If you are looking for some family friendly activities for December then check out our list below. Some of these will need to be booked in advance so if you are thinking of doing any of these then check what’s on in your local area and book as soon as you can, others however can be done on the day with little planning required.
If you are also looking for some Christmas activities that you can do with your family then have a look at my suggestions and feel free to message me with any more ideas.
11 Family friendly activities for December
1. Watch a Christmas light switch on
There is always something magical about the atmosphere at a Christmas light switch on, it almost seems to signify the start of the Christmas period. If you google your local areas you will most likely find a list of light switch ons from your own village to the main town centres and cities. Even some shopping centres like Cheshire Oaks have their own light switch on event too, some require tickets but most of the smaller ones are FREE and you just turn up.
2. Book advent calendar
One of my favourite Christmas traditions is to create a book advent for my children, I absolutely love it. If you are unsure what a book advent is then the way we do it is to wrap up 24 books and the children open one every evening in December. We then read it as a family all cuddled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate. In our house each book is Christmas or winter themed story, it is a lovely festive activity and a great way to wind down every evening. If you haven’t done a book advent before then don’t worry as it doesn’t need to be expensive you can simply reuse books you already or buy new ones from second hand or charity shops or even check out your local selling sites on facebook. If you do want to buy new books then I recommend you head to The Works as they always have great bundles like 10 for £10 that make them so much more affordable. Every year I buy a couple of new Christmas books and then re use the ones from the previous years as the kids don’t tend to read Christmas stories through the year so it s still a treat getting them all out again. If you haven’t done a book advent before then here is everything you need to know about creating your own book advent.
3. Watch a panto
Panto is one of the best activities for December (oh no it isn’t!) because they are fun and family friendly but they don’t mention Christmas which may seem like it defies the point but sometimes you just need some Santa free time! We try and go to the theatre every year, our favourites are the pantos at St.Helens Theatre Royal as despite it being a smaller theatre they go above and beyond with their performances and we always leave laughing. Although be warned some of the jokes are little bit naughty.
4. Ice skating
Ice skating is fun all year round but there is something about ice skating outside in winter that makes it a magical Christmas activity for the whole family. Most big towns and cities will have pop up ice rinks during November and December but they do get busy quickly so it is always worth checking to see if you need to book in advance or if you can just turn up on the day. If you prefer you may wish to find events and attractions that incorporate ice rinks like Winter Wonderland in Manchester where you pay one price and can go on as many rides as you like and ice skate as long as you want during your allotted time.
5. Make a Christmas Eve box
Christmas eve boxes are fast becoming a ‘thing’. They are perfect for last minute Christmas activities or for starting of the Christmas festivities a little earlier. You can put in whatever you want, we usually opt for new Christmas themed PJ’s, some hot chocolate and marshmallows, a Christmas activity book and a DVD that we all watch together in our Pjs drinking our chocolate and eating our marshmallows. It makes for the perfect Christmas eve. Another idea is to create a December box instead, fill it with more of the same things and that way you have some activities to hand to keep the kids busy throughout the holidays plus they get to wear their new PJ’s for longer.
6. Make your own Christmas decorations
There are so many Christmas craft activities that you can do and if you are not very creative then you can easily get help from youtube and pintrest. I also find that you can buy some brilliant make your own Christmas bauble sets that are easy to do and lots of fun. These can be used to decorate your own tree or gifted to friends and family members as wonderful festive keepsakes. Alternatively if you pick and cut down your own tree then these can be used to mark your chosen tree till you return to cut it down.
7. Visit Santa
A list of activities for December would not be complete without a visit to Santa on it. There are so many to chose from nowadays but the best ones get booked so far in advance that you need to be organised. Of course, if you do forget there will still be some that are run in a turn up and queue fashion. Of all the Santa trips we have been to my favourites have to be Story time with Father Christmas at the Story House in Chester and Winter Wonderland at the Bombed Out Church in Liverpool. Both of these were far more than just seeing the big man himself and included various activities and and at least one hour of fun. Be sure to check out your local lists of places to see Father Christmas and pick your favourites in advance.
8. Write a letter to Santa
The teacher in me loves that we can practice literacy whilst simultaneously being all Chrismassy. Plus this is a brilliant, free Christmas activity that doesn’t require much planning and it gives you an insight in to what your child is wanting for Christmas if they haven’t already told you. You can of course go all out and buy Christmas letter writing sets or you can simply grab some paper and get the kids to write the letter and decorate it themselves.
9. Feed Reindeer
Watching a child meet a real life reindeer can be wonderful. For some reason we seem to forget that these magnificent creatures exist for the rest of the year and so when children see them in December it brings the story of Santa and his reindeer to life again. There are now more and more places where you can get close to reindeers and even have the chance to feed and pet them. We are very fortunate that close to where we live is a farm that breads reindeer and every Christmas they open it up to the public so you can feed Dancer, Prancer and all their friends. Again, if you don’t have somewhere like this near you then check out some of the bigger events as they may have them their as part of the entertainment like they do at Winter wonderland in Manchester.
10. Christmas baking
Another one of our favourite family friendly activities for December that requires little planning but can still be loads of fun is Christmas baking. You can make anything from Christmas pudding to cookies or simply decorate some pre bought cupcakes or biscuits. It doesn’t need to take hours or cost loads of money just get in the kitchen and see what you have in the cupboards or opt for some cheap ready to go cake mixes.
11. Make a book of kisses
This is a such a cute craft idea, especially for those that have larger extended family that don’t live with them. I also think it would make a beautiful keepsake or present for a family member. The idea is to create a small book that can be used as a Christmas tree ornament that is filled with kisses. For a step by step guide on how to make one click here, you need very little mainly just paper and a good lipstick.
I hope these 11 family friendly activities for December have given you some inspiration for things you and your family can do throughout the festive season.