25 Family Activities for a more Magical Christmas
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ MAGIC RIGHT FROM THE START ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥– Beginning of December
Letters to Santa Claus
This is my son's letter from last year. Straight to the point. This boy knew exactly what he wanted!
This is one of the very first things we do in December, right off the bat. Since before my kids could write their own letter we have sent a wish list to St. Nick. It is a magical tradition to think you are connecting with someone so incredible on the other side of the world. It's a time they get to think about what they really want for Christmas. But once that letter is headed to the North Pole we do a 360 and focus on others.
Cut Down Your Own Real Christmas Tree
It is so exciting to hop in the truck and drive to the mountain to seek out the perfect tree! The National Forests will usually begin selling tree-cutting permits on Nov. 15. Permits are around $15 and let you cut down one 10-foot-tall tree. Trees must be cut within designated cutting areas.
If you are unable to travel to cut down your own tree, stop by a beautiful Christmas tree yard and pick out your Christmas tree there. Either way there is nothing like the smell of a real Christmas pine in your home.
Decorate Your Christmas Tree
Crank up the Christmas tunes and go NUTS! In our home Mom does all the twinkling lights and the kids go wild with the ornaments. The bottom of the tree is smothered with shiny balls and homemade ornaments while the top of the tree is somewhat sparse. But when the tree is complete, you see their proud faces and it doesn’t even matter how the tree looks. Their eyes light up in the beauty they created.
Sleep under the Christmas tree
We ALWAYS take a picture sitting by the tree with the lights aglow each year, sitting in the same order. It is so fun to see how they grow each year. The night that we set up the tree we like to grab our pillows and blankets and have a family camp out under the tree. Have you ever turned off all the lights except those on the glowing tree, laid down on the floor under the tree and looked up! It is beautiful and an absolutely magical view. It would also be exciting to sleep under the tree Christmas Eve but Santa might have an anxiety attack when he visits that night. Just saying!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ KEEP THE LIGHT GROWING ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥– throughout the Month
Christmas Cards/ Frame Your Christmas Card Each Year
Each year after making them and sending them off we save one to frame. It is so fun to see how the styles and trends change and see how much our family has grown. Then we display them around the house. It brings back lots of great memories!
Every year I individually wrap a stack of Christmas/holiday/winter books. Then I put number 1-24 on the gifts. Each number will correspond with the date in December. The last will be opened Christmas Eve. I like to order the books starting with crazy and silly Holiday books like, Mooseltoe or There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow. Then slowly make our way to reading books that bring out the Christmas spirit in our hearts. Stories like A Christmas Dress For Ellen. My kids will someday understand why I cannot make it through the last 5 pages without weeping. There is nothing like a story that pierces the heart!
Hot Cocoa Bar
Break out the mugs! Or better yet the Insulated Disposable Coffee Cups with lids. Load up your own personalized cocoa cup with delicious toppings such as crushed peanut butter cups, candy cane, marshmallows, coconut. Last year I made these stirring spoons. Simply melt your different flavored chocolates in separate bowls (milk, dark, and white chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter), dip your spoon in a flavor then add a topping. Then set it on wax paper. Freeze after you have filled the tray. Break them out when you are ready for your cocoa and stir in the goodness! Never forget the whipped cream!
One of my most meaningful Christmas memories is the year that my husband and I got married. A woman at my husband's work had a kitchen fire in her home. Their family was blessed with safety but their kitchen was a total loss. We had many wedding gifts that were duplicate kitchen necessities that we were planning to return. Instead, we wrapped them in Christmas paper and piled the gifts on her front porch, rang the doorbell and ran. There is nothing better than that moment of rushing to hide while the excitement is building as they open the door. We have kept up the tradition these 12 years. There have been some years that we had nearly no money but still tried to find a way to do a Secret Santa. My husband's cousin was staying in the Cancer Centers of America only 15 minutes from our home one Christmas. We loved to visit her. The last time we saw her, we took her a gift and my daughter and husband played her songs on the grand piano in the lobby. It was beautiful! A very special time that will always stay in our hearts.
Make an ornament for your tree
There are a billion ideas for homemade ornaments on Pinterest. Most of the ornaments can be made with little things around the house. Fabric, paper, clothes pins, beads, buttons, etc. There are so many fun possibilities. My husband and I have some of our childhood ornaments on our tree. These handmade treasures are always the most beautiful addition to the tree! I especially love homemade cinnamon ornaments. They make your home smell lovely all season long.
Bake Christmas cookies
There is nothing like the smell of cookies straight out of the oven! So break out the candy and frosting and have a little sugar high! Instead of eating all of them, take plates of goodies to the neighbors and sing a few Christmas Carols while you are at it.
Gingerbread House Contest
Get a few families together and have a gingerbread house contest! Everyone can pitch in on all the candies. Bake your own gingerbread houses! It is really easy and cuts down the cost. Try these Gingerbread House Pans.
See the Lights
In nearly every city there are houses that blow you away with their light displays. Hop in the car and drive around with Christmas music in the background. You can also get some additional families and have a Christmas light scavenger hunt. Make a list of items to look for, hop in the cars and race to find all of the items first, then meet back at one of your homes for Hot Chocolate. Try a hot chocolate maker to speed things up.
Sing Christmas Carols
One of our new favorite things is to have a Christmas karaoke/lip sync night. Everyone picks out 3 of their favorite songs and take turns singing or in my case lip syncing my heart out! It is essential to hold a microphone! Even better, a kitchen serving spoon does the job! You can even wrap it up with Christmas washi tape!
Act out the Nativity story
Aren't they the cutest! Dress up the kids in daddy's dress shirts, pillowcases, and fabric scraps. Read from the Book of Luke in the Bible and act out the sweet story that changed the world forever.
Ugly Sweater Contest
Find an old sweater for each family member. I buy mine at a local savers or goodwill. Find random bells, buttons, ribbon, glitter and hot glue. Everyone decorates their sweaters, let them dry over night, then wear them the next night to dinner. Afterwards give everyone an award for their different designs. Then eat pumpkin pie together for dessert.
Living in Phoenix we don’t get the luxury of playing in the snow all winter long. But we have a tradition that gets us through. We pack up our gear and head to the mountains bright and early in the morning. We pack a lunch and snacks and lots of hot water in an insulated cooler and of course hot cocoa packets and cups. We spend the whole day sledding and playing in the snow.
Many Railroads around the country host a Polar Express event. We thoroughly enjoyed our journey to the North Pole. The Polar Express book was read while we ate warm chocolate chip cookies and drank creamy hot cocoa. We arrived to the North Pole and saw a glowing land of Snow and lights. Santa walked through the train and gave each of my kids a silver bell. The bell rings for all who truly believe. It was very magical!
Visit a Mall Santa
It is always fun to see the Mall Santa. Santa is really such a jolly character but he as you can imagine a very mysterious man. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love that each of my kids started off a little scared of Santa the first time they met. They make for fun memories and great pictures.
Instead of everyone buying a gift for everyone else we draw names and buy for the person whose name we chose. We choose the name early in the month so that everyone has a chance to watch that person and decide what they really want for Christmas. Then we have a Mall Day, I literally go to the mall once a year, on Our Christmas Mall Day. It's busy but exciting. All the lovely decorations and lights make for a fun atmosphere.
Share Christmas memories
Sit around the Christmas tree and tell memories of all your special Christmas experiences. I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old Santa's reindeer walked all over the fresh snow in my front yard. MY YARD! I was ecstatic! That was my favorite Christmas growing up! As a grown up I was told that Santa's helpers wore stilts and walked all over my front lawn. But the Magic was still there!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ CHRISTMAS EVE ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Christmas Eve Dinner
Get all dressed up! Break out the fancy dishes and make your favorite meal. My kids were all over those fancy goblets. And would you believable it, no spills?! That is a miracle, my friends, a miracle!
Right after dinner we open our only Christmas eve gift, our Christmas jammies. I am a little looney so I always coordinate PJ's for everyone in the family.
I started using these adorable Santa Bags last year! My kids went crazy when they saw these came directly from the North Pole! After Christmas we put the bags on our from porch and Santa's elves picked them up! Find them HERE!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ CHRISTMAS MORNING ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Christmas Morning Bells
After Santa leaves the presents under the tree, we can always hear Santa's sleigh bells outside the window.