40 Christmas Eve Traditions For Your Family

by Melissa

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The best Christmas Eve traditions to create memories with your family this year! 

CHRISTMAS EVE TRADITIONS 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and you’re shopping is done! It’s time to celebrate and have lots of fun! 

Christmas Eve traditions are a great way to make lasting memories with your family. So if you’re wondering what to do on Christmas Eve or where to go on Christmas Eve, you don’t need to wonder any longer! 

From Christmas Eve games to Christmas Eve gifts, this list of fun things to do on Christmas Eve will give you lots of ideas! 

  1. Christmas Eve Day Traditions
  2. Christ-Centered Christmas Eve Traditions
  3. Christmas Eve Dinner Ideas
  4. Christmas Eve Gift Traditions 
  5. Christmas Eve Santa Traditions
  6. Christmas Eve Games 

CHRISTMAS EVE GIFT IDEAS

1. PJ GIFT

One of our favorite Christmas Eve gift traditions is to open new pajamas! There is something so magical about wearing brand new jammies to bed while visions of sugarplums dance in your head! Don’t forget to snap a picture in your new PJs! 

2. NEW MOVIE

3. NEW FAMILY CARD OR BOARD GAME 

Let children open one gift on Christmas Eve! When my siblings and I were older, our favorite fun Christmas Eve traditions was to stay up late and play games together. Giving a new game would be something fun to open on Christmas Eve!  

 


CHRIST-CENTERED CHRISTMAS EVE TRADITIONS

1. READ THE CHRISTMAS STORY FROM LUKE 2

2. ACT OUT THE NATIVITY STORY

A great Christmas Eve activity is to act out the Nativity Story. You can pull out old robes and towels to dress up like wise men, shepherds, and Mary and Joseph. Use this free Nativity play to help you! 

3. WATCH THE CHRIST CHILD

This free nativity video is my all-time favorite version of The Christmas Story. Stream it online here. 

4. ATTEND A WORSHIP SERVICE 

Attend midnight mass or go to a church service! 

5. WATCH THE NATIVITY WITH BREATH OF HEAVEN SONG

This short 5-minute Nativity movie paired with Amy Grant’s “Breath of Heaven” song is our favorite! Play it after your Christmas Eve dinner for a great way to make Christmas Eve Christ-centered.

6. READ “I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS”

This book shows how Santa Claus is a symbol of Christ– a perfect way to combine the two!  


CHRISTMAS EVE DAY TRADITIONS

1. WAKE UP BY THE CHRISTMAS TREE 

One of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions is to wake up next to the Christmas tree! Yes! The entire family has a sleepover on December 23rd in the living room by tree. We watch Christmas movies, eat English Toffee and other goodies and have a fun night together! 

2. GO TO A MOVIE 

Going to a movie theater as family is a favorite Christmas Eve outing. Usually there is a new movie that the whole family can enjoy. 

3. MAKE BEIGNETS FOR BRUNCH

Make famous French beignets for a festive Christmas Eve breakfast or brunch with your family. 

christmas-morning-breakfast-tradition-beignets

4. GO ICE SKATING 

So many fun things to do on Christmas Eve and going ice skating is no exception! Find an outdoor ice rink near you by searching “ice skating near me” on Google. 

5. GO SLEDDING, SNOWSHOEING, OR SKIING 

Christmas Eve outings as a family are a great way to make memories together! So bundle up and have a blast sledding, snowshoeing or skiing together. 

 


CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER TRADITIONS

No matter what other Christmas Eve traditions families have, you can be sure that what people do on Christmas Eve includes good food! Everyone has to eat, so make your Christmas Eve meal special! 

1. CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER 

Whether you’re looking for a Christmas Eve traditions for adults or Christmas ideas for small families, a candlelight Christmas Eve dinner is magical. Regardless of what your Christmas Eve dinner menu consists of, setting the table with a nice tablecloth and candles is a nice way to kick off Christmas activities. 

CREAM CHEESE CHICKEN CROCKPOT RECIPE HERE 

2. BETHLEHEM DINNER 

Another fun Christmas Eve dinner idea is a Bethlehem dinner. Set out blankets on the floor and eat typical foods Mary and Joseph would have eaten like artisan breads, olives, chicken kabobs, oranges, veggies, nuts, hummus, etc. 

bethlehem dinner

 

3. ORDER TAKE-OUT OR PIZZA

Feeling like a night off cooking? Simplify your Christmas Eve by grabbing take-out. Have a picnic by the Christmas tree while you watch one of these best Christmas movies


CHRISTMAS EVE SANTA TRADITIONS

Wondering what to do with kids Christmas Eve? Here’s kid-approved Christmas Eve activities!  

1. WRITE & BURN LETTER TO SANTA

It may seem like a weird Christmas Eve tradition, but we always write a letter to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. We do a quick highlight of the year and everyone gets to ask for a few things. And then we put it in a pie tin, burn it and sprinkle the ashes on the ground. Santa is magical and puts it together when he visits and sprinkles it back on the snow (or ground). 

2. MAKE REINDEER FOOD 

Santa loves finding milk and cookies, but the reindeer need some food, too! Make some magical reindeer food by combining oatmeal and Christmas sprinkles together. Leave it in a bowl for them! Reindeer love carrots, too. 

3. COOKIES & MILK FOR SANTA 

Decorate sugar cookies for Santa as Christmas Eve activity for the family. This classic sugar cookie recipe is a winner! Plus, it can be made in advance if you only have time to decorate them.  Santa also LOVES these M&M Cookies

4. TRACK SANTA 

Use this free Santa tracker to see where Santa is on Christmas Eve! This might help kids get to bed quickly so Santa doesn’t skip over their house! 

5. WATCH SANTA’S REINDEER

 See Santa’s reindeer! See Santa feed his reindeer live and read them stories. It’s free here. 


 

CHRISTMAS EVE ACTIVITIES

There are plenty of fun Christmas things to do at home. Here’s some of our favorites! 

1. DECORATE GINGERBREAD HOUSES 

Decorating graham cracker gingerbread houses is one of the most classic Christmas Eve traditions. Check out this post for tips to make it fun for all ages! 

2. PLAY CHRISTMAS BELLS 

No need to go to a Christmas concert when you can have your own Christmas Eve entertainment at home! Playing Christmas bells is a fun Christmas Eve activity for all ages. This printable Christmas Hand Bell music is color-coded to match your hand bell set, so everyone can follow along easily! 

christmas-hand-bell-music

3. WATCH A CHRISTMAS MOVIE 

There is no shortage of great Christmas movies for families, so cuddle up and enjoy a Christmas movie together! Here’s a list of best Christmas movies…see which ones you can check off this year! 

4. READ CHRISTMAS BOOKS 

If you haven’t had a chance to read favorite Christmas books for kids yet, spend extra time by the Christmas tree reading your favorite Christmas stories. Here’s a list of our favorite Christmas books

5. READ TWAS’ THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

One of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions for kids I started last year was to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to each one of them. I snuggled in bed individually, read them the story and listened with glee as they had excitement in their voice. 

 


CHRISTMAS EVE GAMES 

Everyone is gathered together after a nice Christmas Eve dinner, so now what to do on Christmas Eve? Here’s tons of fun Christmas things to do together! 

1. CHRISTMAS HOUSE AWARDS

Do you love driving by houses all decorated for Christmas? Let them know by giving them a Christmas House Award! These free printable certificates let them know they won a contest. Drop them off with a small treat to make Christmas Eve special. 

2. CHRISTMAS LIGHT SCAVENGER HUNT 

Christmas Eve is a perfect night to go and see the Christmas lights around town. Bundle up, crank up the Christmas music and enjoy the lights. If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to make a game out of it, do this fun Christmas Scavenger Hunt while you’re at it!

3. CHRISTMAS MOVIE TRIVIA GAME 

See how well you know all the best Christmas movies as you play this Christmas Eve Game: Christmas Movie Trivia! There are 72 questions from all the classic Christmas films your family loves and knows! 

4. WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT AUCTION 

One of the most popular Christmas Eve party ideas is this White Elephant Gift Auction. Everyone brings 1 good gift and 1 white elephant gift. Each player uses their Christmas Cash to bid on gifts–the highest bidder wins! The hilarious thing about this Christmas Eve game is that you don’t know what gift you’re buying! 

5. ROLL THE DICE GIFT GAME 

Another fun gift exchange game for Christmas Eve! Roll the dice gift exchange is a Christmas game for families to see which gift you get to keep! 

6. CANDY CANE HUNT 

When you’re all cooped up and need a Christmas activity for kids, send them on a candy cane hunt! Grab a box of small candy canes and hide them all around the house for them to find. 

7. CHRISTMAS BINGO 

Bingo is the perfect Christmas Eve family games because everyone can play! Just print off these cute Christmas Bingo cards, grab a few prizes and you’re ready for a fun Christmas Eve activity. 

 

SEE MORE FUN CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY GAMES HERE 


CHRISTMAS SERVICE IDEAS FOR FAMILIES

Help your children feel the true spirit of Christmas by doing one of these Christmas service ideas. 

1. GO CAROLING 

Caroling doesn’t have to be a dying art. If you wondering how to make Christmas Eve go faster, go out and serve by singing some simple Christmas songs. 

2. PLAY SONGS AT A REST HOME 

Put on your Santa hats and go sing some Christmas tunes at a rest home. 

3. VOLUNTEER AT A SOUP KITCHEN 

Go serve dinner at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter on Christmas Eve. 

4. GIVE OUT FREE HOT COCOA

Set up a free hot cocoa stand in your neighborhood! 

5. DELIVER GIFTS TO NEIGHBORS 

Tell your neighbors you’re grateful for them by delivering one of these inexpensive neighbor Christmas gifts to them. 

6. DELIVER GIFTS TO WIDOWS 

Christmas can be so lonely for widows, so go spread some cheer by delivering a plate of cookies or small gift. 


So tell me– What do you do on Christmas Eve? Leave a comment below! 

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