37 Fun Christmas Activities for the Whole Family
The holidays are our yearly occasion to celebrate family, passing hours telling stories by the crackling fire and stewing up Grandma’s recipes in the kitchen. School is out and the office is closed. The kids jump out of bed each morning to see what the day has in store for them—namely, all the holiday fun that the parents have planned. But eventually, the kids will start to get restless. When you’ve exhausted your standard supply of activities, think outside the box and come up with some new favorite holiday traditions. Whether it’s a day of DIY crafting or cookie baking, these festive activities are fun for the whole family. We’ve tailored these activities to suit a variety of moods and times, from relaxed movie nights to competitive Christmas games. So when the kids jump out of bed and ask what the plan is for the day, you’ll know just what to say.
Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
The best way to signal the start of the holiday season? A trip to the Christmas tree farm, of course. Once Thanksgiving comes to a close, it’s time to head over to the local farm with your whole family to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Plus, we’ve got some of the nation’s best Christmas tree farms right here in the South.
Hang an Advent Calendar
Write a Letter to Santa
Chances are you still have a complete album of all your childhood photos with Santa. The line to visit Santa may wind around the entire mall plaza, but it’s always worth it to let your children sit on Santa’s lap and deliver their wish-lists in person (plus, it makes for a stellar photo-op).
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Southerners know that it’s never too early to start decorating for Christmas (in fact, starting early could be a good thing). No matter when your tree goes up, decorating is a fun activity for the holidays! Dedicate a morning to adorning your tree with all the string lights and family heirloom ornaments.
Go Holiday Shopping
There’s nothing quite like the fun and chaos of a trip to the mall the week before Christmas. But last-minute holiday shopping doesn’t have to be stressful! Turn that dreaded trip to the mall into a fun family outing—complete with a visit to Santa, of course.
Bake Christmas Cookies
Nothing will brighten your day like a Christmas cookie baking marathon. Your kids will adore this seasonal task, and all that baking will leave your house smelling oh-so-sweet. Package the goods in festive wrapping or mason jars and deliver them to neighbors, teachers, mailmen, or anyone in your life who deserves a bit of appreciation!
Decorate the Fireplace Mantel
A little bit of tinsel here, a little bit of garland there. You can keep it understated or go all out for the season—no matter how you want to decorate your fireplace mantel, we’ve got inspiration for you. Be sure to get the kids involved in the process!
Make a Big Batch of Spiced Cider
Keep your cabinets stocked with your own homemade Spiced Cider Mix. If you’re entertaining in a pinch or in search of a last-minute hostess gift, this mix is the perfect solution!
See a Light Show
In the South, we know how to put on a good light show. Drive through marvelous displays of holiday lights or wander around a town festival. Don’t have a local display? Drive around the neighborhood and tour your neighbors’ lovely holiday decorations!
Host a Christmas Cookie Swap
Cozy Up By The Fire
On those cold winter nights, cozy up by the fireplace in your pajamas. There’s no better time to connect and bond with your family. Tell stories, share jokes, sip on cocoa, and sing songs to celebrate the season.
Host a Christmas Craft Night
Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like some crafting by the fire. Choose an activity that’s kid-friendly, gather the supplies, and get to crafting! We’re loving these simple DIY Christmas Tree Mason Jars.
Start a Christmas Singalong
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas…and learn all the lyrics to your favorite Christmas songs! These songs are the perfect way to toast to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, and they’re great for every holiday occasion. Get inspired by our ultimate Christmas playlist.
Cut Paper Snowflakes
Paper snowflakes are some of the simplest holiday crafts, which makes them great for children of all ages to execute. All you’ll need is a pair of scissors and some white paper—then let the kids get creative with their folds and designs! Hang these paper snowflakes in your windows to show off the special seasonal artwork.
Get the how-to from Martha Stewart
Play “Guess That Tune”
Host a Themed Potluck Dinner
Bring your family and friends together for a big potluck-style dinner! Select a theme for the dishes like “Casseroles Galore” or “Grandma’s Holiday Favorites” and task each guest with bringing a signature dish. This is a great way to share your favorite family holiday recipes and take the stress out of holiday entertaining.
Make a DIY Wreath
No holiday home is complete without a festive wreath, and this year, why not try making your own? Crafting DIY wreaths is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. From a bird-friendly wreath to impressive porch displays, these crafts will leave your house looking extra spirited. Find a DIY guide at Style Me Pretty.
Make Christmas Cocktails
When the kids have fallen asleep, the adults deserve a treat. From Christmas Frosé to Sparkling Pomegranate Punch, we’ve got quite a few signature cocktails on our Christmas wish list. Make these spirited holiday cocktails for an adults-only party—just be sure to have some hot chocolate stocked for the kids.
Craft DIY Ornaments
Spruce up your Christmas tree with some homemade décor. These DIY Christmas ornaments are a great craft for kids and a thoughtful gift for the grandparents. Save the DIY ornaments to hang for years to come!
Host a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party
Tacky Christmas sweaters are a staple in our holiday wardrobes, and we’re always looking for new ways to show off our favorite finds. An ugly Christmas sweater party is a great way to gather friends and family in good spirits. Still in search of the perfect Christmas sweater? Check out some of our top seasonal picks.
Decorate a Gingerbread House
Bake your own gingerbread or buy a house-building kit for endless hours of family fun this Christmas. While the homemade houses may not compare to Disney World’s life-size gingerbread houses, the result will certainly earn its place on your table or mantel.
Make Homemade Hot Cocoa
Winter is the season of the slow-cooker, and we’re using this favorite kitchen device to make big-batch hot chocolate. Let it go low and slow while the kids are playing in the snow, and they’ll return inside to a special warm treat. For the adults, feel free to add a shot of Peppermint Schnapps.
Host a Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon
Luckily for us, Hallmark’s 2019 Countdown to Christmas movie schedule has already been released. The countdown officially starts on Friday, October 25, and you can get all your holiday cheer in with 40 new original movies.
Read a Christmas Book
You’re never too old for a bit of Christmas magic. Classic Christmas stories are great for all ages, and we’re reading everything from contemporary novels to time-tested children’s tales. Read up on all of our must-read Christmas books.
Bake Homemade Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning
There’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. On Christmas morning, the kids will most definitely jump out of bed, anxious to open their presents. But there’s no better way to start the festivities than with a special family breakfast. Our favorite homemade Big Cinnamon Roll should tide them over for… well… five minutes or so.
Spend Time Volunteering
This holiday season, devote a day to giving back. Sign up to volunteer in a soup kitchen, a food pantry, or the local charitable organization of your family’s choosing. Make this a tradition that your kids will cherish for years to come.
Decorate Sugar Cookies
These cute-as-can-be sugar cookie designs will be the star of the holiday cookie swap. Bake simple sugar cookies, whip up a few colored icings, assemble all the supplies, and gather the kids to express their creativity on a cookie canvas! This edible artwork is as fun to make as it is to eat.
Take a Christmas Road Trip
Pack your bags and load up the car. It’s time for a family Christmas road trip! Whether you embark on a short weekend getaway or a week-long journey, change up the scenery and plan a family trip this Christmas. May we recommend a road trip through Mississippi’s small towns?
Watch a Classic Holiday Movie
Where in the world is he now? Use NORAD’s online tracker to help your kids follow Santa’s every move across the globe this December.
Make Homemade Candy
Fill a Box With Donations
Collect items from around your house to donate to children in need, or head over to your local grocery store and fill a basket with nonperishables and canned items to donate to your local food shelter. (Check out this list to find out what food shelters really need this holiday season.) Making charity a part of your family holiday routine is a great way to teach your kids the importance of giving back.