They happen all over the city: outings with family and friends that began in moments of spontaneity and later grew into Christmas traditions that fill the gap between opening the last present and sitting down to dinner.

Some bundled up to enjoy the fresh snow or went out to catch a movie. Others ventured out despite the cold to start their own new traditions.

A snowstorm had passed over Denver and along the Front Range on Christmas Eve, pleasing youngsters and the young of heart with a white Christmas. More than 6 inches had fallen southwest of Boulder and about 2.5 inches was reported at Denver International Airport on Christmas morning.

The fresh powder was an especially welcome surprise for Chris and Sarah Jaynes. Several years ago, the couple began taking their sons, Ian and Arden, sledding in City Park on Christmas. But in recent years there hadn't been enough snow to leave footprints.

"All morning long they were excited about going sledding," Chris Jaynes said. "This is a special year, and the snow really made this Christmas complete."

Ian, 8, and Arden, 6, slipped and slid as they pulled their bright plastic sleds up the hill behind the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. By noon, grass blades peaked through the snow on the hillside as children made their final climbs and descents.

Katy Rees grinned as she watched her 5-year-old twin sons, Owen and Quinlan Rees-Carr, waddle up and down the hill.

"We could not have asked for a more incredible Christmas Eve or morning," Rees said. "They are spinning out of control with excitement about the snow."

The family traveled to Denver from Austin, Texas, to spend the holiday with family. Tuesday morning, the boys awoke to their first white Christmas before heading out for sledding.

Quinlan could stand still just long enough to exclaim that his favorite part of sledding was obtaining "super speed" before "falling down in the snow." His delight was obvious from the snow packed into every crease of the little boy's jacket and plastered onto the side of his hat.

Temperatures in Denver lingered in the teens during the day. Overnight, the wind chill was expected to make temperatures feel well below zero.

Freezing temps and a frigid wind chill did not stop Pedro Bernal from making his trek to the United Artists movie theater at the Denver Pavilions on Tuesday. Bernal has walked to see a movie on Christmas Day for the past 15 years, he said.

This year he elected to see "Lincoln" with a friend.

"It's relaxing to catch a movie on Christmas," Bernal said. "It's great to get out during the day and see everyone. I said 'Merry Christmas' more on my walk here than I have all month."

Farther down 16th Street Mall, a group of friends was well into creating their own Christmas tradition.

Drew Weis, 23, and his 21-year-old brother, Mitch, had planned to spend the day on the slopes at Arapahoe Basin. But then the two opted to spend the day in the city with two friends who don't know how to ski. The group spent the first part of their morning ice skating laps at the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park and ended the day with a Christmas toast at a downtown bar.

"It's been good to get out and experience the day with so many people," Mitch Weis said. "The more the merrier!"

Jordan Steffen: 303-954-1794, jsteffen@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jsteffendp