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50 Festive and Fun Family Christmas Activities to Enjoy

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Every year, our family counts down to Christmas, as do many families worldwide. During this busy season, and you may feel the pull to lean in and cherish the memories made with the whole family at home. So, if you’re looking for ways to fill your Christmas season with intentional family Christmas activities at home, I’m sharing the things we do to make the holiday special… plus some new Christmas traditions we’re excited to add this year!

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Bake Christmas Cookies

Baking cookies is a holiday tradition that we love. If you don’t have the time or energy this year to do a fancy, homemade Christmas cookie recipe, then grab some peel-and-bake cookies from the grocery store, or even prebaked sugar cookies to have your kiddos decorate for Santa Claus. I promise you, your family members don’t care how delicious and fancy the cookies are.

mom making Christmas cookies with kids, family christmas activities at home

Christmas Cookie Exchange

This is an easy and fun way to have neighbors or extended family members join in on the holiday fun at your house. Everyone makes a different type of cookie and writes the recipe on little index cards. Then you plan a day where you get together and swap!

Make Christmas Candy

When I was growing up, we would make homemade Christmas candy every year as little gifts for our family and friends. We made holiday fudge, peanut brittle, chocolate almond bark (my favorite), chocolate and white chocolate molded lollipops, and more.

Drink Hot Chocolate by the Christmas Tree

Nothing puts us in the Christmas spirit quite like a fancy hot chocolate in a Christmas mug in front of the Christmas tree with a nice crackling fire (although we have a gas fireplace, so there isn’t much crackling that happens). Our family loves to do this during the first snowfall of the season.

kids drinking hot chocolate in front of the fire, family christmas activities at home

Build Gingerbread Houses

Decorating a gingerbread house can be a complex challenge, but working together can make it fun. Buying a ready-made gingerbread house kit is an easy way to do this, but I remember using graham crackers glued with icing to miniature milk boxes when I was a kid!

If I’m being completely honest, I strongly dislike decorating gingerbread houses! Last Christmas, my kiddos were 8, 6, 6, and 2. It was less quality time and more chaos and disappointment as their houses collapsed, and I couldn’t keep up with helping all of them. After an unsuccessful attempt, we decided to decorate gingerbread people instead of houses! It was a lot of fun and a great way to (kind of sort of) keep the gingerbread tradition going strong.

My kids will be older, and I’m not sure if we will still decorate gingerbread people or if we will attempt to make gingerbread houses with milk cartons!

Document Family Recipes

The holidays are usually a time when older relatives make their best side dishes, entrees, and desserts. Gather the recipes from them and start a family recipe book that can be passed down through the years. This is something that I have been meaning to do for quite some time, and I think this Christmas is the perfect year to start it. It would be so fun to open the cookbook to the “Christmas Recipes” section and reminisce over all of the delicious holiday food.

Christmas Eve Family Breakfast

We always do a big, fancy breakfast on the morning of Christmas Eve, which is one of our all-time favorite traditions (I realize I say this for almost every tradition, and that’s because we love so many of them so much!). It’s wonderful because we love having a big breakfast on Christmas morning, but there is no way I am cooking on Christmas morning.

Our Christmas Eve breakfast is the beginning of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations. After our breakfast, we usually give the kids a Christmas Eve gift, and they exchange sibling gifts. They all work together for sibling gifts and choose 1 gift for each sibling.

Their Christmas Eve gifts are something that can be used that day: for example, a new fuzzy blanket, bathrobe and slippers, a new Christmas movie, or a fun game to play.

family christmas activities at home, christmas themed brunch

Make a Christmas Charcuterie Board

Making a holiday snack board is a great way to start an afternoon of fun family Christmas activities at home. Grab a fun-shaped board and load it up with crackers, meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, and other little snacks. Your family will love having the little treats as you spend time together.

Drink Christmas Milk

Our family drinks almond milk, and during the Christmas season, we will get the almond milk holiday nog (which is like egg nog). We have a Shepherd (sort of like an Elf), and he brings it for us!

It is too sweet for some of my kids, so we mix it with some regular almond milk for the kids who like it less sweet. It’s such a fun Christmas tradition, and the kids get so excited when our Christmas milk arrives!

family christmas activities at home, christmas baking round up

1. Christmas mugs | 2. Pretty Christmas cookie cutters | 3. Christmas tree snack board| 4. Gingerbread house | 5. Christmas milk or juice tumblers | 6. Christmas chocolate mold

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Christmas Tree and Decor

Many of our favorite holiday activities revolve around decorating our Christmas tree and making our home jolly and festive! Here are our family’s traditions for decorating our house for Christmas

Cut Down Your Tree at a Christmas Tree Farm

We get a live tree each year, and it is the best part of our Christmas season. There were a few years when we did get an artificial tree, starting when our oldest was 3.5, and our twins were 1.5, and we could not handle a real tree.

Even though we had an artificial Christmas tree, we still visited the Christmas Tree farm for the experience. We listened to Christmas music, got hot cocoa and candy canes, and got in the holiday spirit. I think we even cut down a tiny Charlie Brown tree for our entryway. So, even if you are team artificial tree, consider visiting a tree farm for the experience and maybe get some evergreen wreaths! 

Decorate the Christmas Tree

This is probably one of my favorite Christmas activities at home! Playing Christmas carols and hanging the Christmas lights and ornaments on the tree gets me into the holiday season like nothing else can.

We decorate our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. I always bake something yummy, we make hot chocolate, and I make some mulled wine for the adults. We put out the Christmas decorations and then watch a Christmas movie!

Make a Wreath

Making a festive wreath can be a fun home decoration activity or a great gift. When visiting the tree farm, they usually have all the leftover branches of evergreens you can take. Gather wreath supplies at your local hobby store and see what different kinds of themed wreaths you can create! My daughters love to craft, and making little wreaths for their bedroom is a fun tradition I’d like to start!

Start an Advent Wreath

Lighting our advent wreath is a meaningful tradition for our entire family. If you’re unfamiliar with advent calendars, there are four candles that represent the four weeks of advent, with a new candle lit each Sunday. The first candle symbolizes hope; the second one symbolizes faith; the third one joy; and the fourth one peace. 

We light our candles at dinner time and discuss the meaning of the candle. We also have a bible verse and a Christmas carol that we recite and sing each week. Singing these Christmas songs by candlelight with my family is the perfect way to remember what the season of Christmas is truly about, and it really is the most wonderful time of the year. My husband has lost his job TWICE in the past three years right before Christmas, and this tradition has helped to remind me that there is always hope and joy.

You can read more about the tradition of the Advent Wreath here.

family christmas activities at home, advent wreath round up

1. Advent Wreath with Pinecones | 2. Advent Wreath with Berries | 3. Advent Wreath with Red Berries | 4. Hand Dipped Advent Candles | 5. Flameless LED Advent Candles | 6. Wooden Advent Candleholders

Start an Advent Calendar

Opening the advent calendar each night is such a fun Christmas activity! Most have a sweet treat or little trinket to get each day while you countdown to Christmas. You can easily find one to fit the interests of every one of your family members.

We use a wooden advent calendar with little drawers to put items in. We do a small holiday candy (my kids love the holiday Hershey kisses) or sometimes coins. We also will put little slips of paper with Christmas activities on them on the Weekends.

family christmas activities at home, advent calendar roundup

1. LEGO Advent Calendar | 2. Hershey Advent Calendar | 3. Wooden Tree Shaped Advent Calendar | 4. Wooden Drawer Advent Calendar | 5. Gemstone Advent Calendar 6. Nativity Advent Calendar |

Get Matching Christmas Pajamas

Get out those matching pajamas early and wear them as much as possible. It makes it seem like you are all a team when you are matching, and they are too cute to only wear on Christmas Eve!

To make it a more budget-friendly option, you can get matching pajama pants and wear a solid-colored t-shirt on top. This might be a preferred way for older kids anyway.

We give the kids our matching pajamas after Thanksgiving when we decorate our Christmas tree, and it’s such a fun way to ring in the holiday season!

family christmas activities at home, christmas pajama round up

1. Old Navy Plaid Pajamas | 2. Old Navy Christmas Tree Pajamas 3. Old Navy Fair Isle Pajamas 4. | Target Striped Pajamas | 5. The Children’s Place Fa La La | 6. The Children’s Place Buffalo Plaid

Build a Fire

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, then take every reason to use it. Build a fire before your holiday movie marathon, or have a fun Christmas picnic in the living room. We have a gas fireplace, and it brings us so much joy to snuggle up and watch Christmas movies by the fire.

Wear Christmas Colors or Ugly Sweaters

Find your green and red shirts and make your holiday spirit week. Your kids will enjoy Green and Red Day, Reindeer Day, Elf Day, and more.

Pro tip: Red is the most versatile holiday color! It can also be worn for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and all of the patriotic holidays!

Wear Christmas Socks

Maybe family Christmas pajamas aren’t your thing, so try Christmas socks! You can get some really cute ones in the Target Dollar Spot.

Get Christmas Sheets

I remember having flannel Christmas tree sheets as a kid, and I absolutely loved it when it was time to put them on! There are so many nice options this year. My husband and I decided that this year’s Christmas Eve gift for the kids will be Christmas sheets. I know they’re going to love them.

family christmas activities at home, christmas sheets round up

1. Blush Heritage Santa Sheets | 2. Disney Princess Winter Holiday Sheets | 3. Mickey Mouse Christmas Sheets | 4. Navy Blue Polar Bear Sheets | 5. Pups in the Snow | 6. Christmas at Hogwarts | 7. White Pine Sheet Set | 8. Red Christmas Trucks | 9. Nutcracker Sheet Set

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Music, Movies, and Books

Watch Christmas Movies

This is one of the easiest family Christmas activities at home to spark some holiday fun. There are so many holiday movies you could pick one to watch every evening as a sort of family countdown or hold a Christmas movie marathon one evening. 

You can do so many fun Christmas activities to go along with a movie night!

My kids love to make “train cars” out of cardboard boxes and sip hot chocolate while they watch the Polar Express.

Or, you can make a reindeer ornament while you’re watching “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The possibilities are endless!

I’m currently working on a post on the Best Kid’s Christmas Movies, so I’ll be sure to update this when it’s published!

Read Christmas Books

Christmas books are an engaging way to practice literacy with your children during this season. You can read about Santa, reindeer, gifts, snowmen, Jesus, and more. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with your littles under a warm, cozy blanket and reading a good book!

family christmas activities at home, christmas book round up

1- Little Blue Truck’s Christmas | 2. The Night Before Christmas | 3. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree | 4. Tractor Mac’s Christmas | 5. The Lost Gift | 6. A Christmas for Bear | 7. Stick Man | 8. The Winter Fox | 9. This is the Stable

You can find even more of our favorite Christmas books for children in this post right here:

Our Favorite Children’s Christmas Books

Make a Christmas Playlist

Make a few different Christmas playlists for different times! Set the mood for the day by playing instrumental Christmas music when you first wake up and go about your morning routine. Have a more playful, upbeat one with songs like “Jingle Bells” when the kids are playing. And a slow, peaceful one when you’re winding down at night!

As the kids get older, they will become more opinionated about what songs they like and dislike, and it is really fun to involve them in choosing songs on the playlist.

Sing Christmas Carols

We sing one Christmas carol together per week as a family. I pull up the song on YouTube so that the lyrics are streaming, and we sing the song together. My oldest also plays the piano, and we love to have him play simple Christmas carols for us (he’s only 9, so he hasn’t mastered a ton yet) while we sing along.

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Giving Back

While it’s fun to spoil our kids during the Christmas season, teaching them about giving back to the community is so important.

Some of the experiences that impacted me the most in my childhood were the ones where I served others. It was a really big part of my life when I was an older kid/teenager, and I hope to share that with my children.

I can be hard; let’s be real. We have FOUR CHILDREN in our family, including a rowdy three-year-old! Volunteering isn’t always something our family can do; but we try our best, even if it means one parent taking the older 3 kids while Beckham naps at home.

Collect Food Donations

Find a list of items that are needed for local food pantries, soup kitchens, or homeless shelters. Try to collect donations each time you go grocery shopping, or ask neighbors and friends to join you in collecting. When you have filled up your box, deliver your donations to those who need them.

Make Hygiene Packs

This is something that the entire family can be involved in. Make small bags of deodorant, combs, shampoo, and other hygiene items to drop off at your local shelters. These items are not always thought of but always appreciated. Keep giving and doing for others at the forefront this season.

Make Blankets or Scarves

If you have fleece and scissors, you can make simple scarves or blankets by cutting strips along the edges and then tying knots. These can make great gifts for family members or be donated along with your hygiene packs.

Some hospitals also take donated blankets to give to children. When my daughter had surgery a few years ago, she was allowed to choose from a handmade blanket to take home and it’s still one of her favorites today.

Write Thank You Cards

Practicing writing thank you cards is one of those family Christmas activities at home that will have your children practicing gratitude. Sitting down and writing a thank you card after receiving a gift or even just saying thanks for a specific act is an important skill for littles to learn.

Random Acts of Kindness

It’s a great time to do kind things for others! This could be doing another family member’s chores, going out of your way to do something extra nice that’s different than normal, or paying things forward for others in your community. There are so many different things that you could practice doing daily until Christmas. I’m going to challenge my family to each think of 5 things they can do!

Toy Donations or Toy Drives

Last year, my husband took my three older kids to help organize toys from a toy drive at our local food pantry. In years past, we have done Operation Christmas Child where we fill shoeboxes with gifts for children.

You can also look into adopting a family for Christmas and purchasing their Christmas gifts.

Thank You Basket for Delivery Drivers

Delivery drivers work overtime this holiday season to ensure you have all the gifts you need. Gather snacks, drinks, and thank you cards, and set up a little station on your porch to thank those who are helping make the holiday magic happen!

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Santa

Make Reindeer Food

One of my kid’s favorite Christmas Eve traditions is going outside right before bedtime, scanning the sky for Santa Claus, and tossing out reindeer food for the reindeer. We have made reindeer food in the past which is simply rolled oats with some glitter thrown in.

The rolled oats are there for the reindeer to eat, and the sparkles are so that they can see our house clearly from the sky! My husband doesn’t love this because he has to go outside and sweep the driveway to get rid of the evidence HAHA. There are a lot of different recipes for reindeer food, but this is what we do.

Write Letters to Santa

We help the kids write letters to Santa. My special rule is that I put a checkmark next to items on their list that I have approved. I started this when one of them asked for something outrageous (I don’t even remember what it was, but it was something ridiculous like a three-year-old asking for a phone). I told them I wasn’t getting it for them, and they responded that they would ask Santa for it then.

I had to think briefly, and then we had a conversation. I explained that they could ask Santa Claus for anything they wanted, but it did not mean they would get it. I also explained that as their mommy, I had the right to remove anything I didn’t think was appropriate for them.

This was truly a great idea. Now, they make their letters to Santa and ask me to check them over to ensure everything is allowed. One year, we had LEGOs coming out of our ears, and I told the kids we needed to take a break from asking for LEGO that year.

They knew they couldn’t just put it on their letter to Santa and send it away and get it.

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Wrapping and Gifts

Make Homemade Gifts

From candles and frames to baking mixes and potholders, there are so many presents that can be made at home. We like to make candles as a gift for neighbors and teachers. Homemade vanilla extract is another fun gift that I have made before.

Have a Present Wrapping Night

My kids love wrapping presents! We always spend a few nights wrapping presents for extended family. It’s so fun to put on some Christmas music, light the fire, and wrap our gifts.

Have a Secret Santa

A fun way to do sibling gifts is to do a Secret Santa! I love the idea of having a little Secret Santa party and giving gifts that are homemade or from around the house. It’s a great opportunity for kids to demonstrate thoughtfulness as they choose something of their own to give to their siblings.

Decorate Wrapping Paper

Decorating wrapping paper and gift bags is a fun and unique Christmas activity!

Grab some plain brown paper bags, rolls of paper, and Christmas stamps.

I love the idea of getting a personalized Christmas stamp.

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Crafts and Games

Paper Chain Christmas Countdown

Make a simple paper chain with 25 links to countdown to Christmas! My kiddos love tearing off a strip of paper each morning and watching as the chain gets smaller and smaller!

Make Christmas Cards

It’s so much fun to take the kids to the craft store to pick up supplies for making Christmas cards. We have a Christmas card-making day, and the kids make special Christmas cards for family members and some of their friends.

Play Christmas Charades

Charades is one of our favorite family activities to do after dinner. We don’t even have an official board game for charades; my husband and I make up things for the kids to act out.

We love doing a holiday version during Christmastime! We pick different Christmas activities such as wrapping presents, decorating the tree, making Christmas cookies, writing Christmas cards, and so much more!

Play a Christmas Board Game

Playing a Christmas board game is the perfect Christmas activity! If you get your kiddos Christmas Eve gifts, this would be excellent. My kids are usually a bit wild and squirrely on Christmas Eve because they can’t contain their excitement. Having a special Christmas game to play could help to keep them grounded.

Christmas Coloring Sheets

If you aren’t the type to make extravagant holiday crafts with your kiddos (don’t worry, neither am I!), you can always print out some Christmas coloring sheets

Christmas Table Covering

This Christmas table covering is so cute, and I know my kids would have so much fun decorating it! It’s the perfect addition to the “kids’ table” at your Christmas party!

Make Paper Snowflakes

Making paper snowflakes is a fun holiday activity! It’s a simple craft that even younger children can do. My kids love hanging these in their bedrooms.

Make Christmas Ornaments

There are endless types of ornaments that you can make yourself! You can get clear ornaments and fill them with glitter and baubles, hot glue popsicle sticks together to make reindeer or snowmen, and more.

family christmas activities at home, christmas games and activities roundup

1. Ornament craft kit | 2. Christmas Table Covering | 3. Christmas Categories | 4. Santa, Cookie, Elf, Santa, Snowman (Holiday version of Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza) | 5. 12 Games of Christmas | 6. Christmas Bingo | 7. Santa Clause Go Fish | 8. 25 Days of Christmas Printable Coloring Sheets | 9. Christmas Ornament Making Spinner

Family Christmas Activities at Home: Getting Outdoors

Our family loves to get outside, even when it’s cold out! We have learned to bundle up and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, even if the temperature is freezing.

Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt

Christmas light scavenger hunt printout for family Christmas activities at home
Image credit: Happiness is Homemade

This Christmas light scavenger hunt looks like a blast! We are totally printing it out and doing it this year. You can either bundle up and walk around your neighborhood or get in your car and drive around if your neighborhood doesn’t have many lights or isn’t walkable.

Bonus points if you bring hot chocolate!

Decorate Your Yard

Make your yard festive and pretty! Hang twinkle lights or get some inflatables! Door wreaths are my favorite way to decorate the exterior of my house.

Go On a Family Hike

One of our family’s traditions is going for a walk by the water around Christmas time. We live just a few miles from the beach, but we tend not to go in the winter because it’s so cold out, but it really is gorgeous in the winter!

We usually do this on Christmas Eve during the day, but for a few years, our Christmas Eve has been full of other activities, and so we’ve done it the day after Christmas.

I picture our Christmas beach walks as something we do when the kids come home from college!

The best family Christmas activities at home will be the ones you enjoy most with your family. If it stresses you out or is too complicated then don’t choose it! Simply enjoying being with your family and taking the time to interact with them is what you and your kids will remember. They want a mom who is happy mom, not the one going crazy trying to pack everything in.

There you have it! I hope this helps you get in the holiday spirit, and gives you inspiration to start a few of these amazing holiday traditions that our family loves.

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