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The 13 Best Non-Christmas Things to Do on Christmas Day

Opening presents and sitting under the tree aren’t the only things to do on Christmas. Here’s a list of our favourite fun things to do on the big day.

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Family ice skatingPhoto: Shutterstock

Hit the Ice

Among the surprisingly long list of things to do on Christmas Day is the popular winter pastime—skating! From Ottawa’s Rideau Canal to Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square, Christmas is the perfect time to lace up those skates and try out your fanciest skater moves. Triple salchow, anyone?

This is what it’s like skating on Ottawa’s Rideau Canal.

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Friends drinking wine at restaurantPhoto: Shutterstock

Go Out to Eat

A lot of restaurants around Canada are open and have special holiday menus. From your local diner to a super fancy spot, why deal with dirty dishes when you don’t have to?

Open to a new culinary experience? Take inspiration from these holiday food traditions from around the world!

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Woman hiking in the wildernessPhoto: Shutterstock


Why not enjoy the great outdoors this holiday season? Throw on those hiking boots or sneakers and hit the trails to experience the beauty of nature this Christmas Day. What’s a better gift than relaxing in the great outdoors?

Marvel at the greatest hikes across Canada.

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Sharing popcorn at movie theatresPhoto: Shutterstock

Catch a Flick

Cinephiles, you better add a movie date to your list of favourite things to do on Christmas Day! Take advantage of having the day off from work and catch a double feature with all the popcorn you can eat.

Check out our countdown of the best Christmas movies of all time.

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Woman at art galleryPhoto: Shutterstock

Get Cultured

While a lot of major museums are closed on Christmas Day, many Jewish museums and art galleries are open for visitors to feed their mind on the holiday.

Find out the reason why Christmas is on December 25.

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Woman watching NetflixPhoto: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Have a Netflix Marathon

Brrrr, baby it’s cold outside. Stock up on your favourite snack food, stay in your pajamas and start up Netflix to binge-watch Gilmore Girls, Mad Men or Friends.

Considering subscribing to Disney Plus or Crave? Don’t miss our ultimate guide to streaming services in Canada.

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Mother and daughter window shoppingPhoto: Shutterstock

Window Shop

Take a stroll and enjoy the stunning holiday window displays. Big city stores are known for their fabulous and whimsical Christmas displays and smaller town centres often have fun displays, too.

Make sure you never post this on social media during the holidays.

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Giving food to the needyPhoto: Shutterstock

Lend a Hand

Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank on Christmas Day to help bring some holiday cheer to those less fortunate. Bringing smiles and joy to those who really need it is truly embodying the spirit of the holiday season.

Take inspiration from these great Canadians who are making a difference in their communities.

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Woman in front of information board at airportPhoto: Shutterstock

Hit the Road

Want to head out on holiday but don’t want to deal with long lines at security and crowded airports? Try travelling on Christmas Day to avoid the frustrations of the holiday travel. And for extra savings, tickets often cost less on December 25, too. But be warned, according to Conde Nast Traveler, some normal airport amenities may not be available.

Psst—here’s another holiday travel hack that will get you the cheapest flights.

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Mother and son in hotelPhoto: Shutterstock

Take a Staycation

It may sound surprising, but many local hotels have empty rooms and offer deals on Christmas Day. Many sites have slashed prices for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so take the family and enjoy a night away, only a short drive from home.

Here are the places in Canada every Canadian needs to visit.

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Couple on ski liftPhoto: Shutterstock

Enjoy a Winter Wonderland

Add a festive trip to the ski slopes to your list of things to do on Christmas Day. Throughout Canada, some mountains are open for some fun snowy activities like skiing, snowboarding and tubing. And you’ll likely have your choice of slopes!

Need a playlist for your day on the slopes? Here are the best Christmas songs—ranked.

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Mixologist making cocktailPhoto: Shutterstock

Get a Cocktail

From your local pub to the upscale hotel bar, grab a cocktail to help you get through all that holiday cheer. Festive suggestions include a champagne cocktail, a hot toddy, or a hot buttered rum. (Psst—this is the proper way to serve a Baileys and coffee!)

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Eggs BenedictPhoto: Shutterstock

Get Brunch

Make reservations for Christmas brunch. Just because some people are enjoying home-cooked meals doesn’t mean you have to deal with dirty dishes and taking out the trash. Now that’s a real holiday treat!

Next, check out the best places to spend Christmas in Canada.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest