When the excitement of Halloween is over with, it feels like we’re truly on the final countdown to the most magical time of the year - December! This month comes with a host of family-friendly events, Christmas spirit and festive celebrations that should keep you busy for the holiday period. You may, however, be struggling to find unique and fun things to do with your kids this December.
As we adore all things Christmassy, we’ve gathered some of our best ideas to give you all the inspiration you need.
Christmas lighting ceremonies can be a beautiful way to start the festive season. Usually taking place in mid-November and early December, the twinkling decorations are officially lit up during the big ‘switch on’ event, accompanied by entertainment for all the family, including live music.
London is the most popular city to watch such a ceremony, with lights being turned on along famous streets including Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Regent Street and Bond Street. But you don’t have to be located in the capital to find a switch on - plenty of big cities across the UK host similar events, from Edinburgh, to Sheffield, to Bath, to Plymouth.
Nothing says Christmas like visiting Santa at his grotto, and it’s an event your kids are sure to love, so get your camera at the ready to snap this memorable moment. There are hundreds of Santa’s grottos across the country, so a quick Google will be sure to reveal the nearest spots to you.
Christmas markets are a wonderful place to pick up some gifts, eat some delicious food and maybe even have a warming mulled wine (perhaps a hot chocolate for the kids instead!). Many cities across the UK host their own markets, where independent businesses sell their handmade items, from jewellery and artwork to clothing and homemade bakes. Just be sure to wrap up warm as it can get chilly!
No matter whether you’re expert ice skaters who do this winter activity every year or your kids have never set foot on a rink, gliding along on the ice is sure to put the whole family in a great mood. Many Christmas ice skating rinks are built outdoors especially for the festive season, and are often located inside winter wonderlands and other similar exhibits. Just be sure to pack everyone’s gloves or it could make for a chilly outing.
If we’re lucky enough to have a snowy December, you could seize the opportunity to take the children sledging. Watch as they tumble down rolling hills over and over again, laughing until their faces hurt. You can join in the fun too, or watch from a safe distance if you’d prefer. Other fun snowy activities include making snow angels or starting a fierce snowball fight! Just be sure to put your children in sensible shoes for the occasion, like wellies that keep moisture out.
Get your home ready for the festive season by putting up your Christmas tree, and make it a fun family activity by asking the kids to help you decorate. First, you can head to your nearest Christmas tree farm and take your time choosing the one with the perfect shape (or get your artificial one out of storage). Then, unbox the twinkling lights, sparkly tinsel, hand-picked baubles and magical topper (whether it be an angel, star or otherwise) and get creative. And we won’t tell anyone if you decide to neaten it up when the kids aren’t looking!
There’s no activity better than one that results in something you can eat, so get your Christmas bake on and make some festive cookies! Use a shaped cutter to make Christmas tree cookies or simply create some round biscuits that the children can ice with whatever pattern they like. With some adult supervision, the kids will be able to create something yummy that they can share with the whole family (hopefully).
This is one December activity that is completely free, something we’re sure you’ll be grateful of this winter. Pack the kid's wellies into the car, along with spare shoes and plastic bags should they get particularly muddy, and drive somewhere scenic for a peaceful family walk. You could pick a route that has a country pub along it and stop for a hearty lunch or find a walk near a park so the kids can stop for a play.
When it snows, it’s practically the law to build a snowman, whether this be in your back garden or at your local park. Snowmen will be popping up everywhere, usually resplendent in Dad’s scarf or Mum’s woolly hat. Get creative this year by using funny props or even creating a whole snow-family, complete with a snowdog.
Get crafty and ‘DIY’ some of your own Christmas decorations with the kids! From making garlands out of beads and constructing your own snow globes to folding and cutting paper to create gorgeous snowflakes, there are so many ideas online you can try. It’s a relatively cheap way of dressing your home for the festive season, and should keep the children entertained for a couple of hours.
Icing gingerbread houses is a classic Christmas activity. While it may require some patience, particularly in the initial building of the house, the decorating is the fun part. Use icing as your glue and go wild with marshmallows, silver balls and any other sweets you want. Finally, dust the house with a layer of powdered sugar to give it a snowy flourish.
The excited squeals of “They’re behind you!” is likely something that reminds many of us of our own childhood, so treat your children to the same experience and take them to see a pantomime. There’s always plenty of choice at theatres around the country at Christmas, whether you decide to see Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin or something else entirely.
National Trust properties and their surrounding grounds are always a great place to visit, but never more so than at Christmas. They usually have a host of seasonal events planned, from winter illuminations and concerts to festive markets and the chance to meet Father Christmas, so take a look at their website to find events local to you.
Whether your children want to send Santa their ultimate Christmas wish list or just tell him a bit about themselves, creating a letter is a lovely activity that your children can get involved in.
Plus, once the letter is written, they can decorate it however they wish (with drawings, glitter and more!), post it and wait eagerly for his response.
Be sure to send the letter (with a valid stamp) to the below address by 10th December 2022 at the latest:
And to make Santa’s response extra special, why not order a Letter from Santa with the NSPCC? As well as featuring lots of festive designs, you can personalise Santa’s letter with details your children will love - from achievements of the past year to their favourite activities. Santa’s letter will arrive in an envelope addressed to the children, helping to keep the magic of Christmas alive.
Christmas cards are likely something you send out every year, so why not let the children get involved and ask them to make some for you? Gather your card, coloured pens, sparkly glitter, stickers and any other crafty items you have and let your kids get creative. They can draw snowy scenes, Christmas trees, happy snowmen and more on the front of their cards, ready for you to put a message on the inside and send them to family and friends.
Still stuck for things to do? Christmas movies are always good entertainment for December. There are tons of Christmas movies available, either played on Freeview, via DVD or through streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and other similar services usually start uploading Christmas films in November, and you’ll be sure to find a classic you’ve all watched hundreds of times or a film no one’s seen before.
Reading together is a lovely family bonding activity, so make it festive by picking a classic like ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. It’s only a short poem, so won’t take long to read, but you could make it a tradition by reciting it every Christmas Eve.
Other Christmas stories you can read include A Christmas Carol, The Elves and the Shoemaker and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Read our other guides to find more fun things to do this winter: