11 ideas to make magical holiday memories at home

family eating Christmas dinner
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Holiday memories are ones you hold dear: from running toward a pile of presents under a Christmas tree to eating a huge meal that immediately sends you to your bed for a nap. Building on those memories and creating new ones are what the holidays are all about.

If you’re stumped for ideas on how to make holiday memories, you’re likely not alone, and you’re probably not alone in looking to cut the costs as well. In fact, according to a JCPenney holiday consumer survey 37% of people are looking to minimize entertainment-related spending.

But affordable ways to make festive memories exist, and we’ve rounded up 11 holiday entertaining ideas to get the season off on the right foot.

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We know the inspiration for creating these memories can run a little low during this busy time of year. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 11 different ideas that can help you plan themed parties and events. We’ve also recommended products that can help you plan these parties at minimal expense. From children to adults, everyone will enjoy these ideas that promote the best part of the holiday: togetherness.

1. Host A Make-Your-Own Ornament Party

Decorating the Christmas tree with ornaments is a favorite tradition for many families. This year, have friends or loved ones add their own touch by having them decorate their own ornament.

This DIY Ornaments Craft Kit from JCPenney includes 28 wood ornaments and everything needed to decorate them. A customized hand-painted ornament is a lasting memory everyone at the party can take and enjoy for years.

JCPenney

$9 (was $24) at JCPenney

2. Write The Perfect Letter To Santa Together

Make a celebration of the annual tradition of writing a letter to Santa Claus. You could serve cookies and hot cocoa while the kids dig into this Letters to Santa Craft Kit.

The kit includes special stationery, all decked out for the holidays, and a special holiday pen with Santa sitting on top. This year’s letters to Santa will stand out from all the others, and everyone will have a great time sharing the experience.

JCPenney

$9 (was $24) at JCPenney

3. Create A Winter Carnival For The Kids

Game nights are always fun — but you have to choose the right activities to make sure everyone can participate. This year, why not try a winter carnival-themed game for kids of all ages? You can add all kinds of activities to scare away the winter blues.

Set up this Holiday Ring Toss Game in true carnival style. The object of the game is to toss the rings onto the holiday trees and score the most points. The included score mats determine how many points each ring is worth.

JCPenney

$9 (was $24) at JCPenney

4. Encourage An Indoor Snowball Fight

The memories children cherish most are often the spontaneous ones. This year, get an indoor snowball fight going! (They don’t have to know it’s not actually spontaneous.)

Fortunately, you don’t need to bring the snow inside. Get this Indoor Snowball Fight Game instead. Avoid all the cold temperatures and wet clothes from a traditional snowball battle.

And don’t worry about breaking anything. The 16 “snowballs” included with this game are made of soft, fluffy material that won’t hurt the kids or household items.

JCPenney

$9 (was $24) at JCPenney

5. Invite Holiday Guests To A Chocolate Feast

Holiday parties are so much fun. But, when you have to buy and prepare all the food, it’s easy to lose that festive spirit. This year, satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth by hosting a chocolate fondue party!

It’s easy, thanks to the Total Chef 3-Tier Chocolate Fountain. This show-stopping centerpiece holds up to 1.5 pounds of chocolate you can melt in the fountain before turning it on. Ask your guests to bring their favorite dipping treat to make your party prep easier! Everyone will be talking about your chocolate party for weeks.

JCPenney

$81 (was $90) at JCPenney

6. Set Up A Laser Tag Party At Home

Consider playing laser tag at home, which lets you skip paying high admission prices for your group at an actual laser tag facility. You can host your own tournament with your own rules and avoid going out into the cold to battle with strangers.

By picking up a few of the Sharper Image Toy Laser Tag Game sets, you can play whenever you want.

JCPenney

$36 (was $79) at JCPenney

7. Host A Trendy Sip-and-Paint Event

If you’ve ever gone to a sip-and-paint studio with a group, you know how much fun it can be to get creative. Turns out, you can host your own paint-and-sip session at your home with your favorite people.

Just choose your favorite drink (depending on the age of your guests) and then give each of them a bowl to decorate. This MindWare Paint Your Own Porcelain Bowls Kit includes three bowls, 12 colors of porcelain paint, a paintbrush and illustrated instructions. Pick up a few extra brushes and you’re good to go. The finished bowls make great gifts or keepsakes from a party.

JCPenney

$39 at JCPenney

8.  Amp Up Your Caroling With A Little Karaoke

The singers in your crew want to get together for caroling and then stop at a local bar to enjoy karaoke. But you don’t need to go out to overcrowded bars to enjoy a night of singing. Invite the gang over for a karaoke night — you don’t have to include holiday songs if you don’t want to.

The Singing Machine LED Bluetooth Karaoke Machine Set may even get the most reluctant singer up and belting a tune. It has a voice assistant to help the less confident partygoers along with voice-changing effects for lots of laughs. This karaoke machine can also stream audio through Bluetooth and has two wired microphones. Plus, the LED light show will make everyone look and feel like a superstar.

JCPenney

$90 (was $149) at JCPenney

9. Bring Back A Classic For Your Holiday Game Night

We all love many of the new games on the market, be they board or video games — there are just so many good options. But sometimes, it’s fun to bring out a classic for a touch of nostalgia. When was the last time you played Bingo? Your whole family can play at the same time. Even the older generation will want to get in on a few games.

The Blksmith Bingo Tabletop Game Set can accommodate up to 18 players, so no one feels left out of the fun. This game set also includes a rotary cage, 75 Bingo balls, a wooden number board and 150 number markers.

JCPenney

$36 (was $69) at JCPenney

10. Exchange Your Cookie Swap For Cake Pops

Christmas cookies are delicious and the annual swap party is loads of fun. This year, though, it might be time to bake up a new holiday tradition: cake pops! Kids (and adults) love these little bundles of sweetness. They are as fun to make as they are to eat.

While learning how to make cake pops might seem daunting, JCPenney has a handy tool for that! The MyMini Cake Pop Maker from Nostalgia bakes up to seven tiny cakes simultaneously. The appliance takes less than five minutes to warm up, so you can get the party started quickly. Once the pops are all baked, everyone can decorate them however they like.

JCPenney

$10 (was $20) at JCPenney

11. Set Up New Rules For A Family-Favorite Game

The holidays are a special time and call for special rules. Maybe you let the kids have an extra cookie or treat before dinner (don’t worry, we won’t tell). Or maybe you incorporate a little twist to a traditional family-favorite game: Jenga!

The Hasbro Jenga Classic Game has been around for a long time, and the rules are simple: Each person pulls a block out from a tower of blocks until it tumbles down. But, you could always add a little extra fun into the mix by writing fun little notes or silly instructions for each person to do when they pull their block.

JCPenney

$14 (was $18) at JCPenney

Holiday traditions mean a lot to us and our loved ones. In a time where the world feels crazier and busier than ever, now may be the time to slow down a little and make some new traditions that keep us closer to home and close to the ones who mean the most.

About the Author

Marie Rossiter

Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. You can find her writing about her personal health journey at marierossiter.substack.com and connect with her at marierossiter@gmail.com More.

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