I love making events bigger than just the day itself. Yes, Christmas, is of course, all about Christmas Day… but you can have soooo much fun preparing for Christmas and getting into the Christmas spirit. My kids and I live by the WHOLE of December “being Christmas” and enjoying every single moment of it. Just like our Halloween Activities for Families I now have a set of wonderful Christmas Activities for Families too! The best bit? Many of these you can do virtually too, especially if you have family that lives far away!
When do you Put the Christmas Tree Up?
This is an age old debate, with many different traditions depending on where in the world you live! Main people put the Christmas Up on the first of December. Others wait until Christmas Eve and keep it up all through January! This is the year, to say goodbye to old traditions.. and do what YOU WANT. If you want to put the tree up on the 1st November (yes, I actually wrote November!!) then DO!
Light Up Your Street
We managed to persuade our neighbours to light up almost every other tree on our street last year. Oh my it was magical.
As the gloomy weather decended on us, we fought it back with Christmas Light Magic!
MANY in the area commented on how festive our road looked.. and I have a sneaky suspicion that more roads will follow this year. I am so excited!
How do you get a light up your street organised?
Start early – start talking to your neighbours now.. if you have a neighbourhood email, email them all, text people, use local whats app groups of facebook groups! Start early and light up your street!
Light up the kids’ bedrooms
With kids being home more, make the indoors just as magical, with more indoor fairly lights.. my kids actually have their own small (fake) Christmas Trees too. I appreciate how decadent that is, and that not everyon can afford this. But there are some great ways to put “Christmas Trees” into their rooms that don’t cost the earth. From simple Paper Plate Christmas Tree Twirlers to Stick Trees like this.
Create new Family Traditions
This is the year to try something new. This is the year, we will all have to slow down.. but this also means: MORE TIME! More time as a family. Embrace time BUT keep it simple. This is all about relaxing and enjoying the time ahead and not making it stressful.
So new Christmas traditions could include:
- Playing family board games every Sunday afternoon (whilst listening to Christmas songs)
- Having a Christmas Bake off (see below)
- Making and writing Christmas cards
- Dressing up for a silly photo to send to family and friends – or create a Christmas video to send out to relatives – be sure to personalise each one!!
- Having a regular PJ day
- Revisiting childhood favourite Christmas movies
- An opportunity to ban the elf on the shelf as he has covid… or
- An opportunity to introduce the elf on the shelf if he has never visited before (but don’t create a rod for your back)
- Creating an Advent Calendar filled with little activities (e.g. read a story, make a card, sing a song)
These are just some ideas! Again, I am sure you can think of more.
Make a Photo Advent Calendar for yourself and family
My son, actually asked for a Photo Advent Calendar instead of a chocolate one this year! I thought that was very sweet. So he will get both! The idea is super simple – 24 photos, either on a washing line, blu tacked to the wall or in inevelopes, numbered… every day you get to pick one and see what photo (and memory is hidden!).
The work lies in selecting the photos, once you have sort 24 images you like, you can print a number of sets off for different members and post. So everyone can enjoy this calendar with you if you wish! Or just make one for home. But wouldn’t it be lovely to do one for the grandparents, and then have a daily face time session, revealing the photo – as per my good friend Becky’s digital Christmas ideas?
Highlight the best parts of 2021 OR select 24 images from “years gone by” instead.
Be sure to include all family members – grandparents, aunties and uncles, yourself (!!) and the kids. And of course your family pets… we sent a calendar like this to garden parents when we couldn’t see them during Covid 19… they LOVED it and I think it was their single most favourite “Christmas Present” from us. Their photos stayed up all year!
Living Advent Calendar in the Community
This one we winged last minute – a Living Advent Calendar! The concept is simple, 24 homes… each day a new home decorates and reveals an “advent window”. Here is ours. We were lucky and got to do the 1st December. A whats app group or facebook group is a great place to get this organised. We also made a little “walking map” so local families know where to go each day!
Make a Picture Book Advent Calendar
We LOVE Christmas story books. And have a whole set that ONLY come out at Christmas. The kids are now more than old enough to enjoy them by themselves.. but this year, I think we will give relatives a call and read them our favourites.
You can run a book advent -as a daily Christmas story (perfect for any bedtime routine). Or it is easier for you to manage have Sunday advent and story reading time – we have SOO many Christmas Picture Books that we love!
And you can wrap and stash them like a Christmas Tree (find image)
Celebrate Advent Sunday
So lovely readers.. I still have LOTS of ideas to share with you, and I shall continue, but I am starting to run out of writing steam! Ha. So sorry. I am used to short articles.. but I have so much more to share with you.. so the following set of ideas, may become a little briefer!
Those that have been following Red Ted Art for a while, know that I am Austrian and that I have taken a number of Austrian Christmas traditions and made them part of our Family Christmas. One of these is the celebrating of Advent. Basically, lighting a candle on the 4 Sundays before Christmas, eating cookies, spending time together etc. But you can read all about our 1st of Advent here.
Hold a Christmas Bake Off/ Virtual Cook Along/ Cookie Decorating
We LOVE making Christmas Cookies here on Red Ted Art and make a variety every year. One thing that recent history (aka Covid 19) has taught us, that you can do so many things VIRTUALLY too. Last year, we did some Zoom Cookie Decorating – it was a super fun way to see our niece & her parents, with out having to drive across the country. But if you are not keen on Zoom (I get it), you can always have a recipe exchange or bake off – sharing photos with family members. If they don’t live to far, you can may even drop some of your bakes round!
As you know Christmas Cake can and should be made NOW! The longer the “rest” the better. So a Christmas Cake baking session with grown ups, would be a great one for a cook a long. You may find a different “cook a long” to suit a different family member – e.g. the kids can have a cookie decorating zoom, but you may want to make mince pies with granddad!
Hold a Christmas Ornament Making Session (also on Zoom if you wish)
We love love love Ornament Making! Either have a Christmas ornament making with just your family, or again, you can turn it into a Zoom Crafting session.
We have TONS of ornament ideas for you – our favourite ornaments are here, with a full ornaments list here. You can make ornaments out of anything – learn how to make Salt Dough Ornaments or why not explore our paper ornaments too?
If having a Christmas Ornament Zoom session – you may want to prepare some salt dough shapes ahead of time and decorate them whilst talking to family!
Have a neighbourly cookie exchange
I mentioned my Austrian heritage already.. there is a tradition in Germanic/ Scandinavian countries to have a great big cookie bake off. You either come together as friends and bake lots of different recipes, to then parcel up and take home, OR you can bake 2-3 recipes yourself, which you then trade with others. In other words – have a cookie exchange.
You could easily organise t his into a cookie swap or cookie gift for local friends and neighbours! Spread Christmas cheer one cookie at a time!
Have a recipe exchange with family
I mentioned this idea before in our Thanksgiving Activities article. Christmas is about food (in our case also about cookies!). So why not have a family recipe exchange and then turn it into an actual family recipe book?
Create Photo Christmas Cards
Sending family photo Christmas Cards is always really precious!! This year, we have a bit “more time” at home. So why not spend a day or afternoon creating something big and wonderful – make it fun and quirky.. and photograph away.
The photos can be used for printed cards, or can be sent virtually if you need to save a little money. Either way, you will be creating memories for the kids and your family!
Whether creating photo Christmas Cards online or making your own, sending photos this year would be a lovely way to connect!
There are lots of online Photo Prop Resources too, to help you along, like our free Christmas Photo Props.
Have family Games Night (potentially on Zoom)
Hold yourself a family games night – either just you guys at home, or bring in family members via Zoom. There are lots of ways of doing this. You can use real board games (so long as both households have copies) and move your pieces along together, or you can use online platforms like boardgame arena. We used this during lockdown and it was a fun way to connect with friends.
Get Christmas Crafty & Decorate
Needless to say, as a craft website, crafting is a MUST this Christmas!! With the colder wheather and less “outdoor distractions”, we have lots more time to get cozy indoors!! Make your home a magical homemade Winter Wonderland and get the kids to help you get crafty. We have SOOOO many fun Christmas Craft Ideas for you, and have ordered them by theme to help you find what you want:
- Christmas Card Making
- Christmas Ornaments or PAPER Ornaments or EDIBLE Ornaments
- Paper Crafts for Christmas
- Free Christmas Printable Crafts
- Preschool Crafts for Christmas
- Handprint Keepsakes
- Our “general” Christmas Crafts for Kids
And in case you are wondering our three most popular crafts to make at Christmas are:
There is in fact a ton more.. but the above should keep you busy for a while!
Hold a Secret Santa Party
We love a gift exchange! Again, something that could be organised in person or virtually. A virtual Christmas does not mean that Secret Santa is cancelled. In fact, many of us are ordering online anyway.. it would be easy to have a Secret Santa gift delivered directly you. I do encourage you though to shop independent – avoid the beast that is Amazon… and see what personalised gifts you can find on places like Etsy!
Then once the Secret Santa is organsied, have yourselves a Secret Santa Zoom party and open the gifts together!
Visit Santa or Book a doorstep Santa
What childhood magic isn’t complete without a Santa visit? But a new trend emerged during the pandemic last year… We saw some fab Doorstep Halloween visits online.. and similarly, many areas have a “doorstep Santa”. Google what is available or ask in local facebook groups. But be quick, before Santa sells out!! (Or alternatively, why not arrange a reciprocal visit with friends).
Have a Christmas Lights Drive
A Christmas Classic that we love to do every year anyway! We know a local street that is super fun and full of decor. It is a great place to drive by nearer Christmas and they always collect money for charity too!
Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt/ Bingo
As with our Halloween ideas, why not have a Christmas Lights Scavenger Hunt or Bingo? I have some great printables coming for you soon!
Christmas Tree Poke Cup Activity
The Christmas Tree Punch Cup activity, is a game AND gift at the same time. It is a fantastic creative way to gift to teens and young adults. So if your gifts are “boring” gift cards, cash or theatre tickets etc.. read all about this fun game and gifting idea.
Christmas Online Escape Rooms
Lockdown has seen the rise of online escape rooms. There are so many now to choose from and I have no doubt, that you will be able to find some great Christmas versions too!
More Virtual Christmas Ideas for you:
- Host a Christmas Cocktail Party on Zoom
- Have a virtual wine tasting (we did this with our neighbours during lockdown and it was great fun! You can get small sized bottles for tasting and have them delivered)
- Christmas Quiz on Zoom
Finally, if the Elf on the Shelf is a thing in your house, you may want to check out these free printable elf welcome letters to get things going. So fun!
Looking for more ideas? Visit Becky’s collection of Ideas for A Digital Christmas. I love the face time present hunt and the recorded bed time stories. So sweet! She also has a great list of independent small shops that you can buy from this year!
Needless to say, we also have LOTS and LOTS of Christmas Crafts for you here:
And our dedicated Handmade Ornaments Post here: