Want to fill your holiday calendar with activities merry and bright, but don’t want to break the bank or contend with inclement weather? Enter IKEA’s free Scandanavian-inspired holiday events, being offered indoors at locations across the United States (and around the world!), sure to delight everyone in the family.
Here’s everything you need to know about the events and how to register (from someone who’s enjoyed her share of in-person IKEA events).
IKEA’s Holiday Events
Gingerbread House Making & Cookie Decorating
I list this event first because it’s one of my personal favorites. We attended pre-COVID, had an absolute blast, and are so glad IKEA is bringing its Gingerbread House Making back this year. Some locations are offering gingerbread cookie decorating, too.
Pro Tip: A few IKEA locations are offering gingerbread house “Take & Make” kits, but we’re not sure what’s stopping your family from staking out your favorite spot in the restaurant, sipping your favorite hot beverages, and decorating your gingerbread house then and there.
Food Sampling & Julbords
Julbord is Swedish for “Christmas table.” Expect epic spreads as IKEAs around the country invite IKEA Family Members and the general public to taste the flavors of the season during their Julbord events. Note that most of these have a registration fee (less than $20/person).
IKEA’s holiday food samplings, on the other hand, are free and also open to IKEA Family Members and the public. Think of this as a progressive snack as you wander from one sampling station to another set up throughout the store.
Children’s Crafts & Storytimes
What’s more cheerful than watching our precious littles engrossed in holiday crafting or a wintery fairy tale? IKEAs are hosting beaded ornament making, readings of stories like The Lillabo Express, and more.
A number of stores are offering winter-themed scavenger hunts for families with children. Details are limited; show up at the scheduled time and be prepared for fun in Småland — IKEA’s children’s play area — or throughout the store.
Breakfast With Santa
Select stores are offering kiddos the opportunity to visit with Santa over breakfast. Note that you’ll need to purchase your child — and the rest of the family, if you want — a meal at the Swedish Restaurant before digging in with Kris Kringle (i.e., Santa will be on hand, but breakfast is not provided).
Photo Booths And Holiday Portraits
Gather your loved ones to have your holiday photo taken against a festive backdrop. Families registered for portrait and photo booth experiences can look forward to professional photographers and/or having their pictures printed and receiving keepsake frames.
Pro Tip: We recommend matching jammies or sweaters — and getting your picture taken before snacking on the meatballs with lingonberry jam!
Adult Crafting And DIY Workshops
From paper snowflake making to Julbord-inspired crafts and gift-wrapping tutorials, IKEAs across the country are hosting holiday crafting workshops perfect for older kids and grown-ups, too.
This is just a sampling of the Scandanavian Christmas-themed events IKEA is offering this holiday season. Here’s how to see exactly what’s available at your hometown IKEA (or whichever one you want to visit during the holidays) and how to register.
How To Register
The majority of IKEA’s holiday events are for IKEA Family Members, and you need to register in advance. If you aren’t a Family member yet, register here, then follow these steps:
1. Log Into Your IKEA Family Account
Once you’re an IKEA family member, you can log into your account here.
Pro Tip: If you have any trouble logging in (I did!), search your email inbox for your most recent message from IKEA. Odds are, you are getting them if you are an IKEA Family Member. Verify the address your IKEA emails are going to, then use that email address to sign in via the alternative login/one-time-code option. A code will be sent to the same email address, and you’ll be logged in in a jiff.
2. Navigate To Your IKEA Store’s Event Page
- From this map of stores, select the IKEA closest to you
- Then, above the map, click “Visit store page”
- When your store page opens, click “See what’s happening in-store!”
- Wait for the events to load
Pro Tip: Waiting for the events to load is important! Most stores’ event pages initially read “No events at the moment,” but after a few seconds, all the events will populate. Don’t assume your store isn’t hosting events until you’ve given the page some time to load!
3. Select The Event You’re Interested In (And Don’t Overlook The Seemingly ‘Hidden’ Dates And Times)
Once your store’s events have loaded, take a look at what’s being offered and interests you. Note that many events are being offered multiple times and/or days, but only the earliest offering shows on the event page.
For example, the Salt Lake IKEA event page shows they’re offering a Neighbor gifts make and take workshop “Saturday, December 10 01:00 PM-01:45 PM MT + 3 more.” Click the event, and you’ll see three additional times are available.
As long as you’re logged in and spots are available, from the individual event page, you’ll be able to select your time and register with a few clicks. Note that you can register for multiple different events but cannot register for the same offering twice.
Also, some experiences don’t require registration. Just show up at the scheduled time and enjoy!
Note that the registration process may differ for events at IKEAs outside the U.S.
IKEA Holiday Pro Tips
- Many IKEA events take place in the Swedish restaurant or Småland, and you can head straight to either of them. There’s no pressure to shop or walk the (seemingly endless) showroom.
- Need a snack but not a whole meal? Try the Bistro, where more affordable options are offered.
- IKEA family members enjoy a free cup of coffee (or tea) every time they visit. Don’t forget to take advantage of your hot beverage offer!
- Lost your IKEA family card or don’t have one because you registered online? No worries: Your virtual card is accessible from the bottom of any promotional IKEA email in your inbox.
Planning for the best holiday season yet? Don’t miss all our holiday travel coverage here.