Santa sitting by the fireplace at Christmas time

Christmas Activities: 30 Best Holiday Pastimes to Enjoy this December

Christmas seems to have been overtaken by the Western world. The number of cultures and traditions we most associate with Christmas is more often than not that of Westerners. This is a shame since so many different countries celebrate this holiday in some form. Traditions and activities vary depending on where in the world you are from – in places like the UK or US Christmas is associated with snow and all things winter. In the southern hemisphere, Christmas takes place in the middle of summer. Activities and traditions will be different if you’re from the West vs the East and so on.

This article will primarily focus on Christmas activities that are done in the Western world. These activities, like Halloween activities, will be different from country to country. So, if you have found yourself wondering ‘what activities can I do this Christmas?’ – look no further. If any of these Christmas activities are not typically done where you’re from, why not try them out?

The Origin of Christmas

The origin of Christmas : Saturnalia
credit: history

The term ‘Christmas’ is associated with the Christian holiday and the birth of Jesus, as told in the Bible. While we’re not here to debate religion, the date chosen for Christmas is very unlikely to be the actual date the religious figure was born on. December the 25th was, according to many sources, chosen for this holiday to take the place of or override the pagan festivals of Deus Sol Invictus, Saturnalia and the Kalends. The church disapproved of these pagan celebrations and instead decided that ‘Christmas’ would take the place of the aforementioned celebrations.

Christmas Activities to Awaken Your Inner Creativity

crafting baubles
credit: pinterest

Whether you are a creative person or not, there are plenty of Christmas activities that you can get behind and enjoy. Whether you can paint, sketch or simply cut out bits of paper, you can also help with the annual house decorations. Why not try out some of these creative Christmas ideas this year? You might find your hidden talent or favourite hobby.

Make Christmas Cards

No Christmas is complete without an array of both ugly and beautiful Christmas cards. Traditionally, you can buy Christmas cards with all kinds of festive scenes, but where’s the sun in that? Try your hand at coming up with your own design. Even if it doesn’t turn out like how you imagined it, whoever you give it to will be forever grateful for it.

Craft Some Christmas Ornaments and Baubles

If you have a Christmas tree, then you probably know all about baubles. Instead of buying a bunch of tree ornaments and baubles from a shop, make some unique ones. You’ll be sure to catch the attention of all who are lucky enough to gaze upon your Christmas tree.

Make a Snow Globe

Snow globes are everywhere during the festive season. Sometimes they’re cheap, sometimes you will pay an arm and a leg for them. If the cheap one just break after a few days and the expensive ones take a year to save up for, why not make your own? They will cost a fraction of the price and you can spend some quality time with family or friends. Everyone wins.

Knit an Ugly Sweater

Ugly sweaters and the Christmas season go hand-in-hand. It’s practically a competition to see who does, in fact, have the ugliest sweater. If you want your sweater to be really ugly and win one of those competitions – knit it. Knitted sweaters can be absolutely gorgeous, especially if you’re skilled in the art form, but things can go wrong. No one will judge you if one arm is longer than the other. Don’t worry.

Create Home-Made Gifts

Nothing says ‘I thought about you’ like a home-made gift. Yes, buying gifts online or in store is easy, but where is the satisfaction? Making a gift for someone you care about is an amazing feeling and I guarantee whoever you give it to will treasure it.

Create Your Own Garlands

Garlands are beautiful and a big part of Christmas for many countries. Why not get creative and try your hand at making a unique one? If you don’t have a clue what is needed to actually create one, you can always order a make-it-yourself garland online or in a store.

Decorate Your Home

Naturally, when the festive season starts you need to decorate your home. There are no rules here – cover your house with lights inside and out, throw tinsel all over it and get out the inflatable Santa. The whole neighbourhood will be forced to admire your work of art. You might experience some jealousy from those around you but don’t worry – they’ll get over it.

Christmas Activities in the Town

Most of us love to get out and about in the Christmas season. Of course, there are many activities to enjoy when you finally agree to leave the house and wander around the town. Why not make the most of the outside world and visit or take part in as many of these activities as possible?

Go to a Christmas Market

Christmas markets are full of magic and wonder. You can wander around the stores and see an incredible number of gifts and bits and pieces. Some of the most unique items can be found in Christmas markets, not to mention great food and drinks. It’s definitely worth visiting your local market and seeing what they have to offer.

Attend a Christmas Party

Safely, of course. Christmas parties are often the highlight of the year. Depending on where you are or who you know, there’s bound to be a festive function somewhere near you.

Do Your Christmas Gift Shopping at the Local Stores

Skip out the online shopping and go directly to the stores. By going to the stores in your town you will be supporting them rather than feeding money into super-businesses like Amazon. Your community will appreciate the custom and you can make a real difference.

Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree

If you have the space in your house for a Christmas tree then no Christmas is complete without one. There are big ones or small ones, and they come in all shapes, too. Finding the perfect tree for your home should be fun and an adventure. The smell of spruce, pine or fir will fill your home and you will love every second of it.

Go to the Turning on of the Lights Ceremony

If your town is anything like mine, then you’ll know that turning on the lights is a big event. Crowds will gather around their hot chocolates and count down until the streets are lit up. It’s a great moment for the community and more often than not, a stall will be available to get more drinks or food. Everybody wins.

Visit a Cool Ice Bar

If you’re over the drinking age (wherever that may be), why not indulge in treating yourself to an ice bar? Of course, finding an ice bar might be more difficult if you’re in the southern hemisphere, but travelling is worth a shot, right?

Attend a Church Service

If you’re religious or are thinking about accompanying someone to a Christmas service, do it! Churches, if you go to the right one, are amazing. Even if you are not a believer in the message behind Christmas, the community is something to be in awe of.

Try Out Ice Skating

Ice skating is a great hobby to pick up even if it isn’t Christmas time. Yes, you might fall on your butt 100 times in a row, but so will everyone else. Pluck up the courage and visit your nearest ice rink. Have some fun and dress up warm!

Find the Ugliest Christmas Sweater in the Town and Buy it

If you aren’t cut out for knitting an ugly sweater, buy an ugly sweater. You probably won’t win the ugly sweater competition, but who cares? Instead of spending all that time knitting a sweater, you had eight eggnogs instead.

Visit Santa’s Grotto

Yet another magical experience that can be found in the town. Take your family and friends to visit Santa and his reindeer. Don’t be shy, Santa doesn’t think you’re too old.

Go Decoration Shopping

Buying lights, tinsel and baubles is a part of Christmas. Yes, you can make your own baubles, but are you going to make hundreds of them? I thought not. Splurge a little bit and get some lights to make the whole neighbourhood proud.

Get Everyone in the Kitchen this Christmas

A gingerbread house
credit: thespruceeats

Food is an integral part of any Christmas tradition. In Japan they celebrate this holiday with a Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner and in Greenland they eat whale fat. Turkey, chicken, gammon or beef, there are all kinds of other foods to look forward to in the festive season. Try doing some of these Christmas ideas and really put your skills to the test in the kitchen.

Bake Some Christmas Cookies

Baked goods are another important aspect of the festive season. There are so many recipes to try out and make your own. Sites like BBC Good Food are full of great recipes that will have your mouth watering. Don’t forget to decorate them and make them true works of art.

Try Creating Your Own Christmas Cake or Pudding

Everyone loves Christmas pudding – or do they? As someone who has not and will never like Christmas pudding, a festive cake might be the way to go. Add fruit if you want, or some liqueur. If you’re into more traditional cakes, a black forest gateau is a great call. Carrot cakes are also a great option and a personal favourite no matter the time of year or event.

Bake and Decorate a Gingerbread House

Gingerbread and gingerbread houses are a traditional element of many peoples’ Christmases. If you’re planning on going down the route of making a gingerbread house, why not make the biggest one you can manage? Or have a gingerbread competition among your family and see who can form the most outrageous creation.

Try Out a Variety of Mulled Wine Flavours

Mulled wine is the marmite of drinks – you either love it or hate it. If you’re a lover of mulled wine, then go all out and taste test as many as you can. Get a group of likeminded mulled wine lovers and make a night of it.

Eggnog Yourself Out

Another love it or hate it drink. Eggnog is a traditional Christmas drink that is loved, and hated, by many. Make your own varieties and try them out – it’ll make for an enjoyable evening if you’re a fan of the stuff.

Create a New Hot Chocolate Flavour

Yet another drink heavily associated with Christmas and winter. You can try orange chocolate, mint, hazelnut and any other number of hot chocolates. Dig out your favourite mugs, get some fresh milk (or milk alternative) and have fun. Liqueurs like Irish Cream or Bailey’s often go beautifully with hot chocolate, so why not try it if you haven’t?

Great Christmas Family Activities

Christmas is all about family and friends. Spending time with loved ones is often the priority this time of year so naturally there are a number of great activities for adults and children alike. Be careful, though – the competition gets real and might result in getting the cold-shoulder for months to come if you don’t let the children win.

Build a Snowman

If you’re in the northern hemisphere or somewhere lucky enough to get snow in the southern hemisphere, you will be well acquainted with this Christmas activity. Snow people and snow angels alike are a much loved part of a white Christmas. Why not have a competition to see who can make the biggest or strangest snowman?

Enjoy nature and go for a walk

Okay, this one might not always be a great idea. Maybe don’t go out walking in a blizzard but if the weather permits, why not get out of the house and enjoy the outside world? Visit your favourite park and take in the sights.

Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

Christmas movies are another staple in the festive season. Why not binge the Home Alone movies and fall asleep on the couch watching Elf. It’s always a family favourite and no one will get bored as long as you have popcorn and other snacks to indulge in.

Create a New Family Tradition

Every family has some kind of tradition, whether you’re aware of it or not. Come up with your own little tradition for your family to pass down and enjoy every year. In the future they will thank you for it and look back on fond memories.

Write Letters to Santa

How else is Santa supposed to know what the kids want, right? Make a night of letter writing for the kids to pour their hearts out Saint Nick. It’ll bring a smile to any parent’s face knowing that their children are going to (hopefully) get exactly what they want.

Have a Family Game Night

If Christmas is all about spending time with family, then a family game night is definitely on the books, right? Whip out Monopoly, Scrabble or another game that could potentially tear the family apart for the night and have at it. May the best player win (so long as it is one of the children).

What Will You Be Doing This Christmas?

Do any of these Christmas activities appeal to you? How many of these do you already do every year? Christmas is a magical time of year even if you do not believe the religious message behind it. People’s hearts open to others and the joy of the festive season is contagious. The lights in the towns and wrapped around houses warm up the (usually) dark world in the December months. Just think about how different Christmas is for people living in different hemispheres. This year, why don’t you change things and try something new?

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