Countdown to Christmas with these fun Christmas activities for families all put together in one simple printable 25 days of Christmas activities book! Each day pick one of the four Christmas activities as you celebrate the holiday all month long!
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The problem is that when there are toys or treats involved, he has a hard time stopping at just one a day. He really wants to open two or three or four. He’d rather go through the entire calendar in a week than wait all month.
This year I decided to do something different and instead of one of these DIY advent calendars, I decided to make a Christmas countdown candle and Christmas activities book that has an activity to do as a family every day.
The basic idea is that we’ll burn the candle down to the next number and then choose one of the activity options from that day to do together as a family.
25 Days of Christmas Activities
I was tasked with making a booklet of 25 days of Christmas activities for a craft night for the women at my church. We made the candles and then I was supposed to give out a booklet or card with one activity for each day.
But you know me, I couldn’t stop at one activity per day. Honestly, I started writing out one activity per day and realized that it would be too hard to choose an activity that made sense for every family (young kids, older kids, no kids), so I decided to come up with four different activities per day instead.
Some of the activities are fun things to do as a family like a movie night, others are service oriented activities (it is Christmas after all), and some of them are things to make like cookies, crafts, etc.
Each day has a Christmas song theme such as “let it snow,” or “away in a manger” and the activities are all tied back to that theme. The idea is that you could potentially keep this book and each year try a different activity from the list until you get through them all. Then start again if you choose!
I also tried to vary the activities on the books so while they’re all technically Christmas activities for families (aka activities that are family appropriate), there are at least one or two activities on each day that would work for singles, couples with no kids, or empty nesters as well.
100 Christmas Activities
Here’s the full list of Christmas activities if you’re not looking for a countdown and would rather just have some ideas to add into your holiday celebrations this year! It’s kind of like a Christmas bucket list and I love my bucket list ideas!
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Write Christmas cards
- Play Christmas charades
- Pick out a Christmas performance to attend
- Make Christmas ornaments
- String popcorn for the Christmas tree
- Make candy Christmas trees
- Have a picnic dinner under the tree
- Buy a gift for a Christmas tree angel
- Call a friend or family member just to say hi
- Take treats or gifts to first responders
- Put out snacks for your mail + delivery people
- Make homemade hot chocolate
- Make or buy ugly Christmas sweaters
- Go out to dinner in ugly Christmas sweaters
- Read stories by the fireplace
- Go ice skating
- Go see a movie in theaters
- Watch or read A Polar Express
- Put money in a Salvation Army Bucket
- Watch a White Christmas
- Make White Christmas cookies
- Make white hot chocolate
- Make paper plate Christmas crafts
- Go for a late night walk to see the stars
- Kiss someone under the mistletoe
- Clear snow from people’s sidewalks or cars
- Clear out/organize a part of your home
- Donate toys to children in need
- Read children’s Christmas books (these are our favorites!)
- Volunteer somewhere with children
- Play a classic children’s game (like one of these)
- Play a Christmas trivia game
- Learn something new
- Go to a local museum or landmark
- Make Christmas gifts for teachers
- Go take pictures with Santa
- Write letters to Santa
- Go Christmas shopping
- Watch Elf
- Build a snowman
- Eat snow cones or snow ice cream
- Do a snow inspired craft
- Have a snowball fight (these snowballs are perfect for this)
- Make winter themed cookies or treats
- Make homemade snow globes
- Invite friends over for a wonderful evening
- Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
- Go for a ride to see Christmas lights
- Make candy sleighs
- Go sledding, tubing, or for a sleigh ride
- Snuggle up together for a movie
- Go see a live nativity
- Spend the night doing service for others
- Have a family game night (with one of these great board games)
- Go miniature golfing
- Buy something for the person behind you in line
- Do a random act of kindness for a stranger
- Make Christmas cookies and take them to a friend
- Leave money on a vending machine
- Take family Christmas pictures
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Play Christmas minute to win it games
- Make Christmas punch or wassail
- Wrap presents
- Make homemade gifts
- Take secret Santa gifts to a family in need
- Go to or host a holiday party (get some great Christmas party ideas here)
- Make gingerbread houses
- Invite friends to your home for Christmas fun
- Make homemade Christmas decorations
- Visit a nursing home
- Make reindeer food
- Make reindeer treats (like these reindeer cinnamon rolls)
- Play reindeer games (or one of these other Christmas party games)
- Go see and pet a live reindeer
- Watch the Nutcracker (even better if you do it with some of these Nutcracker party ideas)
- Play a card game (Five Crowns would be perfect)
- Build a blanket fort or castle
- Bake a Three King’s Cake
- Listen to Christmas music all night
- Go Christmas caroling
- Listen to The Forgotten Carols
- Watch A Christmas Carol (or play this Scrooge Your Neighbor Gift Exchange game)
- Eat tacos for dinner (with this homemade taco meat)
- Make Mexican hot chocolate
- Make homemade sopapillas
- Read the Gift of the Magi
- Have a Christmas music dance party (here’s a great Christmas playlist to help you out)
- Watch Jingle All the Way
- Make Christmas rocks to put in your neighborhood
- Have a “make a Christmas jingle” competition
- Read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas“
- Watch Home Alone
- Take gifts or food to the homeless
- Make cookies for Santa
- Read the story of Jesus’ birth
- Sleep on soft beds under the tree
- Act out the story of Jesus’ birth
- Make popsicle stick mangers
Christmas Countdown Candle
We paired these Christmas activities booklets with a countdown candle. The idea behind is it that you burn the candle down to the next number on the candle each day and do an activity with it. Kind of like a Christmas candle advent calendar.
The candles are super easy to make, especially if you have a Cricut and can just cut out the numbers using the SVG file I created for you already. Here’s what you’ll need to make the candles.
We put the numbers and decorations on a candle holder instead of the actual candle so that you can burn the candle this year and then just replace it for next year – all about reusing things over here and not having to redo things over and over again.
- Candle holder – we used ones similar to these that we got at Walmart and Dollar Tree or $1
- Candle – we used ones like these that again got at Walmart or Dollar Tree for $1
- This SVG file with the numbers (setup to be 6 1/2 inches tall – you can adjust if your candle is smaller)
- Paint pen (optional – you can use this if you don’t have a Cricut to cut the numbers)
- Anything else you want to use to decorate the candle
How to Make the Countdown Candle
1 – Cut the vinyl numbers out using a Cricut machine. Or if you’re planning to write the numbers yourself, skip this step.
2 – Apply the vinyl numbers to the side of the candle, going very slow to make sure you get the numbers all to pop out. They’re pretty small, so it takes a minute and a bit of patience to do this. Or paint on numbers yourself. If you’re going to paint them yourself with a paint pen, I recommend using a ruler to try and space them out as evenly as possible.
3 – Carefully adjust any of the numbers that may have gotten skewed in the process.
4 – Add any other stickers or decorations you want to the candle.
5 – Tie the ribbon onto the candle and the Christmas activities booklet. It’s a great place to keep the book safe and found.
How to Make the Christmas Activities Books
The books are really easy to make but if you don’t have a printer that can print double-sided, I recommend sending them to a print and copy store. Or you can just print them out one-sided, that works as well.
1 – Download the free printable PDF books.
Enter your first name and email address into the form below to get the free printable PDF. It will be a three page PDF that has all 25 days and a front cover.
Can’t see the form below? Click here to get to it.
2 – Print out the books.
The printable PDF toward the bottom of this post is three pages. It’s designed to be printed two-sided but can totally be printed one-sided as well.
I recommend printing on white card stock and laminating the cards if you want to use them year after year. The card stock will just hold up better. Otherwise, you can totally just print them on regular white paper as well.
Print them out, cut out the individual pages, and use a single hole punch to punch a hole in the top let corner of all of the pages.
3 – Put the books together.
If you don’t have book rings, you could also tie them together with ribbon or string, but it won’t be as a sturdy or easy to flip the pages.
What to Do with the Christmas Activities Books
Alright you have everything printed out and put together. Now comes the fun part – actually using the books!
I’ll tell you about two different ways to use them and you can choose which works best for your family.
Option 1: Pick Your Christmas Activities Daily
This option is more like an advent calendar where you don’t really look at the activities until the day of and it’s more of a surprise. You burn the candle (or not), look at the day’s activities, and choose one to do that day.
This option works best if you’re going to do more of the activities that don’t take a lot of pre-planning (e.g., watch a Christmas movie, sing Christmas songs, do random acts of kindness).
I recommend choosing your activity in the morning each day to give you time to prep and do the activity during the day.
Option 2: Pick Your Christmas Activities Weekly
Okay so this option isn’t quite as fun as an advent calendar, but I personally prefer it and it’s how we’ll be doing the countdown.
Instead of looking at the activities and picking out one each day, look at the activity options for the entire week (or at least a few days ahead of time) and pick out which ones you want to do.
So for instance on day 1, you might pick out going to get snow cones. On day 2 you might pick out going to see Christmas lights. On day 3 it might be making cookies and taking them to friends.
The reason I prefer this method is that you get to prep ahead of time and make choices based on your schedules for the week. My son has swimming lessons on Mondays and scouts on Tuesday so I know that we won’t be able to do a big outing on one of those days, but we could totally buy dinner for the person behind us in line when we are grabbing dinner on Monday after swim. So we might pick that activity instead of making cookies for Day 3.
Or if we decide to make cookies, it gives me a chance to figure out what cookies we’re making and who we’re taking them to – and order them all using Instacart (my favorite!) before instead of hoping we have things in our pantry to make my favorite Christmas cookies.
And at the end of the day, the goal behind this isn’t so much of a surprise advent calendar – it’s Christmas activities for families to do together. One each day, even if they are planned ahead of time!
If you do print out and use these Christmas activities books with your families this holiday season, I would love to hear about it! Take a picture and tag me on social media @playplartyplan #playpartyplan of you doing Christmas activities! I love to feature my readers doing fun things together!
More Fun Christmas Activities
- Roll a Christmas tree game
- Christmas party games
- Christmas service activity
- Christmas scavenger hunt
- Christmas saran wrap game
- Best gift exchange games