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12 Festive Ideas for Things to Do on Christmas Eve

Christmas cookies, gingerbread, laid on marble counter next to Christmas plant decorations whilst people have ideas of things to do on christmas eve
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I adore Christmastime. It’s by far my favourite time of year and I love how it brings people together for a little festive break. So I really do try and make the most of it, getting everyone into the Christmas spirit as much as possible and making it a fun time for the people around me to relax (myself included). Looking for ideas for things to do on Christmas Eve? I’m your girl.

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” ― Dr. Seuss


Bake something extra festive on Christmas Eve to get you in the festive spirit, to keep bellies full over the holiday and, of course, to make the house smell warm, festive and sweet. If you’re not a baked-treat kind of person, opt for something savoury.

Traditional Christmas bakes:


  • Gingerbread
  • Mince pies
  • Christmas cake
  • Christmas pudding
  • Cookies
  • Yule log


  • Pies
  • Rolls & pasties
  • Breads (seasonally flavoured tear and shares are a fun treat)
  • Breadsticks
  • Dips & snacks for the big day

Watch a Christmas film

I’m already most of the way through my Christmas film list, but it’s always been a family tradition in my family to watch Polar Express before bed on Christmas Eve, so I’ve been saving that one.

Suggested: My Christmas Film List: The Best Movies for Christmas

Track Santa

Keep updated with Santa’s progress around the globe with a Santa tracker. I’ve always used the Google Santa Tracker, but everyone seems to love the Norad tracker. This is especially good if you have little kids as it’ll really add to the magic of Christmas Eve.

Wrap your presents!

Maybe people will think I’m crazy for leaving my wrapping until the last minute, but I just love wrapping all in one go. I feel like there’s no better way to get excited about all the gifts you’ll give the next day than to spend Christmas Eve wrapping them all up, Christmas tunes in the background.


There are so many directions you could take a Christmassy games day in, but whatever direction you choose, games are a great way to bring people together. Try trivia, board games, treasure hunts, drinking games, blow the dust off Mario Kart – whatever suits your group best.

Read a classic Christmas story

There’s nothing cosier than curling up with a book, so what better way to make it festive than making it a Christmas Classic on Christmas Eve? Especially if you have kids around that you can share the story with, a cup of something warm in hand and maybe a fire to warm your toes in front of. ~aesthetic~

Go light hunting

A great way to venture outside is to hunt for lights around your neighbourhood. Head out for a stroll or a drive and make it extra festive with flasks of hot chocolate or hot spiced apple juice/cider.

Secret Santa

Sure – you’re not meant to open any presents until the big day, but arranging a Secret Santa or meeting (safely!) to exchange gifts with those you won’t get to see on Christmas day can be like a mini Christmas on its own. My friend ground and I usually organise a Secret Santa amongst ourselves and spend a day having our own Christmas together. Of course, this is a little more difficult this year, but you can always deliver gifts and then organise virtual opening get-togethers!

Have an interesting meal

You’ll be doing lots of cooking tomorrow so do something fun but not too complicated for Christmas Eve. This could be anything from a takeaway, a simple one-pot meal, a buffet-like spread of tidbits, even something fun and interactive like a fondue or having everyone make their own pizzas.

Gift Christmas pyjamas/jumpers

It’s never been a tradition in my family to open a gift on Christmas Eve – I don’t think it’s such a big thing in the UK – but gifting something that can be used on Christmas Eve and Day can be a nice way to get the festivities rolling. This might be Christmas pyjamas, a festive jumper, 

Do something charitable

Christmas is a time of giving, so why not make your Christmas Eve tradition charitable? Help out at a shelter, visit a retirement home, send hampers or something homemade to your neighbours, do something for a charity. Winter and the holiday season is a really difficult time for most people so it’s one of the best times to make a difference.

Prep Christmas dinner

Nothing like being organised! Cooking Christmas dinner is fun, but it can also get pretty overwhelming. Do some prep the day before to get you excited for the big meal, in the festive mood and to free up a little bit more of your time to enjoy the day tomorrow.

There you have it, my suggestions for having a festive Christmas Eve. But, do remember that some of the best traditions pop up spontaneously so remember to be laid back in your approach!

Have a wonderful Christmas. Love, Ella-Rose xx



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