Holiday - December 20, 2021

Activities You Can Do On Christmas Eve

brighton butler holiday post

Hello from Dallas! Although I am seriously missing those mountain views and fluffy white snow, it feels good to be home. We are FINALLY starting to get back into the routine of things after a week in Aspen… and I’m scrambling to get all the things done before Christmas. I think I’m in shock that Christmas Eve is THIS FRIDAY. (insert panic attack here)

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of my very favorite days of the whole year, and I’m currently trying to come up with our plans for Christmas Eve on Friday. Duncan and I both try to take the day off as much as possible from work and spend time together as a family.

There are a few traditions we like to keep each year, but then we usually just mix in something new every year depending on what our plans are. I thought it would be fun to put together some festive activity ideas for Christmas Eve that you can do with your own family or friends.


Every year growing up, my siblings and I would get to open one gift on Christmas Eve. As a kid, I remember how excited I’d get to pick out that special gift that I could open early. It felt like such a treat. Now that I’m grown, Duncan and I love carrying out this tradition. It just feels like a fun way to kick off Christmas a little early. We usually pick a small gift that we know won’t make the next morning anticlimactic, but it’s still so fun! I’ve heard of many families who all open matching Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve and then wear them that night.


This is one tradition we do every year, and I can’t imagine Christmas without it! Our church does a really beautiful service every Christmas Eve where we sing Christmas hymns by candlelight and then listen to a short service. I find that it really helps me keep things in perspective the next day and constantly brings me back to the reason we celebrate. Most churches offer multiple services that day, so you could totally find one at a time that works if you have other plans that night.


Depending on our plans for the year, we usually love having a special Christmas Eve dinner. Every year, this looks different, but it’s always such a nice way to spend time together as a family. Some years, we have gone to a nice restaurant and others, we cook something nice like steaks at home. It’s also a great excuse for me to use my Christmas tablescape. ;)


If you want to plan a cozy night at home, I can think of no better activity than watching Christmas movies. I actually put together a list of some of my top Christmas films recently on the blog that you can use! Don’t forget to bust out your favorite blanket, warm PJs, and hot cocoa, and popcorn, of course.


I think Christmas Eve is all about giving, especially if you are familiar with the story of Christmas in the Bible. It’s such a beautiful night when you really think about the true meaning! So what better way to express this than by delivering gifts to others? I know several people who bake holiday cookies and hand-deliver them to their neighbors on Christmas Eve. I’ve always thought this is such a sweet idea and would love to do it one year! If you need some ideas of delicious treats you can bake, check out some fun recipes here.


There are always so many neighborhoods that go all out for Christmas, and I love getting some hot chocolate at a coffee shop and driving around after dinner to look at all the lights. If you live in the Dallas area, Highland Park is absolutely magical this time of year. Interlochen Lights in Arlington and Deerfield Holiday Lights in Plano are a couple of other really popular neighborhoods in the DFW area!


This is a tradition I’m hoping to start with Four as he gets older. I found this cute kids’ book that talks about the story of Christmas that I may order for next year. It’s really important for me that he grows up knowing why we celebrate Christmas and understanding that it’s not only about the money — and I think this is a great way to remember that!


As Four gets older, I’m super excited to participate in all the Santa-related activities I did as a kid like baking cookies and tracking him on Christmas Eve. We would usually just put out cookies we made earlier that week when we were off school, but if you’re looking for a fun activity to do that night, you could totally make the cookies on Christmas Eve too! We would also keep track of where Santa and his sleigh were the whole night. Back then, we didn’t have Internet so we’d have to listen on the radio (gosh, I sound old) but now there are websites specifically dedicated to tracking him!

I hope these activities give you an idea of something fun you can do with your family or friends on Christmas Eve. It is such a great night, and I pray that you get to enjoy it the way you want this year!