.

In addition to treats and toys, you can also add other surprises to their stocking. Consider including grooming supplies like a new brush or shampoo. Maybe even throw in a stylish bandana or collar to make them look extra dapper during the holiday season.

Witness their excitement as they discover what surprises await them on Christmas morning.

One of the most exciting parts of hanging a stocking for your dog is seeing their reaction when they find out what goodies are inside. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, so they’ll likely pick up on the scent of their favorite treats before even opening the stocking.

As soon as they see their stocking hanging by the fireplace, tails will start wagging uncontrollably. Their nose will be twitching with anticipation as they investigate what’s inside. It’s truly heartwarming to witness their joy and excitement as they dig into their personalized gifts.


  • Imagine waking up on Christmas morning and watching your dog eagerly tear open their stocking with enthusiasm.
  • As soon as they discover a treat or toy, they’ll be overjoyed and ready to play.
  • The happiness and love that radiate from them will make your holiday season even more special.

Including your dog in the festivities by hanging a stocking for them is a wonderful way to show them how much they mean to you. It’s a tradition that brings joy and excitement not only to your furry friend but also to the entire family. So, don’t forget to add “Fido’s Stocking” to your holiday checklist this year!

Pet-Friendly Festive Baking and Starting New Holiday Traditions with Pets

Incorporating our furry friends into holiday traditions can be a delightful way to celebrate the season. One fantastic way to do this is by baking dog-friendly treats together, using seasonal flavors like pumpkin or gingerbread. Not only will your pup love the delicious homemade goodies, but you’ll also create lasting memories while enjoying quality time in the kitchen.

Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog
french bulldog wearing a chefs hat, baking pumpkin pies
Little Chef Boo (elsa) making puppy pumpkin pies!

Bake dog-friendly treats together, incorporating seasonal flavors like pumpkin or gingerbread.

Baking dog-friendly treats is a fun activity that allows you to pamper your pet while embracing the festive spirit. You can find numerous recipes online for homemade dog treats made from simple ingredients such as whole wheat flour, peanut butter, and pumpkin puree. These treats are not only tasty but also safe for your furry friend to enjoy.

Benefits of baking dog-friendly treats:

  • You have control over the ingredients, ensuring that your pet consumes healthy snacks without any harmful additives.
  • It’s a great bonding experience between you and your pet as you work together in the kitchen.
  • Homemade treats can be cost-effective compared to store-bought options.

Start new traditions by involving your dog in holiday activities such as making paw-print ornaments.

Creating new holiday traditions with your pets can add an extra layer of joy and excitement to the festivities. One idea is to make paw-print ornaments using non-toxic clay or salt dough. Pressing your pet’s paws into the material creates a unique keepsake that captures their adorable little prints forever.

Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog
paw print ornament

Reasons why involving your dog in holiday activities is special:

  • It strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion, making them feel included and loved.
  • The personalized ornaments serve as cherished mementos that can be displayed on the Christmas tree year after year.
  • It adds an element of creativity and uniqueness to your holiday decor.
Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog
Paw print ornaments on a decorated christmas tree

For these ornaments I used a salt dough recipe. I cut them out and laid them on a pan with parchment paper . I stamped each dogs paw in the cut out pieces.

After baking I thinned out some spackle and put it in a small piping bag with the tip barely snipped. (I used a parchment cone)

I outlined each part of the paw print and used a small paint brush to feather the spackle towards the center.

Working on one part of the paw print at a time(if you do it all at once the spackle/royal icing will dry), as soon as I was done feathering out the spackle I sprinkled on some glitter.

When I was done I piped the names, year, and tied my bows!

Spackle or royal icing typically takes 30 minutes to dry to the touch but allow to sit for 24 hours.

Create lasting memories while enjoying quality time in the kitchen with your furry friend.

When you involve your pet in holiday baking, it becomes a memorable experience for both of you. The process of measuring ingredients, mixing the batter, and watching the treats bake creates an atmosphere of togetherness and joy. Your dog will appreciate being part of the action and will likely be eagerly awaiting their tasty reward.

Tips for creating lasting memories while baking with your dog:

  1. Assign your pet a special role during the baking process, such as taste tester or official treat decorator.
  2. Capture candid moments on camera to preserve the memories for years to come.
  3. Make sure to provide plenty of water and breaks for your pet during the baking session.

Cozying Up with Your Dog: Holiday Movie Marathon Suggestions and matching pj’s

Snuggle up on the couch with your pup for a movie marathon featuring classic holiday films. It’s the perfect way to spend quality time together during the festive season. Plus, why not take it up a notch by wearing matching pajamas? Here are some suggestions for a cozy and memorable movie night with your furry friend.

Snuggle up for Heartwarming Movies

Grab a blanket, make some popcorn, and get ready to enjoy heartwarming holiday movies with your dog by your side. These films are filled with joy, laughter, and plenty of feel-good moments that will warm your heart:

  1. “Home Alone”: Follow Kevin McCallister as he outsmarts burglars in this hilarious Christmas comedy.
  2. “Elf”: Join Buddy the Elf on his journey to find his true identity and spread holiday cheer.
  3. “The Polar Express”: Embark on an enchanting adventure to the North Pole aboard a magical train.
  4. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Experience the timeless tale of Charlie Brown as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
  5. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”: Witness the transformation of the grumpy Grinch into someone who learns to embrace the spirit of Christmas.

Does your pup want to show his or her enthusiasm for their favorite movie? Find an outfit to showcase their style

Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog
sleigh bed

Matching Pajamas for Extra Festive Fun

To add an extra touch of festive fun to your movie night, consider wearing matching pajamas with your furry companion. Not only will you both look adorable, but it also creates a sense of unity and bonding between you and your dog. You can find a wide variety of matching pajama sets online or at pet stores.

Here are some reasons why wearing matching pajamas can enhance your holiday movie marathon experience:

  • Creates a sense of camaraderie: When you both wear matching outfits, it feels like you’re part of a team, enjoying the festivities together.
  • Photo-worthy moments: Capture adorable pictures of you and your dog in matching pajamas to cherish the memories for years to come.
  • Adds to the holiday spirit: Matching pajamas add an extra layer of holiday cheer and make the movie night even more special.

Enjoying Warmth and Companionship

As you snuggle up on the couch with your furry friend, take a moment to appreciate the warmth and companionship they bring into your life. Dogs have an innate ability to provide comfort and unconditional love, making them perfect companions during the holiday season.

Here are some benefits of enjoying a cozy movie night with your dog:

  • Stress relief: Spending time with your dog can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Snow days with your dog: Sledding

Embrace the magic of snowy days by taking your furry friend sledding, creating an exhilarating outdoor adventure for both of you. Just imagine the thrill as you and your dog glide through a winter wonderland together! But before you hit the slopes, it’s important to ensure your pup’s safety and make sure they have a blast.

Embrace Snowy Days

When the snow starts falling, it’s time to bundle up in cozy sweaters and head outside with your four-legged companion. Rather than staying indoors all day, why not embrace the winter wonderland and enjoy some fun in the snow? Sledding is a fantastic activity that allows you to bond with your dog while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Check out Hoodies and Winter Jackets for your pup!

Safety First

To keep your pup safe during sledding adventures, it’s crucial to take certain precautions. Make sure to use a specially designed sled that can accommodate both you and your dog comfortably. This will ensure stability and prevent any accidents or injuries. If using a traditional sled isn’t an option, consider allowing your dog to ride alongside you on their own sled or even in a sled bag.

Pure Joy on Ice

Once you’re all set up, get ready for some pure joy on ice! Your dog will likely experience sheer excitement as they zoom down the snowy slopes beside you. Their tail wagging furiously and their eyes filled with delight are sure signs that they are having the time of their life. The rush of wind against their face and paws gliding across the snow will create unforgettable memories for both of you.

Winter Bonding Experience

Sledding with your dog is not only about having fun but also about strengthening your bond. It’s an opportunity to spend quality time together, away from screens and distractions. As you navigate through the snow-covered landscape, trust between you and your furry friend deepens. The shared adventure creates a sense of camaraderie and builds a stronger connection.

Unleash the Fun

If you’re worried that your dog might not be up for sledding, think again! Most dogs are natural adventurers who love exploring new environments. However, it’s essential to consider their size, breed, and physical condition before embarking on any winter activities. If your dog has any health concerns or is not comfortable in colder temperatures, it’s best to find alternative ways to enjoy snowy days together.

Visit someone in need: hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers

Holiday Traditions to Do with Your Dog
visiting a rehabilitation center
Elsa Visits my dad in a rehabilitation center

Visit Someone in Need: Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and Rehabilitation Centers

Spread holiday cheer this season by bringing your furry friend along to visit hospitals or rehabilitation centers. It’s a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of those who may be spending the holidays away from home. Not only will you be able to bring comfort and smiles, but you’ll also witness the positive impact that your therapy dog can have on individuals in need.

Visiting nursing homes, hospitals, or rehabilitation centers with your dog can create a heartwarming experience for everyone involved. Here’s why it’s a great idea:

  1. Spreading Joy: Your therapy dog has the power to brighten someone’s day just by being there. The presence of an adorable pup can instantly lift spirits and spread joy throughout the facility.
  2. Providing Comfort: Many people in nursing homes or hospitals may feel lonely during the holiday season. Your furry companion can offer them comfort and companionship, making them feel less alone.
  3. Improving Well-being: Interacting with animals has been proven to have numerous health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety levels. By visiting individuals in need, your therapy dog can contribute to their overall well-being.
  4. Creating Connections: Dogs have a unique ability to connect people from all walks of life. Your visits may spark conversations and interactions between residents or patients who may not have otherwise engaged with one another.
  5. Sharing Treats: Don’t forget to bring some treats for both humans and dogs! Sharing treats is an excellent way to bond with individuals at the facility while also rewarding your furry friend for their good behavior.

When planning your visit, keep these tips in mind:

  • Call ahead: Contact the nursing home, hospital, or rehabilitation center beforehand to ensure that they allow therapy dog visits and inquire about any specific guidelines they may have.
  • Prepare your dog: Make sure your therapy dog is well-trained, up-to-date on vaccinations, and comfortable in different environments. It’s essential to prioritize the safety and well-being of both your dog and the individuals you’ll be visiting.
  • Be mindful of allergies: Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to dogs. Respect their needs by keeping your dog at a distance if necessary or avoiding direct contact altogether.

Remember, the goal of these visits is to bring joy and comfort to those in need. Take the time to engage with individuals, listen to their stories, and offer a listening ear. Your presence alone can make a significant difference in someone’s day.

So this holiday season, consider spreading some love and cheer by visiting hospitals or rehabilitation centers with your therapy dog.

Donating to Local Animal Shelters or Your Vets Office

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate, including our furry friends at local animal shelters. One way to give back and spread some holiday cheer is by donating supplies or funds to these shelters or your vets office. By doing so, you can help provide warmth, food, and care for homeless animals in need.

Donating to local animal shelters is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets during this special time. Here are some ways you can contribute:

1. Donate Supplies:

  • Contact your local shelter to find out what supplies they are in need of. It could be anything from blankets and towels to toys and treats.
  • Visit pet stores or online retailers that have a donation bin where you can drop off items for the shelter.
  • Consider organizing a supply drive with your friends, family, or community members to gather even more donations.

2. Contribute Funds:

  • Many shelters rely on monetary donations to cover their operating expenses. Even a small contribution can go a long way in helping them care for the animals.
  • You can donate directly through the shelter’s website or participate in fundraising events organized by the shelter.
  • Encourage others to donate by sharing information about the shelter’s mission and how their contributions can make a difference.

3. Volunteer Your Time:

  • In addition to donating supplies or funds, consider volunteering your time at the local animal shelter.
  • Help with tasks such as cleaning cages, walking dogs, or playing with cats.
  • Spending time with these animals not only benefits them but also brings joy and fulfillment into your own life.

By donating to local animal shelters during the holiday season, you are not only providing much-needed support but also ensuring that these shelter pets feel loved and cared for during this special time of year.

Remember, every little bit helps! Whether it’s donating supplies, contributing funds, or volunteering your time, your efforts can make a significant impact on the lives of shelter pets.

So let’s spread some holiday cheer and show our furry friends that they are not forgotten. Together, we can make this holiday season a little brighter for these animals in need.

We actually like to take any extra new things we have to our vets office! Sometimes the vet’s pups are there and get to enjoy a little something special too!

Keep in mind, there are still pets that are less fortunate that need vet care too. Bringing in a few items and showing that one random act of kindness could make someones holiday.

Cherishing Moments with Your Beloved Dog

Now that you have explored an array of holiday traditions to enjoy with your furry friend, it’s time to create lasting memories together. From dog-friendly winter activities and festive outings to cozy movie marathons and pet-friendly baking, there are countless ways to make this holiday season extra special for both you and your beloved dog. So why not embark on new adventures and start heartwarming traditions that will bring joy to both of your lives?

As the snow falls gently outside, imagine sledding down a hillside with your pup by your side, their tail wagging in delight as you both plunge into the fluffy white snow. Or picture visiting hospitals or rehabilitation centers together, spreading love and cheer to those in need while strengthening the bond between you and your four-legged companion. And don’t forget about donating to local animal shelters, ensuring that other dogs can experience love and warmth during the holiday season.

So go ahead, embrace these magical moments with your dog this holiday season. Create cherished memories that will be treasured for years to come. Celebrate the joy of companionship and revel in the unconditional love that only a dog can provide.


Can I include my dog in all of these activities?

Absolutely! All the activities mentioned in this blog post can be enjoyed with your furry friend by your side. Just make sure to consider their safety and comfort at all times.

Are there any specific precautions I should take during snowy activities?

When participating in snowy activities like sledding or playing in the snow, it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s well-being. Ensure they are dressed appropriately for cold weather, monitor their body temperature, and watch out for signs of discomfort or fatigue.

How can I find pet-friendly Christmas markets or events?

To find pet-friendly Christmas markets or events in your area, check local event listings or websites dedicated to pet-friendly activities. You can also reach out to your local community organizations or ask fellow dog owners for recommendations.

Can I involve my dog in holiday baking?

Absolutely! There are various pet-friendly recipes available that allow you to include your dog in the holiday baking fun. Just make sure to use ingredients that are safe for dogs and avoid any harmful additives like chocolate or xylitol.

How can I donate to local animal shelters?

Contact your local animal shelters directly to inquire about their donation needs and guidelines. They will be able to provide you with information on what items they require and how you can contribute. Remember, even small donations can make a big difference in the lives of shelter animals.

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