The Best Non-Christmas-Y Things to Do on Christmas Day
Opening presents and sitting under the tree aren’t the only things to do on Christmas. Here’s a list of our favorite fun things to do on the big day.
Hit the ice
Among the surprisingly long list of things to do on Christmas day is the popular winter pastime—skating! From New York’s famed Rockefeller Center skating rink to all three of San Francisco’s skating rinks (Yerba Buena Gardens, the Embarcadero Center, and Union Square), Christmas is the perfect time to lace up those skates and try out your fanciest skater moves. Triple salchow, anyone? Steal these 15 Christmas traditions from around the world for next year!
Go out to eat
A lot of restaurants around the country are open and have special holiday menus. From your local IHOP to a super fancy spot, why deal with dirty dishes when you don’t have to?
Why not enjoy the great outdoors this holiday season? Throw on those hiking boots or sneakers and hit the trails to experience the beauty of nature this Christmas Day. What’s a better gift than relaxing in the great outdoors? Check out these stunning pictures of national parks covered in snow.
Catch a flick
Movie buffs, you better add a cinemas date to your list of favorite things to do on Christmas day! Take advantage of having the day off from work and catch a double feature with all the popcorn you can eat. Take a look to see if your favorite holiday flick made our list of the 40 best Christmas movies.
While a lot of major museums are closed on Christmas Day, Jewish museums, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and the Jewish Museum in New York City, plus smaller ones, such as Madame Tussauds and the Museum of Mathematics in New York City, are open for visitors to feed their mind on the holiday. And make sure you add a trip to one of these 8 weird museums to your bucket list.
Hang out with some monkeys
Some people spend the holiday with family, but why not spend it with your favorite furry friends at the zoo? Several major zoos, including the Santa Barbara Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the San Francisco Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, and more are open to visitors so that even the animals can get in on the Christmas cheer.
Have a Netflix marathon
Brrrr, baby it’s cold outside. Stock up on your favorite snack food, stay in your pajamas and start a Netflix to binge watch Gilmore Girls, Mad Men, or Breaking Bad. Or watch one of these feel-good Hallmark Christmas movies.
Take a stroll and enjoy the stunning holiday window displays. Big city stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Macy’s are known for their fabulous and whimsical Christmas displays and smaller town centers often have fun displays, too. Learn a thing or two from these bargain shoppers who share their 40 tips for saving money on holiday shopping.
Lend a hand
Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank on Christmas Day to help bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate. Bringing smiles and joy to those who really need it is truly embodying the spirit of the holiday season. Try one of these 50 random acts of kindness that don’t cost a cent.
Hit the road
Want to head out on holiday but don’t want to deal with long lines at security and crowded airports? Try traveling on Christmas Day to avoid the frustrations of the holiday travel. And for extra savings, tickets often cost less on December 25, too. But be warned, according to Conde Nast Traveler, some normal airport amenities may not be available.
Catch a show
Grab the kids and head to a show! Disney on Ice in Anaheim, California, and Youngstown, Ohio, have Christmas Day shows, plus Broadway favorites such Jersey Boys, Wicked, and Something Rotten have tickets available on Christmas Day. And the Radio City Rockettes will be high-kicking their way through their Christmas Spectacular.
Take a staycation
It may sound surprising, but many local hotels have empty rooms and offer deals on Christmas Day. Sites like hotels.com have slashed prices for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so take the family and enjoy a night away, only a short drive from home. Or check to see if your hometown made the list for the best small town christmas light displays.
Enjoy a winter wonderland
Add a festive trip to the ski slopes to your list of things to do on Christmas Day. Throughout the Northeast, some top mountains, like Sugarloaf, Jiminy Peak, Killington, and Whiteface are open for some fun snowy activities like skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. And you’ll likely have your choice of slopes. If you’re out West, plenty top ski resort towns are open for business including Whitefish in Montana, Park City in Utah, Breckenridge in Colorado, and Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
Live in or near a major city but never see the sites? Christmas Day is the perfect time to hit the mostly empty streets and see what the tourists see. Visit the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, or climb the Empire State Building, hit up Faneuil Hall, or just walk around enjoying the beauty of those twinkling lights during the holiday season. Consider a visit to one of these 12 old-fashioned Christmas towns for your next family vacation.
Hit the lanes
Many Lucky Strike bowling alleys across the country are open on Christmas Day, including in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago. Plus, many Lucky Strike alleys also offer billiard and ping pong tables, flat screen TVs, and dining options. You could also break out these 13 family Christmas games even Scrooges will love.
Get a cocktail
From your local pub to the upscale hotel bar, grab a cocktail to help you get through all that holiday cheer. Festive suggestions include a champagne cocktail, a hot toddy, or a hot buttered rum.
Log on to opentable.com and make reservations for Christmas brunch. Just because some people are enjoying home-cooked meals doesn’t mean you have to deal with dirty dishes and taking out the trash. Now that’s a real holiday treat! Next, read up and memorize these 10 holiday travel tips every smart traveler should know.