There’s nothing better than getting the family together and doing something Christmassy in the lead up to December 25th!

If you’re struggling for ideas, check out these fun festive ideas that are guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

1. Check out your neighbourhood’s Christmas lights

Visiting all of the best decorated houses in your area is a must-do in the run up to the big day.

Make it even more special by surprising the kids one evening when it gets dark – bundle everybody into the car in their pyjamas and dressing gowns, and go on a festive hunt for the most twinkly, most sparkly decorated houses that you can find!

2. Go on a Santa hunt on Christmas Eve

This Christmas Eve, start a new tradition – going on a Santa hunt!

Father Christmas himself will be taking to the air, so get everyone wrapped up for the cold weather and head out to scan the skies and try to spot him on his journey around the world.

Look out for that tell-tale glimmer of magical lights that might be him flying to your town!

3. Make a Christmas pudding

A frosty afternoon is the perfect time to get the kids round the kitchen table to help make the Christmas pudding.

Don’t forget to make a wish when you stir the pudding and pop a silver coin in the mix to bring luck to whoever finds it!

When the house starts to fill with the delicious smell of fruits and spices, you just know the magic of Christmas has arrived.

4. Hot Chocolate, PJs and a Movie

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No Christmas would be complete without nights snuggled up beside a roaring fire watching some of your favourite Christmas movies.

To make movie night extra special, why not get dressed up in your PJs and make homemade hot chocolate?

Let the kids get involved by picking their own combination of toppings – yummy treats like marshmallows, whipped cream or even a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.

5. Make homemade tree decorations

To make decorating the Christmas tree even more special, and more delicious, bake edible tree decorations like gingerbread cookies.

Try different shapes like stars, trees and snowflakes, and use an icing pen or even a teaspoon to decorate them with yummy icing. The kids will love icing their own designs or names on to the gingerbread cookies.

Just don’t expect them to last too long!

6. Visit a Christmas Market

christmas days out
Pic: Shutterstock

A sure-fire way to get in the festive spirit is to visit your local Christmas market.

Get the whole family wrapped up in hats, gloves and scarves and set out to explore the wooden stalls covered in twinkling fairy lights, selling things like gingerbread men, hot chocolate, hand-made Christmas decorations and presents.

Don’t forget to try traditional Christmas favourites like roasted chestnuts and maybe even go ice-skating!

7. Christmas Board Game Night

Nothing says ‘festive’ quite like all the family gathered round a board game, so why not have a dedicated Christmas games night?

Whether you try a new Christmassy board game, pull out an old classic like Cluedo, or go for a rousing round of Pictionary or Charades, you’re all set for an evening of competition, laughter and probably a few festive disagreements too!

8. Go to a carol service

Going to a carol service on a cold winter’s night is one of the most Christmassy things you can do.

Sit back and soak up the beautiful sounds of all-time classics like Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Whether in a big cathedral or at a children’s Nativity concert, it’s always a wonderful atmosphere. Or why not go caroling yourselves to raise money for your favourite charity?

9. Decorate a gingerbread house

A long-time tradition in Scandinavia and Germany, decorating a gingerbread house is a great way to have a fun, albeit messy, Christmas afternoon with the kids.

Use royal icing as glue to put the walls together, sparkly sprinkles to decorate, and build a gumdrop pathway leading up to a candy cane front door.

Display proudly on the kitchen table…at least until it’s devoured!

10. Surprise someone with a Christmas visit

Christmas is a time to share goodwill and happiness wherever we can, so pick a day to make a couple of Christmas visits with the family to someone who’ll appreciate it.

Whether it’s an elderly neighbour or a relative you haven’t seen in too long, calling in with some Christmas cheer and a holiday treat is a lovely way to remember what’s really important at this time of year.

11. Go for a Christmas swim!

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The Christmas Day Swim is a brilliant way to work up an appetite for the turkey and roast potatoes later!

Plunging into the cold sea for a bracing dip is so invigorating, but maybe just let the little ones cheer from the sidelines if the weather is bad.

There are lots of Christmas swims organised around the country, so get involved and don’t forget to bring a warm drink for afterwards!