Samantha is an Ottawa-based writer who runs a crafty side hustle creating jewellery for her nature-inspired brand. When she's not killing the craft show game, she indulges in good food frequently, enjoys cuddling with her pug, and is a sucker for a good Netflix binge. Learn more about Samantha @samanthadolly on Instagram.
The holidays bring together people from near and far, and sometimes that means finally getting together with your busy or long-distance friends.
Whether you’re sipping hot cocoa or spending a wintery day outdoors, spending quality time with your besties is a holiday must. Gather your squad and start making memories with these fun and festive activities.
Build a gingerbread house
There’s nothing like good old-fashioned teamwork, especially when it comes to building a gingerbread house! Grab a pal or two, and decorate the sweetest, most scrumptious cookie house on the gingerbread block. You get brownie points if you don’t eat all the toppings before it’s built.
Bundle up with your best buddies and spend the day sledding. If it means packing up the car for a mini road trip then so be it! Plus, climbing up the hill totally counts as cardio, so you can shamelessly sip an extra few cups of hot chocolate.
Binge watch Christmas movies
Catch your favourite Hallmark Christmas movies on TV, or pop in your favourite holiday DVDs and have a back-to-back Christmas movie marathon. If you’re really committed to a good binge, ask each friend bring their favourite movie and watch them all!
Volunteer at a shelter
There’s no better time to give back than during the holidays. Gather a group of friends and sign up to volunteer at a shelter or charity in your community. If your holiday schedules keep you from finding a time that works, consider collecting donations for a local food bank or shelter instead.
Make DIY ugly Christmas sweaters
Whether you’re kicking back at home with the girls or preparing for an epic holiday party, no Christmas season is complete without an ugly Christmas sweater. Spend the night making your own DIY Ugly Christmas Sweaters and remember — the tackier, the better.
Make handmade Christmas gifts for your family
Looking to spend some quality time with your pals and get your Christmas gifts crossed off your to-do list? Get together and have a DIY night full of handmade gift making like this cute DIY embroidery hoop. It’s the perfect way to spend time with friends and create meaningful holiday gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind.
Go skating on a frozen lake
The arena and local skating rink are always great options, but can get a bit crowded during the holiday season. Lace up your skates and do your figure eights on a frozen nearby lake. Grab a few sticks and a puck for a game of hockey while you’re at it.
Create a DIY hot chocolate bar
Grabbing a hot beverage at your local coffee shop is a great way to catch up with your besties, but creating a DIY hot chocolate bar at home is even better! Break out your most festive hot cocoa mugs and serve up some yummy toppings like whipped cream, crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows, and holiday sprinkles.
Take a selfie with Santa
You’re never too old to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him your wish list. Doing it with friends makes it a little less embarrassing — and a whole lot more fun. Head to the nearest shopping mall and get a festive selfie with Old St. Nick.
Shop at a local handmade market
Buying local always feels good and is the perfect holiday activity to do alongside your favourite people. Check social media for nearby handmade markets and craft fairs in your community, and support local artists in your neighbourhood!
Host a Christmas ornament exchange
Gift exchanges are a great way to do something festive with your friends while not breaking the bank. Change up your traditional gift exchange and host a Christmas ornament exchange instead. You can even try making one yourself with these easy DIY ornament ideas.
Make homemade Christmas cards and tags
Grab some wine and your DIY supplies and get crafty by making homemade holiday cards and gift tags. Try your hand at making some geometric and foil gift tags or recycle your old magazines by cutting out and gluing inspirational quotes and photos to your cards.
What are some of your favourite festive activities to do with your friends around the holidays? Share them with us on social by tagging @BeMakeful!