25 Free Family Christmas Activity Ideas

I love Christmas! It’s filled with family, food, parties, potlucks, parties, cookies, lights, presents, parties. And did I mention parties? It seems impossible that Christmas is once again ALMOST here!! This year, for us at least, has gone by extraordinarily fast.

As much as gatherings and parties and activities are fun there does come a point where its important to refocus and say no to outside activities, choosing instead spend quality time with our families. Especially when children are little, it’s important to let the foundation of holiday togetherness create tradition for them.

Putting aside the money, the agenda, the calendar, the gift buying list it’s really important to take time and simply be together.

Money can be tight this time of year, but even if it isn’t, it’s important to focus on the meaning of Christmas, the family togetherness, the heart of gift-giving and build our families one meaningful moment at a time.

Here are 21 activities that we hope you’ll enjoy this season:

1. Family Sleepover! Pile up the blankets, pillows and sleeping bags, grab the popcorn or other favorite snacks and gather in front of the Christmas tree.

2. Take a walk through the neighborhood after dark. One of my favorite Christmas memories is hopping on my sled when I was little, all bundled up, and being pulled through the neighborhood as our family took a walk over the snowy streets and looked at Christmas lights.

3. Make some hot chocolate, bundle up in your pj’s and take a drive looking at Christmas lights. We have a local house who’s light show is connected to a radio signal. They invite visitors to sit in their driveway and watch the 15 minute show. A fun twist on a Christmas light drive is to do a Christmas light Scavenger Hunt! (Check out Pinterest for a bunch of lists to choose from!)

4. Cut down your own Christmas Tree.

5. Decorate the tree and have homemade cookies and hot chocolate. Play some Christmas music in the background.

6. At Home Movie night or Christmas Special with snacks.

7. Potluck and games. Host your friends for the evening. Each family brings a dish to share. Play some fun Christmas games like Minute to Win-It or have a White Elephant Exchange (other  names are Yankee Swap or Dirty Santa).

8. Head out into the woods, or on a nature trail and go for a walk. Bundle up and remember to breath deep. Take your time. Life is good:)

9. Cookie Exchange! Each person invited brings 2 dozen cookies. All of the cookies are set out on a table and each participant takes the same amount of cookies they brought. Everyone leaves with an assortment of cookies!

10. Attend a free downtown Christmas event or festival.

11. Go Caroling!

12. Read some classics aloud together (around the tree!). Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, Tum Tum and Nutmeg (one of our faves!) and Charles Dickens Christmas Carol. Junie B Jones was one of our favorites when the girls were small.

13. Make and deliver cookies to local fire stations, ambulance services or police stations. (Call ahead to make sure you have permission)

14. Make and deliver cookies to neighbors. 

15. Make crafts together-wreaths, cards, ornaments,etc. Our outdoor homemade bird feeder is easy.

16. String popcorn for the tree or the animals!

17. Build gingerbread or sugar cookie houses. Cupcakepedia has 20 free gingerbread house templates that you can print. 

18. If you have snow, spend time playing in it. Build snowmen, go sledding, build a fort. (As I’m writing this snow is coming down. While it’s still green outside I’m praying for a white Christmas!!!)

19. Game night! Make some homemade pizza and chips and sit around the tree playing board games.

20. Ugly Christmas Sweater Party! Everyone wears the ugliest one they can find, or better yet, creates the ugliest one they can think of. Play games, eat food (potluck style) and have fun.

21.Host a Cookie Decorating get together.

22. Make an Advent giving calendar-in a box collect one personal item (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) daily and at the end of Advent donate it to a local charity.

23. Make an Advent Wreath and daily or weekly spend time as a family reading scripture, singing carols and reflecting on the meaning of Christmas.

24. Decorate bedrooms with lights. Letting the kiddos do this themselves will add to the fun.

25. Let the children make homemade ornaments or decorations for the house.  Add a twist by making a Christmas themed Fairy House! 

Enjoy the Christmas season but don’t forget to enjoy your family!












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