Christmas Eve Traditions to Make the Night More Magical

Create more family memories with these night before Christmas traditions!

Christmas Eve is one of the most magical nights of the year. The excitement of the holiday is reaching its peak, and children are ready for the big guy to finally make his appearance. It’s the perfect time to plan a special activity with your family.

We’ve rounded up some fun, new traditions to start with your crew this Christmas Eve.

Host a family game night

Family game nights are always a good time. Invite extended family members and neighbors over to enjoy a little friendly competition. Play games like The Santa Claus Game, an Antler Toss Game or Christmas Charades. Make sure to blast Christmas music to make the activity extra merry. 

Bake cookies for Santa

Setting out a plate of cookies for Santa to eat (along with a cold glass of milk) is an annual tradition for many families. Up the excitement by having kids help bake the treats. In need of inspiration? These are some of our favorite festive cookie recipes.

Open a Christmas Eve gift

Sure, Christmas Day is the big occasion for gift giving, but who says you can’t open presents early? Whether it’s new pajamas, a book or a toy, kids will love the chance to get a little Christmas preview. Now if only they could be convinced to sleep in the next day!

Track Santa’s journey

Santa Claus and his reindeer have a long trek to make across the globe on Christmas Eve night. Families can follow along with their journey on NORAD’s real-time Santa Tracker. It’s a good way for younger children to get a bit of a time zone and geography lesson, too!

Go on a light tour

Enjoy the glittering decorations of the holiday season by going for a drive around your town before bed time. Hit up local displays or stay within your neighborhood to keep things low-key. Drinking hot cocoa out of travel mugs is highly encouraged on this outing!

Make Christmas Eve dinner together

Food plays such a big role in our lives and traditions. Making a special dinner with your loved ones is the perfect way to celebrate. Whether you whip up DIY pizzas, a big charcuterie board or mac and cheese, preparing a holiday meal together is something your children will look forward to every year.

Have a movie marathon

Curl up on the couch with your little ones and enjoy a few Christmas-themed flicks, like Elf and Home Alone. Want to check out something new? Check out our top picks for movies and shows to stream with your family this December. 

Read The Night Before Christmas

With its rhyming and vivid imagery, the Clement Clarke Moore poem is the perfect reading material for Christmas Eve. Follow up The Night Before Christmas with other holidays books.

Take an annual photo

You’ll never regret taking too many photos of your kids as they grow. Have your children wear matching pajamas, Santa hats or other cute ensembles and start taking a photo in the same spot in your house every year.

Build a gingerbread house

Spark your child’s creativity by constructing the classic edible art project together.  Whether you buy a premade kit or hit up the candy store for house “decor,” your family will have a blast assembling the treat, and eating it!


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