12 Festive Holiday Activities for Seniors, Friends and Family


It’s time to say hello to the holidays! However, cold weather, large crowds and adjusting to life in a senior living community or smaller home can keep many older adults from celebrating this magical season.

If you’re looking for ways to spread cheer and make merry this winter, look at these 12 holiday activities for seniors, friends and family you can enjoy all season long.

1. Host a recipe swap party

Hosting a recipe swap party is a fantastic way to bring people together and share your love of holiday food. You can make it simple by asking guests to exchange their favorite recipes or make it a challenge by requiring each recipe to use a key ingredient like cinnamon, peppermint or ginger. Be sure everyone brings multiple copies of their recipes, so there’s enough for everyone.

2. Create holiday cards

Are you looking for holiday activities for seniors that will impress your grandkids? Then show off your handwriting skills by creating holiday cards. Your grandkids can decorate cards with stamps and stickers, and you can artfully write a heartwarming message in cursive. Be sure to remember envelopes and postage stamps for the cards you plan on mailing.

3. Guess how many

This is another great holiday activity to do with kids. Fill a jar with a certain number of items like candy, ornaments or even coal. Have your grandkids or other children visiting your senior living community guess the amount of items in each jar. For the littlest hands, you can fill a small, plastic jar with red and green pom poms. That way, it won’t break if they drop it.

4. Take family pictures

There’s nothing like capturing holiday magic in a photo. You can schedule a session with a professional photographer or use your cell phone to create picture-perfect memories. Add a twist to your photos by wearing matching pajamas or by featuring family pets.

5. Build a snowman

If you live in an area where it snows, get in touch with your inner child and build a snowman with your friends or grandkids. It’s especially fun when everyone takes on an individual task. Someone can make the body, while another person gathers the supplies to create a face and arms. While two coal eyes and a carrot nose is the traditional way to build a snowman, don’t be afraid to get creative with buttons, yarn or even kitchen utensils. Just make sure you collect your supplies when your frosty friend melts.

6. Decorate mini-holiday trees

Residents in senior living communities or older adults who have downsized to a smaller home may not have the room to accommodate a traditional holiday tree, but most likely have room for a mini-tree (or several) on their kitchen table, countertops or side tables. You can have a mini-holiday tree decorating party and ask each guest to bring a bag of small ornaments to share.

7. Crochet a nativity set or menorah 

Are you looking for your next crochet project? You can find patterns and videos online to crochet a menorah or nativity scene. You can make them as big or as small as you like, and you can customize your set with your favorite yarn weights and colors. If you’re not a fan of crocheting, you can also find tutorials online to help you make a felt menorah or nativity scene. They make wonderful gifts for all ages and can easily be shipped in the mail without breaking.

8. Watch holiday movies

When the weather outside is frightful, stay in and press play! Many senior living communities have media rooms with big screen televisions and plenty of seating that are perfect for watching holiday movies with the ones you love. Watch classic holiday blockbusters with your friends and neighbors or spend the day watching animated movies with your grandkids.

9. Have a mocktail

Mocktails are just that, mock cocktails. Fruit juices, fizzy beverages and fresh garnishes in holiday-themed glasses make for an excellent holiday activity for all ages. There are a variety of holiday recipes available online that suit every taste. You can add a little more pizazz to your mocktail by using fun holiday straws or uniquely shaped ice cubes.

10. Sing holiday songs

There’s nothing like singing your favorite holiday songs with the ones you love. Gather around the piano with your friends and neighbors, or delight in listening to your grandkids sing your favorite carols. You can also play a game where each person sings one word from a traditional holiday song (like deck the halls) at a time, and whenever a person accidentally sings more than one word, they’re out of the game. The last person left wins!

11. Relax at a holiday light display

Gazing at light displays is one of the best holiday activities for seniors who are looking for a relaxing way to enjoy the season or just want to get out for a few hours. You can attend a special light display by car or on foot, or look at lights as you drive around town. Don’t forget to stop by your favorite coffee shop for hot chocolate or coffee to keep you extra warm.

12. Join your community in celebration

The holidays are a great time to be part of a senior living community. Not only can you join resident-led groups and committees that help plan holiday activities for fellow residents, you can often find a variety of volunteer opportunities that serve your surrounding community.

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