For most of us, Christmas Eve is all about traditions—doing those things you’ve done every year, evoking feelings of nostalgia and cheery memories. But if you’re someone who likes a little novelty mixed in with their holidays, it’s worth considering what sort of new activities you can add to your celebrations. From culinary concoctions to games to outdoor activities, here are a few ways to add some spice to your holiday routine. And for some great holiday nostalgia, here are 16 Ways Christmas Was Way Better in the 90s.
Do a Hot Cocoa Bar
Hot cocoa is one of the best parts of the holidays, but why not upgrade your cocoa game with a whole hot cocoa bar? Put out dark and milk chocolate choices, and a wide range of toppings—not just whipped cream and marshmallows, but chocolate bits, pecan bits, and candy cane chunks—letting guests build the messiest and craziest dessert drink they can. When you done, just be sure to avoid the 13 Worst Holiday Films of All Time.
Play Snowball Capture the Flag
How long has it been since you were in a good, old-fashioned snowball fight? If you’re someone who lives in a place that gets a good amount of snow, turn the winter wonderland into a battleground with a game of capture the flag—fueled with snowballs. It works much like a typical game of capture the flag, but instead of tagging someone, you hit them with a snowball. And for more stellar ways to spend Christmas, check out the 6 Classic Christmas Movies You Can Experience in Real Life.
Raise Your Milk-and-Cookie Game
If you’ve got kids, they probably love leaving milk and cookies out for Santa. But rather than classic chocolate chip cookies, consider spending part of the evening baking some more unusual or fun cookies and giving the kids a chance to decorate them. For example, Peppermint Cream Thumbprint Cookies, Gingerbread Trees With Lemon Icing, or any other of these 25 tasty recipes. Santa will thank you, even if your waistline won’t. And for more holiday-eating tips, here are the 10 finger foods you should avoid.
Sprinkle Reindeer Dust
Reindeer need to eat too. Just to be extra sure Santa makes his way to your house, urge your kids to sprinkle reindeer dust (colored sugar and edible glitter) on the front walkway, maybe in the shape of an arrow so they know which way to carry the sleigh.
Have a Christmas Treasure Hunt
Stockings are great, but why not make your kids work for their treats from Santa? You can add a competitive element to your Christmas Eve celebrating by hiding treats from Santa throughout the house or outside, perhaps offering up clues about where they are.
Give Brand-New Xmas Pajamas
One of the pleasures of Christmas morning is lounging around in your pajamas. Consider giving everyone in the family a “pre-present” of relaxing, Christmas-themed pajamas they can wear Christmas Eve and all the next day if they like. And for the flip-side of what not to do on Christmas Eve, check out the 22 Worst Christmas Traditions of All Time.
Mix in Some Charity
It’s all too easy to forget about people in need during the hectic holidays. Add a charity component to your Christmas Eve, either asking dinner or party guests to bring a can of food or toy that you can donate to the appropriate charity. If you’re celebrating with your family, head out to a soup kitchen or toy drive and volunteer for a couple hours before you start opening your own gifts.
Hold Christmas Cookie Competition
Ask everyone to bring a dozen cookies (or two dozen depending on their appetite). Each person who brings cookies can vote on their three favorites (and, no, you can’t vote for your own), with three points going to every person who gets voted No. 1, two points for No. 2, and one point for No. 3. The cookies with the most points win.
Play Christmas board games
If you’ve been watching the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special for years, consider making it more interactive this year, with the Aquarius Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas Journey Board Game. It turns out you can play reindeer games south of the North Pole. Fave characters Rudolph, Hermey and Yukon Cornelius all make an appearance in this movie-themed challenge of saving the misfit toys.
Build a Christmas Cup Tower
Challenge your kids to stack green cups high enough to look like a Christmas tree—until it collapses or one of them knocks it down. Just remember: When they’re done playing, save the cups for next year.
Play “Christmas Is All Around”
Take a cue from Bill Nighy’s character in Love, Actually, and take some favorite songs and replace the word “love” with “Christmas.” Whoever can make it sound the least awkward wins.
Pin the Nose on Rudolph
First, you need to draw (or print out a picture) of Rudolph, then get a piece of paper that’s a red circle. Now you’ll blindfold the person who is pinning the nose of Rudolph, spin them in a circle, then have them try to pin the nose on Rudolph. Whoever pins the nose closest, wins.
Play a Stocking Guessing Game
First, you need a host to put random things in a stocking. Once it’s stuffed, tie a ribbon or string around the top of the stocking so that no one can peek. Sit in a circle and pass it around to everyone so they can feel what’s inside. Give them note cards so that they can write down what their guesses are. The person who guesses the most correct answers wins.
Play “Who Am I?”
Best played in large groups of at least 5 or as many as 50 people, you simply need something to write with and Post-It notes. Gather in a large circle, write down a famous Christmas character, then stick them on each other’s forehead. Every person should have a note on his or her forehead, then each person needs to guess what character they are by asking other people yes-or-no questions. The goal is to not be the last person to correctly guess who they are.
Find Santa’s Friends
A scavenger hunt to find Santa’s friends is a great way to host a friendly game in which everyone wins. After collecting a variety of plastic elves and reindeers, you can hide them throughout the house. Some of Santa’s friends should be easy to find, just in case younger kids choose to play, whereas other items should be harder to find for the older kids. You can also opt out of using plastic and go for stuffed Christmas symbols instead. Each kid that finds one of Santa’s friends will receive a Christmas gift. You can also hide an extra amount of reindeer and elves so kids don’t feel left out.
Play “Christmas A to Z”
This game requires only a little bit of movement and a lot of thought. First, gather a few sheets of paper that include the entire alphabet written vertically on each paper. Teams must then compete to fill in the entire alphabet list with a holiday word for each letter. The first team to complete their list wins. You can add a twist to the game by having someone check the winning team’s list and make sure the words qualify as holiday words. If their list isn’t accurate, you can then check another list from the second fastest team.
Do Some People Bingo
People bingo is entirely too much fun. Simply create a list of 10 to 15 traits or activities and give every participant the same list. Participants have to walk around the room and find other members who agree with items on the list and check them off. The winner is the person who fills in their list the fastest with a different employee name for each item. You can throw in a few holiday-oriented items to match the holiday atmosphere at your office.
Make a Human Christmas Tree
This calls for at least three family representatives to serve as figurative Christmas trees. A team will gather around each family tree representative and try to decorate them with different Christmas decorations (give the three participants oversized green fabric to wear over their clothes prior to decorating). The best “Human Christmas Tree” wins the game—as determined by the elders at your party.
Play the Candy Cane Game
This is a silly game that is has the added benefit of providing a Christmas party favor for your guests to take home. You will need a small stocking, a lot of candy canes, chopsticks, and a large bowl. You can usually find these stockings at your local dollar stores.
Fill the bowl with the candy canes and place the bowl in the center of a table. Place the stocking on the other end of the table—place a cup inside to keep the stocking open. Give each person a chopstick. Each player must place the chopstick in their mouth, on the start of go players must place their hands behind their back and try and hook as many candy canes on their chopstick as they can and transfer them to the stocking. Give each player one minute. The player who gets the most candy canes in the stocking wins.
Play Christmas Memory
Draw eight Christmas images (Christmas tree, Santa, snow, etc), then make duplicates of each, so you’ll have a total of sixteen cards. Place cards on the table as a 4×4 layout. Each player gets a chance to pick a card, then try to find the match. When a player finds the match, they get to keep it and it counts as a point. Play until the first person gets 20 points (this will take multiple rounds). You can adjust the scoring as dependent upon the number of participants. Create some more memories with your family by checking out the 20 Best Fictional Holidays of All Time.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!