Festive fun: 20 ways to spread Christmas cheer

From making your own decorations to slumber parties under the tree, injecting some fun Christmas activities into your festive season needn’t be complicated or expensive.

Let’s just go ahead and call it: it’s been a rough year for everyone.

Call time on the drama of Covid and replace it with the theatre and fun of Christmas by slotting a few (or even all) of the 20 activities suggested below to put smiles on everyone’s faces.

1. Buy silly-season clothes

It might be a little too warm for traditional reindeer jumpers, but why not crank up the “wrong” factor with a range of Christmas shirts for the whole family?

Check online for some truly unique and whacky options.

2. Make your own Christmas tree ornaments

Where’s the fun in buying a bulk pack of hanging ornaments from a department store when you can admire the handiwork of your homemade wonders?

There’s inspiration galore on the internet, from bundling cinnamon sticks together to spray-painting plastic animals. Just remember: add glitter at your peril.

3. Organise a themed photo shoot

Once you have the aforementioned T-shirts (or jumpers), it’s time to lock in a photo shoot.

Feel free to use decorations such as tinsel and reindeer antlers for additional flair.

You might also like to buy a giant plastic picture frame to pose behind.

4. Create a family Christmas playlist

Rather than relying on traditional albums, ask every member of your family (the ones who’ll be there on Christmas Day, anyway) to choose their favourite Christmas songs to create the ultimate playlist.

Just be warned: some members could go completely rogue.

5. Bake (and gift) Christmas cookies

Hit up the recipe books or websites to find a biscuit recipe to use as your foundation for a bake-a-thon.

You’ll require cookie cutters in the shapes of trees, stars, circles and gingerbread men, icing pipes and cellophane bags and ribbons.

6. Have a family slumber party

Got your tree up? Why not truly delight the kids by gathering the clan (and their sleeping bags) and insist on a fun slumber party under the dazzling fairylight show.

You will need midnight snacks, mood music and, depending on your age, a post-slumber chiro appointment.

7. Create a Christmas photo booth

Take your standard Christmas Day photos one step further by creating a themed photo booth.

You’ll need a blank wall to decorate, a handful of cheap props and costumes (think Santa hats, tinsel and ridiculous glasses) and one designated photographer (or selfie stick or tripod).

8. Compete in wreath-making championships

Every member of the family must make their own interpretation of a Christmas wreath to be in with a chance to win a fantastic prize of your choosing.

The hardest part? Finding a neighbour or family friend who will fairly decide the winner.

9. Complete a jigsaw puzzle

Purchase a puzzle mat and a 1000 to 5000-piece Christmas-themed jigsaw puzzle and encourage everyone to chip away at it.

Not only is it quality family-bonding time, but you’ll probably find the kids are quite busy for the month of December.

10. Have a Christmas-themed movie night

Whether you’re into Love Actually, Elf, The Polar Express or old-school It’s a Wonderful Life, organise an evening where you curl up with popcorn and watch back-to-back Christmas movies to set the mood for the coming days.

11. Make your own Christmas earrings

Fancy a little diamante reindeer action for those earlobes? No?

Well, you might just surprise yourself. Wearing over-the-top festive earrings can be fun and making them as a family even better. There are plenty of great tutorials on You Tube.

12. Donate to a toy drive

Take a trip to the local shops and select one present each that fits within your charity budget.

You can either donate the gifts in-store (Kmart’s Wishing Tree is popular for this) or select another charity such as The Smith Family, or Ronald McDonald House.

13. Make your own Christmas cards

Sure, you could pick up a value pack of cards at the post office, but why rob yourself of the joy of painting, cutting, gluing and bedazzling your own set?

Look online for ideas or, better still, give full creative control to the kids.

14. Sing carols around the fire

Dismiss the 30C-plus heat and the lack of a fireplace; you can easily buy a fire pit for a Christmas carolling (and marshmallow toasting) session in the backyard.

Just be sure to check if there are any fire bans in place.

15. Volunteer in the community

Whether it’s helping out at a soup kitchen, serving lunch at a community centre or packaging kits for the homeless with a kid-friendly organisation such as Kids Giving Back, immerse yourself in the true spirit of Christmas, a time for giving.

16. Get a Christmas manicure

Will it be a snowflake design, a blinding candy stripe or glitter green? Understated is not the name of the game here – not when you want to put smiles on everyone’s faces with your festive talons.

17. Decorate a gingerbread house

There’s nothing kids love more than decorating a gingerbread house, and the good news is you don’t have to make it from scratch.

Supermarkets have great kits to get you started – you just need to add the creative flair.

18. Make a snow globe

This is the perfect activity for a rainy day.

All you’ll need is a few mason jars to serve as your globe, ornaments you can buy from any two-dollar store and some seriously strong glue.

They’ll make the perfect decorations for the mantelpiece when you’re done.

19. Introduce global games

Ask everyone to do a little research and bring one new activity or game from another country.

Pakkeleg, a traditional Danish gift exchange game based on rolling dice, can be particularly fun and manic.

There are a few different ways to play the game so see what works best for you.

20. Play festive bingo

The popularity of bingo is ever-enduring, so why not have a bingo evening with a festive slant? Themed sheets can be found and printed online – just don’t forget the side of eggnog.

Written by Dilvin Yasa.