10 Christmas Eve Traditions + Activities For Families

Traditions make memorable moments that can last a lifetime, especially if you have little ones. When we think of our childhood, some of the best memories were made during the holiday season. If you and your family doesn’t already have a family tradition, it’s time to create one.

Christmas cookies

Top 10 Christmas Eve Traditions + Activities


  • Extended Family Gathering: One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas Eve is to invite extended family over. With everyone gathering, make sure that you are prepared in terms of extra chairs, at least one gift per extended relative so no one feels left out, activities, and dinner.

  • Family Dinner: You can decide to prepare dinner by yourself or host a potluck, where family members or friends help with side dishes. An alternative method is to  plan on meeting at a restaurant. This latter method is gaining in popularity, and most restaurants are now open on Christmas Eve.

  • Open One Present: For extra fun, host a gift exchange along with dinner plans and keep in mind the goal is for everyone to bring at least one present. Consider setting a certain dollar amount, for example $25. Family members can exchange gifts, but select one present to open up on Christmas Eve. This allows you to enjoy giving and receiving with your extended family and still allowing you and your closest loved the opportunity to share more personal the next morning.

  • Pajama Game: While it’s the most fun to be surprised by your Christmas presents, it can be just as fun to know ahead of time what it is. Consider having every member of the family receive a new pair of holiday-themed pajamas. They can all match, which can be super cute, or they can be outlandish. Think of it like an ugly Christmas sweater party but with PJs. Either way, they’ll make for great family photos.

  • Church: Many families enjoy attending Midnight Mass or a candlelight service. Church at Christmas has become an annual family staple. Candles are lit, old classic Christmas-hymns are sung, and plays are performed.

  • Caroling: There’s something festive and cheery when it comes to classic Christmas carols and songs. Join family and friends in serenading your neighborhood and boosting everyone’s holiday spirit. If you’re not up to taking the tunes to the streets, gather the family around the fire for to share hot cocoa and a holiday sing-along in the comfort of your home.

  • Storytime: Storytime is especially adored by little ones and it benefits their developing brains. Reading classic Christmas stories not only helps create lasting memories, but simultaneously promotes cognitive development, builds language skills, and expands the imagination. Christmas stories are also a great way to spread holiday cheer while tapping into your own childhood memories of festive classic tales.

  • Movies: You can’t go wrong with watching holiday movies. The classics are a great way to bring back nostalgic childhood memories. Introducing some of your favorite Christmas movies to little ones will also help build memorable moments that they’ll grow to appreciate. You can also go out to the movies, too.

  • Pictures: Take adorable family pictures you will cherish for the rest of your life. Collecting annual Christmas Eve photos is a great way to get your family together and see everyone’s progression over the years.

  • Bake Cookies: Do you have a family recipe? If you don’t have a homemade secret recipe handed down from generation to generation, you can probably find one on the internet. Baking for Santa is a yummy way to get the kids involved in a fun, family-bonding activity.

  • Make Moments Count

    The important thing to consider this Christmas Eve is that making precious moments with family is the best tradition of all. Take advantage of being off from work and the daily grind, so that you can make the most of each second that you invest in your family. Spend quality time with those you love and have a happy holiday season.