Fun Things to Do with Family over the Holidays

Okay while I absolutely LOVE my family and really do relish every minute I am in town, we can get on each other’s nerves. Nothing bad, just typical family stuff. Mixing in cousins and aunts and uncles and friends and all kinds of relatives can only heighten that. And why do tensions tend to run high around the holidays?! Isn’t this when everyone should be in the best spirits?

I’ve been putting together a list of things to do in case we’re in need of entertainment.


(Photo by Aaron Dyer for an old Kate Spade campaign– one of my favorites!)

Game Night // This is one of my family’s personal favorite activities (year round, but especially over the holidays). We try to pick games that are relatively quick and can be played with flexible rules and appeal to all ages. If it makes everyone laugh, even better. We normally can play one game with all of us, but I think this Christmas we’ll have to have a few games out to play. Maybe a tournament is in order?!?

Staycation/Play Tourist // I think this is a really good idea if you have people in from out of town, but it works even if everyone lives in the area. My mom actually came up with a few amazing things for the family to do together. So often we go to the same places and eat at the same restaurants, even though there is so much to do in town. Because it’s always available, it’s not always top of mind or top priority.

Load everyone up in the car and check out a local museum or a nearby park. A few weeks ago, my friends and I did an Escape Room, and it was so much fun. I was thinking how amazing/hilarious it would be to do it with family. If your family is big, you can split up and compete against the other team.

Bake or Cook Off // This was also my mom’s idea, and I really want to do it on Christmas. You know those shows on The Food Network where people are given random (so random!) ingredients, and they have to whip up a fancy meal? My mom came up with the idea to do this with our family. To divide into two groups, split the kitchen down the middle, and do a cook off challenge!

It would also work to just set up big stations around the kitchen for cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, cake decorating, etc. This could also turn into a competition. (Why do I love a good competition so much!?!)

Set Up an Outdoor Movie Theater // So the original idea here would be to just have a movie night. Do a crowd pleaser (like Elf or Home Alone or Harry Potter) and snuggle up with blankets and pillows and big bowls of popcorn for everyone. BUT, after the success of our Thanksgiving debut, I have to suggest that you take it up a notch and make it an outdoor movie theater. (I will plug the outdoor movie theater until the end of time because it truly was the best.)

Work on a puzzle // While this kind of could fall under the game night, I think it deserves its own category. My family LOVES to set up puzzles on our dining room table. The best part is that people can spend a few minutes or a few hours doing it. You can come and go, walk by and put in a piece, sit at the table and just talk, or commit to it fully. It’s one of those things that is great to leave out as a work in progress– especially if you have people staying at your house! (There’s a great story in our family about how my dad came downstairs to turn off our dining room light at around 3 am and found my mom’s best friend sitting at the table working on the puzzle! We still laugh about it!)

Is there anything else we should add to our list? What’s something you love to do with your family?!

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Love this post! I’m curious – what games do you usually play with your family? I would love suggestions!

Taylor Cannon

These are all activities that my family LOVES to do as well! My mother-in-law has a few of those “conversation starter” books with random topics and questions that we often break out, especially when it is a new group of people to help everyone get involved and acquainted. Looking forward to lots of family time this weekend! Happy holidays!
Taylor |

Caitlin Harrison

Growing up, my grandpa took pride in teaching all his grandkids how to play checkers. It was almost a rite of passage to beat him. My little brother has set up a checkers tourney this Christmas with brackets and everything! I can’t wait to finally see everyone and kick their booties in checkers.

Merry Christmas!