Christmas is such a wonderful time a year, but it can get busy and family time can get lost in the shuffle. It’s so important to set aside time to spend as a family this Christmas. Looking back on my childhood, I don’t remember every gift that I got each Christmas. I remember the traditions and the time that we spent having fun together. Today I’m going to share how to create memories that last a lifetime with a fun-filled Elf family movie night! I shared a 10 pack of free printables for Elf last week, and how to set up a DIY Christmas photobooth with 6 pages of free printable props in this post on Tuesday so be sure to check those out!
Side note: If you’re looking for more ways to update your home on a budget, check out this post from Redfin that one of my tips was featured in!
Why watch Elf during your family movie night?
Elf is such a fun Christmas movie to theme a family night around. It came out in 2003, and has quickly become a Christmas classic. In fact Will Farrell has recently refused to make a sequel because he didn’t want to ruin a classic!
If you haven’t seen it yet, Elf is about a man who, as a baby, found his way into Santa’s toy sack when Santa stopped at an orphanage. Rather than return a baby to a place without the love of a family, Santa’s head elf adopts baby Buddy and raises him as his own child. He’s raised with all of the other elf children, yet grows way larger than any of the other kids. One day he overhears some of the elves wondering why he hasn’t figured out that he’s a human! At this point, he’s broken hearted and leaves the North Pole to find his birth father. The movie follows Buddy as he enters the human world for the first time, and he must find a way to navigate it with only the knowledge he acquired being raised at Santa’s village.
Elf Family Movie Night Food
I have all of the printables and fun ideas set up for you, all you need to do is cook! For our Elf family movie night I made spaghetti and homemade meatballs. When Buddy finds his birth father and his family, their first family meal together is spaghetti. Of course Buddy added syrup because he had to have one of the elves’ four main food groups represented in his meal. We, however, are not elves, so we held the syrup! in my set of printables, I included food tent cards that you can place infront of your dishes.
Candy & Sweets
I set up a candy bar that we enjoyed after dinner during the movie. You can set one up with the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup. I created an Elf-themed syrup label for you to add to your bottle to place on your counter with the candy. This time of year most of the candy is wrapped or made in Christmas colors. So get some clear bowls and jars and place the candy in them and they will be decorations in themselves. Head over to the Elf printables and print out the decor signs, pop them in some frames, and boom! You have a cute Christmas bar in 5 minutes!
Hot Chocolate Bar
In addition to the candy bar, we had a hot chocolate bar. Well it was a hot chocolate/candy bar in one. I set it up next to our coffee maker because of the famous coffee scene in the movie. It took me about 20 seconds to remember what the stupid thing was called lol! I wanted to say coffee machine. Can you tell I hate coffee? More on that in the games and activities section.
To make your night a little more “kid fancy,” you can put your hot chocolate toppings and additives in cute bowls and jars. Some things you might like to use are candy canes, chocolate syrup, marshmallow cream and marshmallows, chocolate bars, whipped cream, caramel drizzle, vanilla, sprinkles, and Reese’s cups. You can crush up a few candy canes to sprinkle on top of the whipped cream or marshmallow cream. Then cut the Reese’s into small pieces as well. We like to use Very Vanilla Soy Milk to mix our hot chocolate in. It is sooo good!
Games & Activities for Elf Family Movie Night
What is a family movie night without games?! Our kids look forward to the games more than the food and the movie I think. I’m going to list some games that we played and give you a few more ideas as well.
Hot Chocolate Contest
In the movie Buddy walks by a diner that has a sign saying they have the “best cup of coffee in the world.” That’s one reason I set up our hot chocolate bar beside our coffee maker. I included an award certificate in my printables that says that which you can frame and place beside your coffee maker.
Hot chocolate goes hand in hand with coffee, so you can hold a contest to see who can make the best cup of hot chocolate! We played mom and dad vs the kids. We did that so that both kids could win. Now don’t take me for a parent that says, “Everyone’s a winner!” No. I just didn’t want to print two “world’s best cup of hot chocolate” certificates and buying two extra gifts at Christmas is not feasible. The kids actually did win though because my husband made our cup and he put so much marshmallow cream on top that it sealed the mug shut, and no one could drink from it! HAHAHA!
You can play like we did, or you can have everyone face off against each other. As a prize, I bought a game from Target called “Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman.” It was free because they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale, and I bought them each a game for Christmas. You can get Dollar Tree items as prizes, and that would keep everything low cost. If you’d rather not buy anything extra, you can either play for bragging rights or to be the first player in the next game.
Christmas Board Game
Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman was such a fun game! It was regularly $9.99 at Target, so it’s not an expensive game, and you can play all season. Honestly we’ll probably play it all year.
This is a fast-paced card game where you deal out all of the cards then you go around the table putting a card in the pile with the first player saying, “Santa,” the next saying “cookie,” the next “elf,” and so on. If you play a card that matches the word you’re saying, everyone has to slap their hand on the pile. The last one to do so has to pick up all of the cards. There are three action cards that if played you have to do an action that matches the card making the motion and saying, “shh” for the Silent Night card then slap the pile. The last to do so has to pick up the pile. We had a hilariously fun time. Check out this timer-snapped picture of us playing. I was laughing so hard so please don’t make fun of me, ha!
If you have littler kids, there’s still Christmas games out there for you. I saw Christmas Candy Land at Target as well. Want a slower paced game for a spread out age group? They had Christmas Monopoly and Clue as well. Clue, can you believe it? There are plenty of Christmas card and board games out there, but you can always play the games that you have at home already. It’s mostly about the time spent together.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” That’s one of the elves’ three codes of conduct in the movie. So of course we had to have a karaoke contest. My son got a karaoke machine for Christmas last year so we used that, but you don’t have to have one to sing. We played Christmas songs on our phones over our Alexa speaker.
There are many ways you can have a karaoke activity. You don’t even need a speaker really. You can just play them on your phone. If you want the full on-stage feel, pull a trick from the tween years, and sing into a hair brush! Everyone can choose their own song or you can write the names of Christmas songs on pieces of paper and they can choose from a hat when it’s their turn. You don’t have to necessarily sing Christmas songs if you don’t want to. If you have someone with a little stage-fright, you can all sing together as a family. Like the hot chocolate competition, you can have a prize or not.
Pull up the lyrics on your phone, computer, or TV to help everyone out if you need to. I know that there are certain songs and verses that we know by heart, but there’s always a blank when you stand up to sing alone lol. Here are some songs from the movie that you can sing:
- Baby It’s Cold Outside (My favorite scene from the movie is the shower signing one!)
- Santa Baby
- You Make Me Feel So Young
- Sleigh Ride
- Pennies From Heaven
- Santa Claus Party
- Jingle Bell Rock
- What Christmas Means to Me
- Christmas Island
- Nothing from Nothing
- Whoomp! There It Is
- Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town
- Winter Wonderland
- Auld Lang Syne
Not that into singing out loud? You can have a lip sync contest. I don’t think that anyone in our family is a great singer, so we went with a combination of both. My husband refuses to sing out-loud on command. At church he just stands there while everyone else sings. I have to nudge the kids and whisper, “Sing!” Then of course they look at him like, “Well he’s not.” Do-as-I-say situation there lol. So if someone in your family tries to cop-out and say, “I can’t sing.” You can say, “So lip sync!”
I love setting up photobooths to play in during our family movie nights. They create memories that I can have forever. In this post I show you how to set up your own along with six pages of free props to print out and use. I kept ours up for a few days because we didn’t use it as long as we normally do since we spend a lot of time playing Santa, Cookie, Elf, Candy, Snowman.
In the movie Buddy finds out that Santa is going to go to the department store, but he doesn’t feel the decor in the area is up to par with the North Pole’s. So he redecorates the area with paper snowflakes and chains. That’s a fun activity to do, especially with little kids. If you have the daytime leading up to family movie night free, making a ton of snowflakes and hanging them all over the room would look great in photos!
While Buddy is trying to get to know his little brother, they are attacked with snowballs in Central Park by a group of bullies. They promptly return fire, causing the bullies to run for their lives. Snowball fights are not possible in my area (it’s literally in the 70’s everyday where I live), but they sell faux snowballs online that look like so much fun. I wanted to order them and have a snowball fight in the living room, but they wouldn’t arrive on time, so we didn’t get to. If you can find them in your area, snatch them up and have a jolly-old time with them. You can divide into teams like Buddy against the bullies. (You can decide who gets to be the good guys and who gets to be the bullies! Have fun with that!)
Elf Family Movie Night Christmas Family Photos
When we have a movie night I always like to get a picture. That’s so important to do at Christmas. Your kids are only 10 once at Christmas, and that goes for every other age. If you throw a Christmas movie night, matching family pajamas are a must if you can afford it! This year I just bought the pants and black tops. I got an off-the-shoulder black top, and it is adorable. I plan to add “Merry CHRISTmas” and a nativity silhouette, but I adore that shirt. I’m going to have to buy another shirt for the pj’s lol!
I will be sharing the SVG file for the shirts with you for free when I make it. Make sure you don’t miss it by following me on social media using the buttons in the sidebar. That’s never 100% reliable because you may accidentally scroll past it without seeing the post, so enter your email address below. You’ll get an email when I add new tutorials, free printables, and other great posts. I’ll never share your information or spam your inbox. When you sign up be sure to check your email and confirm the subscription.
Our Family Photos
Note for the photos you’re about to see…. We don’t have a camera, so I have to use my phone for everything. My Galaxy S20 takes amazing photos, but it’s broken and will not connect to Wi-Fi. I have to put my SD card in it, take the photos, edit them on there, then move the SD card back into my busted up (now everyday) S9 to upload. SO annoying! The hubby didn’t get insurance, so I can’t get a new one for at least a year. I had to set the tri-pod up pretty far away because my husband is so tall, and the kids did not want to be still. So here’s what we’ve got for now….
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have an Elf family movie night, I’d love to see it! You can follow me on social media (buttons in the sidebar), and tag me in your pics. There are many other Christmas ideas and decor DIYs here on the blog, so stick around and check them out! I’ll love you forever for it! Here’s just a few.
Follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas!