10 Last-Minute Family Activities to Do Before Christmas

What can you do to make the Christmas lead up feel more magical?

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #408

5.) Holiday Reading

There’s nothing cozier than snuggling up together and enjoying holiday classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Night Before Christmas or The Polar Express while waiting for the big day to arrive.  Check out this list of holiday classics and new reads that you can all enjoy together.

6.) Favorite Moment Jar

When my kids were younger, I was an avid scrapbooker. I would sit for hours and cut, paste and decorate page after page of my 8 little darling’ younger days.  I, of course, had great intentions of producing several books for each of them, but as they get older and I got busier with work, my scrapbooking hobby stopped dead in its tracks. That’s when I started doing other things to keep track of the special memories we were making and one of those was something I learned about from a good friend—a “Favorite Moment Jar”.  Simply get a jar such as a Mason Jar, which you can decorate any way you like, and as really neat and fun things happen throughout the year, write them down and put them in the jar. We read ours on New Year’s Eve. Take the week before Christmas to create your own “Favorite Moment Jar” and next year you’ll have something cool to look forward to.  See Also:  Preserving Family Memories

7.) Feed the Birds

If you don’t have a birdfeeder in your yard, the holiday season is a wonderful time to start taking care of all those interesting feathered friends that don’t fly south for the winter.  There are lots of easy feeders you can make with your kids that you can hang in your yard or from the porch. Here’s a list of family-friendly feeders your kids will enjoy making before Santa visits.  

8.) Candy Cane Heaven

It wouldn’t be the holidays without candy canes in the mix so take advantage of all things candy cane and add them to everything. Grind them up and add to hot cocoa, cookie frosting, brownies, whipped cream and even dip the rims of your cocktail glasses in them for a festive twist on a winter martini.  Not all of my kids like mint so we also stock up on the many delicious fruit varieties that are also available.  They also add a festive touch to gift wrap, table scape decorations and of course on your Christmas tree.

9.) Take-Out Theme

With all the fuss over holiday hams and turkey, this busy time of the year is the perfect time to start a new meal tradition, which can both ease your preparation burden as well as offer up some delicious new dishes to try.  In our family we always have take-out food every Christmas Eve.  We decide as a family what we want the theme to be and we order out.  Last year we had Mexican food complete with a piñata.  In years past we’ve enjoyed Chinese, Indian Food and even good-old burgers and fries. 

10.) Re-Deck the Halls

Most of us all have one friend or family member who seem to have been separated at birth from decorating and homemaker extraordinaire, Martha Stewart—for me, that would be my friend Amy.  She is one of my most talented friends and can cook, sew, and decorate with the best of the best.  She shared one of her brilliant holiday ideas with me years ago, and it was such a big hit with my kids that I always happily pass it along.  She chooses one night close to Christmas and re-decks the halls.  Basically she either puts up another tree in an unexpected room like the kid’s bathroom or garage, or restrings Christmas lights throughout a part of the house that hasn’t been decorated like the hallway leading to the bedrooms or even the outside patio and creates some extra sparkle and surprise elements that will wow her family.  This year I chose to surprise my 11-year old daughter by decorating her bedroom with holiday lights and ornaments and a mini white Christmas tree.  When she came home from play rehearsal and saw her room glowing, she squealed and lit up like a Christmas tree herself!

What last-minute ways do you add excitement to your family’s holiday?  Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.