20 Things To Do On Christmas Eve: Starting New Traditions

It’s the time of year for eating festive meals, exchanging gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, and spending quality time with your family and friends. No matter how old you are, the holiday season is always meaningful and fun thanks to traditions.

There are some Christmas traditions that last through the decades, while others transform into something new and different later on. Whether you want to switch up your holiday routine, or just add on some extra activities for your family, here are 20 things to do on Christmas Eve.

Exciting Christmas Eve Activities For The Whole Family

Do Holiday Crafts

Crafting can be fun at any age! Have a Christmas Eve craft night by choosing an art project that will be enjoyable for the whole family. Whether it’s creating your own ornaments, decorating mini Christmas trees, or something simpler such as filling in coloring books, let your holiday creativity shine.

Play Christmas Games

Playing games can be fun for the whole family on Christmas Eve, and can even be part of a new tradition. Try to choose games that require teamwork so you can have some good quality bonding time with your family. Here are several Christmas game ideas to get you started:

  • Christmas Trivia – Play a Christmas trivia game based around holiday movies, songs, or general Christmas questions.
  • Holiday Puzzles – Work together to put together a beautiful winter or Christmas puzzle.
  • Christmas Charades – This is much like traditional charades; however, it’s played with Christmas themed phrases, characters, or movies.
  • Snowball Throw – Toss marshmallows into your teammate’s mouth. The team who catches the most wins.
Christmas Trivia Cards
Winter Christmas Puzzles
This That And Everything Merry Xmas Edition

Do A Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt

A candy cane scavenger hunt is especially fun for kids and young teens. With a similar idea to an Easter egg hunt, hide a bunch of candy canes around your house and have the kids seek them out. Give them Santa hats to place the candy canes in as they walk around the house. You can even hide a special colorful candy cane that is worth extra points if found. The winner can receive a special wrapped up gift.

Have A Christmas Karaoke Night

Even if you don’t have a karaoke machine, you can still have a Christmas karaoke night. YouTube has plenty of karaoke versions of your favorite Christmas jingles. Pull them up on your phone or on your TV and have a fun sing-along! You can even use this Mini Karaoke Microphone to record your singing with the use of any karaoke app on your phone.

Do A Fun And Festive Photo Shoot Or Video Shoot

Create memories with your family while having a great night! Have a festive photo shoot underneath your Christmas tree by setting up your phone or camera on a self timer. You can even create a fun video together, whether it be a simple “home video” style video or a more creative and scripted sketch video. Have fun with it; you’ll get to re-watch the video for years to come!

Have A Christmas Talent Show At Home

This idea works really well for large families or an extended family gathering. Let everyone showcase their special or funny talents for the “audience”. If your family is big enough, you can even have a panel of judges, similar to the idea of the show America’s Got Talent. You can choose to do a first, second, and third place winner, or you can make everyone a winner!

Read Christmas Stories & Books

Light some candles or light up the fireplace, sit on the ground and read your favorite Christmas stories or books out loud. If you have young children, allow them to take turns reading to give them a fun learning experience. If you’re feeling extra creative, write up your own unique Christmas story beforehand and read that one to the family.

Disney Countdown To Christmas Book
How To Catch Santa Book
Rudolph Picture Search Book

Help Your Kids Track Santa

To get your kids even more excited for Christmas Day and to help them feel the magic of holidays, help them track Santa’s location as he delivers gifts to each house around the world. The Official NORAD Santa Tracker goes live every Christmas as a fun way to track Santa online. It shows Santa’s journey in real time as makes his long trek on Christmas Eve.

Delicious and Fun Christmas Eve Food Traditions

Set Up A Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot cocoa is the perfect delicious Christmas Eve drink that everyone can enjoy. Make the night extra special by setting up a hot cocoa bar. Set up an insulated pitcher filled with hot chocolate. On the same table, lay out a selection of toppings and extras including marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, candy canes, crushed peppermints, and any other sweet additions you want. Be sure to include some cute Christmas coffee mugs to drink from!

Decorate Cookies For Santa – And To Eat!

Decorating cookies is a classic Christmas tradition that is almost impossible to leave out of your Christmas Eve celebration. Whether you make homemade cookies to decorate, buy a Christmas cookie decorating kit, use Christmas cookie cutters, or even choose to bake another type of treat, make sure the whole family is involved in the process. Enjoy eating the treats while doing other activities. If you have young kids, let them save some cookies or treats to leave out for Santa!

Taste Of Home Christmas Recipe Book
Christmas Tree Cookie Cutter
Christmas Tree Cookie Gift

Eat Breakfast For Dinner

While many families already do a big breakfast or brunch on Christmas Day, you can switch it up by having breakfast for dinner on Christmas Eve! Have everyone request a special item (within reason) to include in the breakfast for dinner feast. If you’re feeling extra creative, make everything Christmas themed – have Christmas tree pancakes, green eggs, donut hole snowmen, and more!

Have A Picnic Dinner Under The Christmas Tree

An indoor picnic can be a fun and exciting way to eat a meal on Christmas Eve! Lay your favorite Christmas blanket on the ground and fill a basket with tasty foods. They can either be Christmas themed dishes or just a selection of everyone’s favorite dinner foods. The most important thing is that everyone has a fun time!

Simple Christmas Eve Traditions To Keep Every Year


Show your kids the importance of giving back by volunteering as a family on Christmas Eve. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen, do Christmas crafts with the elderly at a nursing home, or donate toys and gifts to families in need. Making other people feel happy during Christmas can spark even more holiday magic.

Drive Around And Look At Christmas Lights

Looking at Christmas lights is such a classic holiday tradition that people of all ages enjoy doing. Drive around your own neighborhood, find a new town to explore, or even go to a holiday lights spectacle event if there’s one nearby. Take in the beauty and magic of the lights and have everyone vote on their favorite light display of the night. Be sure to set up your own lights and outdoor Christmas decor for others to see as well!

Have A Family Slumber Party

Have a fun family sleepover in the living room or basement! Gather up some sleeping bags, light up the Christmas tree, and talk and laugh until you fall asleep. This is a great way to build up excitement before Christmas Day and it can be an ongoing tradition that your kids can look forward to each year.

Have A Holiday Movie Night

Watching Christmas movies together as a family is a great way to bond and relax. From A Christmas Story to How the Grinch Stole Christmas to Elf and more, put your favorite Christmas movies on your TV or on a large sheet with a projector. Set up a popcorn bar with freshly popped kernels, butter, popcorn seasonings, candy, and sodas. Cuddle up with your comfiest and softest blankets and enjoy the night!

Popcorn Popper Set
Sherpa Blankets
Christmas Movie Trivia Book

Give Each Member Of Your Family Matching Pajamas

The matching pajamas tradition is a cute way to celebrate Christmas Eve as a family. Hand out the festive and fun pajamas at the start of the night so everyone can change into them and be comfy. You can even get a pair of matching pajamas for your dog or cat to include him or her in the Christmas festivities!

Build A Snowman Or Snow Fort

If you’re lucky enough to get a magical snowy Christmas Eve, go outside and play in the winter wonderland. Build a snowman or snow fort, make snow angels, or throw snowballs at each other. Have a fun evening outside and then warm up afterwards with hot cocoa.

Write Letters Of Gratitude

Bond even more as a family by writing letters of gratitude to one another and reading them out loud. Help younger kids write their letters beforehand and help them read it to the family. Once everyone finishes reading, let the recipients keep their letters as a meaningful token they can cherish for many years.

Bundle Up And Go For A Walk

If it’s not unreasonably cold outside, bundle up in winter gear and take a nice family walk through the neighborhood. Check out the Christmas lights that all your neighbors have put up and reminisce on family memories as you walk down the block. If there are unique Christmas Eve events in your town, you can even drive over to those and walk around there.

Flip Top Mittens
Animal Headbands And Gloves
NFL Light Up Winter Hats

Shop for gifts for everyone on your list, find unique indoor and outdoor Christmas decorations, and search through more holiday inspiration by visiting our Holiday Headquarters!

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