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25 things to do on Christmas Eve

Wondering what to do the night before Christmas? Whether you’re searching for things to do on Christmas Eve at home or in your neighborhood, or fun things to do on Christmas Eve for adults, try these 25 things to do on Christmas Eve and get into some holiday cheer.

A small church lit up with Christmas lights with the text overlay, 25 things to do on Christmas Eve

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Christmas is exciting and magical. It’s a time for families to come together, for traditions to be enacted, and memories to be made.

Yet often we can jam so much into Christmas Day, and be so responsible for all the things, that we don’t have the time to savor the experience. What’s more, Christmas Day itself is very much about the younger members of the family.

On the other hand, Christmas Eve is the perfect time to get in some last minute Christmas goodness before the hustle of Christmas Day begins.

You’re all organized, you may already have a houseful, and your anticipation is high. You can focus on you and the other adults in the house.

So here’s 25 things to do on Christmas Eve for adults, so you can get your Christmas off to a great start.

Woman's hand holding a hot chocolate, sourrounded by candy canes and gifts.

Taste test different hot chocolate recipes. Each person in the house gets to select their own special recipe to make.

Write a letter to Santa saying what you wish for the year ahead and then share the letters with each other. You might want to drop some rather obvious clues in there for your loved ones!

Woman reading a book she has been given as a Christmas Eve activity for adults.

Do the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð: Gift each other a new book and spend Christmas Eve reading it curled up in front of the fire. It’s a cozy and restful way to spend the evening. What’s more, many popular authors release new books in time for Christmas, so this is a great opportunity to enjoy their latest.

Have a Christmas Eve tradition of take out. You’ll be doing lots of cooking tomorrow, so cut down on the dishes and make it easier on everyone. Chinese is always a good one!

Couple on a couch watching a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve.

Get out the popcorn and watch a romantic Christmas movie. If they’re not your thing, go for some classics like Home Alone, Elf or Die Hard.

Have a Christmas karaoke contest. Grab a couple of these karaoke microphones and belt out your favourite Cjristmas song!

A house decorated with bright Christmas lights

Drive around your neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights. Make an occasion of it by whipping up hot chocolate first and putting it in a thermos. You can sip as you check out the light displays. Don’t forget to play some Christmas tunes!

Play the dice game for an early start on Christmas excitement. Each person contributes a $5 gift into the middle. Throw a dice, and when you get a 6 you may either select from the pile in the middle OR take the gift that someone has already opened. The game ends when everyone has a gift and the dice has gone around the group one more time. It’s a fun take on more expensive Christmas presents.

Two men in ugly Christmas sweaters (things to do on Christmas Eve - have an ugly Christmas sweater contest)

Break out the ugly Christmas sweaters. And why not kick it up a notch? Have an ugly sweater competition with a prize for whoever can find the tackiest, most terribly terrific Christmas outfit.

Give a Christmas Eve box. Fill it with small useful things like new pajamas, a movie to watch and some hot chocolate mix.

Family playing charades on Christmas Eve

Play Christmas charades. Your words or phrases must be Christmas related such as a Christmas carol, Christmas movie, or the name of Santa’s reindeer. (Here’s the rules for charades).

Exchange a Christmas ornament that represents a special memory of that person in the year just passed, or something that symbolizes an important moment, such as a new home or new job. Then hang it on the Christmas tree.

Woman sitting on floor by Christmas tree surrounded by Christmas gifts

Pick one gift to open. A traditional gift is matching pajamas, or you could mark out a present specifically for Christmas Eve.

Make a Christmas bucket list that includes all the things you’d like to try for Christmas in the year to come, and once in a lifetime Christmas experiences.

Church lit up with Christmas lights at night

Attend a Christmas Eve church service. Stay up for midnight mass, or catch an earlier service that the kids can attend.

Play some Christmas board games. You can either play traditional board games, or check out those with specific Christmas themes.

Woman holding an ugly gift up to her husband

Have an ugliest / tackiest gift exchange. See who can find a gift that has everyone groaning in disgust.

Create a Christmas scavenger hunt. This is a fun thing to do on Christmas Eve for those competitive souls amongst us. The simplest way to do this is to take pictures of 10-15 Christmas related items. Then each team is shown the first photo. When they locate the item, they take their own photo and show it to the game master as proof, who then reveals the next clue. The winning team is the first to locate all the items.

Woman's hand sprinkling sprinkles on Christmas cookies: things to do on Christmas Eve.

Have a Christmas cookie baking competition. Select your favorite Christmas cookie recipe and see who has what it takes to make the best cookies. If the thought of getting into the kitchen late on Christmas Eve is too much for you, then turn the event into a taste test only using cookies people baked earlier.

Be Secret Santa: fill up Christmas stockings with small gifts and then jump in the car. Pop the stocking on the doorstep of a family who needs a little extra Christmas cheer, knock and run!

Listen to narrated Christmas stories on You Tube. You can find classics such as A Christmas carol… though be warned, it’s over 3 hours long!

Play a Christmas trivia game. Play as individuals or join up into teams. Have some Christmas cookies for the winner!

As a fun activity, challenge each other to some marshmallow party games. There’s heaps you can do with very little equipment needed (with the exception of marshmallows of course!).

Decorate a gingerbread house together (candy canes come into their own here). Not only is it a creative activity, it will look great and taste fantastic too.

Couple going for a walk on Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve activities for adults)

Bundle up warm and go for a family walk. Let’s face it – you’re going to do a lot of eating tomorrow, so why not get some exercise in while you can? It’s also a good chance to take time to connect with each other.

Don’t spend your Christmas Eve crashed out on the couch, exhausted from a day of last minute preparations!

Take some time for you with these 25 things to do on Christmas Eve for adults.

You might also like: Christmas traditions for couples.

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