Are you spending Christmas Day at home with your family? Here are lots of fun things to do with the family on a low-key day to enjoy together.
Just about every year, we celebrate Christmas with my family. We 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.
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.
Fun Things to Do With Family on Christmas Day
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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 your own holiday card display. This hanging holiday card decoration took about thirty minutes to make (including time to gather up the supplies and scour my yard for the perfect fallen branch). It’s 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 certainly 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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About The Author
Jen Panaro, founder and editor-in-chief of Honestly Modern, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. 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.