13 Ways To Celebrate Christmas Without Gifts

While some people may just be looking for ways to celebrate Christmas morning without gifts, there are other families who need to know different ways to celebrate Christmas without gifts.

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that this site uses affiliate links, and this post may include some of those.

Whether that’s because you have budget restrictions, want to focus on the real reason for the season, or just want the challenge of not buying a bunch of stuff this holiday season, here are my best ideas to help you have an amazing holiday.

1. Start A New Christmas Morning Tradition

Check out this post of ways to celebrate Christmas morning without gifts for ideas to start Christmas day gift-free. There are so many wonderful ways to have a special Christmas morning even if you’re not doing the gift thing. My favorites include:

Who am I kidding? #11 on that list is also something I’d go for any year!

2. Learn Something New Together

The Christmas season is a time to make special memories. And the family that learns together, stays together. Or something like that.

How about picking up a new family hobby this Christmas season? Here are some of the ideas that come to mind, but I’m sure you can think of some things your family may enjoy more!

  • Crochet – get some crochet needles, yarn and read or watch some tutorials. Each person in the family can learn to make something fun (like toys) or useful (like sweaters/blankets). This one is a bonus, because whatever you make can also make meaningful gifts!

3. Christmas Painting Contest

For this activity, you will want to plan ahead in order to have enough supplies ready for everyone.

Supplies that will make for a super fun and exciting painting contest include:

You will need multiple canvases, easels, and paint mixing trays for sure. Having additional paintbrushes, acrylic paint and sketching pencils can be helpful.

I recommend starting with the paper or sketchbooks and sketching pencils for each person to plan out the design they want to paint. This will help you come up with a plan and not focus too much on exactly what you want to paint when it is time for the contest. The idea of the contest can be introduced in advance so people can think of what they would like to paint.

On Christmas Day, move to the canvases! It’s time to sketch your design and begin painting! The easel will make it easier to paint, and this tabletop easel set is inexpensive and comes with 3. Once the contest is over, pack them away to use again next Christmas, or begin a routine of painting as a family once a month (or once a week, why not?!).

Getting a complete beginner’s painting set could make things easier than picking up each item individually. This one, shown above, also comes with a paint by color template that makes it easy to learn how to paint!

How To Have A No-Gift Christmas Pin

4. Visit The Zoo

The zoo has always been one of my favorite places to go as a family. I love the animals, I love walking around or using the huge bicycles, and I just always have an awesome time!

The Zoo can be a great Christmas Day outing because it tends to be less packed, so it is easier to see the animals and don’t have to feel rushed at all. Some Zoos also have special holiday themes/tours, so be sure to call your local zoo in advance to see if they are open and if they have anything special going on!

Likewise you can check out amusement parks that may offer your family tons of smiles in with a smaller crowd than normal! Some museums and art galleries are also open, and some offer freebies for the holidays!

5. Host A Holiday Party

While many people prefer to spend Christmas Day with their closest loved ones, there are many people who don’t have anyone to spend Christmas Day with. There are also many couples who would prefer to be part of a larger celebration.

If you can find enough people to hold a holiday party, you can really have a blast! Ugly sweater contests, dressing up as different holiday character, silly sock photos, karaoke concerts and watching a Christmas movie as a group are only a few of the cool ideas you can do at a Christmas party.

Make sure there are plenty of activities for the kids to do, such as decorating Gingerbread houses, drawing funny santas, having a pajama dance, decorating sugar cookies (then devouring them), making sock snowmen, etc.

Hold a pot luck if you don’t want to be responsible for all the cooking, or enjoy cooking your Christmas favorites if that makes you happy!

6. Have A Picnic

If you live somewhere with nice weather during the winter, like I do here in Florida, going outside on Christmas Day is usually a nice treat! The weather tends to be pretty perfect, in the 70s or so. Not too hot and not freezing cold.

Traffic is nonexistent, and the parks aren’t crowded, at all. State parks are open on Christmas Day here in Florida, and they make a great atmosphere for a family picnic.

Be sure to pack at least one favorite of each person attending the picnic. And don’t leave Fido at home!

7. Wear Christmas Socks (Or Pajamas, Or Both!) All Day

This one is especially fun for families with children! Dress up in your most comfy Christmas pajamas, or dress as a holiday character! Take pictures, act silly, and enjoy doing everything with tons of Christmas spirit in the air!

Christmas Sock Party

This image is from a previous job I had. At our office, we would choose a theme for the days leading up to Christmas and have lots of fun! On this day we wore Christmas socks and this is our “all in” photo!

8. Make Sock Snowmen

Sock snowmen are super easy to make and doesn’t require a ton of materials. The most important part is socks and rice. Some cute ribbons are helpful, as well as buttons for the “clothes” and a markers for the eyes. Check out this super easy snowman tutorial, this activity requires NO sewing skills!

9. Coordinate Homemade Gift Stations

If you want to have a little gift exchange, but just don’t want to purchase any gifts, then having homemade gift stations will be a fun activity! Put everyone’s name in a hat and have each person pull a name. That’s the person they will be crafting a gift for!

Now pull out the Barney bag craft supplies and decide on a project to DIY!

Draw pictures, paint canvasses, make homemade cards… the options are endless!

How To Celebrate Christmas Without Gifts

10. Have A Christmas Movie Marathon

Watch movies for hours as you enjoy Christmas lunch or dinner, as well as Christmas popcorn and other assorted treats!

Here are a few gourmet treats to consider:

Of course, you can make your own holiday treat boxes and it will cost you much less! These popcorn boxes are perfect for arranging holiday treats to enjoy during your movie marathon. These Christmas cellophane bags are also super cute! These Christmas favor boxes are the ultimate choice to make this a super magical experience for your children! You’ll have extras to use for future years as well!

And of course you’ve got to choose some amazing Christmas movies to watch!

Here are some of my family’s favorite Christmas movies:

  • The Tangerine Bear
  • Home Alone
  • The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol
  • The Grinch
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

11. Make Homemade Ornaments

Homemade ornaments are fun to make anytime during the holiday season.

But why not make a tradition out of making custom salt-dough ornaments on Christmas Day? Each person can choose what design they want to put on their ornament!

Be sure to take a line-up style picture of all the ornaments you create. It would be a great addition to a family scrapbook. It also gives your family a chance to easily see what ornaments were created in which year, as well as how much improvement each person has had in artistic skills.

12. Start A Physical Family Scrapbook

A digital one would do, but physical scrapbooks make such amazing keepsakes! You might even consider making a separate one for each family member, so that when the kids are older they can take theirs with them, and maybe even continue adding to it once they have families of their own.

Get all the supplies, and get photo paper that you can print out pictures on. Get scrapbook supplies in advance to make fancy designs. Have each person pick some of their favorite photos from the previous year, and make pages to add to the scrapbook.

This makes a fun activity that can become an annual tradition. It’s a great way to reflect on the previous year and memorialize the wonderful moments that happened throughout the year.

13. Act Out A Christmas Book

This is a fun activity for families who love to put on a show! Choose a book and act it out! Alternatively, act out the story of Jesus’ birth!

Get creative and have someone film it. This will make an amazing memory, and can also become a family tradition, where your family can enjoy acting out a different book each year!

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to celebrate Christmas without gifts when you’ve got a plan! This list of things to do that don’t involve exchanging gifts for the holidays will help you come up with a plan that is uniquely tailored to your family’s circumstances.

I’d love to hear about what you chose to do, or if you come up with any other great ideas! Whatever you choose, I hope you have a fabulous holiday season and blessed Christmas Day!


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