How to have the best Christmas ever
We start December with high expectations, but all too often our quest for the picture-perfect day leaves us frazzled and stressed.
Close your eyes and picture the perfect Christmas. The smell of fresh-baked goods filling the house. The tree glistening with perfectly hung lights and a fire crackling as the kids play with new toys.
The Christmas season becomes flooded with anything but joy as we race to find the perfect gift and open our homes to family, in-laws, and friends.
The presents have been torn open, the Nutella pancakes have been devoured and you’ve FaceTimed every family member who’s not at your house, but when you look at your watch, it’s only 9 a.m. Yep, there’s something about this particular holiday that can make you feel like you’ve lived a whole life by noon, so it’s no surprise that you might find yourself searching for some fresh ideas for things to do on Christmas Day.
So what else can we do next?
1.TOUR THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Once all the leaves have fallen from the trees and winter sets in, the landscape can look a little drab—especially in the absence of fresh-fallen snow. That’s precisely why the appearance of ornate and enchanting Christmas light displays is a sight for sore eyes. Savor the holiday magic as long as possible by making a point to tour your illuminated neighborhood (or one nearby) on Christmas Day.
2.WATCH A CHRISTMAS MOVIE
…or several. Gather your buddies or snuggle up solo for a Christmas Day viewing experience that promises plenty of holiday vibes, and pairs well with a hot beverage to boot.
3.CHECK OUT A BALLET PERFORMANCE OF ‘THE NUTCRACKER’
Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ might have started off as a flop, but this gorgeous classical ballet has evolved into one of the most widely-recognized features of the Christmas season. The music alone is worthy of your Christmas playlist, but nothing beats the experience of hearing it performed as it was intended (i.e., brought to life with ballet)..
4.CLEAN UP AND DONATE
What better way to get into the holiday spirit on Christmas Day than by giving back? But if you’re suddenly inspired to volunteer, keep in mind that most nonprofits get inundated around the holidays and actually need help at other points in the year.Not only will it feel great to free up some space in the closet, but scientific research shows that kindness makes people happier.
5.MAKE IT A THEMED FAMILY GAME NIGHT
Not up for a major outing on Christmas Day? We don’t blame you…after all, the fire is so inviting. In fact, the holiday season is a perfect occasion to cozy up and relax—and if you find yourself searching for something more to do, simply make it a game night. To keep things appropriately festive, we suggest you stick to holiday-themed games.
Christmas carols have been playing on a loop in every store, home and head for about a month now, so we get it if you’d rather pull the plug on festive music and put on some death metal instead. That said, if you’re still digging the Christmas tunes, why not gather your brood and go caroling? It’s a great excuse to take a stroll, while also spreading the holiday spirit to your neighbors.
7.COOK A CHRISTMAS DAY FEAST
The holidays are all about being with loved ones, and what better way to bring people together than with a massive amount of mouth-watering food. You’ve had a solid month to recover from Thanksgiving, so get your oven mitts back on and round up your support team for a few hours in the kitchen.
8.GO FOR A NATURE WALK
After consuming your body weight in stuffing, it’s time to go outside for some exercise and fresh air. Put on your winter coat and enjoy a walk in the Great Outdoors. And for the grown-ups in the group, may we suggest using one of these hot cocktails as a tasty hand-warmer?
9.GET CRAFTY WITH THANK YOU CARDS
Thank you cards: The one Christmas tradition that has a nasty habit of falling by the wayside if you aren’t vigilant. Avoid that mistake by making it a Christmas Day activity—and be sure to get crafty with it for extra fun in the process. Pull out some scrapbooking supplies and sit down for an art project and an opportunity to express gratitude.
10.BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE
This classic holiday activity is an excellent way to spend time with the family, and a particularly kid-friendly craft to boot (just beware the sugar rush). The hands-on project is sure to keep everyone entertained after the frenzied present-opening rush has passed and the future snacking potential promises to keep the holiday spirit alive for at least another couple of days.
11.HIT THE ICE-SKATING RINK
After the excesses of the holiday season and a big Christmas Day brunch, a little exercise promises to be a refreshing change of pace. That said, it doesn’t get much more depressing than going to a gym on Christmas Day (if you can even find one open) and a jog around the neighborhood doesn’t seem particularly festive either. Enter ice skating: The ideal way to get your body moving and breathe in the fresh winter air, while still being surrounded by the twinkling of Christmas lights, of course. Gather your loved ones and hit a nearby rink for an afternoon outing once the morning festivities are finished.
12.GO ON A CANDY CANE HUNT
Yep, you don’t have to wait for Easter to give your kids a chance to search high and low, home and yard, for candy. Simply hang or otherwise hide some candy canes around and sit back while the young sugar fiends race around trying to find the goods. There is no shortage of good hiding spots when it comes to stashing candy canes, so this activity can last as long as you wish—and if you bring the game outdoors, stir-crazy kids can benefit from some much-needed fresh air, too.
13.HOST A WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE
Alas, once the wrapping paper has been unceremoniously ripped off the last parcel under the tree, the merriment of giving and receiving gifts will have come to an end. Unless, that is, you planned a white elephant party on Christmas Day. This popular gift exchange game boasts an extra element of surprise—anonymity—and plenty of irreverent fun, since selfishness is the strategy at work.
14.ROCK YOUR UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATERS
You may have to literally beg your loved ones to don the ugly Christmas sweaters you bought them, but don’t give up, they will indeed look smashing on your Instagram feed. If you’re facing some serious resistance, up the ante by turning it into a competition where everyone gets to vote for their favorite ugly sweater at the end of the day. Winner gets first dibs on dinner.
15.HOST A REVENGE CHRISTMAS PARTY
If you spent last year’s Christmas riding solo, you’re fully allowed to host a Christmas bash for your loved ones.
16.PERFORM A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC
Because why simply watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas when you can have way more fun performing the classic tale? (We suggest doing a rendition of the book since the film is an hour and 45 minutes long). Other good picks? Miracle on 34th Street, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and plenty more. You can even do it over Zoom for the family members who weren’t able to travel.
17.HOST A CHRISTMAS KARAOKE NIGHT
Show all the haters that you are indeed the Mariah Carey of your friend group by belting out “All I Want for Christmas is You,” at the end of a joyous Christmas karaoke night. Bonus points if you can remember all the lyrics after several glasses of eggnog.
18.GO TO THE MALL
Nothing cures that post-lunch, we-can’t-wait-till-dinner midday slump like a nice trip to the mall and some retail therapy. Take a picture with Santa, treat yourself to something sweet and, hell, maybe even pick up a nice gift (or two) for yourself because honestly, can you really have too many presents?