kids holiday activities

40 Kids Holiday Activities to Create Lasting Memories this Christmas

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You know how people say, “I can’t wait until Christmas”? Well, I can. Am I a Grinch? No, not by any means. But I do know that the sooner Christmas comes, the sooner it will be gone. And then you know what’s going to happen? It will be cold, really cold…for no good reason cold. So when the holiday season approaches, I like to savor it. Maybe, even waddle in it a bit. It is “the most wonderful time of the year”.

kids holiday activities

One of the ways to savor the holiday season is by doing holiday activities with our kids. So if you want to get into the holiday spirit, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 40 holiday activities to create lasting memories this Christmas.

1. Have an Ugly Sweater Contest

Have everyone break out their sweaters. The ugliest one wins. By the way, December 12th is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Wearing Day. No. I didn’t make that up. Not being “on trend” has never been so much fun.

2. Bake a birthday cake for “baby” Jesus

Baking a birthday cake for Jesus is a great reminder for children what Christmas is about. Not to mention, cakes are just tasty.

3. Have a Music-A-Thon

Select some upbeat holiday music and dance, to your heart’s content. To be fair, everyone gets to select some holiday songs for the Christmas playlist. Kids too!

4. Drink a Cup of Hot Cocoa

Don’t you just love hot cocoa? A great cup of hot cocoa made with milk… none of that watered down stuff, is a perfect way to ring in the holiday. Just don’t forget the marshmallows because kids really love those.

5. Watch the Trains

I don’t really get the association between Christmas and toy trains but they are beautiful to look at. If you don’t have a toy train at home, go some where that does and take the kids with you.

6. Decorate the Tree

Make tree decorating a family activity. Sort and select ornaments with the kids. Have the older children hang ornaments and string some lights. Play Christmas music while you decorate. Make decorating your Christmas tree a family affair.


Sing carols

Singing carols is fun and let’s face it…you don’t have to have a voice like Beyonce to do it. Anyone can participate.

  1. Bake Christmas cookies every week in December

Cookies and the holiday are quite synonymous, don’t you think? I guess that’s why December, 4th is National Cookie Day. There are some great cookie recipes on The Domestic Life Stylist Taste of Christmas Board. You should follow.
Follow Lisa (The Domestic Life Stylist)’s board Taste of Christmas on Pinterest.

  1. Mandate that everyone wear Christmas Pj’s in December

Sorry dads, you are not excluded from this. You have to wear Christmas pajamas too!

  1. Make homemade ornaments

You can make Christmas ornaments with just about anything. So set some time aside with the children and get crafty. My blogging buddy Sarah, has some great tips on how to make your own Christmas ornaments at home.

  1. Visit a drive-thru light show

Lots and lots of lights, all in one place is just a whole lot of fun.

  1. Camp out under the Christmas tree

Choose a night and have the family camp out under the Christmas tree. Safety first though, make sure that the tree is secured using a steady Christmas tree stand and turn the lights off.

  1. Read the bible Christmas Story

Why do we celebrate Christmas again? Reading the story of Mary and Joseph during the Christmas holiday is an important reminder about why we celebrate.

  1. Have a holiday movie marathon

There are so many holiday movies out there.Just have your pick. Select a few, snuggle on the couch, (popcorn is not optional, but mandatory) and get watching some holiday movies.

  1. Take pictures next to the Christmas tree

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Don’t forget to take a picture in front of the Christmas tree. No, not just the kids. The whole family. As a matter of fact, you probably should start figuring out the timer function on your camera right now.

  1. Visit a hotel with a Christmas theme

There’s something about seeing a hotel get “decked out” for the holidays that is just special. The does this really well. Explore your area hotels and see which ones have Christmas activities that the kids can take part in. Call ahead and take note of prices. Be sure to ask if there are complimentary activities for non-staying guests as well.

  1. Donate toys to a kids shelter

Now is a great time to get the kids to help organize their toys since they will be receiving new ones as presents. Help your children sort and organize their toys. Donate gently used items to other children in need.

  1. Plan a Christmas breakfast

Waking up to a yummy Christmas breakfast is something pretty special. Wondering what to have? Try my recipe for Eggnog French Toast with Caramelized Bananas. We have it every year.

  1. Make a Gingerbread House

I haven’t met a child that doesn’t like to decorate with candy and icing. Making and decorating a gingerbread house is something that the whole family can do together. Kids tend to eat more than they decorate but that’s part of what makes it fun.

  1. Buy a real (living) Christmas tree

Skip the faux tree this year and select a living tree together. Yes, a real Christmas tree can a hassle to maintain but they smell so good, and you can go back to using your faux favorite whenever you want.

  1. Make your own wrapping paper

If you have a few crayons and stamps at home then you’ve got most of what you need to make your own wrapping paper. You can let the kids go crazy creating their own masterpieces on plain brown paper .

  1. Invite family and friends for a cookie bake-off or cookie swap

Do you have a special cookie recipe that you’d like to share. Or maybe yo have a set of cookie cutters that only come out once a year. Now is the time to show your family and friends what you’ve got. The would be great with the neighbors too. If you don’t know what cookies to bring, Mel has a recipe for Butter Almond Snowball cookies, that looks absolutely divine.

  1. Get with the Elf on the Shelf craze

Elf on the Shelf is Santa’s little helper and it hardly ever stays in one place for too long. Even if you don’t move the Elf around like it should be, these little elves are just cute to have around. If you are looking for some “staging” ideas for your Elf, check out this adorable bubble bath idea, it’s just too cute!

  1. Drive around and gawk at decorations

Delight in the splendor of Christmas decorations in your town and “light gawk” as a family. You could do this in your own neighborhood or venture as far as you’d like. Christmas light watching is just fun.

  1. Attend a Christmas church service

If your church is having service on Christmas Day, dress everyone up and go as a family.

  1. See the Nutcracker “live”

The Nutcracker is just classic. Find a playhouse or theater in your community and go watch it.

  1. Attend a Christmas concert

Everyone has concerts this time of year. Some are small and intimate, while others are large affairs. Find the Christmas concert that suits you best and get singing.

  1. Skip the mall Santa

You know those pictures with Santa that the kids take every year? Why not have Santa make a house visit instead? Rent a suit and have dad dress the part, complete with photos.

  1. Build a holiday snowman

As long as there is snow on the ground, why not build a holiday snowman? Complete your Santa snowman with a jolly old hat, a read scarf and accessories of course.

  1. Attend a tree lighting ceremony

There are lots of options for tree lighting ceremonies and they are typically free. Just find one or a few and attend. Be sure to pack some hot chocolate to go and pick up some donuts on the way.

  1. Make an eggnog sundae

Instead of eggnog, skip the eggnog all together and make eggnog sundaes. Edy’s makes a limited edition eggnog ice cream that is only available November and December. Get creative with toppings and dig in!

  1. Tell stories of Christmas’ past

Kids love hearing stories about when they were little. Even better, hearing stories about when their parents were little is even better. Break out those photos, brush off those memories and share stories of Christmas past.

  1. Share a candy cane

There is something about candy canes that is so special. Include a mini candy cane attached to the gift wrapping paper on presents as a special treat.

  1. Invite a family over for holiday dinner

Share the holidays with a another family besides your own and invite someone over for Christmas dinner. It could be a new neighbor, a college student that couldn’t go home for the holidays or anyone you choose. Giving comes in many forms. Sharing your home and giving of your time is pretty special.

  1. Have the children help make Christmas gifts/treats for their teachers

Help your children make or bake a special Christmas treat for their teachers. Teachers work hard and are deserving of a special treat.

  1. Write or send holiday cards

Have the kids help write and address the holiday cards. If everyone helps out, the holiday cards would get sent so much faster.

  1. Sing “Jingle Bells” with actual bells

If you haven’t sang “Jingle Bells” while shaking actual bells, then it’s time to put it on your “to do” list. Not to mention, your children will love shaking them. So get some holiday bells and start shaking.

  1. Decorate your car

Want to get really festive for the holidays. Then get your car “swagged out” with Christmas decorations or dress it up like Rudolph with this Reindeer Christmas Car Character Kit . The little ones will get a kick out of seeing the family car all dressed up for the holidays.

  1. Answer Santa mail and help fulfill kids Christmas wishes

Christmas is all about sharing holiday cheer and love. Depending your kids ages and what the story is on “Santa” at your house, answering Santa mail is a great activity to do with the kids. It helps demonstrate caring, compassion and a heart of giving. This is also a great opportunity to talk or teach children gratitude and appreciation for the things that they already have.

  1. Give love.

Give love not only to your children and family but give love to the person that cuts you off in traffic.. Give love to the teller that you have to say “hello” to first before she acknowledges you. Give love to the person that sees you struggling with several bags and two small kids and doesn’t even hold the door open for you… because Christmas is about giving not receiving. Be an example to those beautiful little beings that God has entrusted you with. Just. Give. Love.

Merry Christmas!

  • Comments ( 2 )

  • avatar
    Jane @ Modern Housewives

    All of those sound great! When I read through the article, I kept picturing a family doing all those things, and it seemed like the perfect Christmas picture. I am so glad I got some time off work for the holidays, we will definitely try a few of those ideas, they sound really fun. We already have the tree and gifts, but I bet our daughter would appreciate some stories and singing.

    • avatar

      Thank you Jane! That’s the point right? Enjoying this magical time with ones we love. I’m glad that you found the ideas useful. Have a Merry Christmas and a fabulous holiday season.

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