“Christmastime is here, happiness and cheer” as the Charlie Brown carol goes. And while Christmastime is here, most of our holiday plans will look different than in years past.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t still create memories this Christmas season with happiness, cheer, and all.
We’ve compiled a list of 10 family-friendly, memory-making activities for Christmas. We’ve also made sure these 10 Christmas activities are sustainable and inexpensive!
1. Have an answer to “I’m bored!” with a Christmas-themed activities list.
To the parents or grandparents out there, how many times have you heard “But I’m bored!” this year?
Banish the boredom by creating a paper chain of Christmas activities. Write an idea on each paper chain. Then, when the boredom starts to creep in, you can simply refer to your handy paper chain to get ideas. Be sure to use regular white paper or brown paper, as the bright dyes of construction paper often can render it unrecyclable.
Instead of a paper chain, you can also cut paper snowflakes and write activities on each.
The sustainable Christmas ideas below will help you get started!
2. Finally make time for those classic Christmas activities.
There are the classic Christmas activities, like decorating sugar cookies, watching holiday movies, and making gingerbread houses, that during a regular year of office parties and dance recitals and school events packing your calendar, you may not get around to actually doing.
This year is your chance to reclaim these beloved activities and to enjoy time with your family in ways that a hustling holiday schedule usually won’t allow.
3. Deck the halls with homemade Christmas decor.
You’ve likely already decorated your home for the holidays, but these inexpensive and sustainable homemade Christmas decor ideas add a touch more of jolly to your home. Plus, they make for a great group activity if you have craft-loving kids!
Dried orange garland and ornaments are inexpensive and sustainable DIY decor options. Plus, the sweet smell of citrus as you cut and bake the oranges will freshen up any space!
This post from The Ginger Home provides directions for easily drying out your orange slices. While this instructs you to dry your oranges in the oven for 4 – 5 hours, when we did this, our oranges were ready in about 3.5 hours. So keep an eye on your oranges around the 3 hour mark!
4. Make scents over the stove.
When it comes to creating a cozy Christmas home, scent plays just as important of a role as visual decor. And while we love candles as much as the next person, burning through multiple candles from big box stores each season can get expensive, plus many candle containers create waste once the wax is gone.
A sustainable way to still bring all the holiday smell-goods into your home is by making your own homemade potpourri over the stove. With ingredients like oranges, cranberries, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and cloves, you can create a simmering pot of Christmas scents for just a few bucks. You can check out several stovetop potpourri recipes here.
Simply compost your food scraps when you’re done. Check out this guide for composting fruit waste.
And for those of us based who can’t imagine parting with our beloved candles…
Our good friend and candle maker Cori Candles offers affordable, eco-friendly, soy-based candles. These all-natural candles are an easy way to create holiday cheer! When used up, the glass containers can be recycled or repurposed. Get your candles here.
5. Take hot chocolate up a notch with a hot chocolate bar.
There’s your classic cup of cocoa…
And then there’s a hot chocolate bar.
We’re talkin’ an assortment of fun additions to your hot cocoa—like marshmallows, peppermint sticks, toffee crumbles, whipped cream, or chocolate cookie sticks. This post from Aspen Jay offers a lot of ideas for toppings.
And yep, we can thank Pinterest for introducing us to this brilliant twist on a favorite Christmas tradition.
6. Whip up something yummy in the kitchen.
Our kids spend most of their days staring at a screen—even more so this year as many of them had to complete their schoolwork online.
Invite your kids into the kitchen for a tactile activity—something that gets them away from the screen and requires them to do something with their hands.
Whether you’re teaching them Grandma’s favorite sugar cookie recipe or sharing your sourdough skills, you’re not only spending quality time with your kids, but also passing down important kitchen skills to the next generation.
Too many goodies for your family to eat? Pack them up and leave the treats on your neighbors’ doorsteps!
7. Remember the reason for the season.
For many, attending a church service is part of their Christmas tradition. If the option to attend a service is unavailable this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t still take time to honor the reason we celebrate Christmas. You can still take time to read the Christmas story with your family. If you have children, you can ask them what the Christmas story means to them.
Additionally, many churches offer livestream services; you will likely be able to find a livestream Christmas service available that your family could all watch together.
8. Plan a game night.
A Christmas without travel means more time at home with just the immediate fam. While we love a good movie night, there’s only so many nights that we can spend passively watching a movie.
That’s where a game night comes into play. Break out your favorite board games or cards and get some friendly competition going.
If you don’t have board games on hand, you can create your own fun with the game Fishbowl. To begin, have everyone write a noun on a piece of paper, then fold this up and collect everyone’s answers in a bowl. Divide the group into two teams. There are three rounds of this game.
In the first round, each person randomly chooses a piece of paper from the bowl, then has 1 minute to try to get their team to guess the word by using related words (no hand gestures!). For example, if the word they chose was “hamburger,” they can’t say “ham” or “burger.” Go around the group so that everyone completes this round once.
In the second round, you can only use one word to describe the paper you chose from the fishbowl. That’s it! And your team tries to guess what is written on the paper based on that one word you say aloud. Your team has one minute to guess. Of course, the word you choose can’t be the word that’s written on the paper.
Finally, the last round is like charades. You get one minute to act out the choice you drew from the fishbowl, and your team has to guess the word.
It’s a lot of fun, and great for any group, including families with elementary age children!
Or bring in family or friends from around the world for a Zoom game night. If you’re familiar with the board game Codenames, you can play an online version. Codenames does require logical thinking skills, so it’s best for people that are high school age and older. One of our friends put together a Zoom call with family for a “Bingo” game night and had an absolute blast!
9. Bring out your own inner child with a fort night.
Your children—and your own inner child—will love this one: go all out with a fort night. Grab all those blankets and sheets sitting in your closet and build the best fort your living room has yet to see.
Once built, you can play games, watch Christmas movies, or read Christmas stories to really get in the spirit.
10. Give back to your trusty delivery worker.
Our delivery workers have kept us stocked up and safe during this year of increased online shopping, and in this holiday season especially they are burdened with a busy delivery schedule. Spread some cheer to these workers by creating a tray of goodies to leave out on your doorstep. You can include items like water bottles, individual bags of chips or popcorn, or granola bars.
If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can attach individual thank you notes to each treat, expressing your gratitude for all their hard work. Be sure to use biodegradable materials for your notes, like plain paper (nothing with sparkles or synthetic material) and jute twine made from hemp.
If you have children or grandchildren, this is a fun way to let them see generosity in action!
We at Stoney Creek Farm wish you a joyful, merry, and sustainable Christmas!