Festive ideas for the winter months

Let's get celebrating!

19 October 2023

During the winter months, lots of cultures and religions celebrate special holidays.

And it’s also a time when people come together to make the darker days easier to get through, even if they don’t celebrate any specific festivities! From wintry crafts to thinking about the new year, we’ve put together some ideas that you can try as a unit. or with your family during the winter months.

Decorate your home or your unit meeting place

Making paper chains, hanging up evergreen plants and filling the space with lights would be a great way to decorate for a winter party. As part of your party, why not make a festive craft and learn about some of the celebrations that people take part in at this time of year? Read on for lots of great ideas.

Snow and spoon race

Give the much-loved egg and spoon race a snowy twist. Balance a cotton wool ball instead of an egg and make it harder by adding some obstacles to climb over, under and around. If you have any leftover cotton wool, use it as snow on a craft or have a snowball game!

Sock snowpeople

Make your own mini snowperson that won’t ever melt. Cut clean, old white socks to size, fill them with fill them with rice, beads, scrunched up paper or anything to bulk them out and hold together with elastic bands. Then decorate with buttons, beads, ribbons and fabric.

Make wrapping paper

Did you know that lots of wrapping paper can’t be recycled? Gift-giving is a big part of the winter months so make your own eco-friendly wrapping paper instead. Take a look at our Reuse and rewrap article in the winter 2021 issue of guiding magazine for some extra inspiration.

Fake snow

It’s easy to make fake snow. Mix 10 cups of flour with 6oz of oil. You can use vegetable, baby or coconut oil. You can then put it on a plate, or a container, building your own snow scene with items you find around the house.

Salt dough

Salt dough is a fun activity for all ages. Mix 250g flour with 125g of table salt. Add 125ml of water and stir until it’s come together. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting. Transfer the dough onto a floured worksurface and start being creative. You can use biscuit cutters, or model by hand. It’s up to you. Put the shapes onto a baking sheet and then bake for 3 hours. Once cooled you can then paint.

Cheeky penguins

Many people associate penguins with winter, why not make your own? All you need is to cut up an egg carton, removing the lid and flaps. Cut out the individual ‘cups’. Turn the ‘cups’ upside down and paint the outside black. You can then cut out a piece of white paper and stick to the front, make and stick on eyes, a beak and feet. You can also make a penguin from any other craft materials you have.

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. Find more activities for all ages in our 11 things to do outdoors in winter blog.

If you need new winter outdoor gear, remember, all Girlguiding members, including parents, receive a discount at GO Outdoors stores and online, and at Blacks and Millets too! For more information, visit our GO Outdoors partnership page.


For many, food is a big highlight of the festive season. Holidays are the time to make different foods and learn about the ways food is used in different celebrations and across different cultures. Christmas Day, on 25 December, and New Year, on 31 December, are some of the most well-known seasonal holidays, but there are lots of other winter festivals too. The Jewish festival Hanukkah goes on until 15 December (and starts on 7 December), Bodhi Day, celebrated by Buddhists, happens on 8 December, and the Scottish festival of Burns Night takes place on 25 January.

Why not learn more about all of these holidays and have a go at making some special celebration food?

Food is a big part of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. Families and friends will come together to eat traditional food, such as potato fritters called latkes, and play games, including the much-loved dreidel. Learn more about Hanukkah.

On Bodhi Day, people who practice Buddhism might decorate a bodhi tree with lights and statues of the Buddha may be displayed around the house. Candles will be lit for 30 days, and a traditional meal of rice and milk will be eaten because this was the first meal the Buddha ate after he reached enlightenment under the tree. Learn more about Bodhi Day.

Yule, also called Yuletide or Winter Solstice, happens on the longest night of the year - 21 December. It's a Pagan festival that started some time before Christianity was widespread. For Pagan people it is the most important event of the year because it welcomes in the new sun. Traditional Yule foods include festive meats, winter vegetables, and colourful, preserved fruits. Learn more about this festival.

Make a roast dinner or some gingerbread for Christmas, or for a healthy alternative make a Christmas tree of Father Christmas out of fruit. Learn more about Christmas.

On Burns Night, Scottish people celebrate the life and poetry of Robert Burns and there’s always lots of singing and lots of food. Learn more about and try Scottish soups like cock-a-leekie, eat haggis and try cooking neeps and tatties. Learn more about Burns Night.