If you are looking for things to do on Christmas Eve night or even during the day, there are so many wonderful holiday traditions that you can start with your family this year.
The night before Christmas is the perfect day to spend time as a family and make some holiday memories you’ll remember for years to come.
Starting this year you can make Christmas Eve special for everyone in your family.
It doesn’t matter if you have young children at home or your children are all grown, you’ll find different options that you can include into your family’s Christmas Eve traditions.
Here is a list of if 20 ideas for Christmas Eve traditions for families, adults, and couples.
Fun Christmas Eve Traditions For Families
Watch A Christmas Movie As A Family
Everyone sits down and watches the chosen movie together and simply spends time together instead of on devices or other rooms in the home. You can even make some special treats like popcorn, hot chocolate and some cookies.
You can choose a different movie every year or stick with the same one year after year to make that a tradition as well.
Read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas Or Another Christmas Book Together
Gather around the Christmas tree or the fireplace and read aloud your family’s favorite Christmas book or chose Twas The Night Before Christmas for the perfect Christmas Eve story. Even such a simple tradition can be something kids look forward to every year.
Bake Christmas Cookies For Santa
Get your kids into the kitchen and let them help make some cookies for Santa.
You can even let them pick what type of cookies they think Santa will like best and then decorate them as well. Be sure to leave the cookies on a special plate just for Santa before heading to bed. (don’t forget the milk too!)
Make A Christmas Eve Box For Your Child
Pick a special box and fill it with Christmas Eve goodies including pajamas, a new book, a new stuffed animal and even some snacks. A Christmas Eve box is a great alternative for families with kids who ask for that one gift to open on the night before Christmas. This one they don’t only get a gift to open but they get a whole experience from the box.
This will become one of your favorite Christmas traditions to watch your child open that box every Christmas Eve.
Make A Batch Of Reindeer Food
Let your child mix all the ingredients together for some reindeer food for all of Santa’s friends. A quick reindeer food recipe is just dry quick oatmeal, some Christmas colored sprinkles and some glitter.
Then before your child goes to bed simply sprinkle the reindeer food on your lawn.
Host A Christmas Party With Your Extended Family And Friends
The holidays can get quite busy, but you should definitely still make time to get together with your extended family as well. If you don’t already have a set time you get together with extended family or your close friends, choose Christmas Eve and make it a tradition from now on.
You don’t have to go all out (of course you can if you want). For a cute idea you can even pick a Christmas party theme each year to mix it up.
Ride Around Town Looking At Christmas Lights
Check out all the different Christmas lights in your area as you ride around town drinking some hot cocoa. This can be neat for little ones but I know that even as an adult I still enjoy checking out how people decorate their houses each year.
This is pretty cool especially for younger kids. You can actually track where Santa is on Christmas Eve and even use it to teach your child a bit about different cultures and what they may have as a Christmas traditions.
Of course with this tracker you’ll now when it’s time to hit the bed at night so you don’t miss Santa as well.
Decorate Gingerbread Houses
You don’t have to be a baker to get your whole family to decorate gingerbread houses.
They now sell all types of gingerbread house kits that all are set for you to start decorating. There are even other kits like gingerbread trains and large gingerbread people.
Attend Midnight Mass Or Other Church Service
Celebrate the real reason behind Christmas and attend Midnight Mass or your local church’s Christmas Eve service. This just serves as a good reminder that Christmas really isn’t all about the presents they may get the next day but is also a nice way to spend time with your family and community.
Make A New Ornament As A Family
There is nothing better than handmade ornaments hanging on the tree. Every Christmas Eve choose an ornament that everyone in your family can make. You can find tons of ideas for easy ornaments as well as more complex ones on Pinterest.
New Matching Christmas Pajamas For The Whole Family
In the past few years it has become quite a big thing to have matching Christmas PJs for the whole family. I know that one of the gifts that I started giving my children their first Christmas Eve was a new set of holiday pajamas and we have continued that tradition for over 12 years now.
You definitely don’t have to all do matching PJs, especially if your kids are older, but it can make for a cute picture.
Play Christmas Charades
Get a little silly with your whole family and play a game that everyone can join in on. But, keep it in with the holiday spirit and only choose Christmas related things to act out in the game. Some ideas may include Santa, reindeer, snow, Christmas tree, snowman, elf, the Grinch, and Jingle Bells.
Set Up A Snack Bar For Christmas Eve Dinner
You may have already done a lot of baking and cooking for the holidays, so take it easy on Christmas Eve and have a fun snack bar for dinner. This could include small appetizers that are easy to make like just warming up some meatballs, as well as things like crackers and cheese, warm and cold dips, and nachos.
I know that my kids tend to love dinners like this and it’s nice to be able to relax with the kids instead of spending hours in the kitchen. You can even combine this holiday tradition with one of the other ones listed such as movie night or decorating gingerbread houses.
Deliver Treats To Neighbors
You can spend some time before Christmas Eve or on the morning baking up some treats for your neighbors or close friends. Then, later in the evening, go around delivering your treats with a small card wishing your neighbors a Merry Christmas.
This can be a nice way to maybe just get to say “hi” if you haven’t talked to your neighbors (especially if you live in area where it gets quite cold and snowy) in a while and just wish them happy holidays.
Read The Story Of Jesus’ Birth
If you are a Christian family, then celebrate Jesus’ birth by reading the Nativity Story right out of your Bible. Everyone can gather around and listen and then you can even have a prayer at the end for all your friends and family as well as the less fortunate who may not get to celebrate the holidays.
Some families even have the tradition of placing Jesus in the nativity scene set right before going to bed on Christmas Eve.
Have A Family Polar Express Night
Love the Polar Express? Then, make it a complete night along with reading the book and then watching the movie. You can even print up some printable Polar Express ticket invitations to make it a real official night.
You’re going to need some hot cocoa (what else would they serve on the Polar Express?) as well as some special treats to go along with the ride.
Host A White Elephant Exchange
This is a fun alternative to a regular gift exchange and you can concentrate more on simply just spending time with your family and friends rather than on getting gifts. Check out my tips on hosting a white elephant exchange party.
Make Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt In Your Home
Buy a box (or 2) of candy canes and hide them all around the house for your kids to find. Once all the candy canes are found they can hang them on the tree or even make a special craft with them. You can do something different every year with the candy canes.
Write A Special Letter To Your Child
Every year on Christmas Eve write a special letter to your child about their year. Then hold on to the letters and when your child is grown you can give them a book of the Christmas letters. This makes a wonderful keepsake that they can even continue on with their children.
What sort of things do you do on Christmas Eve? Any other Christmas Eve traditions that you want to add to the list?