65+ Fun Things To Do on Christmas Day With Family

Are you spending Christmas Day at home with your family? Here are more than 65 fun things to do on Christmas Day with the family for a low-key day to enjoy together.

Fun Things To Do on Christmas Day

Just about every year, we celebrate Christmas with my family. My sisters and I (and our families) live all across the country, so we fly home and spend a few dedicated days together as a big group. As a result, we don’t have multiple families to visit around Christmas. We do Christmas Eve with extended family and have Christmas Day to open gifts, relax, and hang out.

Fun Things to Do on Christmas Day With Family

If you are looking for fun things to do with the family on Christmas Day, here are a few ideas we’ve tried and some that are on my list of ideas for future years. Be sure to leave a comment if you have other ideas of activities or traditions you do as a family on Christmas Day. I’d love to hear them.

Cozy Activities with Kids At Home

Watch a Movie

Our boys watched Home Alone for the first time this year and really liked it. Choose a Christmas movie that works for your family and cuddle up on the couch to watch it together.

  • Read aloud together | Check out a fun book from the library or grab something from your shelf. Maybe you even choose a cool holiday-themed book to enjoy together.
  • Listen to an audiobook | Turn on an audiobook and hang out while listening to someone else read the story!
  • Do a word find together | Did you know you can download these online too if you don’t have one at home? You can even make them for each other.
  • Make and play DIY checkers game | Make a DIY board with paper or cardboard and use a large hole punch in a fun shape for pieces. If you don’t have a hole punch, you can trace around something in the shape of a circle and cut the pieces out on your own too.
  • Make a Memory game | Draw pictures (or do sight words if it makes sense for your kids) and make your own Memory game. Then play it, of course.
  • Have a declutter day | Spend some time going through a room or two and think about what you no longer need that could use a new home. Plan which items you want to donate, post to Buy Nothing, or sell on a secondhand site like Facebook Marketplace or Mercari. If you plan to post them online, take the photos and share them in the respective groups or forums. People will be happy to find them right after the holidays even if they are busy on Christmas Day.
  • Rearrange a room | Take a fresh look at your space. Are you ready for a refresh? Take the day to move things around and spruce up your space together without spending a dollar.

Simple Craft Activities with Kids

Create a Holiday Card Display

If your holiday cards are still sitting in a pile on the counter or in a basket waiting to shine, make a holiday card display. This hanging holiday card decoration took about thirty minutes to make (including time to gather the supplies and scour my yard for the perfect fallen branch). It has been a great way to enjoy the cards (and they don’t feel like clutter on my counter). It’s not the fanciest, but it’s functional and feels good to me.

Craft Fun Thank You Cards

Before the holiday season passes, get out the scissors and craft paper to make your own thank you cards. This is a great project for kids to enjoy while also reminding them of the importance of gratitude during the season of giving.

  • Make your own coloring book | Here are 5 Easy Steps To Make Your Own Personalized Coloring Book
  • Make your own storybook | Write a story and draw pictures to go with it. Fold 8.5″ x 11″ paper in half, staple it like a book, and you’re off to the writing races.
  • Make a no-sew fleece blanket | Have you ever made one of these blankets? We did it a few years ago over Christmas break with the boys’ cousins. You’ll need ot buy the fabric in advance because the stores won’t be open on Christmas Day. So long as you have the fabric, follow this tutorial.
  • Learn to knit together | There are so many videos on YouTube teaching you how to knit. Like with the blanket, you’ll need yarn in advance. But if you have yarn and needles, give it a shot! My boys have loved doing this with my mom from time to time.
  • Sew something together | Even if you’re not an expert seamstress, make something simple like pillowcases, aprons, DIY fabric gift bags (for birthdays and holidays next year), or cloth napkins. I’m working on making a growing collection of cloth napkins for when we have guests over. You can find lots of fabric for projects like this at thrift shops!
  • Make your own word find using Super Teacher Worksheets | Did you know you can create your own word finds with this online tool? Check it out!
  • Paint or color your clothes | A few years ago, my sister gave my boys a set of white socks and a handful of Sharpie markers so they could decorate their own socks. Fun, right?
  • Make holiday stars | These DIY stars from cardstock are so neat and not hard to make! Give it a try.
  • Make a DIY photo booth and crowns from wrapping paper for New Year’s Eve | Save that shiny wrapping paper and make a photo booth that’s all ready for New Year’s Eve using this tutorial.
  • Make DIY fire starters | Have a warm and cozy firm (or bonfire) and add some DIY fire starters. You can make these firestarters using egg cartons and some branches from your Christmas tree (if it’s real!) or try these pinecone fire starters from this Christmas tablescape. Related Reading: Everything to Know about Making Aromatic Homemade Fire Starters
  • Make a bird feeder | Here are some easy instructions to make a DIY bird feeder with kids.
  • Make kindness rocks | Find a few rocks and paint messages of kindness and happiness on them. Leave them along hiking trails, at parks, or in other places where people are likely to find them and enjoy the messages.
  • Paint your windows | Use washable paint, dry-erase markers, and gel clings to decorate your windows. It might seem a little extravagant but how fun, right?!
  • Make DIY playdough and use the cookie cutters to create shapes | Put those cookie cutters to good use beyond just sugar cookies. Here are some other ways to repurpose your cookie cutters!

Outdoor Winter Activities with Kids

Go For a Hike

Even though most businesses are closed, many parks and green spaces are open (and probably wide open because most people are celebrating Christmas with family and friends).

Whether the weather is warm or cold, don the right clothes for the climate and take a hike in a park, the woods, or a local green space to get some fresh air after a busy season. Here are tips about How To Find Hiking Trails Wherever You Are.

Do a Trash Cleanup

If the weather is warm enough, take a walk and bring a bag with you to collect waste along the way. Be inspired by the community engagement our contributor, Sarah Burgess, and her family sparked with their Just1Bag initiative.

Here are some tips for doing a little cleanup with friends that you can apply to pick up some trash in your community with your family.

Go Ice Skating

If it’s too cold to pick up trash, it might be just right to go ice skating (especially if you are in a place where it’s cold enough to skate outdoors).

My parents have a pond adjacent to their backyard, so my boys always lace up their skates when we visit in the winter. It’s pretty magical to skate outdoors, even if it’s a bit cold. Skating indoors is fun too, but outdoor skating and pond hockey can’t be beat.

Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

Have one person make a list of holiday-themed items for others to find. Split up into teams and make it a competition to see who finishes first if you want to up the ante. I’m partial to an outdoor scavenger hunt. But if the weather makes that a challenge, an indoor hunt can be fun too.

Attend a Christmas Light Show

Last year, we attended a holiday lights Christmas village as an extended family. Although it was cold, the falling snow perfectly complemented the glowing atmosphere. This year, we are headed back, and we plan to visit on Christmas Day (in the evening of course).

  • Snow paint | Fill up squirt bottles with colored water and become a Van Gogh in your yard. You can repurpose things like condiment bottles, shampoo/conditioner/body wash bottles, or any other type of container that allows you to design with your colorful water paints.
  • Snowshoeing | If you’ll be in a place with snow, try snowshoeing! It’s a new way to explore the outdoors.
  • Ice suncatchers | Grab elements from nature like stems, berries, leaves, branches, and more. Set them on a paper plate or other flat container that you can fill with water around the elements. Freeze them, and then enjoy them outside as decorations for the winter. They may not last long, but that’s ok! The fun is in the creation. Here is a more detailed tutorial.
  • Sledding | You know the drill. Grab a sled and find a hill!
  • Geocaching | They call it the world’s largest treasure hunt. Check out more information here!
  • Ice skating | Rent skates or use your own. When the weather is right, we’ve been able to skate on ponds. But sometimes it’s not cold enough so we hit up an indoor rink for some frozen fun.
  • Make frozen colored ice globes | Fill balloons with colored water. Set them outside to freeze. Once frozen, remove the balloons and enjoy the ice globes as fun decorations. They could look really neat along a driveway or sidewalk.
  • Build a snow castle | If you’ve got snow, build a castle.
  • Christmas lights walk or drive | Find a neighborhood with lots of lights and enjoy the displays they spent so much time and effort creating.
  • Set up and play ice bowling | Use frozen water bottles and a frozen balloon filled with water to set up your own ice bowling game.
  • Outdoor photography challenge with kids | Grab a camera (a phone will do) and have fun seeing the world through kids’ eyes. Create a list of things they can find. The list can specific items, certain colors, general themes… you decide.
  • Visit a playground | If it’s chilly, you’ll probably have it all to yourself! The right clothes make outdoor play so much fun.
  • Play tic-tac-toe in the snow with sticks and colored water | Grab a squeeze or spray bottle and make your own tic-tac-toe board in the snow.
  • Explore a frozen creek | Make sure to bring waterproof boots and be safe!
  • Make snow angels | Such a classic.
  • Frozen Globe Hunt (like an Easter Egg hunt) | Fill water balloons with colored water, remove them balloons, and then hide the frozen globes outdoors. Have a different color for each kid if that makes sense. See who can find all of them first.
  • Winter slip-n-slide | Lay out a slip-n-slide or large tarp and add water on top of it. Let the water freeze to enjoy a winter version of the classic summer toy. If you don’t have a slip-n-slide or tarp, borrow one from a friend or request to borrow it in your Buy Nothing group or other community gifting group.
  • Make frozen bubbles | If it’s really cold, these frozen bubbles are pretty incredible. Here is a tutorial.

Play Together

Host Family Olympics

A couple of years ago, my parents, sisters, and each of our families rented a house in Arizona for the week of Christmas. One of my sisters organized a Family Olympics. Each of us participated in different events ranging from three-legged races, pool diving contests, family trivia, and more. You could even incorporate some great family board games and card games.

Our night ended with s’mores around a fire (you can’t beat that). Those specific activities might not be right for your family, but pick a few activities that you can do as two teams playing against each other.

Do a Christmas Puzzle

With plenty of time to spend together, break out a holiday puzzle and gather around the table. We got this Harry Potter Christmas puzzle last year and did it together. It’s been long enough since we put it together that I’m ready to try it again.

  • Play dress up | Use fun clothes, your clothes, your grandmother’s clothes – whatever you have available.
  • Play board games | Here are some of our favorite family board games.
  • Play knee hockey | My boys are hockey players, so they might be biased. But they love knee hockey. It’s just hockey on your knees with mini sticks.
  • Do a family Tabata workout | There are tons of workout options online. Find one that is the right level for your family to do together and get sweaty.
  • Build with LEGO | We got a special set for each grandkid this holiday season knowing everyone would be at my parents’ house for a week. You can build a specific set or just create with your imagination!

Bake or Cook Together

Share an Indulgent Breakfast

Pull out all the stops and make a delicious breakfast for the whole family to enjoy on a day without much to do (if that’s the case for your family on Christmas Day). One year, we made a fun French Toast bar.

If you prefer to make Christmas morning slow and lazy, prepare a French toast casserole the night before so you can easily warm it up in the oven and let it bake while you open gifts and enjoy the holiday morning.

Bake Something Together

If you aren’t yet sick of baking, hang out in the kitchen together and make something fun. My mom always bakes pizza rolls and homemade bread for the holidays. I tend to gravitate toward sweeter options like cookies and peppermint bark. Whatever suits your fancy, baking together is better. Check out this Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste Baking to reduce waste and be a more sustainable baker.

Drink Homemade Hot Chocolate

There are lots of hot chocolate options at the store, but my son is partial to the hot chocolate mix he made himself. I don’t blame him. Whip up your own hot chocolate mix and enjoy the warm drink together. You could create a powder mix or opt for a hot chocolate bomb instead.

Order Chinese Food

If you have Jewish friends, you probably know it’s a whole thing that many Jews order Chinese food on Christmas day. Of course, not all Jewish people do this. But many of my Jewish friends joke that it’s a common thing for Jewish families to do while the country is practically shut down for a Christian holiday (and arguably a pseudo-Christian secular holiday for families like ours that don’t actively practice religion). Join along, support a local business, and skip making another meal in your own kitchen.

  • Make hot cocoa | You can buy a mix or make your own.
  • Make homemade marshmallows (for your hot cocoa) | Here is a recipe for homemade marshmallows.
  • Homemade pizza night | We’ve made our own pizza with naan bread (store-bought or homemade with this amazing and easy naan recipe), English muffins, or pizza dough (store-bought or homemade). Everyone gets their special toppings. It’s a win for everyone.
  • Make DIY ice cream in a bag | Here are the instructions. It’s easier than you might think!
  • Bake cookies | Your cookies, you’re choice!
  • Bake cinnamon rolls | Find a recipe online. Alternatively, the recipe in this baking cookbook for kids is great too!
  • Make holiday pancakes | But make ’em fancy with cookie cutters (make sure they are not plastic) to create them in fun shapes.

A few more fun family activities

Take Family Photos

Professional photographers are probably (hopefully) spending time with friends and family so you won’t be able to hire a photographer. But grab a tripod for your phone, set the camera timer, and grab a few family photos.

Because it’s a holiday, many places like parks and open spaces will be less crowded, making them suitable for a few family photos. Even if they aren’t the fanciest photos you’ve ever had, they will be free. And with lots of families together, it’s a great time to snap a few photos if you have time.

Do a Candy Cane Hunt

Swap eggs for candy canes to change up this traditional Easter event for Christmas. Little candy canes will be just perfect.

Alternatively, you could use your Easter eggs and fill them with holiday-themed candy. I’m sure the little ones will be just as thrilled. And I’m not sure anyone needs more than a couple of candy canes. All that peppermint gets to be a bit much (at least in my opinion).

Deliver Holiday Treats To Someone Not Expecting It

Whip up an edible holiday treat and drop it off at a friend or neighbor’s house who might not be expecting it. If you’re not sure what to make, try one of these edible gifts for under $20.

If You Like Things to do on Christmas Day with Family, You Might Also Like

10 Low-Waste Meal Ideas for your Wildgrain Box

30+ Fun Adventures For Families To Do Together

The Ultimate List: 39 Sustainable Christmas Ideas

Jen Panaro

Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and advocate for sustainable living for modern families. To find her latest work, subscribe to her newsletter, Stepping Stones.

In her spare time, she’s a serial library book borrower, a messy gardener, and a mom of two boys who spends a lot of time in hockey rinks and on baseball fields.

You can find more of her work at Raising Global Kidizens, an online space to help parents and caregivers raise the next generation of responsible global citizens.

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