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 also get you in the spirit of Christmas.
Christmas Bucket List: Fun Holiday Things to Do
1. ✧ Get a 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. For funny ideas check out Dorkly’s 20 Adults Making Things Weird with Santa.
2. ✦ Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony
3. ✧ 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.
4. ✧ Go to a Local Christmas Festival
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 Weck Jars.
Check out these cool DIY ideas:
- 32 DIY Christmas Gifts for an Extra-Special Holiday
6. ✧ Connect With an Out of Town Friend
7. ✦ Make an Ornament
Put your creative hat for this Christmas bucket list idea and make your own holiday ornaments for your own 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 29 DIY Christmas ornaments.
8. ✦ Sip on Hot Chocolate by the Fire
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
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—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 business will have Christmas Angel trees, where the ornaments hung are wishes from children in need.
12. ✦ Chop Down Your Own Christmas Tree
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
- A Christmas Story
- Miracle on 34th Street
14. ✦ Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony
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.
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 at least once in your lifetime!
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 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.
19. ✧ Make 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
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
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 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
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
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 organize a Christmas bucket list cookie exchange with friends and family.
FOR IDEAS: 36 of the Best Christmas Cookie Recipes
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Oven Lovin’ Cookie Pans ($13.59, Amazon.com)
33. ✧ Organize a Secret Santa Gift Exchange
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).
36. ✧ Make and Wear an Ugly Christmas Sweater
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.
Need some help? How to Make the Perfect Snowball
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!
40. ✦ Eat a Candy Cane
41. ✦ Kiss Someone Under the Mistletoe
42. ✦ Take a Family Christmas Photo
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
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!