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45 Christmas Activities to Do for a Fun Holiday Season

Make the most of the season by organizing these fun-filled Christmas activities. There's a little something for everyone!

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Make the most of the holidays by doing these fun Christmas activities

Christmas is referred to as the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. People love embracing those classic Christmas symbols while participating in Christmas traditions and Christmas activities with their favorite people as they count down to the big holiday. It seems like there’s so much to do and so little time during the holidays, though—so how do you narrow down the list?

We get that you’re busy with holiday shopping, cooking, baking and probably a thousand other things as you prepare for Christmas. That’s why we’ve created a list of the best Christmas activities to do this holiday season. These activities incorporate fun Christmas themes, and the best part is that you can do them whenever you please—during the week, on weekends and even on Christmas Eve. Bookmark this list and use it to plan a season full of festive fun!

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Close-Up Of Person Wearing Hat On Field During Winter SnowmanNatalia Velme/Getty Images

Make a festive snowman

Make Frosty the Snowman festive! Make a snowman with your family and dress it up for the holidays, complete with a hat, scarf and pipe. Dress him up with items you have at home, or get this Snowman Kit to get the job done.

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Christmas homemade gingerbread cookieshaveseen/Getty Images

Bake Christmas cookies

Is it really the holidays if you don’t bake some delicious treats? This is a classic Christmas activity everyone in the family can participate in. Bonus points if you use fun Christmas-themed cookie cutters. Cookies can even be a great gift for her or him if they have a sweet tooth.

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Make Christmas ornaments

Making DIY Christmas ornaments is a great way to get everyone together for a fun, craft-filled day. Get some blank ornaments and left the decorating begin!

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young woman reading and drinking tea with dog by Christmas treeCavan Images/Getty Images

Read a Christmas book (or two)

‘Tis the season to get your hands on a few great Christmas books and get lost in merry words. Start with a classic, like Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and don’t forget to grab a children’s Christmas book to read to the little ones in your life.

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Listen to Christmas music

One of the fundamental Christmas activities to do is listen to holiday tunes. Create a playlist with the best Christmas songs, stream it on your favorite device (like an Amazon Echo Dot) and let the sound of cheer fill your home. Need some inspo to get you started? These are some funny and sad Christmas song ideas to get you started.

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Two happy positive teenage girls friends in warm fur coats are having fun walking skating on a skating rink in the winter forest during the Christmas vacation. A couple of women in love spend time together in nature in cold winterElizaveta Starkova/Getty Images

Go ice skating

This is a great winter activity to do with loved ones. Go to a local rink, lace up those skates and show off your skating skills, or learn to skate if you’ve never done it before. Make it extra fun by rocking some ugly Christmas sweaters at the rink.

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See a Christmas play

Check if your local theatre company is putting on a Christmas play, like The Nutcracker or A Christmas Carol, and take the family to see it. You’ll create fun memories and support a community group all at once. Then conclude the night by playing a fun Christmas game at home.

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Make a gingerbread house

Grab a gingerbread house kit and have your loved ones help you build it. Talk about festive and fun! Here are some gingerbread house ideas for inspiration.

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See Christmas light displays

Drive around town and marvel at the lovely outdoor displays residents put up (and don’t forget to stock up on your own outdoor Christmas lights for the holidays).

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Host an ugly sweater party

One of the most fun Christmas activities to do is host a party where everyone must wear an ugly sweater. The uglier, the better. Don’t forget to break out your best Christmas party games for bonus holiday fun.

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Homemade vanilla Christmas drink Eggnog in glass with grated nutmeg and cinnamon stickswmaster890/Getty Images

Make eggnog

Make this classic Christmas beverage from scratch this year and add your own twist to it. It’s sure to be a hit at holiday parties! Just make sure you have a whisk handy.

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Volunteer in your community

One of the most rewarding Christmas activities is volunteering, which allows you to give back to your community. Reach out to homeless shelters, animal shelters, churches and other local organizations to see how you can help this holiday season.

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Have a Christmas movie marathon

Make family movie night festive by streaming all the best Christmas movies. Grab the popcorn, snuggle up on the couch with a warm throw blanket and enjoy. Make it extra special by watching your favorite holiday films on a projector.

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Host a Christmas game night

Invite friends and family over for a holiday-themed game night this year. All you need are some fun Christmas games (don’t forget Christmas bingo) and great company to create a memorable festive game night. Include some classic board games, like Elf-themed Monopoly too!

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Do a random act of kindness

Celebrate the season of giving by doing a random act of kindness. The smallest kind act can make all the difference to someone, especially around the holidays. It can be something as simple as paying for someone’s coffee or complimenting someone on the street.

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Send Christmas cards

Let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them during the holidays by sending them a lovely Christmas card. This can be a family Christmas card, a printed Christmas card or a card you made by hand. Take the time to write a meaningful Christmas message in each card before sending them off to friends and family.

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Host a Christmas party

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas party? Pick a theme, gather some fun party games, break out the festive decor and let the fun begin. Don’t forget to throw favors like fun Christmas glasses into the mix—everyone will want to take pictures wearing them.

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Christmas Patchwork Red Star Block Fragment of Quilt, Sewing Accessories, Space for text on Green Backgroundoxygen/Getty Images

Make a Christmas quilt

If you know your way around a sewing needle, a great Christmas activity is creating a lovely Christmas quilt. You can keep it for yourself or give it to a loved one as a gift. Create your own pattern or download one to reference.

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Cook a Christmas meal from another country

Cooking a Christmas meal that’s popular in another country is a great way to learn about other cultures (and get your family to try a new dish). Get those pots and pans ready!

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Make a Christmas wreath

DIY Christmas decorations are a blast to make, and one of the best is a festive Christmas wreath. Make it with ornaments, ribbon, glitter or all of the above.

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Go on a Christmas hike

After you’ve opened Christmas presents, take the family on a nice hike on Christmas (weather permitting, of course). It’ll get your family out of the house on Christmas and help you work up an appetite for dinner.

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Have a Christmas pajama night

Break out the holiday jammies for a festive (and fun) night in with the family. Eat snacks, build forts and make lovely memories with your matching pajamas.

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Go Christmas caroling

Use your pipes to sing some classic Christmas carols around the neighborhood this year. Get a group together to spread the holiday cheer in harmony! Sport classic Santa hats for a festive touch.

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Host a Christmas craft night

Christmas is a great time of year to get crafty. Gather some craft ideas for adults and kids and host a fun Christmas craft night. The possibilities are endless, so bring any idea you’ve got to the table.

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Go sledding

This is a perfect Christmas activity if you live in a snowy area. You’ll have a blast zipping down the snowy hills in a sled while laughing with the ones you love most.

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Scottish Christmas ParadeRichard T. Nowitz/Getty Images

Go to a Christmas parade

See if your town is putting on a Christmas parade and, if so, take the whole family. It’s a fun way to see the community come together for the holidays, plus you’ll get to see the wonderfully decorated floats. Also, make sure to check out these Christmas pickup lines just incase you bump into a special someone.

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Organize a White Elephant gift exchange

This is a really fun Christmas activity to organize. Get your family and friends together for a White Elephant gift exchange, where the name of the game is to “steal” gifts strategically. Everyone will have a blast and walk away with something new—a real holiday win-win. Stock up on your White Elephant gifts now so you’re prepared. One idea to consider: a One Line a Day memory journal.

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Have a Christmas scavenger hunt

Hide Christmas-themed clues around the house that lead to something special, like a small gift or sweet treat.

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Have a Christmas photoshoot

Capture precious Christmas memories by doing a photoshoot with your family. Plus, you’ll have plenty of photos to choose from for your family Christmas card. Bonus points if you wear matching Christmas sweaters.

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Get a picture with Santa

Head to your local mall and have the kids get a couple of pictures with St. Nick himself. They’ll be excited to meet Santa, and you’ll get pictures to use for your Christmas card. Have the kiddos wear a sweet Christmas sweater to make the picture extra special.

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Participate in a Christmas-themed race

Many areas put on Christmas-themed 5Ks and other races. If you’re looking for Christmas activities that help you stay active, this is definitely one to consider this year. Grab new sneakers for the race and start training!

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Miniature Christmas DisplaysRika Rahayu / EyeEm/Getty Images

Set up a Christmas village

Have some fun with your holiday decor and set up a small Christmas village in your home. You could even add some magic to it by making up a fun Christmas story about the village for your kids.

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Have a Christmas-themed slumber party

The night before Christmas Eve, have a slumber party in the living room to capture the Christmas magic. Stay up telling Christmas stories and drinking hot cocoa, and eventually fall asleep in a cozy fort—or even under the Christmas tree.

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Donate to a toy drive

While you’re Christmas shopping, buy a couple of extra toys to donate to a local toy drive. Have the kids help wrap them and drop them off so they see the impact of giving back to the community.

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Share Christmas memories

This is a great activity to do on Christmas Eve. Gather with loved ones and tell stories of Christmases past, detailing your greatest memories with your favorite people.

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Start a Christmas scrapbook

Start recording your favorite Christmas memories in a festive scrapbook so you can relive them down the road. This also makes a great Christmas gift for everyone in the family (especially mom and dad).

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Take a Christmas trip

Have you always wanted to travel somewhere around Christmas? This year, take the leap and plan that special Christmas trip (and use these holiday travel tips to help everything go smoothly). Need some destination ideas? Check out these best Christmas towns in America and ideas for a great Christmas getaway.

Little black girl lying on floor, writing letter to SantaProstock-Studio/Getty Images

Write letters for future Christmases

Create something fun for your future self by writing a letter for future you to open on Christmas. Fill it with whatever you want, whether it be advice, predictions, wishes or all of the above.

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Make a popcorn garland

Get to popping! This is a fun Christmas activity to do with the whole family. The best part? You can snack as you work.

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snowman inflatables outside of house during winterJamesBrey/Getty Images

Put up fun Christmas inflatables

Have your loved ones help you decorate the yard with fun and festive Christmas inflatables. Go with classics like a snowman or Santa, or get a little silly and put a Christmas-themed dinosaur on the lawn.

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Creative mature woman knitting handmade presents at home on Christmas or new year holidaysOlga Rolenko/Getty Images

Knit Christmas hats

Show off those knitting skills by whipping up adorable Christmas hats for your loved ones. Make sure to grab plenty of red yarn to work with.

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Several evergreen trees planted in a rowTammi Mild/Getty Images

Visit a Christmas tree farm

Getting a real Christmas tree this year? If so, bring the whole family to a Christmas tree farm so they can help pick out a tree. Some tree farms also have fun family-themed events and tasty treats ready!

Christmas express and toy Magic Santa Claus brings gifts. Christmas Decoration Home Interior Santa Express TrainSergey Dolgikh/Getty Images

Take a Christmas train ride

Take inspiration from The Polar Express and hop on a Christmas-themed train ride. Some trains have Santa aboard, along with family-friendly Christmas activities. Plus, it’s a great way to have the family explore your area.

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Set up an Elf on the Shelf

Putting up an Elf on the Shelf is a beloved Christmas activity many families do each year. Grab an Elf on the Shelf of your own and let it work its mischievous holiday magic.

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Take a neighborhood stroll

If you’re looking for things to do on Christmas Day, something low-key is to take the family on a neighborhood stroll. Admire your neighbor’s yard decorations and embrace the winter wonderland (if you live in an area that gets snow around Christmas) before sitting down for Christmas dinner. If you run into other neighbors, wish them happy holidays!

Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.