50 Family Holiday Activities

Earlier this week, I wrote about why I am now a bucket list convert and how they don’t have to be over-the-top, guilt-ridden experiences; in fact, they can be wonderful reminders to stop, connect, and enrich our family lives.

Today, I want to share with you 50 Family-Friendly Holiday Activities — ideas that are flexible enough to be added to your Advent Calendar, or go on a season-long Winter Bucket List.

50 Fun Family Holiday Activities

For the most part, I suggested things that everyone can do, but there are a few Christmas-type suggestions because that’s what I celebrate and am most familiar with — but feel free to tweak or replace with your own family traditions!

(I also included some warm weather variations and traditions for my friends down under!)

  1. Movie Night
  2. Build a Snowman — out of snow or marshmallows.
  3. Make snowflakes and decorate your windows.
  4. DIY Snowglobe.
  5. Learn a Christmas Song.
  6. Go for a walk or drive to see holiday lights — on houses or at the park.
  7. Bake something festive.
  8. Go on a date to a coffee shop or bakery (go early enough that you can say yes to a donut and hot chocolate, if requested).
  9. Winter hike — you could even try geo-caching.
  10. Have a PJ day.
  11. Make a living room fort and let the kids camp out for the night (bonus points if you join them).
  12. Host a nature or holiday scavenger hunt.
  13. When grocery shopping, let your kids each pick out one special holiday treat — and buy two, one for them, one for them to donate to the food bank on the way out.
  14. Family game night.
  15. Make homemade ornaments or popcorn garlands,
  16. Host a play date or small holiday party.
  17. Make a holiday craft.
  18. Have an impromptu dance party to your favourite Christmas classics.
  19. Tissue paper snowball fight!
  20. Build an igloo (out of actual snow, or ice cubes if you’re in a warmer climate).
  21. Volunteer as a family.
  22. Outdoor photo shoot.
  23. Make a winter-themed breakfast, lunch, or snack.
  24. Make some DIY bird feeders.
  25. Warm up some apple cider or make hot chocolate — store-bought or homemade.
  26. Check your local newspaper for fun events — we found free horse-drawn carriage rides in our downtown core!
  27. Attend a bazaar and admire all of the hand-crafted goods.
  28. Learn about other holiday traditions — check out our Hanukkah and Kwanzaa mini-units.
  29. Put together a gift basket or shoe box for someone in need.
  30. Make room for new presents by going through your old toys and donating a few.
  31. Make Hot Chocolate Oobleck.
  32. Make a gingerbread house (or a foam or cardboard house to avoid allergens).
  33. Read your favourite holidays books — take turns doing the voices!
  34. Let your child wrap up their toys or books with wrapping paper and a whole roll of tape. If your child is older, let them wrap up their room, or at least the bedroom door!
  35. Have a themed sensory bath to warm up after playing outside.
  36. Sit around and talk about your family’s holiday values — be they financial, spiritual, religious, cultural, environmental, etc. Have a conversation with your kids, not a lecture.
  37. Mail out homemade cards or small ornaments.
  38. Make a holiday video and send it out to your family and friends!
  39. Explore a winter-themed sensory bin or small world — basically, cotton balls and whatever you feel like adding to it!
  40. Or, have the children make their own Winter Wonderlands — maybe for a fairy or favourite toy to visit.
  41. Make Sparkly Snow Play Dough and make imprints of animal figures in it.
  42. Make Hot Chocolate Play Dough and Marshmallow Play Dough.
  43. Decorate a tree (or DIY a Menorah) — real or wood-and-felt!
  44. Look at pictures from the past year (maybe even start a simple scrapbook).
  45. Cuddle up under some blankets and reminisce about your favourite holiday memories — children love hearing about their parents’ (and grandparents’) childhoods.
  46. Make some sensory-filled art with homemade scented paints.
  47. Go on a season-specific outing, like visiting a Maple Syrup Shack
  48. Eat S’mores beside a pretend campfire.
  49. Go skating or tobogganing.
  50. Ask your child what special thing they’d like to do. They may surprise you!

What special Family Holiday Activity would you add to this list?

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