Holiday activities that capture the magic of the season

The holidays can be a magical time of the year. And they can be even better when you’re making memories with your loved ones. 

Many of the season’s best activities are available only once a year. Whether you’re looking for holiday fun as a family, a group of friends or a couple, here’s a list of popular activities you can enjoy. There’s no time like the present, so get out there and make new memories. 

Key takeaways

  • Holiday activities for families might include visiting a tree farm, streaming a holiday film, watching a fireworks show or making a craft.
  • For adults, consider activities like tree lightings, light tours, live theater, holiday concerts or volunteering in your community.
  • Couples might enjoy outdoor ice skating, participating in snow sports, shopping at a holiday market or planning a winter getaway.

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Holiday activities for families

A child enjoys a wheelbarrow ride at a Christmas tree lot.

Christmas tree farms

Whether it’s a Christmas or holiday tree in your home, it’s likely the star of your family’s seasonal decor. You can choose one together at a tree lot, or you could pack up your car and head to a tree farm where you can pick out—and cut down—your own. 

Holiday films

Streaming services and cable networks promote holiday-themed movies around the clock this season. And while a night at home can be tempting, it might be even better to see your favorite holiday film on the big screen. For more holiday nostalgia, see whether your town has a historic theater screening classic films.

Fireworks shows and holiday parades

Throughout this season, fireworks shows can light up winter skies with brilliant displays, especially on New Year’s Eve. You can generally find fireworks shows at local theme parks or tourist destinations—or after a holiday parade.

Holiday baking and crafts

You don’t have to leave the house to make holiday memories. Consider staying in to bake something delicious or make holiday gifts for loved ones. You could also try your hand at assembling and decorating a gingerbread house—and make a family competition out of it.

Holiday activities for adults

our friends toast with warm drinks while enjoying a holiday activity.

Tree lightings and light tours

You can usually find grand illuminations happening in towns and cities across the country—and zoos, parks, botanical gardens, museums and government buildings are common sites for large light displays. Most places also have at least one neighborhood known for its over-the-top lights. You could sign up for a guided tour or just hop in your car with some friends and explore.

Live theater and holiday concerts

When it comes to holiday entertainment, don’t forget live theater and holiday concerts. Local theaters, symphonies, schools and churches often put on staged productions and concerts for all to enjoy. You can usually find a list of upcoming shows in your local paper and on social media.

Volunteer opportunities

The holidays can be a charitable time of year, so what better way to celebrate than by giving back in your community together? Whether it’s by donating toys, volunteering at an animal shelter or making cards for soldiers, consider reaching out to local nonprofits to see how you can help.

Holiday activities for couples

A smiling couple hold hands while ice skating.

Ice skating

Like to skate? Some cities set up seasonal ice rinks downtown or near attractions like Christmas markets and light displays. You can typically rent skates on-site, and you’ll find people of all ages and abilities enjoying the ice.

Snow sports

If you live near mountains or are looking for a vacation idea, this is the perfect time to hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard. And most ski resorts have a “bunny slope” for beginners. If you prefer a lower center of gravity, grab a sled, toboggan or inflatable inner tube. And don’t forget to warm up with some hot chocolate after. 

Holiday markets

Christmas markets are a staple across Europe, and they’ve caught on in many U.S. cities. Vendors at these open-air markets sell savory, seasonal treats and artisan goods—while shoppers peruse tightly packed stalls and enjoy attractions like live music. Look for craft fairs and holiday-themed farmers markets around the end of the year.

Winter getaway

If your schedule is packed full of events and activities during the holidays, you may want some time to reconnect as a couple. Consider booking a stay somewhere you’ve never gone to make new holiday traditions.

Holiday activities in a nutshell

The holiday season offers a lot of activities for you and your loved ones to make memories. You can often find nearby events and activities in your local paper and on social media.

While some activities are free, others may have a price attached. Consider checking out Capital One Shopping to help you save money this holiday season.

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