A well-orchestrated Christmas date night can be the perfect opportunity to sprinkle some fun and festive sparkle over your relationship, particularly at a time when other priorities can easily take over.
Whether you’ve been together a few months, years or decades, the holidays are a great time for couples to get closer, reflect on the previous year and have real conversations – and a Christmas date is the perfect occasion. Research shows that couples who make quality time to date each other and try new things together, build up fun memory banks and report higher levels of relationship satisfaction overall.
Feeling inspired? Here are 27 thoughtful Christmas date ideas that are guaranteed to make the end of the year unforgettable.
“Whether it be the restaurant, movie, food or place where you first met, recreate your first date,” says Dr Terri Orbuch, Professor of Sociology at Oakland University. “These activities and memories hold a special place in your heart because it’s what brought you together – you could even put a holiday season spin on it with a festive menu or holiday soundtrack. Spending time with your partner in this way shows you appreciate each other, because it says – even through all the stress and business of the holidays – I want to take time to recognize and spend time with you, my partner.”
For some festive sparkle quite literally on your doorstep, go star gazing. Put away your phones, take a mindful walk beneath the stars (or simply sit back in a recliner in your backyard) and really connect with each other and nature. Christmas is a great time to try it – it’s simple, it’s unlocked; and with a flask of hot chocolate to keep you warm on chilly nights, it’ll be love at frost sight.
Ding dong merrily on high with a Christmas singalong. If you don't have a karaoke set or app, simply create a playlist of your favorite versions of the all-time classic Christmas songs, find the lyrics and sing along. This is a playful thing to do and will allow you both to enjoy the magic of the festive season, create memories and smile, laugh and warble together.
Christmas is a wonderful time to get creative, and what could possibly be more festive than decorating a gingerbread house together. “Working together on a common goal both helps to build trust in a relationship and also to pushes you to deliver, says couple therapist, Pam Custers. “This Christmas date idea is also an opportunity to teach each other new skills. If one of you is good at baking while the other knows a little thing or two about decorating with icing, you can share your knowledge, so you’ll make the perfect team.”
If you’ve got a taste for a festive ‘crafternoon’, make or decorate a Christmas tree ornament together. It’s a fun and creative activity that’s guaranteed to get you in the sparkly spirit, but will also make you smile each year you dig them out again. Lay out plain baubles, paints, sequins, glue and decorating supplies and get messy – and if you’re more into the natural look, go for a festive forage in the woods the weekend before for pine cones, holly, and berries.
Turn up the heat this Christmas date night by making festive, fireside s’mores. You don’t need to head into the wilderness either, simply snuggle up by an indoor fire or marshmallow burner, light a fire pit in the backyard or bring a disposable BBQ to the beach. For a festive twist, grab your favorite Christmas cookies, sticks for marshmallows and get sticky.
For a true taste of Christmas, track down a local Christmas food market. Research shows that couples who explore new places and activities are much more likely to be satisfied in their relationship. Here’s an opportunity to rediscover your local area in a whole new [Christmas] light. Be brave and try a Christmas dish or dessert you've never tasted before and relish in breaking out of your comfort zone.
“Christmas is a great time to snuggle up on the sofa together and relax together amid the holiday rush – and with a new Christmas movie being released by the day, it’s the perfect occasion,” says Dr. Jacqui Gabb, Professor of Sociology and Intimacy at Open University, and Chief Relationships Office at Paired.
“In my ‘Enduring Love?’ study, we found that TV time created deeper bonds between some couples, helped them build shared memories and provided lasting biographical anchors over the course of their relationship. So plan a Christmas marathon, set the scene with sweets, treats, and a bottle of something bubbly, then switch on Netflix … and Chill.”
Mistle-toast to the holiday season by preparing an indulgent indoor picnic with fine festive foods and fizz. Put out blankets and pillows, light some candles and use paper plates so you don’t have to worry about the washing up. Unique and unexpected novel activities add excitement and passion to your relationship, and this one can be enjoyed from the comfort of your living room.
“For a fun Christmas Eve date idea, agree to have a ‘relationship stocking’ each this year that can be hung on your bedside for Christmas morning,” says couple therapist, Martin Gill. “Inside it each partner places either a positive memory, a special word or a gift or object, that recognises and affirms the specialness of your love. Whilst still in bed, (or returning to bed to unpack these stockings) share your thoughts and feelings about what you have found. Affirmations like these are a way of strengthening your relationship and letting your partner know that they matter to you, and are used in a range of therapies from CBT to Psychodrama.”
“This year’s Christmas might be quite fraught, anxious-making, or difficult,” says couple therapist and President for Relate,
. “Walking side-by-side can offer up interesting conversations; in fact, even just walking and holding hands or simply ‘being’ together will create bonding moments, she says. Plus, research shows that walking among the trees reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosts the immune system through breathing in the natural oils that trees emit.
“Doing something ‘good’ together (that will make a difference to others) is not your typical holiday date idea, but your relationship will thank you for it, believe me,” says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. “Wrap packages for a food drive or a children's hospital and be part of a visit that delivers them to these deserving people. Then go out afterwards for hot chocolate and feel good that you are mutually helping the world be a bit better of a place to live in. That sense of joint goodness and joint purpose brings mutual respect – which every relationship needs.”
“My favorite romantic Christmas date idea is to go and look at the lights together,” says couple and family therapist, Judith Lask. “Getting out into the fresh air is good for your mood and wellbeing, and research shows that when we are in a good mood, we are more successful partners. Who can feel grumpy surrounded by beautiful lights? Plus, don’t forget to say “thank you” to each other for sharing such a lovely time and show your partner they are appreciated. Perhaps this can be done with a mince pie and a cup of mulled wine. Enjoy!”
Plan a scavenger hunt that takes your partner around your home town or city with a Christmas twist. Create clues based on places and things you've done during your relationship, or that mark meaningful moments of Christmasses past. As well as a lot of festive fun, this date is a chance to reminisce and recreate some of your favorite memories.
Want to stay cozy and closer to home? Organise a Christmas treasure hunt around the house. Hide Christmas goodies such as candy canes or mini chocolates (gold, frankincense and myrrh, optional) in secret spots for each other and have fun collecting a bag of treats to both enjoy over the festive season.
“The holiday season is a time for family and traditions spanning multiple religions and cultures, old and new. One great way to bring them together? Food!” says Dr. Gabb, “This is a good way to revisit the rituals and traditions from your childhood and heritage and turn them into a Christmas date. Decide on your favorite Christmas recipes and cook them up together. This can be a lovely way to share memories that are important to you, and to teach each other something new – about food and about you. Plus cooking a meal with your partner can bring you closer together emotionally, mentally, and physically. It can even be sensual and sexy.”
“Taking any class together, where the activity is new and novel to both you and your partner is great for your relationship,” says Orbuch, ”There are even virtual classes available on anything from jazz to salsa. Doing new and novel activities with your partner will create passion and excitement in your relationship, and with dancing you also add touch (which physically bonds you).”
“Introduce some romance from days gone by, ice skating in the park, or even get a ride in a horse driven sleigh in the snow – trust me, this can be done, they even do it in Sun Valley during the winter,” says Dr. Schwartz. “Whatever you choose, bring brandy and blankets and feel like you are part of a 1940s movie. The cozyness and creativity of this date are going to increase your oxytocin – the bliss hormone. It will definitely create a loving feeling.”
"Create an album to document your favorite couple holiday moments from this year and beyond,” says couple and family therapist, Dr. Hannah Sherberksy. “You can roll it out every year and enjoy the combination of looking back and looking forward. Couples who spend time fondly reflecting on their relationship history learn to appreciate their togetherness, special bond and loving feelings, so this will provide a great point of connection during the busy festive season."
For a Christmas date night you’ll never fir-get, head out to a Christmas tree farm to embrace the festive magic, create memories and get playful. Even if you have your tree already, breathe in the smells of nature, take a Christmas couple selfie, and try a festive tipple if they have one on offer.
Get into the Christmas spirit (geddit?) by creating a special cocktail to embrace the holiday season as a couple. Chat about the ingredients you think would make up your special tipple and have fun mixing and matching. Even if you don’t come up with the *best* cocktails in the world, at least you’ll have fun – and who knows, you might come up with a special recipe to roll out next year.
Haven’t got round to sending off a Christmas card yet? Now’s the time. Get out the craft supplies and make each other a sentimental design they can display proudly on their desk or bedside table this season.
Can’t get away this Christmas? There are plenty of virtual activities online that’ll help you escape to a far-off land from the comfort of your sofa. Head to Airbnb Experiences where you will find everything from Portuguese sangria-tasting Christmas parties and Christmas wreath-making classes in London’s, to yuletide walking tours of famous European cities. All you need to do is pick a date.
Embrace the magic of a childhood Christmas by heading out to your local grotto for a picture with the main man. The whole experience is about introducing lightness to your relationship, and at the same time is likely to trigger past memories and create the opportunity to have the kind of conversations that nurture understanding and intimacy. This is all good for your mood and wellbeing, and research shows when we are in a good mood, we are more successful partners.
Try this Christmas date idea on for size. Head out for a day of Christmas jumper hunting in your local thrift store – the funnier the jumper, the better. Playfulness and a sense of humour are important components of a successful relationship, and this date is sure to amuse.
No luck finding a Christmas jumper? Decorate your own. Sew on pom poms, festive sequins, even Rudolph’s red nose to an old jumper. Winner of the best jumper gets a kiss.
Does the silly season often get in the way of your couple connection at this time of year? This date night idea is for you. Set aside a night in December to sit down together with your favorite cuppa, a pen and cute stationary to write a love letter to each other. If you need any inspiration for what to write, let the following questions prompt you.
Swap your letters during the week before Christmas. Who knows, perhaps this is the start of a new Christmas tradition?
Speaking of traditions, agree to recreate your Christmas date every year. “It doesn’t have to be fancy” says dating coach, Dr. Duana Welch, “it could just be having hot cocoa in front of the fire every night before you get into bed for the week of Christmas, for example. It could be going to a romantic restaurant on New Year’s Eve, reviewing the year together, and thanking one another for what you each bring to your life together. The repetition will underscore your connection, strengthen your bond, and highlight that the two of you belong together."