The holiday time is here, and family holiday activities are a must!
Family gatherings are on the horizon, but with busy schedules, kids’ extra-curricular activities, and extended family comings and goings — it can be hard to get your loved ones together for some good old-fashioned fun!
10 Fun Family Holiday Activities
The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather, and that’s certainly true for families with kids.
But when you have young children, it can take effort to figure out how to keep your kids occupied during the long stretches when everyone is just sitting around. That’s why it pays to have some activities lined up in advance—it makes things easier for you and prevents your little ones from getting too restless.
Here are 10 fun family holiday activities you can do this year!
1.Host a Cookie Exchange
Nothing says “happy holiday” like cookies!
An old-fashioned cookie exchange will surely be a hit with everyone in your family and spread some holiday cheer around the room. First, everyone brings their favorite type of cookie and adds it to a big table of goodies. Then, everyone gets to sample the cookies (and bring home whatever they want) while chatting.
One of the easiest ways to ensure everyone has a good time—and you don’t have to worry about a thing—is to involve the whole family in the party prep.
The night before the event, set out all the supplies for your cookie swap: measuring spoons and cups for ingredients, muffin trays lined with cupcake liners for keeping cookies fresh, and paper bags for easy clean-up. You could even provide bowls and utensils for mixing and decorating.
Bake and decorate together, building memories that will last.
2. Have a Winter Movie Night
Get blankets, pillows, and chairs ready, and have a movie night during winter break!
Hosting a movie night during the holidays is fun to keep warm and cozy, even if you have nowhere to go. It’s one of the most accessible family holiday activities.
The best part about this idea is that it can work for any holiday tradition you follow—Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.
It’s perfect for people of all ages because there’s something for everyone. If you want to get the whole family involved in the planning process, ask everyone to bring one of their favorite movies to watch. If they’re too long to fit into one night, feel free to spread them out over a few days.
Regarding snacks, feel free to be as creative and original as you want. If your family has unique traditions around particular food and drinks during the holidays, incorporate them into your movie night and let everyone have fun!
3. Donate Gently Used Toys
Giving back to your community is a beautiful thing to teach your kids. While it’s easy enough to talk about volunteering or giving to charity, it’s another thing to show them what giving means. A great way to do this is through the holidays.
The holiday season is a time of celebration and gratitude—a perfect chance for us all to take a moment and think about how we can give back.
If you’re planning on buying gifts for friends and family, why not consider donating some toys? Donating is an excellent way for everyone to come together and give something special to those in need.
Donating helps your community and teaches your children the value of giving. And this season of giving couldn’t be a better time to start.
When you donate gently used toys, the charity you give to will ensure that your donation goes to children who might not have the opportunity to play with new toys during the holidays. It’s one of the most critical family holiday activities.
4. Do a Holiday Lights Tour
There are so many fabulous and fun activities to do during the holidays that it can be hard to pick just one.
Lights tours are an excellent way to spend time together. You head out at night (avoiding traffic) to see houses in your area decked out in their holiday finest.
The whole family votes on their favorites and you take home fun memories of your time together and snapshots of what you think were the best displays.
Some cities may set up a website listing their top picks, while others may have apps available while you’re out seeing the sights.
If you’re based in Charleston, SC, you can always go to the James Island County Park Festival of Lights with your family. See the lights, drink hot chocolate, and roast marshmallows together. It’s a great option when it comes to the list of family holiday activities.
5. Make Gingerbread Houses
Gingerbread houses are another great way to enjoy festive fun without too much planning or budget required. They’re perfect for kids of all ages, and they make lasting memories that future generations can enjoy. Plus, they’re delicious!
Gingerbread houses have always been a part of holiday traditions. They’re a fun, delicious way to get into the spirit of the holiday season.
Building gingerbread houses is a great way for you and your kids to connect with your creativity, spend quality time together, and learn valuable budgeting, teamwork, and problem-solving lessons!
If you need more time this year, there are plenty of pre-crafted options. You can find inexpensive kits at any craft store that include everything you need to make your house: the walls, roof, and windows (and even the candy “bling” that goes on top).
6. Create Popcorn Garland Together
Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh, hot popcorn wafting through the house on a fantastic autumn evening? Popcorn garland is a fun activity for the whole family to do together; one of the more accessible family holiday activities.
Popcorn garland is a fun DIY project for the whole family and making it is a great way to get everyone in on the holiday spirit. It’s so easy that kids can help their parents make this festive garland, which is perfect for a weekend family craft project or rainy day activity.
You need some string, a few basic household objects, and popcorn kernels—kids can help with that too!
Just pop the kernels and thread them onto your line to make a colorful garland that you can use as a centerpiece or to decorate your tree.
You can get as hung up on perfection as you want or create rows of popcorn pieces for a quick, haphazard look appropriate for any Christmas tree.
7. Go Caroling
Caroling, or singing Christmas songs outdoors, is a fun activity that families can do together during the holiday season. It’s a tradition in some parts of the country, especially in the northeastern states.
One of the oldest and most beloved holiday traditions, caroling is a great way to enjoy quality time with your loved ones as you spread cheer around town. You can even get kids involved by having them help write silly lyrics for your favorite Christmas songs!
There are many reasons caroling is fun.
First and foremost, it’s straightforward. Most people know at least a handful of Christmas carols, and they’re easy to learn if you don’t already know them.
The four-part structure allows everyone to sing without having any lead voice or backup parts. Anyone who’s been through choir will tell you how much fun it is to sing in harmony, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. It also means that plenty of people will want to join in—you never know who on your street is also a musician!
In addition to its simplicity, caroling is also an excellent way for kids to exercise during winter. You can make it even more fun for them by dressing them in funny costumes like silly elves or reindeer. If you have enough light outside, it can also double as a photo shoot for them!
8. Make Ornaments
Whether celebrating the holidays with your family or looking for a new craft project with your kids, making your ornaments is a great way to get creative.
You can choose from various materials to create beautiful ornaments that your family will love. You can even make a few ornaments with household items.
Here are a few ways to make ornaments at home.
First, you can make a simple Christmas tree ornament out of pinecones. Dip them in white paint and roll them in gold dust.
Next is creating marbleized ornaments. Marbleized ornaments are a popular craft trend on Pinterest. Creating marbleized ornaments is easy and fun. You can choose your colors to create unique and custom ornaments.
And finally, you can turn your clear plastic ornaments into beautiful decorations by filling them with glitter or confetti. Or even add small Christmas trinkets to them.
9. Make Red and Green Paper Chains
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a little bit of green and red, and paper chains are a simple way to incorporate both colors into your home decorating.
Print out some templates from the internet, or use crayons or markers to draw your designs.
Even children can participate by cutting out the shapes!
10. Write Letters to Santa
Writing letters to Santa can be fun and exciting for you and your family, especially if you have young kids. There are a few reasons why it can be so much fun.
Kids love getting mail! They get excited when they see the mailman coming down the sidewalk, and they can’t wait until the mail carrier drops off the daily mail. It’s no different when it comes to their letters from Santa! There are websites out there now where you can send in the letter, and Santa will write back!
Writing is an essential skill for kids, and writing letters is an excellent way to improve their handwriting. But it’s not just about what they’re writing—it’s about being able to reflect on their writing later in life and say that they’ve accomplished something great. Letters from Santa are just one small piece of that puzzle.
Final Thoughts on Family Holiday Activities
This season can also be stressful when trying to come up with things to do.
We all have so much to do, and there are so many obligations! It’s easy for us to get caught up in a rush and forget about what’s important: each other.