A Christmas Bucket List can help you capture the Christmas spirit and remember the reason for the season no matter what the age of your children. Picture what a stereotypical Old-Fashioned Christmas includes – tree decorating, cookie baking, gingerbread making, and Christmas caroling. Imagine if you had time what would you do this December – a cookie exchange party, volunteer, make homemade gifts, or wrap presents for each family member each in a unique wrapping paper.
Just because you put it on your Christmas Bucket List does not mean you and your family will do that activity this year. Get the whole family involved in making the list, which might include dream bucket list items like Christmas in Hawaii. Then look at your calendar and narrow it down to what actually is doable for your family this year. Put the top 5 or 10 activities on the December calendar. And, make it happen. It is a date with your loved ones.
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The best part is that your big kids (tweens, teens, and college kiddos) may moan and groan a bit when you say you are having an ornament-making night or gingerbread decorating party (especially if you are starting a Christmas Bucket List this year) but when you tell them they can invite a friend or two suddenly it becomes a much-anticipated event. And, if you’re really lucky, a few of these Christmas Bucket List items will become family traditions that you enjoy every year.
Christmas Bucket List – Adventure
Christmas Tree Farm – If you have not ever visited a Christmas tree farm and actually chopped down your own Christmas tree, you should definitely put that at the top of your Christmas Bucket List. You may have to drive a bit to find a Christmas tree farm but that is part of the adventure. Be sure to pack plenty of water and a picnic lunch. Wandering through the evergreen trees searching for the perfectly proportioned Christmas tree for your home can make a family hungry. It’s amazing how proud you feel as a family when you get the tree loaded on top of your car to head home to begin decorating.
Santa Visit and Photo – Many families take their kiddos to visit Santa when they are little, but the real fun begins when your kiddos embrace the magic when they are older. Start when they are young and jump in one of the photos with Santa. Everyone needs the magic of Christmas especially tweens, teens, and college kiddos. Matching Grinch T-shirts or silly Santa hats can make your Santa family photo an event in itself, let alone one of your Top 10 Christmas Bucket List items.
Making, Baking, and Creating Your Christmas Tree Bucket List
Homemade Ornaments/Decorations – It’s ornament and decoration making time. Grab some sewing needles and thread. Pop some air pop popcorn. Thread your needle and tie a large knot on the end. Then you make a popcorn garland for your Christmas tree. This can be done with cranberries, too. You might want to get a couple of thimbles so you don’t have sore thumbs. Turn on the Christmas music and make some peppermint hot chocolate.
Now, if you want to be a bit messier with your homemade ornaments on your Christmas Bucket List, you can make Salt Dough Ornaments. Numerous recipes can be found with a quick Internet search. You just mix salt, flour, and water. You roll out the dough and use Christmas cookie cutters to cut unique holiday shapes. You either let the dough air dry or put it in a low-temperature oven. Once dried, you can paint them or use Mod-Podge glue or Elmer’s glue to add glitter.
Salt Dough Ornaments typically take two nights – one to make the cutouts and one to decorate. But it’s such a great night when your teenage son who is not normally crafty spends an hour pouring his heart into painting a Christmas tree ornament. Making ornaments as part of your Christmas Bucket List is a relaxing, fun-filled evening. You might even sneak in a few Christmas carols while decorating.
Cookies for Santa – Homemade cookies for Santa are sure to be on everyone’s Christmas Bucket List. For some, December is the time to pull out the recipes for Peanut Butter Blossoms, Italian Christmas Cookies, Buckeye Delights, or Snickerdoodles. Many make sugar cookies or spritz cookies using cookie cutters, frosting, and sprinkles. Just decide if you are adding a Christmas cookie baking night to your Christmas Bucket List or a Christmas cookie decorating night or both.
Gingerbread House – You no longer have to make homemade gingerbread to build and decorate a gingerbread house. Grab a few gingerbread house kits on Amazon or at your local grocery store for a fun night. You can have family members buddy up and start building. And, decorating. You might want to grab a few of your favorite candies to give the gingerbread kits your own flair. Of course, gingerbread house decorating can be just for fun or it can be a competition, too.
Include Family, Friends and Community on Your Christmas Bucket List
Tree Lighting/Community Christmas Event – Be sure to attend at least one Christmas community event. There is just something special about sharing the Christmas spirit with your neighbors and community. Check your community calendar today and pick which community event you want to attend. Put it on your shared family calendar so you all can attend the town Christmas parade, the tree lighting ceremony, or the local Christmas pageant. It’s so fun to countdown together before the lights on the town Christmas tree light up the sky.
Holiday Party – Put up all your decorations and host a holiday party. It does not have to be big. It can be one family. It can be your neighbors. It can be a holiday open house. It can be a driveway campfire in one of the fire pits from Home Depot. Again, there is just something special about sharing the holiday spirit and opening your home to friends and family during December.
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Holiday Movie/Game Night – Be sure to pencil in a quiet family night at home onto your Christmas Bucket List. It can be a holiday movie night. Snuggle in pajamas enjoy popcorn and hot cocoa as you watch a few Christmas classics like Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, or the Grinch. Another option is a family game night. It’s about being intentional and spending quality family time together during the most wonderful time of the year.
Embrace the Reason for the Season
Christmas Story – Take the time to read the Christmas Story in the Bible. Make it a tradition to sit together and read about the birth of Jesus together. Of course, it can be Christmas Eve. But think about doing it at the start of December. Jesus is the reason for the Season. The Christmas story can be found in the Bible in Luke 2:1-20.
Better to Give than Receive – Gifts are a big part of Christmas for most families. Be sure to give to those outside of your own family, too. It’s a fun Christmas Bucket List tradition to choose your favorite nonprofit organization and set up an evening or day to volunteer together. Coordinate with the organization far in advance so you can meet their needs.
Another option is to adopt a family in need. Shop together for that family, pack and wrap the packages together. Or, be a Secret Santa to a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance. It’s a bit more challenging to leave a front porch package on a neighbor’s porch these days since so many people have cameras. But it can be done. Be creative. Have fun. Share the love and the magic of Christmas.
Make your own Christmas Bucket List so you do not forget. Write down all the Christmas activities you would like to do and then pick your favorites and put them on the calendar. Make a date with your family for your top Christmas Bucket List items. Everyone is super busy. Life happens. But take a moment to slow down, find the magic. Find the joy. Enjoy Christmas the whole month of December.
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