5 Fun, Easy, and Inexpensive Family Holiday Activities


I love the holiday season.  Love, joy, peace, and generosity.  Family and friends, festive foods, and lots of holiday party fun!  In the midst of this we are usually running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find Christmas gifts or find time for a boatload of additional responsibilities.

With all the craziness that is often part of the holiday season, it is important to focus on spending quality time with the special people in our lives (beyond just gift giving on Christmas or whatever holiday you may celebrate).  Do you need some fun, easy and inexpensive ideas of fun things to do together as a family?

Well, you are in luck!  I have got a bunch of simple ideas for you and your kids to spend time together and get into the spirit of the season!


#1 – Christmas Movie Marathon

There are so many Christmas movies out there.  You could even have a movie marathon with your kids, one with friends and one with your spouse!

For the kids, some great choices are Elf, The Santa Clause, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Polar Express, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Home Alone, The Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman.  These are all pretty much Christmas classics.

For a girl’s night, there are so many fun choices.  I personally love The Holiday (starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black)!  But other fun choices are Love Actually, While You Were Sleeping (with Sandra Bullock), Hallmark Christmas movies, and, of course, Netflix has a ton of holiday movies.

And maybe for a bit more of a classic Christmas, you could watch Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas with your spouse.  White Christmas is one of my favorites.  Singing, dancing, and nostalgia!


#2 – Be Generous

The holidays are a time for giving.  And not just for those in our immediate families.  There are so many people who could benefit from some extra love and joy being shared.  Many churches and communities offer adopt a family or Wishing Tree type events.  There is also Toys for Tots that collects gifts during the holidays.

To make this an activity that the whole family can participate in, involve the children in picking out gifts.  Or even have the kids choose the gift recipients.  Sometimes picking a family or gift recipients similar to your family can help the kids to relate and get really excited about the gift giving.

And even if your family doesn’t have money to spare, there are other ways to be generous this season.  Maybe donate some of your time to a food bank or soup kitchen.  You could also, go visit a senior center or senior living community to play games, read books, sing carols, or just visit with the people there. Many of them may be missing family and friends at this time of year and would love to see a friendly face.



#3 – Count Down until the Big Day

There are many ways to do this.  Advent Calendars are really fun.  We have gotten the Lego Advent Calendar the last couple years and the kids love that.  And we have also gotten the ones with little chocolates behind each door too.  (Any excuse to have chocolate with breakfast goes over well with my kiddos! Lol!)

Or you could make your own countdown calendar on a piece of paper.  Just start with whatever today’s date is and count down until Christmas (or holiday of choice). Each day you can cross it off with a big X, a sticker or color it with your favorite holiday design.

My kids love making paper rings chains with the number of days left until Christmas.  Then each day, tear off one ring until it is Christmas.  They are super easy to make.  Just cut strips of colored construction paper and staple or tape the ends together to create a ring.  Loop the next piece of construction paper thru the ring before stapling so that the pieces are connected.



#4 – Hot Chocolate Tasting

Now, this is my kind of treat!  I love cooking and baking.  Trying new fun things with food is so fun!  And since it is hot chocolate, you probably won’t have the kids fighting you to try something new.

Just buy, collect from the deep recesses of your pantry (just watch those expiration dates), or make your own hot chocolate.

Here are some hot chocolate variations to consider:

  • I grew up drinking Ovaltine which gets added to warm milk.
  • You can add chocolate syrup to milk.
  • There are many different types of hot chocolate packets that get added to hot water too. Some are flavored with things like raspberry or salted caramel, some are not.
  • Make some yourself mixing cocoa powder and maple syrup or sugar. Then add it to warm milk.
  • Try sprinkling with some cinnamon, marshmallows or even some whipped cream on top.

Then line up your hot chocolate selection for the family to try and vote on which they like the best.  You might find that you have a new family favorite!



#5 – Enjoy Holiday Decorations

Holiday decorations are that finishing touch that brings life to the season.  And there are many fun ways to enjoy the holiday décor.

  • Decorate your tree together. Personally, I am a little like Monica from Friends.  I like my tree to look perfect with the correct placement and color combinations.  I don’t go to the extreme she did, but I do a bit of decorating first and then let the kids put things up where they see fit. (I admit, I may do a little rearranging at the end to make sure everything is a bit more balanced looking though. Haha!)
  • Let the kids help with the holiday décor around the house.
  • Visit a local amusement park and enjoy the holiday sights and sounds.
  • Drive around and ooh and ah over the beautiful holiday lights and displays in the homes in your area. Some towns even have neighborhoods known for their holiday decorations and the whole street is lit up with a holiday glow!



There are so many other fun ways to celebrate the Holidays and winter beyond that.  Because, really, why should there only be a bucket list for summer???  Why not one for the rest of the year?  If you’d like a bucket list for the “school year”, with even more fun, family winter activities (and even ideas for spring and fall too! Might as well plan ahead, right?!), just enter your email address below and I’ll send you a print out with great ideas and a place for you to customize the list for your family.


Family Fun Activities

Need ideas for family fun? I've got you covered for Winter, Spring and even Fall. Plus, a customizable Bucket List!

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  1. Rachael M

    December 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Love these tradition ideas! We definitely practice generosity but the hot chocolate tasting sounds like a lot of fun, too!

  2. Melissa Parcel

    December 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Super ideas! I love having Christmas movie marathons with my kids. Even though they are teens, they still enjoy it!

  3. Charlie

    December 14, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Such fun to share with family around Christmas! Our children are grown and grandchildren in another state but… when we’re together it’s a grand time with cocoa and decorating cookings, good eats and such! Hubby makes hot cocoa all through Winter on Sunday’s, our personal tradition! Everyone loves hot cocoa!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. rebecca

    December 14, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    These are such great ideas to share with family. I’m going to do a Hot Cocoa Tasting with my family this year on Christmas Eve. What a fun idea. Thanks for sharing a great post topic

  5. Maggie

    December 14, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    These are some well thought out ideas that have my wheels spinning for sure! Thanks for the post!

  6. Laura Belle

    December 15, 2017 at 12:35 am

    My son would have loved the Lego Advent calender.

  7. Lisa

    December 15, 2017 at 2:15 am

    Our local movie theater is showing $5 holiday movies. Next week a bunch of us girls are going to watch White Christmas. I agree it is one of my favorites as well!

  8. Heidi

    December 15, 2017 at 2:57 am

    I vote on the hot chocolate! I could drink that any day! hehe 🙂

  9. Kim quint

    December 15, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Great ideas especially for spending some quality time with the seniors.

  10. Mollie

    December 15, 2017 at 4:25 am

    These are all sooooo fun! We do so many of these as well! I love the hot chocolate tasting idea!

  11. Melissa

    December 15, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Such cute ideas. My nieces love counting down the days with calendars and chocolate.

  12. Regan

    December 15, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Fun ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing, I love the hot chocolate tasting!

  13. Melina

    December 15, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    We love practicing generosity and Christmas movie marathon!!! Love the traditions!

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