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What to do on Christmas Eve

What to do on Christmas Eve?

Christmas eve is such a wonderful time of the year. With children who can hardly contain their excitement for Santa Claus and to know that there is no more shopping needed. This is a perfect time to spend with family and friends and have fun with holiday entertaining. Depending on what stage of life you are in, will determine the kind of traditions you will want to set for your family.

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What makes something a tradition?

Before you get into trying to make family traditions, it’s best to understand what one is.

It can be as simple as eating at the same restaurant once a month or doing something at the same time each morning. To be honest, if you look quite close our whole life is full of traditions, and without them we would be lost.

Making, creating, and keeping traditions is what brings us together as families, even if we don’t want to, you do it simply because it’s tradition. Perhaps that is why we do the things we do. Not because it brings us happiness or excitement, but because we feel this calling that we can’t be the ones to break the tradition.

Christmas is a perfect way to incorporate traditions because no matter what – Christmas will never be cancelled.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Family with Young Children

1) Track Santa

How exciting for children to be able to see Santa, you can do this easily by going onto NORAD Santa Tracker. What a perfect little treasure for the children who are a bit older and starting to doubt Santa.

2) Bake cookies for Santa

What to do when you are bored on Christmas Eve?

Many things will close early on this day, and some people don’t have to work and most of their friends are with family. What is one to do?

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, have this time be dedicated for some self-love and self-care. Indulge in a beautiful bath routine or make your home a spa for the day.

If you do celebrate Christmas, but not until the next day then this is the perfect time to make sure you have everything and all the little details are figured out.

To deepen this tradition, you can always make the same cookies (and extra bonus if the cookies are a family recipe passed down from your grandma!) This is a wonderful way to slow down and connect with your little ones as they experience a magical time of the year. Be sure to make a few extra cookies so you are able to snack on them as well!

3) Write a letter to Santa

Odds are you might have already sent him a letter earlier in the season, however, with him coming during the night – it’s a fun way to get the kids even more excited! Do not let this be a stressful time! If they are too young to make sentences, oh well. If they don’t want to, then don’t push it. Even if you have to write for them, that can be an option.

Be sure to include how thankful your children are, start them early already being elegant and saying thank you ahead of time!

4) Go for a family walk and return to hot chocolate

Get the kids all bundled, get some warm gloves and boots and go for a little walk. As long as the weather permits (or even if it doesn’t – what great memories it can make!) But before you leave, get out your crock pot and make some hot chocolate so upon your return, everybody can enjoy some wonderful hot chocolate.

What is wonderful about this, is that there is little stress involved. Just make it, set it and then forget it!

5) Watch the same few Christmas movies

It doesn’t necessarily need to be the same, but when you do, it makes it even more of a tradition. Understandable that as young children, you may opt to choose more appropriate movies. But the most important part is that you are spending some quality time together!

6) Read a Christmas book all snuggled together

Everybody gets in their pajamas and crowds around you as you read them a story. Pick a story that you know you can read for many years. Something like this one!

7) Attend a Midnight Masse

If you are religious, this is one of those experiences that you will want to show how important it is to attend. Not only do you go at a different time of the day (when else can you go to a packed church at midnight?), but it can bring you close to others as you celebrate a wonderful time of the year. It’s also a great way to feel like a part of a community.

8) Have a sibling sleepover!

Since this is one of the most exciting time of the year for the youngsters, why not make it even more memorable by letting them have a sleepover in a room? If they already share a room, allow them (or even better, help them) build a tent where they can sleep under and stay up giggling.

It’s about letting them do something a bit different to stand out in their memory!

9) Create reindeer food

Enjoy this process because it really doesn’t need to be precise. As long as it is fun for you and the children then that’s all that matters. There are recipes on Pinterest, but don’t stress yourself over it. But if you want to know what reindeer food is, check some out here!

10) Make Christmas Cards

You can use printable ones, or buy blank ones and write some fun little comments. Even if the child cannot write by themselves then just have them draw a picture. Remember this is not about being stressful in any way and have fun with it. Even if the cards never get sent out and given away, it was about the memory that was being made. It would be nice to even keep the cards throughout the years, only to look back at them when everyone is older.

11) Go visit Santa

If you’re able to, earlier in the day, go and visit Santa for the last time before he visits. Make sure to go early so to beat the huge line and the busy malls. Don’t forget to bring him a Christmas card that your child made. This is a fun tradition because it will keep them all excited until the next morning!

12) Take a picture every year in the same place

Same as with the Christmas cards, it’s a great gift when the child is older or to keep for yourself! Take a picture of your child in the same place every year and in 15 years the evolution of your growing children can be something to look at and smile at when you’re older. It’s a great tradition and it’s even cuter if they can fit or not fit into the same sweater.

13) Make a Christmas time capsule

Maybe you’re getting the hint, but it is always a good idea to be able to look back at the past as a family and remember all the good times. Starting as young as you can, have your child draw some Christmas art, write any notes or what they are excited about. Keep them somewhere safe where you can easily keep adding to them. In 10 to 15 years you will have amounted so many good memories that are guaranteed to laugh and enjoy into the future.

Christmas Eve Traditions for Family with Older Children

1) Have a gingerbread house competition

This can be very competitive, but it doesn’t need to be. It should be fun! Get everything ready ahead of time and it won’t be as stressful either! You can even buy gingerbread house sets that give you everything you need to build one. This is great for when the kids are a bit older and can use their engineer imaginations! Someone can be the judge and the winner gets a special treat!

2) Drive around and see the Christmas lights

Depending where you live, the decorations can be amazing! Some people really go all out and it’s very enjoyable to stop by and enjoy it!

3) Play some board games with Christmas music playing in the background

Nothing brings the family together more than turning off the electronics and getting out the trusty old board games! Be sure to add some Christmas music to get everyone more in the Christmas mood!

4) Make an ugly Christmas sweater

Again, they have kits for these! But even better, is to make the ugly sweater and give it to someone else in the family! The uglier the better! This will get a lot of laughs and be sure to also take pictures! If possible, every year you can add to the same sweaters, making them uglier and uglier!

5) Swap something small

Now that the children are a bit older, they can either buy or make something small to give to one of their siblings. Have them make this a few days in advance and make it tradition to open up this small present every Christmas eve. It can be fun for the kids to try their hardest to make their sister or brother happy with something they made!

6) Bundle up and go play outside

If there is one thing that kids love to do when it’s snowing is to go play outside! But it’s even better when the parents go out and join them! Pretend that you are a kid again and go have fun! Make some hot chocolate ahead of time to enjoy afterwards

7) Decorate the Christmas tree

If you haven’t done it yet, then use it as a chance to make some great memories! Or, if you have the beautiful tree that you don’t want the kids to touch, then have a smaller tree that they can decorate.

8) Write a Christmas story

Now that the kids are a bit older, have them use their imaginations and let them come up with a good story. If it’s too much to have them do their own, then include everyone and make it a family Christmas story. This is where everyone has an input on a part of the story. Just like everything else, keep the books for when the years pass there is a good memory to remember!

What to do on Christmas Eve?

Christmas eve is about spending time with family. It’s about making memories and even not making memories, will still be memorable as long as you are with family. It’s about slowing down the just taking all the moment in. Some years are better than others and it’s important to try not to force a good memory because that never happens!

Enjoy the day as it comes, but just spend time with the family and something wonderful will come of it!

Even if you think you’re doing a terrible job, the perspective from your child will be much greater!

Enjoy your Christmas holiday this year!


Thursday 23rd of December 2021

Yes everything you mentioned is great but I'm in Mexico and everyone is planning to do nothing on christmas.


Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Christmas eve is one of my favorite days of the year and I will be trying out the christmas box! So cute of an idea Jennifer

Jennifer Lynn

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

I am so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks Dayna, enjoy your day :)