Top tips for hosting a big family Christmas  holiday cottages

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Top tips for hosting a big family Christmas

Sarah P 27 September 2022

The key to organising a big family Christmas is not to get overwhelmed - easier said than done when you’re bringing multiple families, mixed ages, and a whole host of interests together under one roof. But we are here to help! We are experts in planning big get-togethers in big houses, and we can help you turn a daunting prospect into the festive fun that it should be! 

Whether you’re spending it at home and inviting the extended family to stay with you or in a large cottage for Christmas, spending it with your family will create many special memories to look back on and treasure. Let's get started... 

UK Christmas holiday destination ideas

So, you’ve decided the best way to bring the whole family together this Christmas, or maybe next, is by booking a large cottage. But where will you go? These Christmas holiday ideas will offer heaps of inspiration for your big family Christmas. 

  • The Cotswolds – choose between winter landscapes and peaceful villages or historic cities alive with festive spirit. 
  • Cornwall – enjoy empty beaches and charming towns and villages that host popular festive events for locals and visitors to enjoy. 
  • The Cairngorm National Park – home to reindeer, husky attractions and ski centres – it's a winter wonderland. 
  • North Wales – perfect for those families looking for something a little more rugged and off the beaten track at Christmas. 
  • The Sussex coast – where you can enjoy brisk winter walks on Christmas morning and soak up the festive cheer in charming fishing villages and coastal towns. 
  • The Norfolk Broads – a peaceful location for wildlife lovers and keen walkers looking for something a bit different this winter. 

Christmas dinner ideas for a large group

Planning to cook the most remarkable Christmas dinner that your family have ever experienced? Seek help and ideas from a professional like Jamie Oliver. We’ve also come up with some Christmas dinner ideas that might help to take the pressure off.

  • Start the Christmas lunch prep the day before – split the jobs into manageable chunks and give yourselves a head start on the main event.
  • Delegate some jobs – why not rope the kids in to peel potatoes or make apple sauce? More hands make light work.
  • Set the Christmas dinner table the day before – especially if you have centrepieces and decorations – it gives you more time to titivate.
  • Share the responsibility – it doesn’t have to be all on you. Ask different members of the group to take charge of the different courses.
  • Controversial but you could consider not having Christmas lunch on Christmas day – free up the day for more fun and festivities and have your Christmas dinner the night before or on Boxing Day – instead, you could try one of our meal ideas to please a crowd. 
  • Go a step further and arrange for outside caterers to come in and cook your Christmas dinner for you!   

Christmas Eve ideas for families

Don’t overlook Christmas eve - the celebrations start now, especially if you’re staying with family, have guests visiting, or you’re renting a large house for Christmas together. There are so many fun ways to kick-start the festivities - here are some of the Christmas eve ideas for families that we love.

  •  Is there anything more festive than a nativity and carol service? Look up the details of your nearest church and see what special events they are running on Christmas eve. 
  • Go to the local pub for dinner! No doubt the village pub will be packed with festive spirit, a roaring wood burner, mistletoe and the smell of mulled wine. 
  • Give the children new pyjamas to unwrap before bed and send them to sleep full of excitement while the adults have time to relax before the big day. 
  • Hold the first games night of the festive week – play family-friendly games or hold a family Christmas quiz with snacks and treats. 
  • Tour the local Christmas lights – get the kids in their pyjamas and head off in the car to see the best of the local displays. 
  • Bake cookies together as a family and let the little ones decorate them to put out for Santa. 
  • Allow everyone to open just one Christmas gift to spread the excitement.
  • Have a family Christmas movie marathon and get everyone to pick their favourites.

Christmas activities for families

Spread the Christmas spirit over the festive week and enjoy traditional Christmas activities for families. Be sure to plan ahead and if you want to enjoy any attractions or special family Christmas events over the festive period, check the opening times and book well in advance!

  • Go ice skating – you’ll find pop-up ice rinks at many Christmas markets and festive events.
  • Watch a pantomime or show – Christmas and New Year are pantomime season, offering families a feel-good activity to enjoy together. 
  • Take a winter walk – pull on your boots and wrap up warm, it might be chilly, but winter in the UK is a beautiful time to explore. 
  • Go and see some reindeer – at this time of year, you’ll find many reindeer attractions throwing open their doors for authentic festive fun, like the Cairngorms Reindeer Centre in Scotland or the Reindeer Centre in Kent. 
  • Meet Santa! – he’s a busy guy, but if you can squeeze in a quick visit to a local attraction to say hello, you’ll definitely make the kid’s Christmas. 
  • The National Trust lights and illuminations – with locations right across the UK, you’re sure to find a magical event to take the family.
  • Plan some exciting indoor activities that the whole family will love like Go Karting, climbing or trampolining!  

Family Christmas party games

When you couldn’t possibly eat another thing, fill up your glasses and gather everyone in front of the fire. It’s time for a bit of family competition: while cinema rooms and pool tables are all well and good, Christmas is all about real, quality time with your family and what better way? In addition to the classic board games, these Christmas game ideas will have you all thinking outside the box.

  • Name that carol
  • Christmas carol bingo
  • Christmas movie trivia
  • Who am I? The festive edition
  • Christmas charades
  • Christmas mad libs
  • Santa limbo

Need a little more inspiration? Here are 35 brilliant Christmas party game ideas for large groups.  

Book a large cottage for Christmas in the UK

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to go with the family this Christmas, or you want to get ahead for next, our large cottages for Christmas offer a huge range of fabulous places to stay - some of them will even be decorated for the Christmas period1! Choose from huge country houses and enchanting castles to stylish villas and beautiful coastal retreats. The great thing about our large family cottages is that many offer fantastic features that all ages will love including games rooms, hot tubs, swimming pools and cinema rooms

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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