24 festive things to make and do

Your ultimate activity guide to keeping girls busy over Christmas and the holidays

Zoe, Girlguiding Digital team
01 December 2020

Originally posted November 2018

There’s nothing like a few festive activities to get you in the mood

Whether you’re looking for a quick craft idea or something to do with your family, try one of these very merry activities over the holidays.

There are craft ideas suggested by our expert volunteers, interest badges for girls to try at home and ideas for how to have a greener kind of Christmas too. Plus lots lots more, all covered in Christmas magic of course.

Food, glorious food

1. Toast the season with a hot chocolate reindeer 

We love these hot chocolate reindeer kits that volunteer Tracey suggested. Sweet to look at and to eat. Simply fill a piping bag with hot chocolate and mini marshmallows. Then decorate with googly eyes and a pom pom for Rudolph's face and twist together pipe cleaners for his antlers.

2. Get cooking 👨‍🍳

For many, food is a big highlight of Christmas. Lots of it. But could girls make a healthy version of some Christmas classics? Or try cooking new foods over the holidays? There’s lots of foodie things to explore in the Cooking interest badge (Rangers).

3. Make festive truffles

Make a delicious treat for the festive season or gift them to family and friends. And best of all you only need three ingredients!

4. Make a marshmallow snowman 

Make your own jolly marshmallow snowmen⛄ Thanks to leader Cheryl from the 1st Newtown Rainbows for the sweet suggestion. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few sweet treats.

To make, thread three marshmallows (or more if you like) onto a skewer. You can decorate with strawberry laces for a scarf and smarties for buttons – using icing or melted chocolate to stick. Add details to your face with writing icing for your eyes and fondant or candied orange for your nose.  

Spread a little kindness

5. Do a good turn 

Lots of girls collect food for the local food bank or gift toys to families who need them through local charities. No matter how big or small, it could make a difference to your family or community this winter.

‘Our Ranger unit always do a Christmas good turn.’ says Rachel, leader with 1st Enderby Ranger Guides. Last year they joined 'in the Leicester's hospitals Make Christmas Special campaign, filling gift bags for adults in hospital on Christmas morning.’

6. Lend a helping hand 👍

Rainbows can spread some festive cheer by helping others through the Helper interest badge.

7. Give to others 

Brownies can think about how to help others at Christmas with the Charities interest badge 💕

8. Give your time 🕑

The holidays could be a good time for older girls to start thinking about giving their time as part of their Volunteering interest badge (Rangers). No matter what skills or time you have, there’s an opportunity for you.

Celebrate the season

9. Hold a festive virtual party 

December is usually a time for parties, sparkly social events and family gatherings. This year our social gatherings have had to move online so why not plan your own virtual festive party with family and friends? You could set a festive or fancy dress theme or even organise online secret santa by sending your gifts in advance. Use our ideas for fun games to play during video calls.

Rangers can put their organisation skills to the test by planning their own festive event with the Event planning interest badge.

Tis the season to…reuse and recycle

10. It’s a wrap!

Make your own eco-friendly wrapping paper. Leader Paulette of 13th Worthing Guides makes hers with brown paper, potato stamps and natural colourings. You could even reuse old newspaper.

11. Banish the bin

Christmas is full of sparkle – but it can also be full of waste. Girls can think about how best to reuse old things and reduce waste with the Recycling (Rainbows), Zero Waste (Brownies) and Upcycling (Guides) interest badges. ♻

12. Be a conscious consumer 🛒

Get older girls to think about what they buy and where their presents might have come from with the Conscious consumer interest badge (Guides).

13. Breathe new life into old trees 

Leader Malaika has a clever way to reuse old magazines and paper: turn your old mags into a unique folding Christmas tree.

14. Or into plastic

Bradley Stokes Rainbows have made their own full-size Christmas tree out of non-recyclable plastic waste from the local hospital in previous years, including a drip stand! What could you reuse to make one out of?

Make the most of the moment

15. Explore your family tree 🌳

This Christmas we might be seeing friends and family less than we usually do. But it could still be the perfect opportunity for girls to explore their roots with the Family tree (Rainbows) or Genealogy (Rangers) interest badges, whether you do it in person or online. 

16. Capture the magic

Hanging out stockings on Christmas Eve. A blue-sky wintry walk. The clock turning to midnight on New Year’s Eve. There’s lots of magic moments to capture over the holiday. Guides can have a go at snapping their favourites by doing the Photography interest badge at home over the holidays.

17. Go for a wintry walk

Blow away the cobwebs by getting outside for a wintry walk. It's a great time to look at nature at its most glittery – think spider’s webs covered in dew and leaves tipped with frost. Rainbows can work towards their Nature interest badge by getting out in the great outdoors. Or find more activities for all ages in our 11 things to do outdoors in winter blog.

Get crafty

18. Make your own merry mice 🐭

We love these cute candy cane and felt mice. Their simple design makes them perfect for girls of all ages. Thanks to leader Angela from 3rd Washington Blackfell Rainbows for the suggestion – although she says 'all credit goes to Maureen (my mum) and unit helper with the idea!'

19. Let it snow with your own snow globe ❄

Snowy owl Samantha of 1st Bingham Brownies suggests making glittery snow globes. She told us 'Our Brownies made snow globes with old baby food jars, plastic cake figures, water, glycerine, fake snow and loads of glitter! I'd recommend you super glue the figures to the lid first'. Make sure you check for allergies first too.

20. Craft a Christmas gift 

Thanks to Jo of 1st Brightwell Guides for the suggestion of turning buttons into homemade earrings. The thrifty presentation boxes are made out of old Christmas cards too. 

21. Bring a snowman to life

Walk in the air with your own snow family made of socks! Leader Lindsey says 'Very easy to do with a pair of socks and some rice. Totally customisable too'. Cut your socks to size, fill with rice and hold together with elastic bands. Then decorate with buttons, beads, ribbons and fabric.

Put stars in their eyes

22. The show must go on

Turn off the telly (it’s all repeats anyway 😊) and instead, get girls to put a show on at home. With the Performing interest badge (Brownies) girls can explore all types of performing. Will they be a magician, a storyteller, or comedian?

23. Rock around the Christmas tree 🎄💃

Get girls rocking around the Christmas tree with the Dancing interest badge (Brownies). Throwing some shapes is a great way to express yourself while keeping fit too.

Goodbye 2020...hello 2021!

24. Look ahead

This year has been a challenging one for everybody. So wave goodbye to 2020 and, with a new year about to start, get girls to think about what they might like to do in 2021. The Aspirations interest badge (Guides) will help them aim high and achieve their dreams!