December is here, and to get into the festive Christmas Spirit I always have my holiday bucket list ready:
Decorate a Christmas Tree
Decorating a Christmas tree is one of my favorite traditions and number one on the holiday bucket list. We do not cut the tree, but we go to the local farm, select, and buy the tree there. Ah, the sweet smell of the fresh Christmas tree!
Then, we turn on some holiday music and begin to decorate. I have lots of ornaments that were collected over the years. So, now I have a good mix of different kinds of ornaments – elegant and expensive, plastic and cheap, old glass bulbs, and ornaments from our international travels.
Finally, our tree is decorated. It is special to me that many ornaments tell a story and bring out many good memories of our family holidays.
Make your own Christmas decorations
To make your own Christmas ornament is a great idea for a holiday bucket list. We all like to be creative. And Christmas is the best time to put your own touch on your Christmas tree by crafting decorations together as a family.
Another great idea is to make a festive garland to wrap around the tree or spread it on the fireplace mantel. Over the years, I made a few Christmas garlands to decorate our home using holiday supplies from Michael’s art store. There are many great ideas on how to make a garland from Country Living magazine:
Baking holiday cookies is a favorite Christmas tradition for many families. It is a fun holiday activity and an amazing idea to do something together as a family. It feels that Christmas is not complete without baking and eating all kind of goodies.
Every family has a list of their own favorite cookies and bake them every year. In our family, we like to bake scones instead of cookies. Last year my daughter and I baked cheddar and chive scones, and we loved it.
This Christmas, we are planning to bake them again using the same recipe:
Also, I like to make a dozen cinnamon buns and keep them in the freezer. During Christmas week I would bake them for breakfast. There is nothing better than the aroma of cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven.
Send Christmas Cards
Nothing spreads cheer and joy faster than Christmas cards. We all love this time of the year, and opening a holiday card is part of the fun. Sending Christmas cards to family and friends is always on my holiday bucket list.
Recently, I have learned that the first ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting was used in a letter sent in 1534. Since then, people have been sending Christmas greetings to each other for hundreds of years.
I do not make my own holiday cards and usually shop for them at the store. But I like to write something personal instead of just signing my name under the statement inside the card.
If you want to add an extra personal touch to your cards, learn how to make your own Christmas cards:
Watch Christmas movies
Holiday movies are personal, and it depends on how you grew up. Every family has a list of their favorite movies they watch every year. Watching Christmas movies is always on my bucket list.
Occasionally, I will watch Hallmark movies even they are silly and predictable. But they are set during winter with lots of festive décors, so it gets you into the Christmas spirit.
Our family has a list of our favorite holiday movies we like to watch together every year:
- White Christmas
- Home Alone
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- The Holiday
- The Family Stone
- Love Actually
- Surviving Christmas
- While You Were Sleeping
Listen to Christmas music
Music makes me happy. Listening and singing along with my favorite holiday songs put me into the Christmas spirit. I have created a Christmas playlist with my favorite Christmas songs:
- White Christmas
- O Holy Night
- Jingle Bells
- Let It Snow
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Also, I like to stream holiday music. Spotify has one of the best selections of Christmas music. You can find hundreds of streaming Christmas songs that you can listen to as long as you want.
If you do not know how to use Spotify for free, here is a quick guide:
- Download and install the free Spotify application using versions for computer and/ or iPhone.
- Create an account
- Sign in and start listening
Christmas gift exchange with the family
Getting together with the family for the Christmas holidays is exciting but buying presents for them is tough.
We do not have a big family. Roman and I exchange ideas on what to buy for each other or one big gift for both of us.
Our daughter Ksenia usually send us a funny email letter with the list of gifts she wants to get from Santa. We do not have little kids but opening presents on Christmas morning is one of my favorite parts of the holidays.
Spend an evening wrapping presents
Wrapping Christmas presents is one of my favorite holiday activities. Usually, I start wrapping presents just a couple of days before Christmas. I take out wrapping supplies, turn on the music, and start covering all presents in pretty paper.
I like to use two or three types of wrapping paper and then add festive ribbons and holiday bags. Then, my husband Roman comes to help and we spend a few hours arranging the presents under the tree.
Sometimes we like to spread them out instead of piling high. If we have large size presents, we try to put them in the back and smaller presents such as socks or scarfs in front. In the end, a gift-wrapping night becomes a fun holiday activity and family tradition.
Drive around and look at the Christmas lights
We like to drive around with Christmas music playing and look at some of the light displays around our neighborhood. We have our favorite place where every house is decorated from top to bottom, and the whole street looks magical.
One year we drove to Boston to look at the Holiday Tree and Christmas lights around Boston Common. At night when the tree is lit, the Common looks like a winter wonderland of lights and decorations.
Go to see a musical or ballet
My favorite part is to go and watch a musical or ballet with the family during the holidays.
Tchaikovsky’s ballet Nutcracker ballet became a Christmas classic and annual tradition. Many families were planning to see it. Unfortunately, the Christmas holidays will look a lot different this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The theaters in Boston will stay empty. But families can get into the holiday spirit by streaming life shows from many Boston-area performance groups.
Have a game night
Family game night is always on my holiday bucket list because it is a lot of fun. Sometimes we invite our neighbors for party games, but mostly it is only our family game night.
Monopoly is one of my favorite games, and we get extremely competitive. We like to play cards as well. This year we are planning to have a Christmas-themed game night, and a Christmas Bingo game is on the menu.
Host a Christmas party
During the holidays I like to invite friends over and host a big and festive party. However, Christmas will look different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead of inviting friends to our home, we will have a virtual Christmas potluck dinner on Zoom. If you do not feel safe to invite friends to your home, discover great virtual Christmas party ideas:
More winter fun activities to add to your holiday bucket list:
- Go ice skating
- Visit your local Christmas market
- Go cross-country skiing
- Make some hot cocoa and have lots of fun toppings
- Host a Secret Santa party with your friends
- Make a DIY ugly Christmas sweaters
- Host an ugly Christmas sweater party
- Donate to a Christmas toy drive
- Go on a winter hike with snowshoes
- Sing Christmas carols with your family
- Take a Christmas portrait with your family
- Cook dinner together and light festive candles
We all love to celebrate the holidays. And a holiday bucket list is a great way to look forward to fun winter activities and spending time with your family.
How do you like to celebrate winter holidays? Do you create a bucket list every year? I would love to hear about your ideas and family traditions. Please share your experience in the comments below.