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17 Christmas Eve Traditions for Adults (You Don’t Want to Miss!)

Looking for a little Christmas Eve fun + magic for the adults? Can’t-miss Christmas Eve traditions for adults to do this year.

You know what I love about trying new Christmas Eve traditions for adults?

adults with rudolph antlers on head in front of tree, text overlay "Christmas eve tradition ideas for adults - a little Christmas fun and magic"

It’s like a little secret you get to keep.

A little splash of Christmas magic that’ll refuel you, your husband, and all the other adults in your life after weeks of holiday-preppin’, work, and extra household chores.

Without the kids ever knowing.

Whether you’re looking for Christmas Eve traditions to share just with your spouse, your partner, or a group of adults – I’ve got unique ones you’re going to love.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to fuel up!

Christmas Eve Traditions for Adults – No Kid(dos) Allowed!

These Christmas Eve Traditions for adults are up for grabs – go ahead and snatch one or two to use in your own house!

1. Take a Santa Selfie + Add it to Your Santa Album

couple with Santa hat, taking selfie in front of tree after playing Santa claus

Are you playing Santa?

Each year, take a Santa selfie picture and keep it in a “Playing Santa” photo album you’ll get to pour over when the kids are older and you miss all these younger years.

2. Set Up a Mini-German Pancake Bites Buffett on the Coffee Table

Have you ever tried a mini-German pancake?

Not only are they totally bite-sized, but you can fill them in with all sorts of yummy ingredients.

You can quickly bake up a batch (this recipe makes over 30), and then set up a small buffet station on the coffee station while you watch What a Wonderful Life.

Toppings and personal combos people can make their own:

  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt + Lemon Curd (this is my personal mix, and it is delightful)
  • Nutella + sliced frozen strawberries
  • Whipped cream + sliced frozen strawberries
  • Cannoli dip
  • Peanut butter and jam
  • Pudding + whipped cream
  • Etc.

3. Exchange Christmas Eve Boxes for Adults

fire lover's Christmas Eve Box for adults with gnome standing next to it

Why should the kids have all the Christmas magic?

Carve out some meaningful splurging time for the adults by gifting one of my Christmas Eve boxes for adults' ideas.

If I had to pick from just my favorites (ooohhhh – so hard to do!), they’d be:

  • Christmas Days of Olde
  • Fire-Lover Box
  • The Bark Box

Check out more experience Christmas presents here.

4. Have an Eggnog Mix-in Competition

Remember that time when you were a tween or teen and you thought it was SO fun to mix various sodas or flavored-anythings together to see what they would taste like?

Introduce that kind of fun on Christmas Eve in an Eggnog competition after the kids go to bed.

Buy just one brand of eggnog (enough for all the adults there), and then a bunch of different flavors and set up a station.


  • Espresso powder
  • Torani syrups
  • Cinnamon
  • Various types of alcohol
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Peppermint + vanilla extracts
  • Etc.

Each adult gets to mix and match, and then pour their creation into really small plastic tasting cups for everyone to sample.

The winner? Gets a special prize.

5. Play White Elephant – Unwanted Gift Edition

White Elephant is such a hilarious, adult-friendly Christmas Eve tradition to play.

Have each person wrap up one unwanted gift in their home, and bring it to the gathering. Each person then takes a turn of either picking one wrapped gift or stealing from someone else.

This can get wild, really fast!

Here are some official rules for the game.

6. Create Spiked Snow Cones

Kids sleeping and it’s just the two of you, or you’re hosting a group of adults?

Perfect time to scoop up some clean snow from outdoors (if you’ve got a white Christmas!), and make one of these boozy snow cone recipes:

7. Read through Your Christmas-in-a-Bottle Messages

Christmas season can fly by in the blink of an eye…even at the same time as we feel a bit overwhelmed by it all.

That’s why I like to keep a mason jar on my kitchen counter during the holiday season. What do I do with this mason jar?

I jot down quick notes, memories, thoughts, silly mistakes, funny things my preschooler said, and things I’m grateful for during the season, and pop it inside.

Get the other adults in your life to do this as well, then on Christmas Eve, sit down with each other and read through them.

What a treasure trove!

8. Play Dollar Store White Elephant

Another version I thought up to the traditional White Elephant game?

Is to play it using the same rules, but only with a pre-wrapped gift you found from the Dollar Store.

9. Alternate the Annual Mistletoe Duty

Here’s a fun Christmas Eve tradition for couples and spouses: take turns every other year to hang a mistletoe in a new place.

Leave it as a total surprise for your loved one, and work on coaxing them underneath it on Christmas Eve (without them knowing it).

10. Pick a New Christmas Tradition from Around the World

Each year, you can choose one of these Christmas traditions around the world to do on Christmas Eve in your own home.


  • Krampus
  • The Christmas Log
  • Snap a Cracker Tube
  • Hot Mulled Wine
  • Etc.

11. Watch a Christmas Horror Movie

This one is not for everyone…but my husband and I have started a Christmas tradition of watching one of those bonkers Christmas horror movies that have crept up in the last few years.

Our favorite? Is Krampus.

12. Commit a Random Act of Christmas Eve Kindness Together

There are some seriously fun ways you can spread Christmas cheer in your neighborhood.

Check out this article for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness you can commit together.  

13. Do the Great Gingerbread Cookie Puzzle

gingerbread man with icing and eyes, with all limbs broken off, and slightly put back together on wooden table

Well…that’s what I’m calling it, anyway.

Get a gingerbread man, and cut off his limbs (haha!). Hide each one in different areas of the home.

Put the kids to bed, and let your partner giddily search for each of the body parts.

Reassemble on the coffee table, and just hang out together for the rest of the evening.

Just a fun way to add some silliness to your evening!

14. Childhood Christmas Movie Exchange

My husband and I have found that sharing things with each other from our childhood brings us so much closer.

Why not make a tradition on Christmas Eve to introduce one new movie that you used to love as a child leading up to Christmas Day?

15. Bust Out the Fondue Pot

Start thinking of early or late Christmas Eve adult time as fondue time.

Bust out your fondue pot, and make either a dinner course or just meet up by the coffee table for some dessert fondue.

16. Pair a Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie with Your Favorite Movie

skillet chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice-cream on top, on white marble table

Your gifts are wrapped, Santa’s letter has been sent, you’ve got your warm pajamas on, and the kids are in bed.

Why not whip up an ooey-gooey (and quick) skillet chocolate chip cookie and meet your husband or wife on the couch?

Pop in one of the movies you just have to watch each year and feed each other all that goodness.  

17. Have a Fireside Chat

Some of my most memorable evenings spent with other adults (including my husband) have been by a fire. Whether you light one inside, or out on the back patio, make this part of your Christmas Eve tradition this year.

Talk about your hopes, talk about your dreams, talk about what's bugging you, talk about anything! You'll each get to know one another so much better.

I don’t think kids are the only ones who should feel the magic of the holidays. And with these awesome Christmas Eve traditions for adults? Well, you can carve out some of that holiday magic for yourself (and the other adults in your life).

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.