35 christmas activities for kids and adults

Our list has both in-person and great socially distanced ideas
that you can enjoy no matter how you're celebrating in 2021.

The holiday season has always represented a time to reflect on the good things, celebrate annual traditions, and connect with friends and family. When it comes to Christmas activities, 2021 is the light at the end of a very long tunnel. Whether you’re reuniting with vaccinated family and friends or cautiously emerging from your COVID-19 quarantine state of mind, you’ll likely want to revel in all the things to do for Christmas 2021. With decorations to be hung, seasonal recipes to be followed, and Christmas cards to be put in the mail, there are plenty of holiday-themed experiences to keep us all entertained. We prepared a Christmas checklist you may want to review to ensure you stay on track! While each family household has different holiday traditions, we have assembled this list of creative Christmas activities for kids you may want to include in the traditions this year. For the more mature celebrants, we have also included a list of Christmas activities for adults. Both our lists feature a bunch of holiday activities you can do from home, for those looking to still practice social distancing. But we’ve also included lots of Christmas activities for families and individuals who are ready to step out into the world once more and celebrate the season (almost) like the old days. We hope you enjoy it!




Build a Gingerbread House

(Can be done from home!)

Trying to figure out what you can do for Christmas from home again this year? Nothing beats a craft that you can eat when you’re finished! Many supermarkets will sell a gingerbread house kit around the holidays. These kits will usually include the bare essentials to build four walls and a roof. Make it personalized and festive by heading to the candy aisle of the supermarket to select a few custom treats that will add to your child’s design of the gingerbread house. Here are a few ideas on how some popular candies may be incorporated:

  • Plain or peanut butter M&M’s - can be used for colored roof tiling.
  • Gumdrops - can be used for colored roof tiling.
  • Small candy canes - can be used for wall decorations or fence posts.
  • Shredded coconut - can be used for snow on the roof, or dyed green for grass.
  • Pretzel sticks - can be used for fence posts or logs for a log cabin.
  • Red vines - can easily be bent and wrapped around corners and edges.
  • Marshmallows - can be used to make snowmen or little snow bundles.

Make Gingerbread Men or Sugar Cookies

(Can be done from home!)

This is one of those Christmas activities that evokes a lot of nostalgia and makes heart-warming memories. Depending on how old your child is, they may be able to help you make the cookie batter. Let them decide if they want to add in chocolate chips, coconut, cinnamon, and even food coloring. Pick out some holiday-themed cookie cutters and let your child play pastry chef. If you have any leftover candy from the gingerbread house decorating, be sure to add them to the sugar cookies.


Cut Paper Snowflakes

(Can be done from home!)

This fun Christmas activity with kids is super easy to set up and execute. Most of us have paper lying around the house, but you can add some artistic flair to the project by buying some colored construction paper or origami paper. Fold up the paper numerous times and have your child cut out some creative designs. Once unfolded, you can hang the paper snowflakes on the Christmas tree, from the mantel, or tape them to the wall. You could even include one of the hand-made paper snowflakes with your Minted holiday card that you mail off to your family and friends. These are great activities to do on Christmas Eve 2021 as the kids count down to bedtime. Pro tip: Browse online for some stencils to create some really fun patterns.


Build a Snowman

(Can be done from your home’s yard!)

If you have snow on the ground, this might be a fun activity to get the kids involved in. Arm them with some carrots, charcoal, twigs, and clothing like hats, scarves, and mittens -- then see what their creative minds come up with. If you live in a beach destination, bring the shovels and buckets to the sand and construct a sandman. Sunglasses, sunscreen, water floaties, and a Santa hat really pair nicely with a sandman. Lastly, if you don’t have snow or sand to use as a medium, you could have your child tape three white paper plates or white balloons together. Give them a box of markers or crayons and design a fun snowman that can be displayed in the living room or on your child’s wall as fun Christmas activities for kids of all ages.


Decorate the Christmas Tree

(Can be done from home!)

Decorating the Christmas tree is an activity that can generate some good family bonding. It can be exciting pulling sentimental ornaments out of storage and finding the perfect spot for them on the tree. Unfortunately, a younger child may not get to enjoy the full scope of this Christmas activity, as they can only reach the lower branches of the tree. You may want to consider getting a second smaller Christmas tree that is only three feet tall. Your children will then be able to reach and decorate this tree to their heart’s delight! It’s among our very favorite Christmas activities for kids


Watch a Christmas Movie

(Can be done from home!)

Does your child have a favorite Christmas movie? If not, this might be the year to start a tradition of watching the same holiday movie every December. Some cities are showing outdoor movies among their reinstated things to do for Christmas 2021, so see if any are available in your area. With so many online streaming and rental services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and iMovie, you won’t even have to leave the comforts of your home to rent or buy a movie! Add some extra fun to the event by wearing Christmas-themed pajamas. Here is a list of popular kid-friendly Christmas movies:


Make Popcorn Tinsel

(Can be done from home!)

You don’t want to go overboard on this one, or else your whole house will smell like popcorn. Get out the thread and needle, pop some popcorn (preferably non-buttered) and let your children create a lanyard of kernels that can adorn the Christmas tree or Christmas mantle. You could even pair this activity with watching one of the Christmas movies recommended above.


Take a picture with Santa

Our list of Christmas activities for kids would not be complete without a visit or picture with Santa! Usually, around the start of December, local malls and outdoor venues will start to offer “meet Santa” photo events, but last year saw most of that either cancelled or altered to accommodate social distancing. Luckily, many places are reinstating these Christmas activities in 2021! If you and your family aren’t comfortable with the idea of venturing out to a potentially crowded mall, consider having a family member dress up as Santa and setting up a photoshoot from home. Building a Santa’s workshop set or holiday-themed backdrop could be a fun at-home Christmas activity on its own! Who knows, you might even secure the perfect picture for this year’s holiday card! If you are planning for additional holiday photoshoots around the house with your child, we have a great list of tips for taking pictures of children.


Go For a Christmas Lights Drive

(Socially distanced activity!)

Make some hot cocoa, pour a cup for each member of the family, and head out in the car in search of the best Christmas light displays for some memorable family bonding. You may know a couple of neighborhoods that always go above and beyond each winter. Some cities and towns even have a professionally made light display or experience that charges admission. If you are lucky, you will come across a light display that is synched up with music for one of the most memorable Christmas activities for families.


Launch a Candy Cane Hunt

(Can be done from home!)

Sometimes hiding the candy canes can be more fun than hunting for them. This is a great activity if you have multiple children. If you don’t, perhaps set a countdown timer to challenge your child. Just like an Easter egg hunt, these fun Christmas activities are appropriate for almost any age group. Spread some candy canes around the house and the children can collect them in a Christmas stocking instead of an Easter basket. You could even purchase a variety of colors of candy canes and give out prizes for the largest collection to add to the excitement.


Listen to Christmas Songs

(Can be done from home!)

You could pair this at-home Christmas activity with almost all of our other suggestions to boost your holiday spirit to the next level. Whether you tune in to a holiday-specific radio station or find a holiday-themed channel on an internet-streaming service, you can rest assured knowing there are plenty of options for Christmas songs around the clock. If you play a musical instrument, you could learn a few Christmas songs and print the lyrics for your children to sing along as you play. It’s the perfect solution for what to do on Christmas Day after the gifts have been opened!


Make Holiday Popsicles

(Can be done from home!)

Making your own Christmas popsicles is one of the most colorful Christmas activities for kids on our list. With a simple popsicle mold and a few ingredients, you can make this activity come to life. And if you’re looking for what to do on Christmas eve to distract the little ones from all those gifts, this is it!

To make an all-green popsicle: In a blender, mix pineapple, banana, apple juice, spinach, and coconut milk. Add in more spinach if you desire a darker shade of green. Pour the mixture in the mold and freeze.

To make an all-red popsicle: Use all the same ingredients as above but substitute strawberries, raspberries, or cherries in place of spinach. You could even use a combination of all three of those options!

To make a half-green half-red popsicle: First, start with the green mixture and fill the popsicle mold halfway. Freeze the mold overnight. The next day you can then fill the rest of the mold with the red mixture and freeze again for at least four hours.


Decorate Pine Cones

(Can be done from home!)

Pine cones fall during late autumn, so the timing is perfect for a fun Christmas activity involving art for your kids. Whether you collect some pine cones off the ground or purchase them at the local craft store, your children are bound to have some fun making them their own. Some decorating tools include:

  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Colorful cotton balls
  • Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Beads
  • Googly eyes

Build a Holiday Craft Kit

(Can be done from home!)

Purchase a fun craft kit online and have your kids focus their concentration on stitching an elf together from scratch, building a toy airplane or train out of wood, or decorating ornament molds with fluorescent paint gel. This is one of those rare Christmas activities for kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens. Share pictures of their creations on social media or in your holiday card so friends and family can feel as if they were involved with the fun.



Head to a Christmas Tree Farm

Sure you could pick up a Christmas tree at the local mega-store or parking lot pop-up, but the holiday season is about creating memories! A fun Christmas activity for adults and kids could involve driving out to a Christmas tree farm and hand-selecting the tree that you think will look best in your home. In some cases, you may even need to cut the tree down and transport it back to your car. While the process takes longer, we have a feeling the memory will last a little longer too.


Make Spiked Hot Cider/Hot Cocoa

(Can be done from home!)

Warm up this holiday season with a festive cocktail that will put you in the Christmas spirit. Just add a touch of peppermint schnapps to your favorite hot cocoa recipe and top it off with whipped cream. Pair your potent potable with other fun Christmas activities, like watching a holiday movie or singing Christmas carols. For even more themed adult beverage ideas, be sure to read through our post on holiday cocktail recipes featuring vodka, gin, or whiskey.


Show Off the Holiday Sweater (in a virtual meeting)

(Can be done from home!)

If you have that “ugly” Christmas sweater in the back of your closet, don’t forget to show it off at least once. Whether you wear it around the office to bring a smile to a colleague’s face or broadcast it to the world at a social gathering or virtual webinar/party, Christmas sweaters have a way of spreading holiday joy. If you don’t have an ugly sweater in your wardrobe yet, maybe this is the year to add it to the wish list. We have some other great ideas for your Christmas outfits in a separate post you may enjoy reading through.



(Can be done from home!)

In years past, you may have rounded up the family for a professional photograph at a scenic location or even visited Santa's workshop at a nearby mall for a festive photo opp. Last year, we saw how you can got creative in your own home. Make this one of the new Christmas activities that becomes your family’s tradition! Stage family members in funny ways, include clever props, and experiment with wardrobes. Are there certain rooms or locations in your home that could create an interesting backdrop? The more creative the better! Feature the finished photo in your annual holiday cards, in text messages to friends, virtual backgrounds for video calls, and emails to extended family.


Tree Lighting Ceremony:

Once December 1st rolls around, be sure to keep an eye out for any Christmas tree lighting ceremonies that may be hosted near you. Oftentimes the tree lighting ceremony includes other holiday entertainment from school bands, professional singers, or dance troops. It could be a fun date night if you paired a nice dinner out followed by a tree lighting ceremony. Now that restaurants and other businesses are returning to more normal hours, this is one of the fun Christmas activities for families ready to step out again. If you are uneasy about the thought of possibly being surrounded by a large crowd, look to see if there are any televised tree lighting events or a live stream you could watch on your computer while snacking on some holiday treats.


Cheer by Blustery August


Put up Christmas Lights

(Can be done from home!)

It is widely accepted that the weekend or two after Thanksgiving is the best time to hang your Christmas lights before the rest of the holiday season becomes too busy. With drive-by graduation parades and birthday party parades becoming the new norm in 2020, it is not unreasonable to think that more people stayed in cars this holiday season to view light displays in their neighborhood. One of the things to do for Christmas 2021 is to build on the decorating skills you started to develop in quarantine. Will this be the year that your house has the best holiday light display on the block? This is a great way to show off your creativity and spread holiday joy! A monochromatic theme can be classy and elegant. Or, perhaps your household will opt for the old-fashioned multi-color bulbs and a reindeer on the lawn. It is never too early to at least start thinking about what design or color scheme you may want to feature!


Make and Send Christmas Cards

(Can be done from home!)

The COVID-19 pandemic has really transformed our traditional social practices in 2020. Many of us have canceled travel plans and missed out on deep engagements with friends and family. Take special advantage of the 2021 holiday season’s slow return to normal and send a personal update to let all those you care about know you have been thinking of them. Browse through Minted’s collection of photo holiday cards created by independent artists from around the world. Ensure that your Christmas card leaves a lasting impression this year! Check out our Christmas checklist timeline to guarantee that your card preparation and mailing stays on track.

Modern Edge

Modern Edge by Owl and Toad


Complete A Holiday-Themed Puzzle:

(Can be done from home!)

Crack open a puzzle with a winter or holiday theme on December 1st and aim to have it complete by Christmas morning. A 500- or 1000-piece puzzle should be a perfect size. Of course, if you’re looking for what to do on Christmas eve and you don’t want to go out, a puzzle pairs nicely with a hot toddy and some festive music. Consider posting a photo update to social media each week with your progress. Once done, you can re-gift the puzzle to a friend or neighbor to complete! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

SHOP Art Puzzles SHOP Custom Puzzles
christmas cards

Winter Peace by Eve Schultz


Host Your Own Paint and Sip

(Can be done from home!)

A new activity that has grown in popularity over the last decade is a group painting class that will guide you step-by-step through painting a work of art. Rather than attending a group class, purchase a blank canvas, paints, and a brush or two, and test your artistic ability at home! There are plenty of online video tutorials you could play on your smart television or computer that will guide you through creating your own masterpiece. For even more fun, look for a tutorial that focuses on a holiday theme like Santa’s workshop or a winter wonderland. We really like this idea as one of the most fun Christmas activities 2021 has made possible again!

Ski Lift

Ski Lift by Monica Loos


Host A Virtual Christmas Trivia Night

(Can be done from home!)

Host an in-person or virtual meetup with friends, encourage holiday attire and drinks, and host a Christmas-themed game. Ask that in-person guests be fully vaccinated, which makes all Christmas activities 2021 feel safer and more fun. You could prepare a bunch of holiday-themed questions that each virtual attendee can answer in a trivia challenge. You could also act as a DJ and play popular holiday gingles to see who will be the first to correctly name the popular Christmas song.


Make a Wreath

(Can be done from home!)

There are many DIY Christmas wreath ideas that will walk you through how to construct a beautiful wreath for your holiday home decor. You could start with a plain premade wreath and add decorations. Or, for a more hands-on approach, purchase a styrofoam ring at a craft store and then begin attaching your own materials. Some materials to consider using include:

  • Pinecones
  • Pine limbs
  • Wine corks
  • Ribbons and bows
  • Wrapping paper
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Candy
  • Bells
  • Garland

Sign Up for Community Service

As the old saying goes “it’s better to give than receive.” The holidays are a time for giving. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities to collect and deliver food to the needy or clean up the community you live in year-round. You could even organize toy drives to give gifts to kids who don’t have as much. If your family is wondering what to do on Christmas eve, there’s likely a soup kitchen in your town that could use volunteers to serve a hot meal to those in need. Just think how much more your kids will appreciate all they have!


Watch a Drive-in Movie

(Can be done socially distanced!)

Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback and just in time for the holidays! Check to see if any local venues will be hosting one of your favorite Christmas movies like Elf, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or Love Actually. We have even seen some large stadiums in major cities convert their parking lots into make-shift drive-in theater locations. This is one of those fabulous Christmas activities for kids of all ages, especially us grown-up elves!


12-Days of Christmas Virtual Calls

(Can be done from home!)

Here’s a fun socially distanced Christmas activity idea for those with type A personalities. Grab a calendar and start to plan a virtual meeting with 12 different friends or family members spread out over 12 days. Send out your meet-up requests in advance so you can have your “12-Days of Christmas Calls” all finalized well in advance. This will make the two weeks leading up to Christmas seem to fly by. Minted has some great themed virtual backgrounds you can download for free. Use a different one for each call!


Send Holiday Cheer to Service Members

The brave members of our armed services often sacrifice holiday time with their families to keep us safe all around the globe. One of the most meaningful Christmas activities for families to do together is to send Christmas cards to soldiers serving abroad. It’s fairly simple to find organizations that can coordinate the details, and messages from the homefront can make a huge difference in morale for those who can’t come home for Christmas.


Start (Or Restart) A Secret Santa Gift Exchange

This is a fun thing to do for Christmas 2021 that may have been skipped in 2020. If you and your coworkers are back in the office, even a few days a week, drawing names and setting price limits can be a welcome return to “the before times.” Especially if you’re still working from home, a Secret Santa gift exchange can help your team feel connected to each other. Consider using Christmas interactive posts online to coordinate remote and in-person colleagues, then peruse our Secret Santa gift ideas for fun, personalized work-appropriate choices.


Visit Ghosts Of Christmas Past

Even as we begin to return to normal, nostalgia for the good old days runs high during the holidays. We’re particularly excited for the return of one of our favorite Christmas activities 2021: The Dickens Fair. This international Christmas tradition takes place in cities around the world with people dressed in Victorian garb, speaking in old-timey vernacular and reliving the quaint sentiments of a long-ago London that Charles Dickens still haunts.


Host A Vaccinated Holiday Game Night

Round up your vaccinated friends and get your competitive energy on! You can include an ugly sweater contest if you like, but we’ve compiled a great list of Christmas games for adults with a few kid-friendly options included, as well, that get everyone into a festive spirit. Of course, you can certainly make these exclusively over-21 Christmas activities! 2021 is your chance to start new traditions, and these Christmas activities are always more fun with adult beverages fueling the competition.


Go Skating

We are perhaps the most excited about this fun thing to do for Christmas 2021! Many northern cities transform ponds, parks or other public spaces into outdoor ice skating rinks for the holidays. If you’re in a warmer climate, consider the Venezuelan Christmas tradition of roller skating to church to feast on tamales with their community. Of course, safety is a priority, but going skating is a great Christmas activity for sneaking in a little exercise while embracing the season.


Sing Loud For All To Hear

Caroling was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. But it’s one of the wonderful Christmas activities 2021 has made possible again! Whether you organize a group of vaccinated singers to carol at a nursing home, take your family door to door around your neighborhood or simply gather around your home’s digital device for a singalong, this is one of our favorite things to do any time of year. We’ve compiled a holiday playlist that includes classics and newer tunes to please everyone. Channel your inner Buddy and spread that Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!


Treat Yourself To Some Self-Care

With all the things to do for Christmas 2021 filling up your time, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Many people experience elevated stress at this time of year, whether it’s from spending too much money, revisiting tense family situations or simply overextending yourself with Christmas activities. Carve out a little time for self-care as a gift to yourself this year. We’ve got great ideas for how to beat holiday stress, but you may find your own method for keeping perspective. Whether you treat yourself to a massage or simply reach out for help planning Christmas activities for kids stuck at home, you’ll be better able to enjoy 25 days of Christmas ideas with a clear head and a peaceful heart.