20+ Awesome Things To Do On Christmas Eve The Whole Family Will Love

Selection of easy and fun things to do on Christmas eve that are suitable for the kids and the whole family.

Creating Christmas traditions is exciting and fun and there are so many things that you can do. This will be the start of making memories that you will cherish forever.

things to do on Christmas Eve

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Christmas eve is such a special day of the year.

For most people, the shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and it’s time to start relaxing and enjoying the festive season.

Some families have countless traditions that they undertake and others are looking for some new fun things to do on Christmas eve.

The good news is that there are lots of Christmas traditions you could adopt.

Whether you are just looking for one more, or whether you need a whole heap of inspiration, there are PLENTY of ideas here for things you can do on Christmas eve that the entire family will enjoy.

These ideas are also pretty simple and straight forward meaning you don’t need to undertake a lot of planning to achieve them. The last thing you need is extra pressure at Christmas.

Whatever you decide to do, you will be making fond memories with your family and friends that you will be able to cherish for many years to come.

What Do People Traditionally Do On Christmas Eve?

One of the big questions that is often asked is “what do people traditionally do on Christmas eve”.

Well the beauty of this question is that there is NO right or wrong tradition.

The point of a tradition is that it is something that you and your family have put together.

You might already have one tradition, you might have several or you might have none.

The best way to create traditions is to try some new things. You will soon find the things that you enjoy and want to undertake year after year.

THAT will then become your family tradition for Christmas eve.

There are however a number of traditions that are very popular with a lot of families which you can find below.

Kids sitting around the tree on Christmas eve

Photo credit: Chris Benson / Unsplash

20 Ideas For Things To Do On Christmas Eve

1. Have a Christmas Eve Breakfast

Is there something in particular that your family love to eat as a treat for breakfast?

It could be a cooked meal. 

It could be pancakes.

Or it could be a continental breakfast.

Whatever it is that your family enjoy, why not lay out a spread, sit down and eat together. It would be the perfect way to start the day.

2. Wear Ugly Sweaters

Have you ever been involved with the ugly sweater trend?

It’s either something you will love or hate, but if you are going to do it, then Christmas eve is the perfect time.

It’s as simple as it sounds. Everyone wears a Christmas ugly sweater!

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere like me and the thought of wearing a sweater just makes you faint, then simply change it up to wearing a Christmas ugly t-shirt. The principle is exactly the same.

This would be fun with just your immediate family, or if you are having friends over, you could award a prize for the most voted Christmas ugly sweater.

3. Make A Gingerbread House

For many families, making a gingerbread house is a Christmas tradition.

This is one of those special family activities that would be perfect to do on Christmas eve. There are many gingerbread house kits that you can purchase so you don’t need to worry about baking the gingerbread from scratch.

If the kids are young, they would require some help with the construction of the house, but they can be let loose with the decorating.

making a gingerbread house

Photo credit: Phillip Goldsberry / Unsplash

4. Make Christmas Crafts

One of the easiest things to do on Christmas eve is to undertake some Christmas crafts for kids. This will definitely keep them entertained.

Alternatively you might have some last minute gifts to coordinate and making some homemade Christmas gifts would be a wonderful thing to do on Christmas eve.

5. Make Christmas Bon Bons

Need some bon bons for Christmas day? Why not make the bon bons yourself!

This would be a great activity for the kids to be involved in and the best thing is that you get to decide what goes into them!

6. Bake Cookies For Santa

If you are thinking about leaving out some cookies for Santa, Christmas eve would be a great time to bake them!

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked treats whilst having Christmas carols playing to put you into the Christmas mood.

The kids will love decorating their special cookies for Santa and then leaving them out for him before they go to bed.

baking cookies for santa

Photo credit: Uliana Kopanytsia / Unsplash

7. Have a Hot Cocoa Bar

Set up a small area with some milk, and dark chocolate.

Add toppings such as:

  • Marshmallows
  • Cream
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Crushed Candy Canes

Let everyone create their perfect hot chocolate. This will definitely be a winner for Christmas eve!

8. Ornament Exchange

Christmas ornaments definitely make up a huge part of Christmas decoration. 

A special moment between family and friends would be to undertake an ornament exchange. 

Prior to Christmas eve, everyone could make a handmade Christmas ornament and then exchange this on the day. This would be such a personal moment and something everyone would love participating in.

9. Write A Letter To Santa

Kids love to leave out cookies and milk for Santa, but how about leaving him a letter too?

Christmas eve is the perfect time to sit down and write him a note. The kids natural excitement will shine through the letter, and this will be an awesome thing to look back on in years to come!

writing a letter to Santa

Photo credit: Cottonbro / Pexels

10. Read Christmas Books

Take a trip to the library in the days leading up to Christmas and grab as many Christmas books as you can.

Kids will love to sit down and read some Christmas stories on Christmas eve. 

11. Watch a Christmas Movie

Another awesome thing to do on Christmas eve is to watch a Christmas movie. There are so many to choose from that you should easily be able to find one that the whole family will enjoy.

Prepare some Christmas snacks and drinks and all snuggle up on the couch together.

12. Play Board Games

Christmas is generally a time that you get together with friends and family. Some you may not have seen for a while.

Playing board games is the perfect way to get everyone interacting together and having fun.

Have a selection of board games ready to go and then take a vote on what you will play.

Depending on how many people you have at home, you may decide to have several games running at one time.

13. Christmas Stocking Game

Have several items handy that you can place in a stocking. 10 items would make a good game

Place one item at a time into the stocking and hand it around the group. Everyone has to guess what is in the stocking and write their guess on a piece of paper.

Once all the items have been passed around, it’s time to give everyone the answers.

The winner is the person with the most correct guesses.

14. Do Something For Charity

Christmas is a time for giving, so what better time than Christmas eve to give some time to charity.

It could be as simple as taking down some food bags to the food bank, or giving up some time to assist with lunch at a soup kitchen.

Have a think about how much time you have to offer, and what your kids could be involved in.

Just a simple gesture can go a long way.

15. Read Your Memory Jar

If you have created a memory jar over the last year, Christmas eve would be a great time to sit down together as a family and read out the memories.

This will bring back a lot of moments that you might have forgotten about and will definitely create a lot of laughs.

16. Take A Trip To Christmas Lights

One way of getting the magic of Christmas happening is to take a trip to see some Christmas lights. This is a great family thing to do on Christmas eve.

Check out whether there are some light trails in your area, or some areas that really like to decorate. Do a bit of planning before Christmas eve so you know where to go.

Then pack some hot chocolate and some snacks and off you go.

Kids will love it!

Outdoor Christmas lights

Photo credit: James Wheeler / Unsplash

17. Attend Church

One of the most popular things to do on Christmas eve is to attend church. Many church’s have extra services on Christmas eve at various times of the day. 

Church’s will often have services that are appropriate for children. Otherwise some also have a midnight service where you can welcome in Christmas day as a family. 

18. Track Santa

Such an awesome, fun and incredibly exciting thing to do is track Santa. 

Use a tracking site that NORAD to see where Santa is in the world and how long it will be until he reaches you. It also tells you how long he has been in the air and how many presents he has delivered.

It’s also a great way to get the kids into bed on time and make sure they are asleep. Santa wont come if the kids are awake now will he!

19. Leave Out Christmas Stockings or Sacks

Don’t forget before the kids go to bed to leave out their stockings or sacks. This has got to be regarded as one of the most important things to do on Christmas eve!

Kids might like to hang their stockings on a fireplace, leave in front of the Christmas tree, or if feeling brave at the end of their bed.

Hang Christmas stockings

Photo credit: Luke Southern / Unsplash

20. Leave Out Food For The Reindeer

Whilst it’s quite common for kids to leave out food for Santa, don’t forget the reindeer!

Make up a bag of magic reindeer food and attach a special poem to the bag.

Do this in the morning so the kids can get extra excited about leaving the food out at night. Then sprinkle the food on the drive way or lawn before heading to bed.

Tip: Don’t forget to go outside and sweep some of the food up (making a mess in the process). You don’t want the kids to see a pile of food exactly as they left it on Christmas morning! The kids need to see that the reindeers have enjoyed the food that was left for them.

What Goes Inside A Christmas Eve Box?

One of the things to do on Christmas eve that is becoming very popular is to create a Christmas eve box. 

The purpose of the box is to create a little bit of extra magic on Christmas eve. The box might be given as a treat in the morning or shortly before going to bed.

Once you decide on a time, try and keep it the same time each year so that it becomes a family tradition.

Things to go inside a Christmas box could include:

  • New set of Pyjamas
  • A Christmas movie
  • A Christmas sweet treat
  • Special Christmas mug
  • A game
  • A book (doesn’t necessarily have to be a Christmas book)
Opening a Christmas eve box

Photo credit: Nicole Michalou / Pexels

The things you put inside the Christmas eve box don’t have to be extra things on top of your Christmas presents. They could simply be items you were going to give on Christmas day anyway but have them all bundled up into one fun and exciting box.

You might like to make a box for just the kids, or prepare one for everyone.

There are so many fun things to do on Christmas eve and you certainly cant do them all. Pick a few that you think would work well with your family and try them out.

Some things will work well and other’s not so well.

What you will find is that the kids will have their favorite things to do and they will then ask you to do them again next year, and the year after, and the year after. 

Before you know it you will have several Christmas eve traditions that the kids will fondly remember as they grow up.

The most important thing to remember is that the best things to do on Christmas eve are the things that are going to make you smile.

You don’t have to make elaborate plans or host a huge party. You simply need to think about what your family enjoys and coordinate a day that fits with that.

Christmas eve set up

Photo credit: Lynda Hinton / Unsplash

Need some more Christmas ideas? Check out these easy magical Christmas ideas the whole family can enjoy. You will find more printables, simple recipes, decorations and more.

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