Christmas 2023: What to do? Christmas vacation tips for kids.
Christmas 2023 is going to be unforgettable with this festive article full of great activities! Enjoy at home and outdoors.
The 2023 Christmas vacation falls the same for all of the Netherlands: from Monday, December 25, 2023, to Friday, January 5, 2024.
In this blog, we share all kinds of fun and creative activities you can do with your kids, both at home and outdoors. Together, let’s ensure unforgettable moments during this special time of year.
Christmas 2023 vacation activities at Home
Singing Dutch Christmas songs
Bring the Christmas atmosphere into your home by singing Dutch Christmas songs together with your children. Not only does it create a cozy atmosphere, but it is also a fun way to practice the Dutch language. For this, be sure to also see the free lesson (number 2) in 3 times language with Christmas.
Let your kids’ creativity run wild with fun Christmas craft projects. Think about making Christmas cards, Christmas decorations or even a unique Christmas tree. This way they not only have fun, but also develop their fine motor skills.
Lots of fun ideas to be found. Here is a top 3:
- Kidsproof wrote this fun blog with 10 Christmas crafts for kids.
- And also, Kekmama has very nice ideas.
- Finally, Natuurmomenten has this nice page: Christmas crafts with Oerrr.
Reading Christmas stories
Dive into enchanting Christmas stories together. Whether classic stories or contemporary children’s books, reading Christmas stories aloud not only strengthens language skills, but also brings a magical atmosphere into the home.
Find your inspiration from a variety of sources:
- A top 10 best children’s books about Christmas
- With the library’s LEES app, your kids can read and listen to more than 100 e-books and audiobooks for free without being a member.
- 5 stories chosen by the EO to read aloud
Christmas Reading Bingo
Make reading even more fun with a Christmas edition of reading bingo. Compile a list of various books and let your kids enjoy reading fun during the vacations. A fun way to foster a love of books. Three in a row:
Baking Christmas cookies with children
Get into the kitchen and bake delicious Christmas cookies together. Let your kids help knead the dough, cut out shapes, and decorate the cookies. A tasty and fun activity!
Watching Christmas movies
Create a cozy cinema atmosphere at home by watching Christmas movies together and decorating your living room or bedroom cozily. Add popcorn or homemade cookies, make a nice Christmas movie, and enjoy a cozy movie night. If you have no inspiration, read how Mom Lies does it.
Ten fun family movies are:
- Festive Wonder. Experience the enchanting adventure full of joyful surprises and compelling tunes, perfect to amaze the little ones.
- Arctic Journey: An intriguing animation takes you on an enchanting journey to the North Pole, where the magic of Christmas comes to life.
- The Grumpy Creature’s Tale: Discover the entertaining story of a peculiar creature trying to disrupt the Christmas spirit for the lively residents of Whoville, a unique twist on the beloved Dr. Seuss book.
- Muppet Magic at Christmas: Experience the magic of The Muppet Christmas Carol, a unique fusion of the timeless Dickensian fairy tale with the irresistible humor of the Muppets, a must-see for the whole family.
- A Magical Christmas Quest: Join us on an enchanting journey for little ones. This magical adventure follows Nikolas on his search for his father, who goes on a journey of discovery to Elfhelm, the mysterious village of elves.
- Home Alone: A timeless adventure full of humor that captivates children and adults alike. Relive the comic antics of young Kevin McCallister.
- Heartwarming Expedition: A heartwarming story about a boy who, on a magical train ride to the North Pole, teaches us about the power of friendship and the essence of Christmas.
- A Yuletide Tale: This story, inspired by Charles Dickens’ timeless novel, highlights the meaning of kindness and the joy of giving.
- Buddy’s Quest: Dive into the humorous adventure with Buddy the Elf as he searches for his true identity, a journey full of laugh-out-loud twists and turns.
- The Grinch’s Christmas Revelation: Discover the deeper meaning of Christmas with the Grinch in this compelling story about the magic that lights up the holidays.
Creating Christmas Puzzles
Choose several Christmas puzzles of different difficulty levels and get to work together. It’s both entertaining and stimulating. You can actually collect puzzles in the theme, or you can puzzle online.
- Online Christmas puzzle jigsaw puzzles for toddlers and preschoolers
- The puzzle factory has something for everyone
- Jigsaw also goes online for all ages
- Word searches, gallows, etc. Christmas and language
An evening of family board games
Organize a special evening of favorite board games for the whole family. Set out some treats and enjoy each other’s company. Use your board games at home, or look for new ideas. Language family games include gallows, boggle, scrabble, the word game, ABC game, etc.
Christmas card crafting
Let the creativity flow by crafting Christmas cards together. Use glitter, stickers, and colored pencils to create unique cards for friends and family. And for writing, you can use this free lesson (#1). Christmas writing lesson: write a Dutch Christmas card.
A fun alternative is to make your own talking Christmas card. Teacher Renske has been doing this for years and is now sharing her step-by-step plan and an explanation video with us, so everyone can (have) a card like this too!
Set up a karaoke party with Christmas songs. Let the kids sing their favorite songs and make it a happy and musical afternoon or evening. You can use YouTube with subtitles or google “karaoke with kids at home. You can use ladles as microphones or craft one together first. For example, like here from a kitchen roll.
Christmas photo corner
Create a special corner in the house with Christmas decorations where the kids can take pictures. It’s a fun way to capture and share memories.
Christmas dress-up party
Have the children dress up as their favorite Christmas characters. Organize a small fashion show and take pictures to capture the creative outfits.
Christmas 2023 vacation tips outdoors
Go to a Christmas market
Visit a local Christmas market and let your children enjoy the festive atmosphere, craft stalls and perhaps a ride on the Ferris wheel. A few examples of Christmas markets in some cities in the Netherlands are:
- Amsterdam: the Museumplein
- The Hague: Royal Christmas Fair
- Eindhoven: Go Kids gives an overview
- Leiden: Nostalgic Christmas Market
- Maastricht: Christmas Market
- Valkenburg: Christmas town Valkenburg
Christmas movies in the cinema
Turn an afternoon at the cinema into a special experience by watching a Christmas movie on the big screen. A magical experience for young and old. Through this website, you will find an overview of all cinema films in December 2023
Walk in nature
Put on the warm winter coats and take a winter walk in nature. Collect pine cones, enjoy the fresh air and make beautiful memories together.
The Forestry Commission organizes evening walks. Go night animal spotting with the forest ranger, sneak through the dark forest together, or take a night walk by the light of the full moon. Read how to sign up here.
You can find more organized daytime hikes in December 2023 via hike date.
Visit a church
Visit a local church whenever possible. Churches are often beautifully decorated during the Christmas season, and it can be a great opportunity to learn more about Dutch Christmas traditions.
Visit a museum
Explore the art and culture of the Netherlands by visiting a museum. Some museums organize special Christmas activities for children, which makes the visit extra special.
There are plenty of great museums in the Netherlands. A sampling of temporary exhibitions in December 2023:
- Tiny Houses, living and working in miniature
- Exhibition 90 years LEGO
- LEGO Christmas Quest Museum of the 20th Century
- Family Exhibition The Year 1000
- The Children of The Hague School
Find an ice rink nearby and go ice skating together. It’s a fun and active way to get into the winter spirit. There are several ice rinks in many cities. This website gives an overview. You can search for your (nearest) city on the map.
Christmas tree walk
Explore a local park, forest or your neighborhood decorated with Christmas trees. Make it a walk and admire the different decorations and lights.
Bike light tour
Get on a bike together and explore the neighborhood or city while enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights. Some places have special routes along beautifully lit streets.
There are also organized evenings of lights, such as:
Pack some goodies, dress warmly, and organize a winter picnic in a park. Some parks may even have fire pits you can warm up by.
Ice sculpture festival
Check to see if there is an ice sculpture festival nearby. Admiring artful ice and snow sculptures can be a unique and fascinating experience for children. At least these three are open:
- Putten. Winterfest Putten. From 16-12-2023 to 16-12-2023.
- Zwolle. Ice Sculpture Festival Zwolle. From 16-12-2023 till 25-02-2024.
- Scheveningen. Cool Event. Open until February 2024.
Christmas scavenger hunt
Create a Christmas scavenger hunt in the city or in a park. Think of fun tasks and questions related to the Christmas theme. It will not only be an adventure but also an educational activity. You can create the scavenger hunt yourself or use one from the Internet.
A fun free scavenger hunt is from Mommy Scrapelle. This Christmas scavenger hunt is designed like a bingo. You go out and try to cross as many things off your bingo card as possible. Many things are easy to find, like a Christmas tree. Other things are more difficult. Can you find a polar bear or a penguin, for example? Of course, you can put your own creative spin on this. In advance, look around the neighborhood at people’s gardens and windows. You can find the scavenger hunt here.
Natuurmonumenten also gives great ideas. With a forester’s diploma. How fun! See the website.
Merry Christmas 2023
With these various activities, we hope your Christmas vacations will be filled with joy, connection, and unforgettable moments.
Wendy van Dalen
Teacher and founder of Dutch for Children