As Christmas approaches, I thought it’d be a good time to shift the focus from spending money on gifts to spending time with your family.
So here are 12 days of free Christmas fun to have with the family!
Day 1 – Write letters to Santa
It’s always fun to see what your kids have to say to Santa.
As much as we may expect them to ask for certain gifts, I’m constantly surprised with the level of charity and compassion that comes out as well.
In my son’s first hand-written letter to Santa, he simply said thanks for sending him Mickey (his Elf on the Shelf). How cute is that?!
Day 2 – Make hot chocolate together
I love making hot chocolate because it’s so
Set up several toppings your family enjoys and let everyone create their own masterpiece.
Some of my favorite toppings:
- whipped cream
- peppermint sticks
Day 3 – Make your own ornament
Handmade ornaments are not just a fun family activity, they make fantastic DIY gifts.
Or, if you’re the nostalgic type, save them for yourself so you can enjoy all the memories each year as you decorate the tree.
Day 4 – Take a drive to see the Christmas displays
Driving around neighborhoods to see all the Christmas displays was always one of my favorite things to do as a kid.
Check with your local newspapers to see if there are any businesses, colleges, or neighborhoods that go all out with decorations you can’t miss.
You can also take a look at The Original Christmas Light Finder to find displays based off zip code. This might be helpful if you travel around the holidays. You can also add your own!
Day 5 – Make Christmas cards
Homemade Christmas cards can be both super fun and super economical.
Raid your craft supplies for card stock, stickers, glitter, and glue. Then let your kids get creative.
You can also check Pinterest for some fun and festive ideas.
To save a bit more money and make it more of an event, consider delivering your cards in person if possible.
Day 6 – Have a family game night
If you’re like us, family game nights may be pretty routine. But see if you can put a holiday spin on things.
Try a Christmas themed round of Pictionary or play checkers with red and green M&Ms.
Day 7 – Donate some toys or clothes to charity
It’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed with consumerism around the holidays.
Put the focus on others by donating some old toys or clothes to charity. Or consider donating a new gift to a child in need and helping make their Christmas special.
Day 8 – Have a
If you’ve been blessed with a wintery wonderland, go out and enjoy a fun
We live in the desert so snowball fights aren’t typically an option for us.
Unless you have one of these Snowball Fights in a Tin!
We got this as a gift years ago and it is literally the gift that keeps on giving.
We leave it out year-round and randomly start snowball fights around the house. (Especially when Grandma comes to visit.)
Even if you have the option of real snowballs, these can be a fun alternative if you’re tired of the cold.
Day 9 – Visit Santa
No Christmas is complete without a visit to Santa.
I haven’t visited a mall Santa in years, but our local Walmart had pictures with Santa for free.
There was a fee for the photo package, but they were totally fine with letting people take their own pictures too.
If your town does any winter festivals or parades that may be another way to see Santa for free.
Day 10 – Bake some Christmas cookies (or desserts)
One of the best ways to make memories and teach skills is to spend time together in the kitchen.
Traditional sugar cookies are super
Growing up my brothers and I couldn’t wait for the special fudge and chocolate truffles my grandma would send with the Christmas packages.
Now we try to recreate those sweet treats with our own kids.
Day 11 – Watch a Christmas movie
Some of my most enduring Christmas memories revolve around watching Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
There’s no shortage of Christmas movies to watch but here are some that make our marathon list:
- A Christmas Story
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Polar Express
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Frosty the Snowman
- The Muppet Christmas Carol
- Miracle on 34th Street
- The Santa Clause
- Home Alone
Day 12 – Read your favorite Christmas story
No Christmas Eve is complete in our house without a reading of The Night Before Christmas. For our close friends, it’s all about The Polar Express.
Whether you’re looking to make a tradition or just turn off the electronics for a bit, there’s no shortage of good Christmas books. Some of my favorites are:
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- Elf on the Shelf
- The Polar Express
- Bear Stays Up for Christmas
- The Night Before Christmas
Check with your local library for some other recommendations.
So there you have it. Twelve days of free Christmas fun.
If you want to make these 12 days even more fun, grab the free printable below.
Cut out the activities and mix them up in a jar or bowl. Then let your kids pick one out each morning to add a little fun and mystery to your day!