Christmas isn’t just the season to eat, drink, and be merry. It’s also a time to come together, and if you think of some of your most cherished Christmas memories, there’s a good chance your loved ones feature in those too. Whether you’re planning on spending time with family, friends, or even some of your closest coworkers, the festive season is the perfect time to celebrate your relationships.
However, it can be tricky to know exactly what to plan for a festive gathering – especially if you’re looking to do something other than go out for drinks or a meal. Plus, Christmas get-togethers are often multigenerational, so it can be helpful to choose activities that cater to everyone’s interests.
Luckily, we’re here to help! Here are 11 ideas for festive get-togethers in the lead-up to Christmas.
1. Make a wreath
Hanging a wreath on your front door doesn’t only show guests that you’ve embraced the Christmas spirit, but can also help you get in a festive mood each time you arrive home. Though, rather than spending a small fortune (decent wreaths are surprisingly expensive!), why not make your own? This way, you could also make it a communal event by inviting friends who like getting crafty to join you.
A wreath party is a fun yet low-key way to spend time with loved ones and do something practical. Just set up wreath stations with everything you need (for example, wire, twine, greenery, berries, ribbon etc.) and get creative. To make it feel more festive and cosy, you could also play some Christmas songs and serve mulled wine and mince pies.
To see how to make a beautiful Christmas wreath yourself, check out the video below.
2. Have a festive brunch
At Christmas, it can be awkward juggling commitments. So, if you’re planning to spend Christmas with close family but also want to celebrate with your friends (or extended family), why not have a festive brunch? Evenings are soon booked up over the holidays…but mornings are another matter.
You could arrange to meet at a restaurant or cafe or host a brunch at home. You could buy things like smoked salmon, spiced bread, and pastries, and offer a variety of special drinks like hot chocolate, eggnog, or bucks fizz. Then, decorate with fairy lights, play some Christmas tunes, and you’re all set!
For more inspiration, check out these top 10 Christmas brunch ideas from BBC Good Food.
3. Go to a Christmas market
If you’re struggling to get into the festive mood, you might want to head to a local Christmas market. From the spicy scent of mulled wine to the merry sound of classic songs and the twinkling of lights, it’s difficult not to feel Christmassy here. And, it’s also a nice opportunity to gather up a group of friends, family members, or coworkers and enjoy exploring together.
If you have young family members, why not bring them along too? Childlike enthusiasm can be catching at Christmas, and having fun at a festive market is a wonderful way to connect with your grandchildren, or any other kids in your life. Plus, you can usually find some unique gifts at the artisan stalls.
To see some of the best Christmas markets in the UK, you might want to have a read of our article. If you fancy travelling a bit further afield, you might also be inspired by some of the destinations in our list of the best European Christmas markets.
4. Go ice skating
Ice skating is a fun and versatile winter activity that can be enjoyed alone, with colleagues or friends, or as a family. It doesn’t matter if you’re not smooth or confident on the ice; half the joy of ice skating is that it pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Ice skating is also a great activity to do with kids, and if you go with young children who haven’t skated before, you can help them find their feet on the ice. Plus, it can be especially rewarding to head to a cosy pub or cafe afterwards to warm up over some mulled wine or cider – or hot chocolate – and laugh about your adventures.
In winter, temporary ice rinks pop up all over the place, particularly at larger Christmas markets, so keep an eye out. However, if you want to find your nearest permanent ice rink, head over to the official Ice Skating website.
5. Have a Christmas baking and decorating party
If you’re a keen baker, the festive season is arguably the best time to get creative in the kitchen. From traditional treats like mince pies to more unusual bakes, there are many mouthwatering delicacies to try – and, aside from tasting divine, they’ll have your house smelling fabulous. But, to add an extra special ingredient, why not invite some friends, family, or coworkers over and make it a party?
Alternatively, you could always do the baking ahead of time and have a cake and biscuit decorating party. Either way, the main perk of this type of activity is that you get to enjoy eating your creations with your loved ones…the perfect reward!
For some Christmas baking inspiration, check out our article; 10 baking ideas for Christmas.
6. Host a potluck dinner party
Potluck dinner parties are incredibly popular in the US, but not quite as common in the UK. If you’re not familiar with the term, a potluck is a dinner party where everyone brings one dish, and you end up with a huge feast. While hosting a dinner party to catch up with friends or family before Christmas is a nice idea, few people want to take on the extra responsibility of cooking another big fancy meal.
That’s why hosting a potluck dinner party can be such a good idea for a stress-free event. All you need to do is make one dish, get some drinks in, and decorate, and everything else is supplied by guests. To avoid people bringing the same dish, it’s best to let guests know what to bring or have them run suggestions by you first.
To find out how to host a potluck dinner party, have a read of this guide by Bon Appetit.
7. Secret Santa (with a twist)
Secret Santa is a great tradition when you want to exchange gifts but don’t have the time or money to buy individual presents for every person. Very popular in workplaces, Secret Santa also works well for friends and family…but it’s always a good idea to add a more personal touch.
So, If you’re gathering with friends, family, or colleagues this Christmas and would like to exchange gifts, why not plan a game of Secret Santa with a twist?
Instead of standard, anonymous gift-giving, you could choose presents that resonate with special memories or inside jokes. This way, when the gifts are opened, the room will hopefully be full of laughter and stories, and perhaps a trip or two down memory lane.
8. Go to a show
Christmas shows can be magical, and there’s no better time than now to head to a theatre and catch a performance. Whatever you’re into, you’re sure to find a show that excites you, and bringing some loved ones along to share the experience can make it all the more memorable. Why not go for dinner beforehand and make an evening of it?
If you’re going with children, you might want to think about a traditional trip to see a pantomime or a spectacular night at the circus…but there are plenty of sophisticated, grown-up shows to choose from too. From the latest West End shows to local plays and dazzling ballet productions, a decent Christmas show is guaranteed to make you smile, no matter how old you are.
Check out our article, 16 of the best theatre shows, for some ideas on what to see.
9. Make some Christmas cards
If you like getting crafty but don’t fancy making a wreath, why not gather up a group of friends and enjoy an afternoon or evening making personalised, handmade Christmas cards? This is also a fun activity to do with kids or coworkers – and it doesn’t matter if some people doubt their artistic ability because cards look even cuter when they actually look homemade!
If you’re planning a card making party at home, just make sure you have everything set up before people arrive – such as a supply of coloured cards, glitter, glue, scissors, pens, felt tips, and anything else you think might come in handy. If you’re crafting with children, you can serve up some hot chocolate, or, if you’re with adults, some mulled wine or cider might be more suitable.
For some inspiration, you might want to check out our introduction to card making.
10. Have a Christmas movie marathon
If you’re keen to spend time with friends or family but are feeling tired – or struggling to get into the festive spirit – why not invite them over for a viewing party of all the best Christmas films? You could plan an all-day marathon on the weekend, or vote on a film to watch one evening.
Great Christmas films are abundant – from kid-friendly flicks to modern comedies and black-and-white classics – and there’s something uniquely comforting about curling up on the sofa to watch them. To go all out, you could make Christmas popcorn (try this version from Hungry Healthy Happy), and perhaps even gift guests with cosy Christmas pyjamas or socks to wear for the viewing.
If you’re looking for film inspiration, check out our list of the 16 best Christmas films that everyone should see.
11. Have a tree decorating party
Decorating your Christmas tree can be one of those activities that sounds fun, but takes much more time than you think. And that’s not factoring in going out to buy and choose a tree (if you get a live one), bringing it home, and setting it up. So why not turn the whole thing into a fun, festive event? This is an especially enjoyable activity for children – and you may find their excitement is contagious!
Once your tree is set up, you could turn on some Christmas music, enjoy plenty of snacks, and take turns hanging ornaments. If you’re with children, you can have fun blindfolding each other and seeing how the tree turns out…sometimes the end result is unpredictably stylish! Afterwards, you can play games and puzzles under the tree, and bask in the beauty of your creation.
We hope these activities have inspired you, and got you looking forward to getting together with loved ones this Christmas. While it can be special to see friends and family over Christmas, it can also be a stressful and busy time of year – and you may not have much time to think up things to do.
However, from hosting crafty events where you end up with something practical (wreaths, Christmas cards, or a decorated tree), to heading to your nearest Christmas market – there’s hopefully something that suits you and your loved ones here.
With that said, we understand that Christmas can be a difficult and lonely time for many too. If this sounds familiar, you might find some comfort in our article; 6 things to do if you’re spending Christmas alone this year.
Have we missed any other ideas for fun, festive get-togethers? Do you have any Christmas activities you enjoy doing with friends or family? We’d be interested to hear from you in the comments below.