child decorating the xmas tree

8 free Christmas activity ideas for all the family

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

Christmas can be an expensive time of year, but keeping the kids entertained needn’t add to the cost. We’ve rounded up some festive activities you can enjoy for less.

Although a season of goodwill and joy, Christmas can also be a season of stress if you’re worried about money. But it needn’t cost a fortune, and there are lots of ways you can create quality family time without breaking the bank. 

Festive arts and crafts 

Colder days are perfect for snuggling down and getting crafty. Break out the crayons, the glue and the glitter and let their imagination run wild. Create Christmas scenes to display in the window, write and decorate their letters to Father Christmas or make decorations to hang on the tree or around the house. Take a look on the internet for free Christmas activities you can print off. Crayola has lots of ideas to get you going - there’s even Christmas Bingo! 

Tip: if you don’t have a printer then hold some paper up to the computer screen and trace the outline lightly with a pencil! 

Cook up some treats - and gifts 

Christmas is definitely a time for treats so get the kids involved in the kitchen. Make some simple shortbread biscuits to decorate as they like. If you make a hole in the top of them while they’re cooling you can thread them with ribbon to hang on the tree or give as gifts. And talking of gifts - homemade truffles are a breeze to make and they don’t cost a lot of money. Kids can roll them in all sorts of different toppings - think sprinkles, desiccated coconut, chopped nuts (beware of any allergies), cocoa powder, or just icing sugar. 

Baking is also the perfect way to spend those lazy days between Christmas and the New Year. If you've got a New Year's Eve party coming up, why not try some festive bakes to share with friends and family?

Design a new Christmas cocktail 

One for all the family - see who can make the best Christmas cocktail or mulled wine. The winning recipe gets served on the big day. Keep them alcohol free for the whole family to enjoy or reserve some for the adults to add that little something to. Here’s some ideas including a delicious sounding elderflower and passion fruit spritz. 

Bring the cinema to your home 

The cinema can be an expensive trip out, so make a movie night to remember at home. Get the kids involved in making movie posters, entrance tickets and boxes for the popcorn. Go to the local pound store and get some sweets that you can make a pick'n'mix out of, and some paper cups for drinks. Set up an area to “sell” the snacks and drinks from. 

Shut the curtains, turn off the lights and line up your favourite festive movies. Mobile devices should be banned for the duration and don’t forget to “Ssssh!” anyone rustling their sweets! 

Explore the local lights 

Walking around your local area is a great way to get some exercise and to see who’s made an effort with the Christmas lights this year. Kids will have fun spotting the best decorated house, and quite often there are local displays of trees or lights that you can go and see too. Your local garden centres usually put on a good display and they’re fun to walk around - a lot of them have a café you can pop into for a cheap refreshment afterwards. 

Go to a carol service 

Nothing says Christmas more than singing carols by candlelight - even if you’re not religious. See if you can remember the words to all the traditional carols and sip on some mulled wine afterwards. Look out for nativity displays that you can take the kids to as well. Check the internet, your local council, or this website for events near you. 

Have fun at a Christmas market 

There’s something magical about walking around a Christmas market with the twinkling lights and Christmas music. They’re great for finding unique last-minute gifts, or for just soaking up the festive atmosphere. Check out what’s on in your local area, some of them will have a Santa´s Grotto, rides to go on and ice rinks too. Just remember, you don't need to spend a fortune. Put aside a small amount to enjoy some festive treats and spend some quality time with the family.

Write to Father Christmas 

Get the kids to write their letters to Father Christmas, they can be as creative as they like. Then pop them in an envelope with a stamp and post them to: 

Santa/Father Christmas, Santa's Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ 

This is a service provided by Royal Mail and if you get your letters in the post by the 10th December, Father Christmas is sure to reply! 

On a budget? Check out our free but thoughtful gift ideas for Christmas. 


Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

child decorating the xmas tree child decorating the xmas tree