The holidays can be a magical yet hectic time of year. I don’t know about you guys, but by the time we are inching closer and closer to Christmas, I realize there are still so many holiday activities that I want to complete! So, this year, to keep me a little more organized and somewhat sane, I’ve created a Holiday Bucket List of all kinds of activities to complete leading up to Christmas! Try to start earlier in December so you have time to accomplish all of these fun and festive ideas!
1. Christmas Movie Marathon
This one is a must on my list. How do you celebrate the holidays without watching all of the classics? My holiday movie marathon consists of some staples like Elf and A Christmas Story, but I also LOVE to watch the old black and white films like It’s A Wonderful Life and the original Miracle on 34th Street. Grab some blankets, some popcorn, and snuggle up!
2. Ice Skating
Gather up your friends, family, and loved ones and take a little ice skating trip! Even better if you can skate on a frozen pond or lake! For all of my “Bostonians” out there, the Boston Common Frog Pond is officially open!
3. Hot, Hot, Hot… Hot Chocolate!
Hot chocolate is a must for me around this time of year. When I’m really in the festive mood, I like to spice up my hot chocolate with some peppermint and mini marshmallows. Get creative and have fun with this! Here is a fairly simple and fun homemade recipe to try!
4. Attend A Tree Lighting Ceremony/ Christmas Stroll In Your Area
So many towns will host a tree lighting ceremony and/or Christmas stroll to kick off the holiday season. Find one in your area and check it out! If you’re in the Boston area, check out the North End Holiday Stroll on December 6th!
5. Make A Holiday Playlist
Personally, I love Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole for classic holiday music.
This time of year, I tend to get pretty crafty. There’s just something about creating a product from scratch that warms my heart during the holiday season. If you’re feeling crafty, try making some these:
- Christmas Countdown Calendar
- Garland (with popcorn, holly, cranberries, pine cones, etc.)
- Christmas Cards
- Paper Snowflakes
7. Elf On The Shelf!
I don’t care how old you are, Elf on the Shelf is fun for all ages. My Elf is named Jackson and he is always hiding on me! Stay on your best behavior! Remember, your elf is watching and reporting back to Santa every night!
8. Gingerbread Houses
My family and I love getting together and making a gingerbread village. We’ll usually buy the gingerbread kits from a local craft store like A.C. Moore or Michaels. However, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can try making your gingerbread from scratch!
9. Christmas Cookies
Nothing screams Christmas more than walking into a home that has just baked holiday cookies. Make enough for friends, family, and coworkers (everyone in the office will love you forever)! Don’t forget to bake some for Santa!
10. Donate A Toy (or two, or three!)
This time of year is all about giving. Donating a toy to a child in need is so wonderfully rewarding. Keep your eyes open for places to donate like your local fire department, shelters, hospitals, gyms, and restaurants.
11. Christmas Lights Sight Seeing
Take a little walk or drive around your neighborhood and admire all of the wonderful lights and holiday decorations. My brother and I grew up playing a game called “My Side!” Our parents would drive us around to look at all of the pretty lights around Cape Cod, MA. If you came across a home with Christmas lights on your side of the car, you would shout out, “MY SIDE!”
12. The Nutcracker
I grew up performing in The Nutcracker every year from the time I was three years old all the way through high school. It’s a timeless show that is very near and dear to my heart. Many local dance studios will perform The Nutcracker during this time of year. I have to say, the Boston Ballet puts on a wonderful production!
13. Snow Day!
If you’re fortunate enough to have a white December, take advantage of it! Find your inner child and go play! Have a snowball fight, make snow angels, build a snowman, and go sledding! Taking an evening stroll in the snow can also be extremely beautiful and peaceful.
14. Advent Calendar
The kids I babysit for absolutely love their advent calendars. I mean, who wouldn’t want a piece of chocolate every day of December leading up to Christmas? You can find some fun advent calendars on Amazon!
15. Make A Fire
The majority of these activities can absolutely be done by a fire. In fact, a fire will make these activities ten times cozier!
16. Pick Out A (Real) Christmas Tree
Every year my family and I make a point to pick out a Christmas Tree together at a local farm. I just love how a real tree makes the entire house smell like pine!
17. Hang Mistletoe
You never know who might meet you under the mistletoe!
18. Attend/Host An Ugly Sweater Party
My friends and I have been getting together for an Ugly Sweater Party for the past few years. This year, I think we’re going for Ugly Sweaters AND Ugly Christmas Pajamas! Have a prize for the Ugliest Sweater!
19. Read A Christmas Classic
Every Christmas Eve I read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas with my family. We gather around the fireplace in our Christmas PJs and read this classic Christmas bedtime story together.
20. Find A Fun Way To Display Your Christmas Cards
So many families send out and receive holiday cards this time of year. Rather than letting them just pile up, find a fun and creative way to display them all! My mom likes to hang hers up around a large doorframe leading into her living room. I’ve also seen them creatively hung up with clothesline pins on a thread of Christmas lights.
21. Polar Express Train Ride
When I was younger, I boarded the Polar Express Train from Edaville, MA. The Polar Express makes its way to several towns so keep your eyes open and your ears turned on!
22. Get Your Picture With Santa For You Or Your Pet
Whether you have a child or are simply a child at heart (like me!), getting your picture with Santa is a must! If you have a pet, you can take him or her to get their picture with Santa at Petsmart!
23. Make Use Of Candlelight
Come evening, turn off the lights and light some candles. I always find candles to be a relaxing and soothing way to unwind. Some of my favorite candles are from The Happy Lotus! Heather makes all of her candles from all-natural soy wax and has some fun holiday-themed ones including Mint Hot Chocolate, Under the Mistletoe, and Gingerbread Loaf.
24. Build A Fire
Pretty much all of these activities can be done by a warm, crackling fire, and why not? Playing with these ideas will just be that much more enjoyable and cozy!
When I think of smores, I usually think of summer and camping. But smores are often eaten during this time of year as well! I like to make a version of smores in which I bake the chocolate and marshmallows in a large skillet. Then, I use the graham crackers for dipping! Be warned! It’s addicting!
26. Magical Reindeer Food
Don’t forget about Santa’s reindeer! Dasher and Dancer need all the energy they can get come Christmas Eve so you might want to provide them with a little something. Put together this treat and then sprinkle it over your yard. The kids just love this one!
27. Yankee Swap
My Dad’s office hosts a Yankee swap every year. We all go out to lunch and we each bring one ornament to gift to somebody at the table. It’s a cute and simple way to spread a little more holiday cheer.
28. Random Act Of Kindness
It’s all about the little things. Paying for somebody’s Dunkin Donuts in the drive-thru line behind you or hanging out with shelter animals for the day will create such a beautiful feeling of fulfillment within you. Plus, you will totally make somebody’s day. It’s truly a wonderful thing.
There are so many fun holiday activities and traditions out there! What’s on your Holiday Bucket? Let us know in the comments below!
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VICTORIA IS A CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENT EARNING HER MASTER'S DEGREE IN JOURNALISM AT EMERSON COLLEGE IN BOSTON, MA. SHE LOVES TRAVEL, FOOD, ANIMALS, DANCE, ART, AND MUSIC! WHEN VICTORIA ISN'T STUDYING OR WORKING IN THE CITY, YOU CAN FIND HER HOME ON CAPE COD ENJOYING TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS!