The sunshine has mostly disappeared and the leaves have fallen off the trees, which can only mean that Winter is definitely closing in. Instead of just hiding out under the covers at home waiting for the snow to melt and the beach weather to return, take advantage of the change of season by creating a Winter Bucket List filled with fun things to do.
Winter Bucket List Ideas:
55 Fun Activities & Things to Do
1. ✧ Host a Football Party
Tis’ the season for…football! Invite all your friends over to root for your favorite team. Don’t worry about the food because Southern Living’s Favorite Game Day Recipes and Food Network’s Game Day Party Recipes has you covered. From mozzarella sticks to Italian stuffed Jalapenos, even if your team is not victorious at least the food will be good.
2. ✦ Go Dogsledding
This Winter see what all the barking is about and take a dog sledding tour through the snowy wilderness. There are sledding opportunities all over the world, CNN lists their top picks and TreeHugger gives us 5 Destinations for Dog Sledding Around the World. I went in Montana and Norway!
3. ✧ Go Ice Fishing
Bundle up, break out your portable seat and spend a relaxing (albeit chilly) day fishing for your dinner. This popular cold weather sport is done using tools like an ice auger, skimmer and gaff hook to catch an array of fish.
Cottage Life breaks the how-to down in their Beginner’s Guide to Ice Fishing. If you need a prime fishing spot for this bucket list adventure, check out Across & Abroad’s article on The World’s Best Ice Fishing Locations around the world.
4. ✧ Make Homemade Hot Chocolate
There’s nothing quite like sipping some hot cocoa while watching a fire blazing. It’s the perfect way to write your bucket list (hint, hint)! You can make yourself a simple Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate or spruce it up by whipping up a Red Velvet Hot Chocolate.
5. ✦ Start a Scrapbook
Yes, scrapbooking is still a thing and makes for one of the best winter activities for yourself or families. Besides isn’t it about time that you did something with all those boxes of unorganized photos?
If you think you are not creative enough there are plenty of page ideas on the internet. Check these ones out: Scrapbook Ideas for Beginners: 25 Inspiring Layouts and 33 Cool DIY Scrapbook Ideas You Have To Try. Or for something even easier just buy a page kit that has everything you need.
6. ✧ Do the Polar Bear Plunge
The Polar Bear Plunge is an event where you submerge your entire body into a chilling water, typically to raise money for a charitable organization, but sometimes just for “fun”. Why not be a brave do-gooder this Winter, strip down to your skivvies and jump into freezing cold water for a good cause.
7. ✦ Bake Cookies
Who doesn’t like a home filled with the smells of fresh-baked cookies? It doesn’t matter whether it’s snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin or simple chocolate chips, spend an entire day just baking. Make it even more fun by inviting friends and family to participate.
For some delicious cookie ideas see the Epicurious’ 113 Favorite Cookie Recipes (and send me a dozen of the spiced molasses cookies!). Don’t forget the cookie sheets! The Rachael Ray Yum-o! Nonstick Pans are amazing, or at least get yourself some silicone baking mats that make the process so much easier!
8. ✦ Build a Snowman (Or Snow Angel)
Escape to a winter wonderland to make a snow angel or build a good old fashioned Frosty. Have fun plopping yourself right into the snow, waving your arms and legs to create the perfect angel or stacking big balls on top of each other for a jolly snowman (don’t forget the carrot nose, hat and stick arms!). Bucket list bonus if you do both!
For help read The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Snowman and just for fun here’s 31 Epic Snowman Designs. For a super easy option just buy a kit.
9. ✦ Keep a Gratitude Journal
Over the years there have been many studies on the positive effects of having an attitude of gratitude. Robert Emmons is a leading scientific expert on gratitude and its affect on people physically, psychologically, and socially. His studies suggest that people who practiced gratitude had higher levels of positive emotions, a stronger immune system, felt less lonely, and had more happiness.
A great thing to do is start each morning by listing five things you are grateful for. In the beginning it will probably be a struggle to come up with a mere five, being wrapped up in a world full of fear can disguise the good in your life. Think hard. Did you just drink a deliciously warm cup of coffee? Or did you connect with a friend by text? Or enjoy a heartwarming movie on television? There is always something to be grateful for—always.
Need help with coming up with things to be grateful for? Read my article on Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today
10. ✦ Take a Cooking Class
Being a restaurant owner and chef, I enjoy taking cooking classes when traveling around the world (but, you could also find some close to home). I have learned to make pierogi in Poland, pad thai in Thailand and macarons in France! There’s nothing like learning tricks and techniques from the experts at creating a dish.
11. ✦ Go Tubing or Sledding
Tubing and sledding is one of those winter activities that’s fun for the whole family. So, find a snowy hill (or ski resort who offers other activities besides skiing) and take a fun ride down!
12. ✦ Soak in a Natural Hot Springs
There’s nothing quite like soaking in a warm body of water while the weather outside is chilly. Research natural hot springs nearby, and take a soak in one. If you can’t find one, do the next best thing at find an outdoor hot tub at a local spa.
13. ✦ See the Nutcracker Ballet
Whether it’s just on a small local stage or a big city production, a quintessential thing to do during the holidays is to escape into a dreamland with the exquisite ballet performance of the Nutcracker. This classic Christmas story is centered around a young girl’s Christmas Eve celebration and is a must thing to do at least once in your lifetime!
14. ✧ Camp out in the Family Room
How fun would it be for the whole family to have an evening camping in the living room? Move the furniture out of the way and set up a pop up tent right in the middle of the room. Then gather up you pillows, blankets, snacks, books and any other for activities you want to do while you are disconnected.
15. ✧ Make a Pot of Mulled Wine
Mulled wine, also known as glühwein, is a warm, spiced drink that is a huge hit in the winter months. It’s really easy to make and Country Living has shared this perfect article: 25 Easy Mulled Wine Recipes to Warm You Up This Fall.
16. ✦ Knit a Scarf or Hat
Go to the local craft store and pick out your favorite yarn to knit yourself a cozy scarf. You can find several different How-To videos on but this step-by-step video on How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners is one of the best.
17. ✦ Ice Skate on a Lake
Frozen ponds, lakes or rivers can provide you with some of the most scenic ice skating rinks around the world. Glide along, enjoying the fresh air — score bonus bucket list points if you can learn to ice skate backwards. If you can’t find a lake or such, outdoor ice skating rinks start popping up everywhere during the winter season—even in places that have no snow! Put on a pair of blades and glide around the rink. Follow it up with a cup of hot cocoa.
18. ✧ Make Apple Cider
Only second to hot chocolate, apple cider is a great way to stay warm when the weather is not. It only takes a few ingredients and this easy hot apple cider will give you a cup in less than half an hour.
19. ✧ Have a Bonfire
20. ✧ Do a Family Winter Photo Shoot
Any time you can get the entire family together it is a blessing, but a photo memory of the event is even better! If you are stumped for theme ideas check out 30 Creative Family Photo Ideas and 100 Fun Family Photo Ideas.
21. ✧ Drive a Snowmobile
With thousands of miles of snowmobiling opportunities around the world, find your perfect location to hop on and whiz around the snow-filled, rolling hills.
22. ✦ Decorate Sugar Cookies
23. ✦ Have a Game night
Invite some of your fun friends over and host the ultimate game night! My favorite adult game night involves a few fierce rounds of Cards Against Humanity, but Smart Ass and Drink-A-Palooza will also make it a lively night. If you want to make your game night more “family friendly” then check out the best family board games.
24. ✦ Bake a Pie
There’s an art to making the best homemade pie. It’s all about the fruit inside, creating the perfect pie crust and making it with a touch of love. It doesn’t matter if it’s apples, lemons or peaches — choose whatever is sure to make your mouth water.
Recipes to help you with your pie:
25. ✧ Make a Gingerbread House
Spend an afternoon putting together a gingerbread house that is filled with all the sweets and treats of the season. This is such a fun activity to do with children!
26. ✦ Go Bowling
27. ✦ Visit a Museum in Your Town
Sometimes we take for granted what is in our own backyards (I am definitely guilty of this!). Try not to by doing some research of local museums and then go and visit one.
28. ✦ Do a Jigsaw Puzzle
Most of us haven’t done this since we were children. You don’t find too many opportunities where you can concentrate on one thing, so be present and let everything else in your mind go. That alone will be worth every minute.
29. ✦ Catch Snowflakes on your Tongue
30. ✦ Write a Thank You Note to Someone Who Deserves It
So often people want to tell a company or friend how they feel when they are not satisfied. Instead write a thank you to show your appreciation for a job well done.
Writing your note on a simple sheet of paper is fine, but stocking up on blank greeting cards may be a good idea instead. I literally just bought these bird greeting cards which would be perfect for a simple thank you.
31. ✦ Try a New Restaurant
32. ✧ Watch all the Oscar Winning Movies
Make some popcorn and cuddle on the couch with a blanket and start your bucket list quest to watch all the best picture Oscar winning movies ever made. A subscription to Netflix is a great way to accomplish this goal, they have almost every one available for rental!
Click here for a list of the Best Picture Winners.
33. ✧ Have a Pajama Day
What kind of luxury would it be to spend all day in your pajamas?!? Put on your most comfy pair and lounge for a full 24-hours
34. ✦ Learn to Snowboard
Put away those skis this season and try your hand at snowboarding, even if you only make it down the bunny slope (like me!). You can take a class at your favorite ski resort or the Snow Professor has made a helpful video to get you started, How to Snowboard: Step 1.
35. ✧ DIY Snow Globes
Who doesn’t love a good winter snow globe? You don’t need to spend lots of money on one because it’s pretty easy to make your own and is one of the best activities for families!
Some of the best DIY snow globes for you to make:
36. ✦ Clean Out & Organize Your Closet
It is surprisingly rewarding to be able to purge some clothes, plus it is purely a bonus that you can donate or consign them! If you are anything like me then it’s pretty hard to decide what to keep and what to give away, so use these 17 Invaluable Tips For Anybody With Too Many Clothes.
37. ✧ Make an Ice Sculpture
38. ✦ Go on a Sleigh Ride
Rudolph may not be pulling the sleigh and Santa may not be riding on it with you, but take a quiet sleigh ride through the winter wilderness. Add a cozy blanket and some hot chocolate to make this a ride to remember.
39. ✧ Create a Winter Song Playlist
Music is a great way to get you geared up for any season, especially one made for chilly days spent by the fire.
Having a hard time thinking of songs? Spotify has made it easy with its Winter is Coming playlist.
40. ✦ Do a Random Act of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are some of the most fulfilling and most humane and human things you could ever do. Especially when it is done for a complete stranger.
- Donate some food
- Pay the bridge toll for the person behind you
- Go to an animal orphanage and help out for the day
- Feed someone’s parking meter.
The possibilities are endless. The best way to approach this is to look at your local community and see what it is they need the most. It will be well worth the effort, I promise you that much!
41. ✦ Bake a Loaf of Bread
42. ✦ Donate Toys
There are so many needy families around the world, and many of them have young children who would miss out on the joy of Christmas if it weren’t for a generous helping hand. For this Winter Bucket List idea gather toys and donate them to a good cause to put a big smile on a child’s face. I organize a successful Toys for Tots drive at my restaurant, but there are other amazing organizations, like The Salvation Army or United Way.
43. ✧ Have an Indoor Picnic
Picnics aren’t just for the outdoors—clear a space on your living room floor and recreate a memorable dining experience. You can even pack a traditional wicker basket with your favorite picnic foods and enjoy the feast without going too far. Real Simple magazine can help you out with their Picnic Packing Checklist. If you want to set up an Instagrammable picnic, here’s a cute red checkered picnic basket.
44. ✦ Relax at a Spa
45. ✦ Read by the Fire
The fire is even better when you have a great book to read. Amazon even has hundreds of free books to download to your Kindle. Don’t have a Kindle? No problem, just download the Kindle app to your smartphone or tablet (you can even download my book on Amazon!).
Like to flip the pages of a book? Hit up your local thrift store where you can typically pick up a paperback for under a dollar.
46. ✦ Make Homemade Soup
47. ✦ See a Play
Check out a local school or small playhouse production or whatever winter play tickles your fancy. Or opt for a big city show, like the famous Cirque du Soleil.
48. ✦ Have a Snowball Fight
With so much fresh snow outside can you restrict yourself to the indoors. Get outside for a good old fashioned snowball fight! Invite some friends, make teams and let’s see who wins the war of snow.
Don’t get out there unarmed, learn How to Make the Perfect Snowball first!
49. ✦ Send a Care Package to a Soldier
Sending a care package to a soldier is the best idea for any season, but especially during all the winter holidays. It was one of my most memorable bucket list checks (I did it on my birthday!) and you can get some tips from my article.
50. ✦ Make Your New Years Bucket List
Take a look at your master bucket list and determine which of those goals will be high priority in the new year. If you don’t have a bucket list yet, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are some articles to help you:
- How to Make a Bucket List: 5 Easy Steps to Create a Great One
- 1000+ Ideas for Your Bucket List
- 10 Incredible Ways a Bucket List Can Improve Your Life
- 5 Tips to Help Conquer Your Bucket List
- Bucket List Meaning: What’s the Definition and What is it?
51. ✧ Attend a Hockey Game
Spend an afternoon surrounded by screaming fans, watching hockey players swoosh by, in an action pack game. With any luck you will be able to catch a flying hockey puck and keep it as a souvenir.
52. ✧ Make a Pine Cone Wreath for Your Front Door
53. ✦ Take a Snowshoe Hike
Strap on some snowshoes and hike through the snow covered pines. Snowshoe Magazine can help you out with its First-Timer’s Guide to Snowshoeing and Matador Network gives you 10 Amazing Places to Snowshoe in North America.
54. ✧ Sleep in an Ice Hotel
You will probably have to do some traveling for this one, but how many opportunities in life will you have to sleep in a room made of ice? At Hotel de Glace in Quebec City or ICEHOTEL in Northern Sweden you can spend the night in a room made entirely of, you guessed it, ice. Don’t worry they will bundle you up in a cozy sleeping bag and you won’t be too cold as long as you stay in it.
55. ✦ Spend the Night in a Cozy Cabin
Being from Northern California, from a city sans snow, it had always been on my Winter Bucket List to spend a white Christmas holed up in a quaint little cabin. The Evergreen Lodge in Yosemite Valley was where this goal got checked off. We woke up surrounded by a pure blanket of white and you could too.
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