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I can’t believe that it’s almost Christmas. My hometown just held our Christmas tree lighting and parade this weekend. It’s officially Christmas time in my area.
Every year, I look for fun family Christmas activities. Today, I wanted to share some my family loves and a few I would love to try.
Family Christmas Activities #1–Snow Activities
I live in the middle of NC. Only once in my life do I remember a white Christmas. If I’m not mistaken, the snow started late on Christmas day, but the yard and roads were still white before midnight.
If you are lucky enough to live where there is snow at Christmas, head outside for some fun. Make snow angels. Build a snow family. If you have a hill, go sledding.
I’m looking forward to doing these things in January or February, but I probably won’t get to do them at Christmas.
Family Christmas Activities #2–Homemade Hot Chocolate
I love hot chocolate, and I have never understood the love of coffee and tea. The tastes of them are nasty to me.
However, I will drink hot chocolate all day. I do not want any fancy flavors either. Just give me packets of hot chocolate from the coffee aisle and some hot water. The only additions I will put in it are marshmallows or whipped cream.
At Christmas, I try my best to make homemade hot chocolate at least once. I have, however, found a way to mess it up every time I try. I tend to burn it or boil it over. It’s better for me if I have my husband make it, but I suggest that everyone tries it at least once.
Family Christmas Activities #3–Gingerbread
You could make gingerbread cookies and decorate them in many different ways. My favorite things to make from gingerbread are the houses.
I have never made homemade gingerbread, but I think that would be fun, too. You can purchase silicone molds for the pieces of the house.
There are gingerbread kits at stores and online. You can buy one house, a whole village, a barn, or a train. Find a kit you like and start decorating.
If you do not want to purchase a kit, there is another way. My family uses graham crackers, premade icing, hard candies, and any cupcake/cake decorating things, like sprinkles, we have on hand.
We split into teams of 2 or 3 people and set a time limit to build. Once the time is up, the family members who stayed in the other room during the building judge the houses. The winner gets to brag about winning for an entire year. One of these days, I might actually get a trophy that has to be brought back every year!
Family Christmas Activities #4–Cookie Swap
The first time I did this, it was part of a Girl Scout leaders’ Christmas party.
It’s simple. Make your favorite cookies. Print out the recipe. Come to the party.
Everyone can taste all the cookies and get the recipes to be able to make them.
The more people who participate, the better. If there are 30 people, 3 might bring the “same” cookies, but they will not have the exact same recipe. So you can get 29 new recipes since you already know how to make your own cookies.
Family Christmas Activities #5–Christmas Movie Night
We have an Amazon Fire Stick. When we use it, we can get TV, movies, sports, and music all the time.
If you don’t have a fire stick, grab the DVD player or the Netflix account and play those favorite Christmas movies.
My personal favorites are anything on Hallmark and/or on GAC, Home Alone (the original), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the cartoon and live-action versions), and It’s Christmas Charlie Brown. I’m a sucker for the old ones from my childhood.
I love It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street but I didn’t watch those until I was an adult.
If you are doing Christmas movie night, you can do some of the other activities (like making and drinking hot chocolate) at the same time.
Family Christmas Activities #6–Front Door Decor
When I was teaching, we had door decorating contests. One of my favorites to do was this snowman. It took over 200 cups, 150 glue sticks, and 8 hours to make. Yes, we won!
At home, I wouldn’t suggest something so elaborate. Grab a vinyl tablecloth and some ribbon. Make your front door (or all the doors at your house) look like gifts. You can get the tablecloths at Dollar Tree or online.
Have fun being creative. Post pictures in the comments to show what you did.
Family Christmas Activities #7–Home Decor
Once you finish decorating your doors, decorate a tree.
If you are done with that, put some lights in the windows or on the outside of your house.
Place some light-up decorations in the yard for the neighbors to enjoy with you.
Family Christmas Activities #8–Lights Tour
Once you have your own house decorated for Christmas, head out with your family and look at all the lights and decor around town.
One of the oldest streets in my hometown celebrates Christmas in a big way. I think sometimes the homeowners in the historic district make it a little bit of a competition between themselves.
Family Christmas Activities #9–Make Salt Dough Ornaments
I haven’t made these since I was in elementary school, but I remember that they were fun (and messy) to make.
Grab the ingredients and have some fun.
Family Christmas Activities #10–Ornaments
This could go with #9, but that was a specific type of ornament.
With this activity, you can use craft supplies, plastic ornaments from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, or candy canes. I love making Rudolph ornaments from candy canes.
Family Christmas Activities #11–Homemade Garland
I know we have all seen the popcorn garland strands on television. I’ve always wanted to make one, but I’ve always been afraid of ants gathering on my Christmas tree.
You can make a garland from fabric, tree pieces, craft supplies, ornaments, lights, or popcorn. Make it fun and creative. Be sure it matches the style of your family and your other decorations.
Family Christmas Activities #12–Handmade Cards
While you have the craft supplies out, why not make a few cards? Create cards for your friends and family. Give them with the gifts this year.
You can mail them out or give them to people in person. I promise that making cards will put you in the Christmas feeling if you aren’t there already.
Family Christmas Activities #13–Christmas Caroling
Get a group of friends and family together. Go from house to house in your neighborhood (or a few neighborhoods). Sing Christmas songs for people.
You don’t have to ring doorbells. If you are on the sidewalk (or edge of the street) singing, people will open doors to listen.
Be sure you have lyrics printed off and ready in case some of the singers don’t know all the words.
Bonus tip–take some hot chocolate with you as well.
Family Christmas Activities #14–Santa Visit
This time of year, malls across the country (possibly in other countries as well) have a Santa there. Go visit Santa with your family. If the elves and photographer will allow you, get a picture of the entire family with Santa.
Others around may get inspired to do the same thing.
Family Christmas Activities #15–Matching Pajamas
Head over to Amazon and shop for matching Christmas jammies. Every family should do this at least once. My family hasn’t done it yet. Maybe this is our year!
Have you done this tradition with your family?
Family Christmas Activities #16–Christmas Services
In 2022, Christmas is on Sunday. Many churches will have special services that morning.
Before Christmas, churches will have plays, cantatas, and special Christmas services. Attend one (or more) of these with your family.
I love seeing how different churches display the story of Jesus’ birth in so many different ways.
Family Christmas Activities #17–Draw Names
If your family is as big as mine (and growing), we sometimes draw names for Christmas gifts. We have at least 7 households represented. Each year, the number of people at the family Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners grows.
At Thanksgiving, or shortly thereafter, draw names. That way each adult is only responsible for the gift of another adult, or you can do it so that couples buy gifts for couples. Anyone who is NOT an adult does not draw names, but in our family, there are only 5 non-adults!
Each family represented purchases something for the kids.
No one tells anyone whose name they drew until Christmas day when we get together. Just be sure you set a price limit so that no one person spends too much money on the name he/she drew.
Family Christmas Activities #18–Family Dinner
On Christmas day or Christmas Eve (or whatever day works for everyone), get together with your family. Have dinner. Open gifts. Play games. Most of all, have fun together!
This is when we have our gingerbread house decorating contest.
Family Christmas Activities #19–Ugly Sweaters
Head over to the thrift store and find some sweaters and/or sweatshirts. Be sure that you like the basic design of it.
Buy it and take it home. Have fun creating an ugly Christmas sweater using it. Try to see who can come up with the best ugly sweater.
Host an ugly Christmas sweater party for friends and family. Be sure to take a lot of pictures to have for memories and laughs throughout the year.
Family Christmas Activities #20–Advent Calendars
There are so many choices for Advent calendars now. Get one that you can use every year, or buy one that you only use once. Of course, you can make your own as well.
Find one that fits your style or make one filled with things that are meaningful to you and your family. If you have several people in the house, designate one person to open the gift daily or see who can get to it first every day!
Family Christmas Activities #21–Volunteer
I know that the Christmas season is busy. Volunteering is a great way to help others who aren’t as fortunate as we are. Pack boxes at the food pantry. Serve meals at a soup kitchen.
If you have an entire day to spend, do it. If not, take a couple of hours out of your schedule to volunteer.
Family Christmas Activities #22–Christmas Classics
Pick a few Christmas classics (books) that you love. Read those.
If you need ideas, here are a few.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Twas the Night Before Christmas
Each of these has a movie to go with it as well. Read a little bit each night (or a whole book for the shorter ones) aloud as a family. Have fun sharing these with your family.
Family Christmas Activities #23–Polar Express
I don’t know about where you live, but here in NC, we have a couple of different places that offer the Polar Express Christmas Train. Google it for where you live to see if there is one near you. I know that you will have a great time!
Family Christmas Activities #24–Letter/Card for Military
Once you have made your cards (#12), be sure to drop a few in the mail for military service members. Some of them have been away from home for a long time. Most (if not all) of them are spending Christmas away from family.
Let them know they are appreciated. I found this website with a list of places to find military penpals. (I did not check all of the sites, but you can vet them for yourself.)
Family Christmas Activities #25–Letters to Santa
As an adult, this may sound strange. If you only have adults living in your house, maybe it’s time to do this just for fun. Believing in the magic of Christmas is not only for kids. Remember that!
Write a letter. Send it to the North Pole. Just so you know, you can do it online as an email now. You don’t even have to use a pen and paper.
Family Christmas Activities
I hope that this list, though not conclusive, helps you find things to do this Christmas season.
My family will do many of these this year, as they are already in our traditions. Maybe we can add a couple, or try out a couple of new ones as well.
Start a conversation in the comments. What from this list will you try this year? Are there any you already do? What other family Christmas activities should I add to my list?