Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do

The holidays always seem to arrive way too quickly, and usually by the time I even think about decorating with boughs of holly it has turned into ‘oh crap’ I forgot to buy Aunt Mary her annual set of dish towels and then also frantically calling the local bakery for my contribution to the cookie exchange. Ugh!

How about this year all of us overworked, frazzled procrastinators have a fun plan to keep us on track? A Christmas Bucket List filled with fun things to do can be that plan.

Start this holiday bucket list in early December and it will not only keep you on a better schedule for the season, but the activities will also get you in the spirit of Christmas.


Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday
Activities & Spirited Things to Do


1. ✧ Mail a Letter to Santa

Get some fancy paper and sparkly pens to write a letter to Santa. His mailing address is hard to forget: Santa, North Pole. If you actually want a response from Saint Nicholas, here’s some instructions from USPS on how to properly write and receive a letter from Santa.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


2. ✦ Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony

Many cities or landmarks will have a ceremony honoring the lighting of their tree. It’s a night where crowds of people load up on hot cocoa, dress in their warmest attire and gather around the tree waiting for the flip of the switch.


3. ✧ Get Your Picture with Santa

Whether you have a child or are a child at heart (like me!), go to the local mall and get a cute snap of you with good ole Saint Nic. If you don’t want the typical holiday photo, check out these funny ideas: 20 Adults Making Things Weird with Santa.


4. ✧ Go to a Local Christmas Festival

Whether is be a festival of trees, parade of lights or a welcoming of Santa coming to town, attend a local festival in your city. My town has a wonderful silent auction event where local business owners decorate and donate a tree for a good cause. Then the city people can come and drink hot cider while perusing the dozens of trees (and hopefully outbidding each other!).


5. ✦ Make a Homemade Gift

There is always something special about giving and receiving a homemade gift (it’s a fun thing to do in any season!). It could be a glass frame with pressed wild flowers or pretty smelling soap or infused vodka—the possibilities are endless! I’m really loving these flavored salts with these cute glass jars.

Stuck for ideas? Here are dozens of cool DIY things to do for gifts:

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


6. ✧ Connect With an Out of Town Friend


7. ✦ Make an Ornament

Put your creative activity hat for this Christmas bucket list idea and make your own holiday ornaments for your tree or someone elses. Most craft stores carry clear bulbs that can be filled with an array of festive things or get even more crafty with these 30 DIY Christmas ornaments. If you are not so crafty, StayGlam has got you covered with their easy DIY ornaments.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


8. ✦ Sip on Hot Chocolate by the Fire

There’s nothing quite like sipping some hot cocoa while watching a fire blazing. It’s the perfect way to write your Christmas list! You can make yourself a simple Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate or spruce it up by whipping up a Red Velvet Hot Chocolate.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


9. ✦ Create Handmade Christmas Cards

With a collection of papers, ribbons, glue and some decorative pieces you can create some pretty festive Christmas cards that will WOW your family and friends. Country Living has some super cute DIY card ideas (the mini wreath cards are my favorite!).


10. ✧ Make a Christmas Tune Playlist

Christmas music has come a long way over the years—it seems like every major artist has a song or album. Use spotify to create your perfect playlist!

Having a hard time thinking of songs? Esquire has made it easy with the 30 Best Christmas Songs of All Time.


11. ✦ Donate a Toy

Christmas is all about giving, and giving a gift to a child in need is one of the most rewarding things to do this holiday—a heartwarming addition to your Christmas bucket list! Each year I typically collect toys at my restaurant to donate to Toys for Tots, but there are many other places in need too. Try your local homeless shelter, children’s hospital or fire department. Plus, many shops and businesses will have Christmas Angel trees, where the ornaments hung are wishes from children in need.

Don’t know what the hot toys are this season? Here’s Amazon’s list of the Top 100 Toys.


12. ✦ Chop Down Your Own Christmas Tree

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


13. ✦ Watch a Holiday Movie Favorite

Slip into your comfiest pjs (you know, that fuzzy onesie with the feet), make some popcorn and watch a holiday movie that will get you into the spirit. You can even go one step further and make it a movie marathon. Some of my favorites are:

  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Elf
  • A Christmas Story
  • Miracle on 34th Street

14. ✦ Make a Wreath for Your Front Door

Give your guests a warm welcome by placing a beautiful crafted wreath on your front door. You can choose one of the 65 DIY Christmas Wreaths from Country Living (I adore this Birch-Bark Leaf one!).

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


15. ✧ Hide or Find the Elf on a Shelf

At the beginning of the holiday season, this cute elf is placed all around the home acting as Santa’s eyes and ears, making sure all the children are behaving. Each night after the children have gone to bed he goes back to the North Pole to report to Santa. He returns to the home in the morning, but always to a different location. If you have children (or even want to play along with your housemate), it’s fun to hide and find him. It’s one of those activities for all ages!

Make sure to get yours well in advance! You can order Elf on a Shelf here.


16. ✦ 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!

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


17. ✧ Read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas


18. ✦ Build a Snowman or Make a Snowman 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.


19. ✧ Make a Popcorn Garland for the Tree


20. ✧ Roast Chestnuts on an Open Fire

One of my favorite things to do while in Zurich in the winter was hitting up the roasted chestnut stands scattered along the streets. It made me want to start the tradition of making them at home for the holidays. So why not buy yourself a chestnut roaster and follow this How To Roast Chestnuts on an Open Fire article.


21. ✦ Spend an Evening Wrapping Presents

Wrapping presents is one of my favorite holiday activities! I save all the gifts until just a few days before Xmas then spend the night listening to holiday must and covering them all in pretty paper. Here are 39 Gift Wrapping Ideas to get your creative juices flowing—my favorite is the Reindeer Thumbprint Paper!

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


22. ✧ Build a Gingerbread House

There nothing that says Christmas quite like the house filled with the smell of gingerbread and a table ready for home construction. Try this recipe or for something way easier, just buy a gingerbread house kit.

Read more: 31 Amazing Gingerbread House Ideas


23. ✦ Hang Stockings


24. ✧ Volunteer

During the holiday season there are always people in need of some extra Christmas cheer. Spread some joy by helping in some way. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or bring joy to a children’s hospital. Pick a cause close to your heart and spend the day giving. Find opportunities near you on the United Way or Volunteer Match website.


25. ✦ Make Paper Snowflakes

Making paper snowflakes is one of those activities for the whole family. You can make some to hang on the tree, decorate presents with others and even stick a few on the windows of your home for the neighbors to see. If you’ve never made one before, here’s an easy Snowflake How-to.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


26. ✦ Go Ice Skating

During the Christmas season, outdoor ice skating rinks start popping up—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.


27. ✦ Attend Midnight Christmas Eve Service at Church


28. ✧ Go Christmas Caroling

Get a group of friends together, practice some Christmas carols (Rudolph the red now reindeer is one of my favorites!) and then walk around the neighborhood spreading the spirit through song.

Don’t know what to sing? Here at some top Christmas carols with the lyrics.


29. ✦ Get Dressed Up and Attend a Holiday Party

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


30. ✧ Donate Your Unused Mittens and Jackets

Baby it’s cold outside! And there are some unfortunate people who need a warm jacket or a pair of cozy gloves to get them through the frigid winter season. Take up a collection from friends, family and neighbors and then bring them to the local homeless shelter.


31. ✦ 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!


32. ✦ Spend the Day Baking Christmas Cookies

Who doesn’t like a home filled with the smells of fresh-baked cookies? It doesn’t matter whether it’s snickerdoodles, crinkles or simple sugar cookies, spend an entire day just baking. Afterwards, you can even organize a cookie exchange with friends and family.

For some delicious cookie ideas see the 36 of the Best Christmas Cookie Recipes. 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!

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


33. ✧ Organize a Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Looking for an easy and fun way to exchange gifts with family, friends and coworkers? The a Secret Santa Gift Exchange is the answer. One of my favorite secret Santa gifts are these “If you can read this, bring me some wine” socks (they also have ones for chocolate and coffee!).

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


34. ✧ Make an Advent Calendar

An advent calendar is used to count the days until Christmas. The typical ones are filled with chocolate and hanging out at the grocery store checkout line (like this one). But, with a little creativity you can create your own using matchboxes, clothespins or just about anything else you can possibly think of!

Need Ideas? See Buzzfeed’s 33 Clever And Adorable DIY Advent Calendars and Apartment Therapy’s 35 DIY Advent Calendars to Make Now So You’re Ready for December


35. ✦ Drink Eggnog

Drinking eggnog is quite a tradition during the holiday season, so why not partake for your Christmas bucket list? Typically the drink is made with sugar, milk, cream, whipped eggs, spices and a touch of alcohol (though the ones you buy at the grocery store might be sans the liquor—insert sad face).

If you want to make your own, try this recipe by Alton Brown. Not a huge eggnog fan? How about just adding a little eggnog flavor to your coffee with this eggnog Torani syrup.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


36. ✧ Make and Wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater

You may not be considered a diehard Xmas fan until you have sported an ugly Christmas sweater! There are plenty of places online to buy one, but it’d be so much more fun to make your own personalized sweater. Need help? These 51 Ugly Sweater Ideas will definitely be inspiration.



37. ✦ 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!


38. ✦ Make Your Christmas List


39. ✦ Start a New Tradition

With so much joy, Christmas is the perfect time to start a new tradition that will live on in years to come. It can be anything from a special dish you cook every holiday season to volunteering at the local shelter to Christmas caroling. Anything goes! Every year I decorate and donate a tiny tree—it immediately gets me in the holiday spirit.

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


40. ✦ Eat a Candy Cane

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


41. ✦ Kiss Someone Under the Mistletoe


42. ✦ Take a Family Christmas Photo

Peter & Annette White's Family Christmas Photo: Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


43. ✦ Look at the Holiday Lights in your Neighborhood

Fill your thermos with hot chocolate, load up the car with your family and give your eyes a special holiday treat by driving through the neighborhoods in search of the best light display. Check with your city, many of them make holiday light maps for you to follow.


44. ✦ Wear a Santa Hat in Public

Christmas Bucket List: 45 Fun Holiday Activities & Spirited Things to Do


45. ✦ Leave Cookies for Santa Claus

Last, but not least for your Christmas bucket list, on December 24th leave cookies for Santa Claus…even if you don’t believe in him anymore. You can eat them in the morning!


You Might Also Enjoy

Winter Bucket List: 55 Fun Activities & Things to Do
Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today
Take a Christmas Market Cruise Along the Rhine River
California Dreaming: 9 Incredible Winter Stops in the Yosemite Valley
Cute Winter Jackets Fit for Travel

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2018-12-01T12:39:20+00:00November 9th, 2018|Categories: BUCKET LISTS|Tags: , |

27 Comments

  1. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures December 3, 2011 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Love this, especially Day 20!

    • Annette White December 3, 2011 at 7:00 am - Reply

      Heck yeah! My husband is going to be in trouble on day 20 😉

  2. Heather December 3, 2011 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Love it!! I found my box of Christmas decorations this morning and started hanging things around the house. Going to adopt a few things here 🙂

    • Annette White December 3, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply

      I’m hoping the list will help me prolong the Christmas spirit 🙂

  3. 50+ and on the Run December 3, 2011 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Whew, sounds exhausting! Didja put up the lights today?

    • Annette White December 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      Not yet! I have to hurry before midnight 🙂

  4. Simply Paul December 3, 2011 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I thing this is a great idea however it confused the hell out of me…23 days to Christmas? "But Christmas is the 25th not the 24th" I shout. Then I got clever and read the date of the post 😛

    • Annette White December 3, 2011 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      LOL!

  5. Carola December 4, 2011 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Excellent list.  Love making snow angels.  Want to go sledding this Christmas season.

    • Annette White December 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Sledding is a ton of fun, except for the part where you have to lug the sled uphill 😉 Can’t they have sled lifts?

  6. Jen December 5, 2011 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Lol I love the outdo the neighbours!! my type of goal 🙂 sounds perfect!x

    • Annette White December 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      Send pictures if you outdo them this year! I want to see 🙂

  7. Darin Sanders December 7, 2011 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Great list to get and stay in the Christmas spirit! I especially love all the giving back!

  8. Fidel December 9, 2011 at 8:46 am - Reply

    So how's the list coming along? Have you done everything up til today?

    • Annette White December 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Doing pretty good so far. But, the “making a snowman” is going to be tough because there is no snow nearby! Maybe I can make it out of ice cream 😉

  9. Victoria November 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Wow. What an extensive journey. Love it.
    I’ve created a template so any of you can print out your own bucket list!
    You can also read my Christmas bucket list if you choose.

    http://thebubblybay.com/?p=191

    Enjoy!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey November 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Making a printable holiday bucket list is a GREAT idea and it’s cute too!

  10. […] If you’re looking for a Christmas bucket list, this might be it. […]

  11. Diego Lopes December 6, 2017 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Don’t you just love Christmas? Such a wonderful time full of joy!

    • Annette White December 7, 2017 at 10:47 pm - Reply

      I do love it!! Mostly because of the smell of Christmas trees 🙂

  12. […] the school holidays now in sight, it’s time to start thinking about those Christmas bucket lists! One thing that is at the top of our list is going to see Disney on Ice’s Passport to […]

  13. Joe Allenby December 15, 2017 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Christmas is near and we all are preparing for it.This Christmas bucket is the best thing I found on the internet today.And this Christmas Season I will Follow all the things mentioned on this list.

  14. Veronica Cavanaugh December 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Great bucket list! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Suzanne Stewart June 14, 2018 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    One comment…if you DO this list one day at a time, your Advent calendar will be created long after Advent starts, which is either 4 Sundays before Christmas, for a religious Advent, or 1st December, for a secular Advent. DO IT FIRST, and then you can countdown to Christmas Day as you go through the rest of the activities!

  16. Farespapa November 19, 2018 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for these wonderful tips. This is a great post and place you visited. Lovely pictures.

  17. Amanda Oraha November 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    this is great for Christmas but on the other hand, most of this is for adult and I want to do these with my kids

  18. Brilliant ideas! Love all this activity. It looks like these are fun. Thanks for your brilliant mind and for sharing this!

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