The Ultimate Christmas Sleepover Guide

10 Min Read | By Nat Took

Last Modified 6 December 2023   First Added 23 October 2020

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality.” Or so believed Washington Irving. And what better way is there to do so than plan a Christmas sleepover? They are perfect for any time throughout December, but especially magical on Christmas Eve. The chance to enjoy a night with those you love is a wonderful experience.

To get into the holiday spirit you could have a festive-themed sleepover with your children or even host a virtual Christmas to include friends and relatives, wherever they are in the world. For adults and children alike, a Christmas slumber party can really get you in a jolly mood. To help you out, we’ve come up with some festive ideas to give you some inspiration.

Planning a Christmas sleepover

With a whopping 84% of Brits planning to pack their bags for an overnight stay this festive season according to our recent survey, it’s important to plan your Christmas sleepover to make it truly magical. Not only will it make it exciting for those coming, but it’ll also allow you to enjoy the night without worrying about last-minute details. Let’s go over some key things to keep in mind.

1. Choose a theme

Having a Christmas theme can be fun not just for kids but for adults too. It gives everyone an idea of what to bring and how to dress, as well as what to expect. Some lovely theme ideas include:

  • White Christmas – think white and fluffy blankets and whipped cream
  • North Pole – candy canes and bright reds with white and a festive elf or two
  • Gingerbread House – spicy, ginger and cinnamon smells, snacks and tones galore
  • The Nutcracker – bring together classical music and imagery with ornate decorations
  • Nightmare Before Christmas – perfect for hosts who love the spooky season as much as the festive one!

Be sure to give plenty of warning, so that everyone has a chance to plan their Christmas slumber party outfit.

2. Decorate

Whether you’re hosting, or if you’re having a virtual sleepover, ensure that you decorate. Set a room aside for the night and go crazy with the decorations. Keep them within your theme, if you can. For example, if you’re choosing a snowglobe theme, opt for white tinsel and fairy lights for a winter wonderland feel.

3. Create a slumber party haven

Sleepovers at any time of year should be cosy and comfy. Whichever room you have decided to set aside for the evening should be filled with soft pillows, blankets and cushions to make the perfect sleep space. Think of it like making a nest – lots of different soft materials come together to make those sleeping inside snooze soundly.

A father and daughter cuddle under a christmas tree A father and daughter cuddle under a christmas tree

Tips for planning a Christmas sleepover

Arranging a Christmas sleepover is no easy task, there are lots to think about, even if you’re hosting a virtual sleepover. Here are some tips to help you with the arrangements:

  • Plan early – Christmas time gets busy really quickly, so ensure you block out the date, make sure to tell everybody and get planning before December.
  • Have time to set up – decorating, making the room comfy, setting up crafts and hiding items for a scavenger hunt takes time. Buy everything you need in advance and ensure you have plenty of time before the event starts to set everything up. Get the kids to help with setting a few things up so that the excitement starts nice and early. Don’t forget to set up all the kid’s beds.
  • Have a loose timeline – you’ll want a rough idea of what should be happening at specific times, with a few scheduled breaks too. However, don’t stick rigidly to this plan. If everyone’s having fun making decorations and you’re meant to be starting the scavenger hunt, don’t move everybody on. Let the sleepover flow naturally and check in with your rough timeframe if it needs some direction.

Christmas sleepover activities

As Carroll Stuhlmueller said: “Christmas belongs to children and to the child in all of us.” So what better way to bring the magic out at Christmas, than to have a bunch of fun activities to do? This will keep the evening fun and exciting! Here are our favourite festive activities to try out…

1. Christmas scavenger hunt

Better done in person than remotely, however, any scavenger hunt is super enjoyable. They’re great for kids and adults alike, just be sure to tweak them to the right age group.

In your home, you have a few ways of doing this. You can give each guest a list of items to collect throughout the night (make sure there are some hard-to-find items). Set a time for the scavenger hunt to end and once the time is up the person with the most items wins.

Another option is to make this more of a team activity, by setting clues and riddles. Each clue should lead to an item and another clue. The last item should be a prize that will be used during the night, maybe a family-sized box of chocolates to share.

Finally, as an online option, if there’s a social game you all play in common, try setting up a hunt in the virtual world. Who knows what adventures you’ll have along the way?

2. Set up a hot chocolate bar

Hot chocolate and winter go hand in hand, and with a little prep, it makes the most delicious hands-off drink for your slumber party. Just set up a hot chocolate bar with plenty of toppings laid out (chocolate flakes, marshmallows, and whipped cream!). The beverage itself can go in an insulated jug and don’t forget mugs for everyone. Then people can simply help themselves to any toppings and extras that they want.

This is a fabulous activity for the start of the night or it can be done throughout the night as a “break” from activities.

3. Get crafty

Whether it’s for kids or adults, getting your craft on is a lot of fun. Why not set aside some time to make your own decorations? They could be something that you plan to hang on the tree once done. You could even get everyone to make Christmas cards for each other. How exciting!

Other festive craft ideas include:

  • Candle holders – better for adults to do, but surprisingly easy with some glue and gold leaf.
  • Ornament painting – fun for kids and adults, go crazy with fake gems and glitter.
  • Wreath making – whether you go fully traditional with pine branches, or modern with gift bow wreaths, there are lots of options to fit your theme.
  • Gingerbread decorations – hang them on the tree once dry, use different shapes and cuts as table decorations, or simply eat them at the end.
A collection of hand-painted Christmas cards scattered on a wood table with a paint palette on the left side of the image. A collection of hand-painted Christmas cards scattered on a wood table with a paint palette on the left side of the image.

4. Pin the nose on Rudolph

Let the donkey take a break and instead play pin the nose on Rudolph. Make a basic Rudolph face without the nose, but draw on where the nose is meant to go. You can do this with a piece of card or decorate a corkboard to make it look like a reindeer face – all you need is antlers, eyes and a mouth.

Next, give everyone a red circle with their name on it. This is Rudolph’s nose. Each player is blindfolded and must pin the nose in the correct place. Whoever gets the closest wins!

5. Watch a Christmas film

Is there anything more festive than watching a Christmas film? Choose an old favourite or go for something new to get everyone in the spirit of Christmas. Do this later on in the evening, when you want everyone to start quieting down. Ensure everyone has a comfy place to sit, bring in popcorn, sweet snacks, and cheeky hot chocolate from the bar, dim the lights and settle down to watch.

You can also put on other films, either as a break or as a good wind-down at the end of the night. We’ve got a list of movies to help you sleep if you want some inspiration.

Hosting a virtual Christmas slumber party

The digital world has many uses, one of which is the ability to bring people who are far apart together. If you live far away from family and close friends, you can arrange a virtual Christmas sleepover. This can be a great way to get grandparents involved too.

To make this more than just a video call, you’ll need some planning. Send out a virtual invitation and choose a theme. Give people plenty of time to come up with an outfit and encourage them to decorate their background.

You can still play games like the scavenger hunt. For this, you as the host should have the list of items (or you could make it more difficult with riddles). Call out the item or riddle and the first person to bring the correct item to the video call wins a point. Also, ask the point scorer to tell a story about the item too. The best story can also win a point. The person with the most points at the end wins. You could also play games like charades or do a Christmas trivia quiz.

Next, try out a fun game like Gartic Phone – make sure everyone gives festive prompts to make it on-brand for the season. Or, if you all happen to play an online game together, then going through an in-game event for the Christmas season can be a part of the experience.

One thing that is important for a virtual sleepover is arranging a time for everyone to join a video call the next morning. You don’t want to miss out on waking up together and reminiscing about the wholesome night before.

How to be a guilt-free guest this Christmas

If you’ve been invited to stay with friends or family this festive season, discover top tips for keeping your host happy from renowned etiquette expert William Hanson:

  1. Make your bed as soon as you wake up: There’s no better way to start your day than by making your bed. Not only does it signify that you’re ready for the day ahead, but it’s also a nod of respect to your host. While you’re staying under their roof, it is your responsibility to keep your environment clean and tidy.
  2. Play by their rules: Every household has its own set of rules, including bedtimes. Even if you’re not hitting the hay at the same time as everyone else, respecting the house’s quiet hours is a must. They probably don’t want to hear your nocturnal shenanigans!
  3. Don’t bring along uninvited furry guests: If someone’s welcomed you into their home, this doesn’t always mean your pet is invited as well! According to our recent study, nearly a third of us (31%), get annoyed when guests bring a furry friend along with no prior warning. It’s always best to check in advance if your four-legged pal is a welcome plus one.

There you go, that’s all our merry ideas and inspirations. Now all that’s left to do is to throw the best Christmas sleepover ever! Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect – ensure you have fun and embrace your inner child as you host, for as it is said in A Christmas Carol:

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas”.

About the author