These 15 easy Christmas activities will give you some ideas for keeping your family happily occupied during all that “extra spare” time between now and Christmas.
Okay, I get it. Extra spare time before Christmas is a joke. Sp spare time is a rare occurrence between all the shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, partying, and get-togethers before (and even after) Christmas.
But, once in a while, we want a quiet night at home with our family. What to do? Or, perhaps you carved out a little time for a family outing. But to where? Or to do what? One of these ideas will surely rescue you from those dilemmas.
Let’s check out these suggestions!
Christmas Activities to Stay Warm and Cozy
Sometimes it makes sense just to stay home, stay warm, and bask in the company of our families. The weather outside might be frightful, the germ and infection rates around are less than delightful, and home seems warm and cozy and the best option. So, here are some ideas to consider as you all get comfy at home.
Have a Christmas Movie Night
Pop the popcorn, fill those mugs with hot chocolate, snuggle up under cozy blankets, and let the movie(s) begin. What will you watch? My favorites are Amahl and the Night Visitors, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Polar Express and Elf rank pretty high on my list as well.
Enjoy a Christmas Storybook Night (see post on favorite Christmas books)
Kids of all ages enjoy read-aloud times. (Even if they would never admit it!) Gather near the Christmas tree, turn on the tree lights, light some candles, get the fireplace burning, and settle down with a delightful Christmas story to read. Let the kids color or build quietly with Legos or blocks while you read to them. Not sure what book(s) to read? Check this post for some great suggestions: Great Christmas Books to Get Your Family Ready for the Season.
Bake Christmas Cookies Together
For a family Christmas cookie-baking session, I recommend mixing up your cookie dough in advance, and then you can focus on decorating the cookies together. If you choose a cut-out cookie recipe, your kids can help roll out the cookies, cut them out with cookie cutters, and then decorate them. Turn on the Christmas music, get out all those sprinkles and colored sugars, and let your kids decorate to their hearts’ content! And, of course, finish the evening by eating some of their creations!
Sponsor a Door Decorating Competition
Competition among siblings can be a good thing! Let your kids decorate their bedroom doors for Christmas! Older ones can work with their younger siblings, or those who share a room can work together to decorate their doors. You can announce the competition and the teams earlier in the day, give them time to make plans, and gather the necessary supplies. Then, proclaim the start and end times of the contest, and let them put their creative abilities to the test. Be sure to give awards to each entry. Award suggestions: Most Creative, Most Unique, Best Use of Supplies, and so on. They will have fun with this project!
Play a Rousing Game of Christmas Carol Charades (or other games)
How do you play Christmas Carol Charades? However you want, I suppose! The main idea is to have each individual (or team) act out something from a Christmas carol and for the others to guess which Christmas carol they are representing. This could be pretty creative and entertaining!
Do a Christmas-themed Puzzle
Does your family like puzzles? Then, spend an evening putting together a Christmas-themed puzzle. Not enough time to finish the puzzle in one evening? That’s okay; leave it in a safe place where anyone can add to it when they have a few extra minutes. Or, get two or three puzzles going at the same time. (Don’t intermingle the pieces!) You could even play “musical puzzles.” Set a timer to go off every ten minutes, and then have everyone move to the next puzzle area.
Have a Christmas Tree Campout
What is a Christmas Tree Campout? Let the kids sleep on the floor near the Christmas tree for one night. Leave the tree lights on while they get ready to sleep, have some candles burning, some quiet Christmas music playing, and maybe a fire in the fireplace. This will be one of those traditions your kids will remember! (Reminder: Never leave lit candles or burning fires unattended!)
Explore Christmas Traditions from Different Cultures
Investigate how different cultures and countries celebrate Christmas. Do you know someone from another country? Invite them over to share their Christmas traditions with you. Let them share their music, decorations, traditions, food, and Christmas memories with your family. Or, you can watch videos or read books about Christmas traditions worldwide.
Christmas Activities for Exploring your Neighborhood
Sometimes we want to get out of the house but don’t want to go far. Here are some Christmas ideas that focus on your neighborhood or local area.
Host a Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of Christmas items your kids might see as they walk or ride through your neighborhood. Your list could consist of things like a house with only white lights, a Christmas inflatable snow globe, an inflatable featuring a car or truck, purple ornaments, outdoor decorations that make music, and so on. Give each of your children (or teams) a list, and then take a walk (or drive) through your neighborhood. Provide pencils and let your kids cross out the items on your list. Or, better yet, let them take pictures of the items on the list. Proof! The winner is the child or team with the most things on the list.
Attend a Local Christmas Concert
Sure, many professional groups have amazing Christmas concerts. But, they aren’t often close to home, and they frequently have some steep admission prices. So, be different. Look for local concerts. Check out the local schools or churches in your area. Coffee shops, libraries, malls, and even village squares may sponsor or offer free or inexpensive Christmas concerts. See what you can find!
Look at Christmas Lights
Christmas lights are always festive. Take a drive around your neighborhood or town and enjoy all the work people have put into their gorgeous Christmas light displays! (And rejoice that you aren’t paying their electric bills!) Even some towns put on great Christmas displays!
Go Christmas Caroling
Go with your family or gather some friends and go Christmas caroling! Everyone in your group doesn’t need an operatic voice to cheer people up with Christmas carols! Do you have older or lonely neighbors? Sing carols for them. Or check with a local nursing home for permission to sing for some lonely residents. You will be appreciated! Even if you are stressed, discouraged, or in a lousy mood, singing Christmas carols for others will give you a big boost of cheer! Finish your evening with hot chocolate or apple cider with Christmas cookies or donuts!
Christmas Activities for Out and About Adventures
Do you have more time? Are you up for slightly bigger Christmas adventures? Then here are some ideas for you.
Take a Walk through your Town
Walk through a local downtown area in the evening. Enjoy the lights, decorations, and shop windows. Wander in some of the stores and browse their aisles and decorations. Take in the atmosphere. Stop somewhere local for hot chocolate, cookies, or some other treat. Enjoy the local festivities!
Take a Hike!
A hike or walk through the woods (snow is optional) might be just what everyone in your family needs! Check out a local forest preserve, nature center, park, and conservation area, and walk through the woods. Walking in nature is good for our physical and mental health. What birds do you see?
Take your Kids on a Dollar Store Shopping Spree!
Let your kids go Christmas shopping at the local dollar store. When my kids were much younger, my sisters would take my kids and their cousins shopping at the dollar store. Each child was given the name of an adult to buy a present for, given a dollar or two, and then loosely guided in their shopping decisions. I still have some things bought for me from those shopping expeditions. This was a highlight of the Christmas season for my kids! They loved these shopping trips with their cousins and aunts! So, consider letting your kids make Christmas memories at your local dollar store.
Bonus Christmas Activity
Get a Christmas Activity Book for each of your children! Sign up for and download a Christmas Activity Book. Each book has puzzles, mazes, coloring pages, and more!
Yes, Christmas is busy and can be extra stressful for families, even kids! Make some downtime in your crazy schedules and enjoy these easy, inexpensive Christmas activity ideas.
These previous articles will also help you navigate the busy Christmas season: