20 Festive Holiday Activities for Seniors

Enjoy fun holiday activities that seniors will love like reminiscing over photos or reading together

Seniors enjoy being included in holiday activities

The holidays can be fun for older adults even if they have physical or cognitive limitations.

It’s all about spending time together, feeling included, and enjoying the good company – whether in person or virtually. 

The activities you do together don’t have to be exciting to be special and meaningful. Simply being able to join in brings joy and helps your older adult enjoy the season.

So, we’ve rounded up 20 fun holiday activities for seniors that are perfect to enjoy with family and friends. 

We also share tips on how to modify or pace activities to keep older adults from getting too tired or overstimulated.


20 fun and festive holiday activities for seniors

15 activities for staying at home

  1. Make a holiday wreath – these are fun and festive
  2. Decorate and fill stockings – try this fun mini stocking kit
  3. Make pomanders with oranges and cloves – like this
  4. Decorate the house – here are some fun ideas and these mini hat ornaments are adorable and easy to make
  5. Prompt kids to ask about “the olden days” so they can learn about their grandparent’s youth (this is a great conversation starter for phone or video calls)
  6. Play simple card games or board games
  7. Enjoy listening to your older adult’s favorite tunes
  8. Sing holiday songs together – try these holiday classics
  9. Have a movie night with snacks, extra pillows, and warm blankets to cuddle under
  10. Have a relaxed chat over tea or coffee
  11. Bake cookies – try these delicious, easy-to-make gingerbread cookies
  12. Cook or prepare favorite holiday foods together
  13. Have a gift wrap party – don’t worry if things aren’t perfectly wrapped, it’s the fun that counts!
  14. Get your older adult’s help with holiday cards – writing, addressing, or sealing envelopes
  15. Ask for their opinions or ideas while you’re shopping online for gifts

5 activities for going out

  1. Stroll around the mall and admire the holiday decorations – go at less-popular times to avoid crowds
  2. Take a family walk around the neighborhood or through a local park
  3. Enjoy a delicious meal at a favorite restaurant or get take-out and eat at home
  4. Watch the latest feel-good holiday movie or fun comedy in the theater
  5. Take in a local play or musical

Pace activities and modify as needed

Encourage older adults to join in the holiday festivities whenever possible, but be careful not to overdo it.

Many of these activities are low-key and can be easily modified to fit your older adult’s energy level and abilities.

But it’s still wise to be on the lookout for signs of fatigue and proactively suggest breaks or a mid-day nap.

If your older adult has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, you may want to modify activities even further to avoid overstimulating or confusing them.


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: MonkeySee


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  • Reply December 22, 2020

    Anne Hartwell

    I love receiving these articles in my mailbox…even if the topics don’t always apply to our family’s situation, I find it comforting just knowing that I, as a caregiver, am not alone…thank you 😊 I would also like to thank your reader ,Kaye Swain, for her brilliant suggestion of a musical Christmas card for her friend with macular degeneration…my Mom has just recently lost her vision at 93YO due to glaucoma…this has depressed her immensely…I just know that a musical card will work wonders for her flaging Christmas spirits!

    • Reply December 22, 2020


      Thanks for the kind feedback! We’re so glad our articles are helpful and provide support.

      The musical Christmas card is a fantastic idea! So glad it worked well for your mom 🙂

  • Reply December 18, 2019

    Steven Czyrny

    Thanks for your joyful words for to enjoy the joyful holiday for seniors. Thanks for sharing…

    • Reply December 19, 2019


      You’re very welcome! We wish you a very happy holiday season ⭐️

  • Reply December 10, 2019


    Daily carring has really been a great help in looking after my elderly parents. Both in their 80’s and still living independently. Thank you for your great tips and advice and at times, my sanity.

    • Reply December 10, 2019


      You’re very welcome! Thank you for the kind words, we’re so glad that our articles are helpful 🙂

  • Reply January 28, 2019


    This is a very helpful list. Thank you for sharing!!

  • Reply November 27, 2018


    My 89 YO mother has dementia with complete short term memory loss. She has relied on my 90 year old father for all her entertainment and stimulation for years. She also cannot walk any great distance due to PVD, but otherwise is relatively healthy. Father has late stage congestive heart failure with all the accompanying issues. They live in assisted living facility, and Dad does nothing but sleep most if the day with the TV blasting full volume and the heat turned up past 90 in the apartment. It is virtually impossible to conduct any normal conversations or even spend much time in their apartment given these conditions. And my mother does not want to leave the apartment. I wish we could do more stuff as suggested above but given the differing demands/needs of both parents, all I can manage is regular visits to check up, do their personal shopping, change bed, do laundry and clean up the place, since Mom won’t let AL housekeeping in the unit. She thinks they are going to take their “stuff.” Unless I’m there all day, every day, I cannot insist that they allow some of the services we are paying for.

    • Reply December 2, 2018


      This is definitely a tough situation. It sounds like you’re already doing all that you can to help them live in a clean and safe environment. Unfortunately, due to your mom’s current paranoia, it may not be possible to get her to allow housekeeping into their apartment and you may need to stick with your current routine.

      Here are a couple of articles that might help you think of creative ways to convince her to let people in the apartment:
      — Responding to 4 Common Dementia Accusations: Stealing, Poisoning, Being Held Prisoner https://dailycaring.com/responding-to-4-common-dementia-accusations-stealing-poisoning-being-held-prisoner/
      — Responding to 4 Top Dementia Delusions: Abuse, You’re a Stranger, Someone’s After Me, Bugs Everywhere https://dailycaring.com/responding-to-4-top-dementia-delusions-abuse-youre-a-stranger-someones-after-me-bugs-everywhere/
      — 8 Ways to Deal with False Dementia Accusations https://dailycaring.com/8-ways-to-deal-with-false-dementia-accusations/

      For the heat, it’s possible that your dad does feel cold. Seniors can have a different sense of temperature based on medication side effects or the effects of aging. Perhaps giving him a warm thermal layer to wear and a super warm blanket can help him be comfortable with the thermostat set at a lower temperature.

      • Reply January 9, 2021

        Powell Riddle

        Hello I’m a CNA of 14 years as well as an activity assistant for the last 3 yrs and now I’m honored to say I took Activity Director Class got my certification in April I am now the Activity Director since October well as a CNA it has really been challenging with all the Covid 19 guidelines and CDC regulations I really enjoy the residents I feel I’m a person with many hats and that goes in regards to what I’m doing to make this resident happy at the time I will be silly act as silly as a clown dress up on fridays as a lady bug, wear a baby face costume which they all loved. I don’t care if I make 1 resident smile or 40 I know when I go home that I’ve touched some lives today. Kudos to any caregiver nursing home employee (dietary, housekeeping office people or nursing) each department it takes a special person to do the role of being a BFF !!

        • Reply January 9, 2021


          Congratulations on your new certification and role! It’s wonderful that you’re so dedicated to your residents and brightening their days – they must love to interact with you.

    • Reply December 6, 2019

      Risa A Manning

      I am so glad I found DailyCaring.. My mom is 88 and has the onset of dementia.. I have found so much helpful information here… This site makes life easier for me as well as my mom..
      Thank you
      Risa Manning

      • Reply December 30, 2019


        We’re so glad to have you in our community of caregivers! We’re also very glad to hear that our articles have been helpful as you care for your mom 💜

    • Reply December 1, 2021


      First buy your an assisted tv hearing device! Will save your sanity and maybe bring your mom’s “agitation “ down a tiny bit. They make headphones, speakers for close by placement, and a headphone that is worn around the shoulders vs ears. Google away to find. Close Captioning should always be on too; ask their provider if they have any advice here too.
      Next, try bringing one person to help you with the chores. You can identify them as a childhood friend : “mom, do you remember xyz from the neighborhood?” – hopefully mom will assign ‘friendly memories’ ideally resulting in a comfortable ease with xyz being there.
      Install a babycam type video viewing/hearing device for your piece of mind. You can look in on your folks to verify heir well-being . Depending on their mind state, you could try a 2-way system – i.e.: Amazon’s Echo View or similar (maybe AARP has knowledge of a very simple device like their Jitterbug phone to an iPhone) so they can reach out or you can set times for FaceTime. **I’m thinking of thing as I respond to your post, and this idea is hitting me like a hard “duh, obvious, this should be a setup for Anyone who has a loved one with “needs”!
      Get a delivery service all set up for ordering: groceries; pharmacy items; etc. I personally use InstaCart*. It did take time to create mom’s grocery and pharmacy lists (did mine too!), but then it’s a click to add to your current list and chosen delivery date/time. I’ve prepaid my annual membership of +/- $100 and also loaded several credit cards to use as well as delivery addresses. You can always have your parents’ order delivered to your address for you to take to them.
      FYI: Social Security/VA/Supplemental Insurance may help cover some of caregiver expenses. If a parent is a Veteran and you haven’t already done so, check with the VA (online) to see benefits they might qualify for.

      Best of luck to you. You’re carrying a lot on your plate in caring for your parents. Try to do self care (I know, when?!) so you’re able to continue doing it.

  • Reply December 14, 2015

    Kaye Swain

    What a great list – I’ll be sharing this online. Thank you! My senior mom and I went out to see some lights this year as well as enjoyed taking a walk around the block to see the neighbor’s decorations without the lights being on. She has always been the one to do the Christmas cards and is having a harder time with that so we will definitely be doing some of those together. We especially enjoy finding and sending a fun musical Christmas card to a beloved senior with macular degeneration. She can’t see it well but she can enjoy listening to it. This year was Happy Holiday by Andy Williams, a fun treat for all of us to hear. 🙂

    Merry Christmas

    • Reply December 14, 2015

      Connie Chow

      Thank you Kaye! I’m so glad you found this list useful.

      I’m happy to hear that you and your mom are enjoying the holidays together! I especially love the idea of a musical card for someone with low vision, that’s perfect!

      Best wishes to you both for a very happy holiday,

  • Reply December 11, 2015


    Thanks for posting this helpful list. My mother-in-law is able to get out and about and loves to “shop” (translation: look at things in stores) so I recently took her Christmas shopping. At 78, she walks slowly and tires easily, so I made some modifications to accommodate her needs: 1) we went at a time when stores would not be crowded; 2) we visited a limited number of stores so I made sure to choose stores that I knew would have a lot that would interest her; 3) we avoided multi-level locations (she does not do escalators lol); and 4) I dropped her off/picked her up in front of each store so she did not have to walk to/from the parking lot. I capped off our mini-adventure by treating her to lunch at Panera, which she loves but would never go to because it’s “too fancy and expensive” so it was a real treat for her.

    Another holiday activity: I asked for her help in putting together a raffle basket for a holiday fundraiser. She has been doing raffle baskets for years and loved the idea of “teaching” me how best to do one. She already had several of the items at home (she did a breakfast basket) and I purchased the rest at a local market. She assembled the basket at home and I delivered it to the fundraiser. It worked out perfectly and it made her feel good to contribute to a worthy cause.

    • Reply December 11, 2015

      Connie Chow

      Thank you for sharing your tips, Shelley! These are wonderful ideas and it sounds like they brought your MIL so much joy! Thank you for being such an amazing caregiver and for sharing your story.

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