what to do on christmas eve as a family

What to Do on Christmas Eve with Your Kids: Making Sweet Memories

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Christmas is a time for family, friends, and fun. It’s also a time for making memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re looking for ideas on how to spend Christmas Eve with your kids, look no further!

In this blog post, we will share some fun activities that will keep the whole family entertained- whether you have a newborn, a toddler, a teenager, or a mix of them all! So gather your kids around and get ready to create some wonderful memories together.

Why You Need Christmas Eve Traditions

There’s something special about having a Christmas Eve tradition. As a kid, I always loved the cozy feels of the night before Christmas. Now as a parent, I want to help my kids feel those same positive emotions around the holiday.

Maybe it’s because the anticipation of Christmas Day is at its peak, or maybe it’s because it’s a chance to slow down and enjoy each other’s company without the hustle and bustle of gift-giving and parties. Whatever the reason, having a few traditions that you can enjoy as a family on Christmas Eve is a great way to make the holiday even more special.

Related read: 70 Fun Christmas Pregnancy Announcement Ideas

What to Do On Christmas Eve: By Category

I will break these ideas up into a few different categories so you can easily find something that fits your family. These will include:

  • For families with babies
  • For families with toddlers
  • For families with elementary school-age kids
  • For families with teenagers
  • For families with a mix of ages
  • For all ages!

Let’s get started!

For Families with Babies

If you have a baby, you might be wondering how to make Christmas Eve special for them. Even though your baby won’t remember this moment, it’ll help build a strong family foundation when you guys are able to spend time together.

Here are some fun Christmas Eve activity ideas for baby:

  • Go on a walk around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights together
  • Make a simple dinner and spend some time talking and laughing together (this is especially great if your baby is starting to eat solid foods and can join in).
  • Read a Christmas story or two
  • Sing Christmas carols before bed
  • Make a handprint or footprint keepsake to hang on the Christmas tree
  • Decorate the Christmas tree together
  • Dance around the house to Christmas music
  • Take some cute family photos
  • Dress your baby in a festive outfit (my personal favorite is fleece jammies)- extra cheesy bonus points for having matching outfits 🙂

Anything you start now can become a loving tradition that you return to year after year. What a sweet way to make each year the best Christmas yet!

See eco-friendly gift ideas here.

For Families with Toddlers

Toddlers are full of energy and life, which can make choosing the right activity for them on Christmas Eve a bit tricky. You’ll want to avoid anything that’s too low-key or boring, but at the same time, you don’t want to wear them out before Santa comes!

Here are a few fun ideas for Christmas Eve traditions for toddlers:

  • Play some Christmas-themed games together, like Jingle Bells Freeze Dance, Pin the Nose on Rudolph, or a holiday scavenger hunt
  • Drink hot chocolate and snuggle up together by a fireplace or under a warm blanket (when weather is appropriate)
  • Bake cookies or another treat together- this is a great activity for toddlers because they love to help and get their hands dirty 🙂
  • Decorate gingerbread houses (store-bought or homemade)
  • Make homemade cards or decorations for Santa, the reindeer, or your Christmas tree (reindeer candy canes anyone?)
  • Have a special picnic dinner by the Christmas tree
  • Read Christmas stories together
  • Play Christmas carols to sing and dance along with
  • Dress in matching outfits for a fun photo shoot, such as Christmas pajamas
  • Watch a special age-appropriate Christmas show or movie
  • Drive around looking at Christmas lights

There are so many ways to make Christmas Eve fun for toddlers. The most important thing is to involve them in whatever activities you choose and to let them be a part of the magic!

See fun Christmas gift ideas for toddlers here.

For Families with Elementary School-Age Kids

If you have elementary school-age kids, you probably want to find activities that are both fun and meaningful. After all, they’re old enough to understand and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas, but they’re still young enough to enjoy all the holiday festivities.

school age kids and christmas eve

Here are a few ideas for traditions you can start with your elementary school-age kids:

  • Attend a Christmas Eve church service together
  • Make a special dinner to celebrate the holiday
  • Set out cookies and milk for Santa
  • Read the Night Before Christmas before bed (or any favorite book)
  • Talk about what you’re thankful for and your favorite memories from past Christmas’
  • Talk about what they’re most excited about on Christmas morning
  • Write a letter to Santa together
  • Make a gingerbread house or bake cookies together
  • Decorate the Christmas tree as a family
  • Make ornaments or garlands that will go on the Christmas tree together
  • Drink hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows
  • Snuggle up together under a cozy blanket
  • Watch their favorite Christmas movies
  • Hang Christmas stockings
  • Dress in matching outfits, such as Christmas pajamas (that you let them pick)
  • Put together a favorite holiday playlist and listen to it together

There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate Christmas Eve with elementary school-age kids. The most important thing is to focus on spending quality time together as a family.

See fun Christmas gifts ideas for kids here.

For Families with Teenagers

If you have teenagers, you might be thinking that they’re too old for all the “kid stuff.” But the truth is, most teenagers still love spending time with their families during the holidays- they just might not always admit it!

christmas eve fun with a teenager

Here are a few ideas for traditions you can start with your teenagers on Christmas Eve:

  • Have a family game night and play all your favorite games (a board game, truth or dare, charades, etc.)
  • Make a gingerbread house or bake cookies together (or have a gingerbread house decorating contest)
  • Decorate the tree on Christmas eve as a family- try to see who can come up with the most creative decoration!
  • Host a Christmas Eve holiday party with other family members or friends
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Watch a favorite Christmas movie (or two) together and make popcorn
  • Make a special dinner to celebrate the holiday
  • Set out cookies and milk for Santa
  • Talk about what you’re thankful for and your favorite memories and traditions from past Christmas’
  • Write a letter to yourself about your inspiration, hopes, and dreams for the coming year
  • Hang stockings together
  • Make homemade gifts together
  • Play their favorite video game
  • Have a bake off
  • Go to a show together
  • Have an ugly Christmas sweater contest
  • Play Christmas music and sing karaoke
  • Go Christmas caroling on Christmas Eve

For families with a mix of ages

If you have a mix of ages in your family, you might want to find activities that everyone can enjoy together. Really, it all comes down to what your children love most. So if you’re not sure, ask them and try to do a little bit of everything that each of your kids would enjoy.

You can revisit all of the Christmas Eve tradition ideas above. Plus, here are a few other ideas for the whole family:

  • Do a small Christmas gift exchange between siblings (with Christmas presents that you help orchestrate)
  • Get your family playing a game that all ages can enjoy
  • Listen to holiday favorites, dance, laugh, and be silly together
  • Bake and decorate Christmas cookies for Santa
  • Play a variety of board games (everyone’s favorites)
  • Drive around town and pick your favorite light displays while listening and singing along to Christmas music

Check out these fun experience based gifts for all ages.

Christmas Eve Fun for All Ages

There is something special about the holidays. The days are shorter and colder, but families and friends make an effort to get together and enjoy the season.

The best memories that our children will cherish from their holidays are those times spent together. No gifts will take the place of quality time, love, and laughter.

So no matter what kind of Christmas eve tradition you want to start, make sure you carve out that special time with your kids that helps them feel loved and celebrate each other.

What are some of your favorite Christmas Eve traditions? Share in the comments below! What are some of your favorite Christmas Eve traditions? Share in the comments

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