10 Ways for Kids to Pass the Time on Christmas Eve

Remember it? The magical anticipation that made Christmas Eve painfully long? If you allow yourself to go back there, I bet you’ll still find that amazing feeling of excitement in your stomach. Helping kids through the torture of time can turn into some Christmas traditions and create memories that you’ll all treasure.

10 Ways for Kids to Pass the Time on Christmas Eve

1.  Put on a Christmas play or puppet show. Preparing and writing it, wardrobe and the show itself will take up a lot of time.

2.  Bake! Make cookies for Santa (and everyone else). This doesn’t have to mean a ton of work for you. Make cookie dough ahead of time and freeze it, or pick up some Pillsbury holiday cookie dough. A gingerbread house for each child can easily keep them occupied for a couple of hours. Clean-up is part of the deal as kids try to impress Santa with how good they are.

3.  Make a thank you card for Santa. It’s too late to ask for presents, so this is a great way to encourage some appreciation instead and remind kids how lucky they are.

4.  Have a crazy Christmas Eve dinner. Let everyone choose their favourite foods and combine them into a crazy Christmas Eve dinner. Who says you can’t have pizza, burgers, spaghetti and garlic mashed potatoes at one meal? Don’t make it too much work for you though, it’s a great night for take-out! Planning this dining experience will take up some time, plus you can have the kids decorate Christmas placemats.

5.  Record a special Christmas Eve message to send to those you love who live far away.  Sing Christmas Carols. Let everyone pick their favourite or top three.

6.  Make Christmas tree decorations or start decorating a poster that will hold snapshots of your favourite holiday moments.

7.  Share your favourite Christmas memories. The children can share them and you can share your favourite memories of each child. Have them draw pictures that will become precious keepsakes.

8.  Play holiday games. Put a Christmas twist on a game, like pin the star on the Christmas tree (pin the tail on the donkey) or “name that Christmas tune”.

9.  Movies…the old standby! We have some Christmas movies we watch every year. Let everyone pick a favourite!

10. Special Books! I remember my Sister had covered a thick copy of Alice in Wonderland with brown paper, decorated with the words “Christmas Eve Emergency Book”. It was so long and involved that reading it was bound to put her to sleep. I have Christmas-theme books put away with the holiday decorations that are only brought out on Christmas Eve. We received some from other people and I bought a few every year as well. I always loved the real Christmas story, read from a Children’s bible. Books are perfect for the last hours of Christmas Eve when you’re trying to settle the kids down. Reading makes us sleepy!

Bonus Tip: Track Santa! NOTHING works better for getting children to bed on Christmas Eve than NORAD Tracks Santa. I owe that site big-time. As Santa gets closer everyone knows they MUST get into bed or he may not come!

We’d love to see your Christmas pictures! Head on over to our Facebook page and share them with us!

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I always gave our child an ornament to open on Christmas Eve. An ornament to celebrate an event from the year, maybe a trip or a new pet or hobby. The children would always look forward to reminiscing as they hang their ornaments on the tree. When they moved out on their own, they each had a box of ornaments (and memories) to take to their new homes.


Christmas Eve is the most magical night of the year for young & old! I think it deserves more attention. Not to mention how well the kids behave when they think their Christmas morning is at stake LOL! We’re doing the whole box thing with holiday pajamas, movies & special snacks.

Jean video

Oh waiting for santa is SO HARD! Great tips for helping kids cope & have fun.

Cynthia BC

Filing for next year. The site is looking good!