Christmas Eve activities

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Christmas Eve is such an exciting time for children but it can sometimes feel like a very long day! Read on to find loads of ideas for Christmas Eve activities for all the family. We love Christmas activities for children and they can become part of your family’s Christmas eve traditions. Find more seasonal activities for kids here.

3 photos of santa, a child in a sleigh and a ginger bread house. Overlay text reads Christmas Eve activities for kids

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Christmas eve activities for kids

Christmas eve box

Some families choose to create a Christmas eve box filled with treats and activities for Christmas eve. You can either build your own or buy a ready-made one. My kids would love to come downstairs and find that their elf has left them a Christmas eve box before returning to the North pole.

Things to include if you make your own:

  • Christmas PJs for all your children
  • A Christmas DVD (find some ideas further down the post)
  • A Christmas book, * The night before Christmas is perfect
  • Sweet treats. Perhaps a hot chocolate kit and a Christmas mug, some sweets, chocolate or popcorn
  • Something to entertain the kids. Perhaps an activity book, colouring book or a festive craft kit

Find more ideas here – Christmas eve box ideas

Head out for a walk

This is my family’s Christmas eve activity of choice. We love to visit one of our local National Trusts and enjoy a really festive walk. They are always so well decorated for Christmas and many of them also have lovely family Christmas trails on too.

If you’re not a National Trust member you might still be able to find a lovely festive family trail nearby. If you are in North West England then I’ve rounded up all the ones I can find here – Christmas trails North West.

If you can’t find a festive walk locally then I still recommend wrapping up warm and going on your favourite local walk. Perhaps you could pack a festive picnic (mince pies, hot chocolate etc) to make it extra special.

Child sat in a red wooden sleigh on a festive walk

Visit some Christmas lights

Make the most of the early darkness and go on a family walk or drive to see some Christmas lights. Perhaps you will visit your local high street or even just walk around your neighbourhood. I’m sure you’re kids will enjoy seeing some twinkling Christmas lights.

Watch a Christmas film

You can’t beat snuggling up with a Christmas film. Perhaps you’ll enjoy some popcorn or a hot chocolate with it. What is your favourite Christmas film? Here are a few ideas to get you started and where to find them in the UK.

  • The Polar Express – Sky cinema
  • The Christmas chronicles – Netflix
  • A boy called Christmas – Sky cinema
  • Home alone – Disney +
  • Godmothered – Disney +
  • Noelle – Disney +
  • The Grinch – Netflix
  • The Snowman – Channel 4

Find loads more ideas here – Best Christmas films for young families.

If you’re looking for Christmas films for yourself here are the best Hallmark Christmas movies.

Read Christmas books

We have a family tradition of always reading The night before Christmas on Christmas eve. We also have lots more Christmas books, find our favourites here – Christmas books for kids.

This year my 8 year old is loving the latest * Christmasaurus book too.

Copy of Twas the night before Christmas, childrens book on a stone background with mini christmas decorations surrounding it

Play a game together

Christmas is the perfect time to pull out your favourite board games. Or you could play some Christmas party games.

Make your Christmas Eve evening meal special

Only if you have time, as if you are hosting Christmas lunch, you might be busy getting ahead with peeling the veg! but if you do have time on Christmas eve how about making the meal special? It doesn’t have to mean going out to your favourite restaurant or getting dressed up and cooking another roast dinner. It could be as simple as ordering your favourite pizza or perhaps your family enjoy a sharing platter that you can enjoy in front of some Christmas tv.

Have a Christmas tree picnic

Another meal-related idea is to have a picnic in front of the Christmas tree. Spread out a blanket, prepare a selection of finger food that you all enjoy and switch on those Christmas lights (and tunes too).

Visit family

Do you have any family that you won’t be seeing on the big day? Any presents or cards that you still need to deliver?

Bake something festive

My kids love baking, do yours? If so get them in the kitchen on Christmas eve and bake some sweet treats or savoury nibbles. How about some sausage rolls? or mince pies? I’ve saved this Chocolate orange rocky road recipe for us to bake this year.

You could also make some last minute gifts or nibbles like these slow cooker 2 ingredient caramel fudge.

You could even make these gorgeous stained glass Christmas biscuits for the tree.

Find more ideas for last minute homemade edible gifts

Christmas crafts

Christmas crafts are perfect for keeping kids busy. You could try making these Pine cone pom pom decorations.

We also love this elf craft printable which is great for children who are learning to recognise their name.

I love the simple kits that Baker Ross sells. We’ve had a few this year and loved them all. See the * full Christmas range here.

Christmas Play dough

My girls would play for hours with play dough when they were younger and one of their favourites was this Christmas tree play dough activity, perfect for keeping them busy and developing their fine motor skills.

Christmas tree play dough

Go visit a Santa’s grotto

If you’re reading this ahead of time, you could save your Christmas trip to see Santa until Christmas eve. If you are in the North West find all the places you can see Santa this year here – Where to see Father Christmas in the North West.

Track Santa

Why not really build the excitement this Christmas and tracker Santa as he travels around the world with the Official NORAD Tracks Santa website.

Do some Christmas art

Children’s book author, Rob Biddulph has a huge variety of simple to follow drawing videos and this year he is adding another Christmas one, free every week. Find them all here.

There’s also a whole series of books that would make great gifts for kids.

Decorate a gingerbread house

Chilfren decorating a gingerbread house with kids

We always pick up a gingerbread house kit from Aldi (just make sure you buy some extra sweets too) as my children love this classic Christmas activity. Your finished house will make a great Christmas centrepiece too.

You can also buy gingerbread house moulds now if you do want to make the house as well as decorate it.

Make wildlife-friendly reindeer food

Children love to put reindeer food out on Christmas eve but please do not sprinkle any in your garden that includes glitter. Glitter can be harmful to birds so please make some that is far more suitable for birds and reindeer to eat! You can find a recipe from the RSPB here.

Put on your Christmas pjs

There’s something very special about putting on a pair of festive PJs on Christmas eve.

Leave out food and drink for Santa

Don’t forget to put out some treats for Santa and his reindeer before the little ones head to bed.

More Christmas inspiration

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