A few years ago we began a tradition of our family camping under the Christmas tree. Last night we had some great family time of games, a hot chocolate bar, snacks, and ended with watching Elf in camp-out mode “under” the tree.
The tradition of camping under the Christmas tree is such an easy thing to start, even amid the chaos of the holiday season and despite the extra stress of this covid mess. It’s actually a stress-relieving night with the family and so much fun. You don’t have too much prep to do, and the family will remember it forever.
What You Need to do
- Decide what movie you want to watch. There are plenty of Christmas movies on streaming services. You won’t even need to leave the house to get a movie!
- Pick up snacks. Nothing fancy, you may have everything you need at home.
- Get all of the blankets, pillows, and cushions and put them out when it’s time to camp.
- Read this post to find all you need to have your own family camping under the Christmas tree in no time! It’s also a lot of fun doing all of this in matching family pj’s! We went with red buffalo check; everyone, even our 3lb Morkie, Bella.
Set up the hot chocolate bar
Start with some Christmas themed coffee mugs, or in our case, hot chocolate mugs. The cups above were from The Dollar Store. Choose your toppings and set them out in a cute little “hot chocolate bar” set-up. Lay out a Christmas kitchen towel or table runner as your base. I have a red gingerbread-man hand towel under our ingredients. Lay out your packets or jar of mix and then have fun picking out then putting out toppings. We had mini marshmallows, chocolate melts for an added chocolate kick, marshmallow creme, and candy canes. Brainstorm together, the sky’s the limit for chocolate toppings!
Games to Play When Camping Under the Christmas Tree
I read about so many fun games to play on Pinterest. They ranged from traditional, old-school games we loved as kids to the intense minute to win it style games. Intelligent Domestications has 12 games that look like fun! Here are the ones we played last night:
Balloon Cup Stack Game
Yeah. My son and I just made up that name! Just now. We had so much fun with this last night! The basic premise is to use a balloon to move plastic cups, one by one, into one stack. All you need is a balloon and five cups for each person playing.
You can use a timer or do it race style one against another. My son enacted to “play-off” version. We went with two of us at a time racing to see who could stack the cups the fastest. Then we came down to my oldest daughter and Jax, my son. He ended up the winner, but it was sooo close, like micro-seconds close.
Candy Cane Hook Race
For this game all you need is a box of candy canes, or two if you have more than three or more people playing. We went with three boxes just to make it interesting. Once each of us got our own hooking cane, there would’ve only been seven left to hook.
Line up all of the candy canes with the hooks hanging over the edge of a table. Try to put them just close enough to the edge to not fall off.
You can choose to use a time limit or to race each other. We set a timer for 45 seconds for each player to move as many from the edge to a plate as they could. It was so hard. I got one, but it didn’t land on the plate when I was moving it. We all had a really hard time, my husband and I got zero. My son and my husband’s daughter, who are both 9, got one each. My teen was the boss. She got 12!
This one is easy to prep for and do. Write down Christmas themed things on small pieces of paper, fold them, and put them in a bowl or some kind of holder to pick one without seeing. We used a Santa hat. If you don’t have a hat you can use Christmas stockings to keep the theme going. I wrote down Christmas movies and songs, people in the movies and from Biblical history like Jesus, Mary, etc. I also wrote down places like Bethlehem, an inn, a manger, etc. You could even write down favorite family traditions or quotes. We had a lot of fun with this one. We laughed and laughed as we all tried to get our points across to one another. You won’t regret adding this one to your tradition of camping under the Christmas tree!
Movie and Camping Under the Christmas Tree
Now that you’re done with hot chocolate and games, you can break out the popcorn and set up fort. The easiest and most fun for us has been a free for all of cushions, blankets, and pillows on the floor.
Move the furniture that you have in the middle of your living room floor to have an open area to set up. Drag all of the cushions from your chairs, ottomans, and couches and lay them out like puzzle pieces on the living room floor. You could also use chairs to set up sheets to create a “tent.” We don’t do it this way because the position of our Christmas tree is near the TV so putting chairs and sheets up blocks the view.
This version allows all of us to snuggle up and unwind as a family!
Turn off the lights, light your scented candles, and turn on the Christmas tree and any light-up decorations you have. Then grab blankets and your spot on the floor fort (or whatever you’d call it, ha!). Press play on your movie relax and chill for an hour or two.
Ending the Night of Camping Under the Christmas Tree
I look forward to this night every year! We do a different movie each year, and it never gets old. I’m sure it will be a favorite that your family will come back to year after year.
Following our movie, I like to talk with the hubby and kids without distractions of phones, tablets, toys, and the fast-paced world of ours. I ask them questions like “What was your favorite part of the movie?” and “What is your favorite Christmas family tradition?” or “What is the best Christmas present you’ve ever gotten?” We also talk about the reason for the season. The birth of our Savior and why we celebrate. Then I let the conversation take whatever road they want it to.
I guarantee that when your children are grown they won’t remember what presents they got in 2020, but they will remember all of the memories you created while camping under the Christmas tree.
Want to make Christmas even more magical for your children? Get a free printable letter from Santa & printable Random Acts of Kindness tasks.
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