Advent Calendar Fun: 25 Ways to Get Your Family in the Holiday Spirit

The great thing about the holidays is having the chance to spend time with loved ones and create family traditions together. But this time of year can also get busy and go by fast, so to make sure we really enjoy the holidays and have lots of family fun, I like to make a list of ideas of quick and easy activities that I’d like to do before the new year. This year I incorporated the list into our advent calendar. Here are some of my favorite family fun holiday activities this season, which you can tailor to you depending on which holidays you celebrate, where you live, and your favorite family traditions:


  1. Make hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows.
  2. Make an ornament to hang on your Christmas tree, and then decorate the tree as a family.
  3. Have a family gelt hunt and share the story of Hanukkah.
  4. Go ice skating, or if you’re lucky enough to get snow, make a snowman, go sledding, or have a snowball fight (or all of the above!).
  5. Take the kids to sit on Santa’s lap.
  6. Watch a favorite holiday movie and/or show your kids one of the holiday cartoons you grew up with like Frosty the Snowman or A Charlie Brown Christmas. Some of my favorites are Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, and Elf.
  7. Start an Elf on the Shelf tradition.
  8. Make holiday cookies together.
  9. Have each of your children choose one of his or her toys to donate to a less fortunate child.
  10. Go to the movies as a family.
  11. Go see a local production of The Nutcracker.
  12. Make a popcorn garland together.
  13. Download a favorite holiday song and have a family sing-a-long or dance party. 
  14. Sit around the fireplace and share your favorite family memories from the year or favorite holiday memories from past years.
  15. Walk or drive around to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
  16. Read your favorite holiday story as a family.
  17. Sing Christmas carols. 
  18. Host a Christmukkah party for family and friends: candy canes and cocoa, latkes, and other mixed traditions can be incorporated. 
  19. Get matching holiday pajamas each year and wear them on Christmas Eve.
  20. Give back as a family: participate in a toy or coat drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or ring the Salvation Army bell.
  21. Write a letter to Santa with your child.
  22. If you can, go to Disneyland or an amusement park or zoo nearby to see the holiday decorations.
  23. Make a gingerbread house with your family.
  24. Get a family photo together during the holiday season—by the Christmas tree, wearing ugly sweaters, or playing in the snow—and make it a tradition each year.
  25. Bake some holiday goodies for your neighbors. 

What are your favorite family activities during the holidays?

image: Getty

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