25 Best Christmas Eve Traditions to Make Lasting Memories With Your Family

So many things to do while you wait for Santa!


Christmas Eve is one of our favorite moments of the holiday season, the night you can relax after lots of prep—and hopefully checking lots of fun activities off your Christmas bucket list—slow down, spend some quality time with your friends and family, and take part in some of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions. If you don’t have established traditions or want to start new Christmas traditions this year, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Yuletide rituals right here, like baking Christmas cookies, playing games, and giving back.


Most of these things to do on Christmas Eve are low-key, from decorating gingerbread houses and Christmas crafts for kids to hanging personalized Christmas stockings and tracking Santa, these activities will ensure you’re fully rested before the big day. Not to mention, you’ll be making memories you’ll cherish for years to come. And while some of the following things to do on Christmas Eve are tried and true, you’ll find some fresh ideas as well. No matter what you choose to do, these best Christmas Eve traditions are fun for kids and adults alike.


Need more Christmas inspiration? Be sure to check out our list of holiday treats, Christmas dinner menus, and festive decor, too.

Host a White Elephant Game

If you have a big family, get everyone involved in a funny White Elephant game. There’s no doubt you’re in for a night of laughs with fun gag gifts or Christmas gift cards that’ll have everyone stealing gifts left and right.


Surprise Your Neighbors With Christmas Cookies

Spread Christmas cheer to the whole street by putting together tins of Christmas cookies to surprise your neighbors with.


Break Out the Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Have your family put on their favorite outlandish tops and throw an ugly Christmas sweater theme night. At the end of the night, have everyone anonymously vote for the best (and by best, we mean worst) sweater and hand out candy prizes. Extra points to anyone who creates a DIY ugly Christmas sweater.


Make Christmas Cards

Create DIY Christmas cards with your kids on Christmas Eve that they can hand out to friends and family at your festivities the next day. These homemade cards would make the perfect finishing touch on your gifts.


Put a Care Package Together

A care package is a great way to remind loved ones and people in need that you’re thinking of them during the holidays. Or, you could put a care package together for soldiers overseas. You can also send these out after Christmas so that they’ll be received as a New Year’s gift to extend the holiday wishes.


Make Christmas Crafts

Feeling crafty? You can never have too many Christmas crafts. Get started on DIYs for next year by giving your kids paper, glitter, and glue!


Write a Letter to Santa

Santa definitely appreciates all of the cookies and milk he gets, but he’ll love a personalized letter even more. Encourage your kids to leave thank-you notes for Saint Nick, and they’re sure to be on the nice list next year!


Make a Gingerbread House

Baking Christmas desserts is always a fun activity, but after you’re done making cookies, there’s something else you can create—a gingerbread house! Either grab a kit or make a DIY gingerbread house for this fun activity.


Track Santa

If your children want to know when they can expect their Christmas presents, you can log onto sites like NORAD that follow Santa’s every step on Christmas Eve. Just make sure your kids are in bed when he approaches your area!


Hang Up Your Christmas Stockings

You’re going to need a place for all of those stocking stuffers! If you use your fireplace often, you may want to refrain from leaving your stockings up at the beginning of the season. However, leaving it to the last minute makes for a special Christmas Eve tradition.


Make Reindeer Food

To prepare for their long trip, Santa’s reindeer are going to need food too. Just grab carrots, oats, and anything else in your pantry to mix up a bag for Rudolph and his friends.


Read a Christmas Classic

Send everyone off to bed with a special rendition of The Night Before Christmas or another one of the most iconic Christmas books for kids.


Feast of the Seven Fishes

Celebrate like an Italian by indulging in their iconic seven-course seafood feast that dates back to the early 1900s. You can make an array of recipes at home, or avoid dirtying your dishes by finding a local Italian restaurant that offers a special Christmas Eve menu.


Attend Church Services

Most churches offer special programs on Christmas Eve (live performances, caroling, nativity pageants, and more), making it the perfect place to spend the evening. Some even offer late night services, allowing your family to ring in the special day together at the stroke of midnight.


Bake Cookies for Santa

Grab your cookie sheets and whip up some special treats to set out for Santa. You can’t go wrong with classic sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, or peppermint-topped treats.


Host a Game Night

Stay in and have a family game night with all of your favorite board games, or try your hand at one of our favorite family Christmas games. The winner gets to open the first gift on Christmas morning!


Exchange One Small Gift

If the kids are growing restless ahead of Santa’s big visit, allow them to open just one small gift—preferably a board game or toy that everyone can enjoy together.


Set Up a Hot Cocoa Bar

This fun idea from Celebrating Everyday Life is perfect for entertaining a crowd, but it’s also just as sweet for treating a small group. Arrange everything you need to make a mug of hot chocolate, plus fun add-ons like peppermint sticks, sprinkles, Christmas candy, special sauces, and more.


Christmas Eve Takeout Dinner

With your annual Christmas Day feast less than 24 hours away, spare yourself added time in the kitchen by ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant. Serve it up buffet style, so everyone can help themselves!


Take a Nighttime Drive

Pile in the car and set out to see the best and brightest lights in your neighborhood. Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate and get your favorite Christmas songs playing for a memorable night out.


Wear Matching Christmas Pajamas

Keep it low key by cozying up by the fire in matching family Christmas pajamas. There are plenty of affordable—and adorable! —options for everyone (including furry friends) making them the perfect uniform for a family photo.


Watch a Festive Film

Get the fire roaring and throw on a merry movie to watch from your couch. With so many Christmas movies to choose from, there will be no shortage of entertainment for the evening.


Arrange a Visit From Santa

Convince one of the grown-ups to dress up like the jolly fellow and we’re sure your kids will be on their best behavior all night long.


Volunteer Your Services

Call your local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or charity organization to ask for ways to best serve those in need. You can find local groups that need help this holiday season through Volunteer Match.


Sing a Christmas Carol

Round up friends and family to make your very own chorus of carolers and surprise your neighbors with some holiday entertainment at their doorstep. You can also record and send video messages to share virtual Christmas cheer!


Source: https://www.countryliving.com/life/g25411840/christmas-eve-tradition


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