Y’all. We MADE IT.


Can you even believe it?

We have spent the last 11 days getting ready for Christmas.

When my friend Leslie first proposed the idea to me I was excited and a little nervous. Just between us? I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I thought somewhere around Day 9, I might forget to post because I was so busy watching Christmas movies.

But here we are on DAY 12.

The most wonderful day of all.


Decorating and baking and singing and organizing and planning and decking the halls is amazing. But the most important thing this holiday season?

Spending time with family.

Here’s our checklist of 25 things to do with your family for Christmas.

1. Take a drive-through tour of Christmas lights with hot chocolate and Christmas music.

2. Decorate a gingerbread house together. You can even have a gingerbread decorating contest with prizes.

3. Make a Christmas craft together.

4. Set up a family hot chocolate bar with sprinkles and marshmallows and whipped cream.

5. Have a Christmas carol sing-along. We do this every year and my husband plays the guitar.

6. Schedule a holiday movie marathon of everyone’s favorite movies (we love Winter Wonderland on Hallmark).

7. Try a new recipe and bake it together in the kitchen.

8. Read “Twas was the Night Before Christmas” and try and recite it together (we do this every year).

9. Look for ways to volunteer in the community. For example, you could collect things for your local shelter and drop them off for people in need.

10. Celebrate the days leading up to Christmas with a “Leave a Joy Trail” Advent Calendar.

11. Grab blankets and hot chocolate and go outside and find the Big Dipper and other constellations.

12. Have a family game night.

13. Go old school and bake salt-dough ornaments. Use cookie cutters to cut them out. Make a hole at the top and string ribbons to hang them on the tree.

14. Make birdseed ornaments. Hang them outside and watch the birds.

15. Schedule a group video chat with friends and family that are out of town.

16. Put together a care package for someone special.

17. Put together a playlist of your family’s favorite Christmas tunes and play it all month long.

18. Write a letter to someone in our Armed Forces. The Salvation Army has a great program here.

19. Pull out old photo albums and look through them together.

20. Have each family member stamp their own personalized wrapping paper.

21. Visit a local animal shelter and spend some time with animals waiting to be adopted.

22. Wrap gifts together. Have a race to see who can wrap them the fastest.

23. Take a family photo together. Set the phone or camera on a timer so everyone can be in the photo.

24. Plan out the menu for Christmas dinner together.

25. Attend a midnight Christmas Eve service. This is one of our family traditions. It’s the most amazing celebration to walk outside after church and it’s Christmas.

Thank you for celebrating “12 Days of Getting Ready for Christmas” with me this year.

May your holiday season be warm and welcoming and Christmasy.

And full of hot chocolate.

And laughter.

And seasons greetings.

And full of joy….

…with extra merry on top.

PS Be sure and stop by Leslie’s and see even more ideas for Christmas family activities.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Kris Kris

    Great minds think alike! We do many of the things you have listed. Something else that's fun to do--I like to make a puzzle (Shutterfly is one option) from a picture of something we have done together the previous year (for us, usually it's a place we have traveled to) and give it as a gift. Doing the puzzle afterwards is fun to do collectively and it's a great reminder of other enjoyable times we have spent together. I also like to give them as gifts--kids LOVE getting puzzles with their cute little faces on them.

  2. Image for Renee Bayes Renee Bayes

    Love all your ideas—- As one of their Christmas gifts, my 5 grandchildren(3 in one family- 2 in another) choose an animal from the Heifer International to give to a family in a 3rd world country. My husband and I give donations of those animals to the organization. I send the children an ornament of the animal that they have chosen. Over the years, we have given pigs, bees, sheep, cows and bunnies. It’s one of their favorite traditions.

  3. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Thanks for all week and ideas, it was fun, pray you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

  4. Image for pamela smith pamela smith

    So many great ideas! We do many of these too. In our area, we have a church that puts on a drive through Living Nativity. We have attended for over 20 years and, even though my girls are grown, we still make it a point to go every year. It wouldn't be Christmas without it!

  5. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    God bless you and yours this Christmas, KariAnne. May He also bless all your followers and their loved ones. He's a BIG God. He can do it! Thank you, KariAnne and Leslie, for these 12 days of Christmas. You have given us many good ideas to incorporate into our own traditions.

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