mom and child sitting in front of tree with milk and cookies

The Ultimate Christmas Bucket List of 101+ Family-Friendly Activities

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Christmas Bucket List Ideas to Try This Holiday Season

Get into the holiday spirit this year by putting together a Christmas Bucket List! Then, as a family, check off each item as you complete it.

In today’s post, I’ve compiled the ultimate bucket list for this Christmas season, so all you need to do is jot down your favorites.

You might want to do one thing each day in December leading up to Christmas. Or, maybe you only have time to do a few things on the weekends. Whatever you choose, this list is meant to inspire you to be more intentional and make the most of this holiday season.

It’s a long one, so let’s jump right into that list…

mom and daughter eating milk and cookies, checking off an item from their christmas bucket list

1. Decorate the Christmas Tree

Turn this activity into a trip down memory lane! Share the memories behind each ornament as you unpack and hang them on the tree.

2. Hang Up Outdoor Lights and Decorations

Transform your home into a Winter Wonderland, spreading the joy with your neighbors and passersby.

3. Create DIY Ornaments

Unleash your creativity and personalize the tree with salt dough ornaments, painted pinecones, and custom photo ornaments.

4. Make a Gingerbread House

This is a family favorite, and has become a yearly tradition in our house. We usually buy gingerbread house kits, then add some of our favorite candies to them. But if you enjoy baking, you can make your own gingerbread walls.

the gingerbread house one of the kids built to check off our christmas bucket list one year

5. Bake and Decorate Cookies

Then enjoy taste-testing them, of course!

6. Have a Family Hot Cocoa Night

Cozy up with mugs of steaming hot cocoa topped with marshmallows or whipped cream. Pull out the oversized blankets, holiday tunes, and a few board games and make some memories!

7. Write Letters to Santa Claus

Help the kiddos compose letters to Santa, making sure to send them out before Christmas. Grab a copy of my Christmas Wish List template from my shop if you want a cute keepsake!

Pro mom tip: Make copies of the letters before you “mail them out” to Santa, then save the copies in a memory box or binder.

8. Go Ice Skating Together

Ice skating is a timeless winter activity that the whole family can enjoy. (Whether you’re gracefully gliding along or holding onto the railing for dear life!)

9. Build a Snowman in the Yard

If the snow is sticky enough, head outdoors to build a snowman together. Or… If you’re a competitive bunch, hold a competition to see who can build the BEST snowman!

Pro mom tip: As you can see in the photo, my daughter is painting her snowman. To make your own snow paint, mix water and food coloring in a spray bottle, shake, and enjoy!

10. Enjoy a Holiday Movie Marathon

Snuggle up under cozy blankets with a bowl of popcorn for a holiday movie marathon.

11. Visit a Local Christmas Market

Stroll through twinkling stalls as you sip hot cider and browse handmade crafts, unique gifts, and delicious seasonal treats.

12. Host a Holiday-Themed Game Night

Game nights are a great way to spend quality time together! From Christmas Trivia to Reindeer Charades, playing holiday-themed games is a fun way to create new traditions and lasting memories.

13. Volunteer at a Local Charity or Shelter

Embrace the spirit of giving by spending time volunteering as a family at a local charity or shelter. Whether it’s serving meals, donating clothes, or participating in a toy drive, volunteer work embodies the true spirit of the holiday season.

14. Have a DIY Gift Exchange

Create a heartfelt twist on the gift exchange by making presents for one another. 

15. Make Homemade Gifts for Friends and Family

Don’t limit the DIY gifts to just your immediate family! Whether it’s scented candles, knitted scarves, or homemade jam, your friends and extended family will love the thought you put into them.

16. Attend a Live Nativity Scene

Check local churches and community events for live nativity scenes. We attended one several years ago with our firstborn (when she was a toddler) and the live sheep and donkeys were a huge hit!

Sometimes, there will be snacks and hot beverages, holiday crafts, and other fun activities, as well.

my toddler looking at the live animals at the christmas nativity scene a few years ago

17. Go on a Winter Nature Walk

Explore snow-covered trails, listen to the crunch of snow beneath your feet, and take in the serene beauty of the season as a family.

18. Organize a Neighborhood Caroling Event

Gather friends and neighbors for a cheerful singing expedition, sharing the gift of music and warming hearts along the way.

19. Hang Stockings and Fill Them with Surprises

Many families traditionally hang stockings by the fireplace for Santa to fill. But consider this twist! 

Have each family member secretly fill the others’ stockings with small surprises instead (to be opened on Christmas morning). Larger families could even exchange names to be a “Secret Santa” for another family member.

20. Create an Advent/Countdown-to-Christmas Calendar

Build anticipation by crafting a countdown-to-Christmas calendar. Whether it’s paper doors with hidden treats or a digital version with daily activities, this delightful ritual adds a daily dose of holiday cheer leading up to the big day.

21. Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Join in the festive spirit by attending a local Christmas tree lighting ceremony. 

22. Decorate the House with Mistletoe

Hang mistletoe throughout your home, turning doorways into potential spots for sweet holiday kisses. 

23. Make Paper Snowflakes

Channel your inner artist and create delicate paper snowflakes to adorn windows, walls, and your tree.

24. Have a Family Pajama Day

Embrace the joy of a “lazy day” by dedicating an entire day to lounging around in matching family pajamas. 

25. Make Personalized Family Holiday Cards

Some families send out photo cards at Christmastime, but others prefer not to. If you’re in that second group, get crafty and design your own family holiday cards to send to loved ones. 

26. Read Classic Christmas Stories Together

Gather the family and dive into timeless holiday tales like “A Christmas Carol” or “The Night Before Christmas.”

27. Take a Holiday Family Photo

Capture your family during this holiday season by taking a holiday-themed family photo. Consider wearing holiday sweaters or pajamas for your photo session. Or, set up a Christmas-y backdrop, complete with fun props.

28. Explore Different Cultural Holiday Traditions

Broaden your horizons by learning about and incorporating various cultural holiday traditions into your celebrations. 

29. Host a Family Cookie Decorating Contest

With icing, sprinkles, and various toppings, see whose confectionery creations stand out as the most imaginative and delicious.

30. Set Up a Cozy Reading Nook with Holiday Books

Deck this reading nook with comfy cushions and blankets. Then invite family members to curl up and read holiday stories together.

31. Visit a Local Nursing Home to Spread Cheer

Share the holiday spirit with seniors by visiting a local nursing home. Sing carols, share stories, and offer handmade cards to bring smiles to residents’ faces during the festive season.

32. Plan a Family Sledding Day

Feel the rush of excitement as you speed down the slope together! 

33. Design and Send Out a Holiday Newsletter

Chronicle your family’s year in a creative holiday newsletter. Share highlights, accomplishments, and funny anecdotes, sending warm wishes to friends and family near and far.

34. Watch the Sunrise on Christmas Morning

Do the kids wake up super early on Christmas morning? Then what better way to start out the day than by watching the sun come up!

35. Have a Snowball Fight

Keeping it friendly, of course. 🙂 

36. Donate Toys and Clothes to Those in Need

Teach the value of giving by donating toys and clothes to those less fortunate.

37. Create a DIY Wreath for the Front Door

Welcome your holiday guests with a touch of festive flair! Grab a plain wreath like this one, then deck it out with Christmas decorations.

38. Plan a Family Christmas Eve Party

And start new family Christmas Eve traditions, like sprinkling “reindeer food” outside or leaving a magical key for Santa.

39. Watch a Holiday Parade Together

Bundle up and attend a local holiday parade, complete with festive floats, marching bands, and cheer.

40. Create a Scrapbook of Holiday Memories

Document the magic of the holiday season by creating a family Christmas scrapbook filled with photos, ticket stubs, and mementos. 

41. Go on a Holiday-Themed Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of holiday-related items and enjoy a spirited search together, building excitement and friendly competition.

42. Attend a Candlelight Church Service

Experience the beauty and serenity of a candlelight church service during the holiday season. The warm glow of candles and the sound of hymns create the perfect atmosphere for fostering a sense of spirituality and togetherness.

43. Have a Family Karaoke Night with Christmas Songs

From classics to modern hits, singing together brings joy and laughter to your holiday celebrations.

44. Make “Ugly Sweaters”

Buy plain sweaters for each family member. Then get out the crafting supplies and try to create the ugliest Christmas sweater!

45. Visit a Local Museum or Zoo for Holiday Displays

Does your community have a local holiday display event? Take the kiddos to admire twinkling lights, festive decorations, and perhaps even meet Santa himself.

46. Decorate Gingerbread Men with Icing and Candy

Whether you create traditional figures or quirky characters, these tasty treats double as edible art.

my daughter checking "decorate gingerbread men" off our christmas bucket list

47. Have a Cozy Family Picnic by the Fireplace

Spread out blankets, enjoy comfort food, and enjoy each other’s company in the fire’s warm glow.

48. Build a Fort and Have a Family Sleepover

Transform your living room and have a family sleepover under a makeshift fort. 

49. Host a Holiday-Themed Puzzle Night

Piece together a festive jigsaw while swapping stories, sipping hot drinks, and working together to complete the beautiful picture.

50. Create a DIY “Thankful Jar” for the Holiday Season

Encourage each family member to jot down things they’re thankful for throughout the holiday season. Then read the notes together on Christmas Eve or Day.

51. Check Out Christmas Lights in the Neighborhood

Admire the creativity and effort that goes into each display.

52. Set Up a Hot Chocolate Bar

Build a hot chocolate bar with a variety of toppings like marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles, and flavored syrups. Everyone can customize their own mug of cocoa to suit their taste buds.

53. Have a Holiday Crafting Day

Dedicate a day to holiday crafting, which can then double as holiday decor.

54. Make Reindeer Food to Leave Out on Christmas Eve

Combine oats and glitter, then leave it out on the lawn as a treat for Santa’s sleigh-pulling reindeer. Otherwise, you could simply keep bird seed in a special jar labeled “Magical Reindeer Food”. 

55. Create a Family Holiday Playlist

From classic carols to modern hits, your playlist will provide the perfect soundtrack for your family’s festive moments.

ultimate family christmas bucket list - twelve activities

56. Host a Family Talent Show with a Holiday Twist

Showcase your family’s hidden talents with a holiday-themed talent show. 

57. Go Skiing

Take the family either downhill or cross-country skiing – so much fun!

58. String Popcorn

Using a needle and thread, string popcorn together to create a Christmas tree garland.

59. Decorate the Dining Table for a Special Holiday Meal

Decorate the dining table with festive centerpieces, elegant place settings, and twinkling candles. 

60. Attend a Local Holiday Theater Production

Holiday performances can transport you to enchanting worlds filled with wonder.

61. Write and Perform a Family Christmas Play

No live performances in your area this holiday season? Then put on your own family Christmas performance!

62. Adopt a Family

“Adopt” a family in need this Christmas and give them Christmas gifts, a box of food to make a holiday meal, etc.

63. Make DIY Snow Globes

Craft your own snow globes by filling jars with mini winter scenes and glittering snow.

64. Make a Christmas Eve Box

Put together a Christmas Eve box for the entire family (or boxes for each family member).

65. Drink Eggnog

Either you love it or you hate it. But you need to try it at least once!

66. Take a Picture With Santa

Go to the mall and get your family photo taken with Santa.

67. Visit a Christmas Tree Farm 

Make choosing your Christmas tree a memorable experience by visiting a local tree farm. Wander through rows of evergreens, take in the crisp air, and select the perfect tree to bring home and decorate.

68. Have a DIY Wrapping Paper Decorating Session

Transform plain wrapping paper into a work of art by having a DIY decorating session. Paint, stamp, or draw festive designs to make your gift wrapping as special as the presents themselves.

69. Watch the Sunset While Sipping Warm Cider

What better way to appreciate the beauty of nature than while sipping a warm beverage?

70. Have a Family Christmas Music Dance Party

Turn up the holiday tunes and have an impromptu dance party with the whole family.

71. Host a Holiday Trivia Night

Test your knowledge of festive facts and traditions while enjoying friendly competition and laughter.

72. Create a DIY Christmas Centerpiece

Whether it’s a floral arrangement or a rustic display, your DIY creation will set the scene for holiday meals together.

73. Host a Christmas Dinner Party

Plan a dinner party for local family and friends at some point during the holiday season.

74. Make Your Own Christmas Candles

Try your hands at candle-making as a family, creating your own holiday inspired candles.

75. Watch the Nutcracker Ballet Together

The enchanting music and performances will transport you to a world of sugar plum fairies and holiday dreams.

76. Wear Fun Christmas Socks

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory!

77. Take a Sleigh Ride

Take the whole family to ride in a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon.

78. Create a Gingerbread Village 

Take gingerbread house decorating to the next level by constructing an entire village. Craft gingerbread houses, shops, and landmarks to form a charming holiday village display.

my daughter's gingerbread house village

79. Decorate the Outdoors with Luminaries

Add a warm and inviting glow to your outdoor spaces by decorating with luminaries. Line pathways and driveways with candles in paper bags to create a magical ambiance during the holiday evenings.

80. Make Holiday-Themed Slime or Playdough

Combine creativity with sensory play by making winter inspired slime or playdough.

81. Indulge in Christmas Candy

Fill up jars with candy that reminds you of your childhood Christmases.

82. Have a Family Story-Sharing Night by the Fire

Gather around the fireplace and take turns sharing cherished family stories. They could be heartwarming memories from the past or imaginative tales you create together.

83. Send Christmas Care Packages

Know someone who might spend the holidays alone? Put together a surprise care package and either mail or hand-deliver it to them.

84. Write a Holiday-Themed Poem

Collaborate as a family to write a unique holiday-themed poem. 

85. Plan a Family Ice Cream Sundae Party

Shake up the traditional dessert menu by hosting a family ice cream sundae party. Set out a variety of ice cream flavors and toppings for a fun and indulgent evening.

86. Create Holiday-Themed Sensory Bins 

From jingle bells to shiny ornaments, these bins provide a tactile and entertaining way for little ones to explore the season.

87. Knit or Crochet a Christmas Scarf

Learn (and teach the rest of the family) how to knit or crochet, then sit together while making your own scarves.

88. Connect With Old Friends

What better time than this holiday season to re-connect with old friends?

89. Plan a Holiday-Themed Photo Scavenger Hunt

Not quite the traditional scavenger hunt, this idea combines photography and outdoor fun. But instead of checking each item off a list, take a photo of the item.

90. Make and Decorate Your Own Holiday T-Shirts

Use fabric paints, markers, and stencils to create personalized shirts that celebrate the season in style.

91. Create a Family Time Capsule for the Holiday Season

Capture this holiday season in a time capsule filled with mementos, letters, and small items. Anything that reflects your family’s experiences during this festive time!

92. Have a Family Christmas Baking Day

Spend a day in the kitchen baking up a storm with pies, pastries, and other sweet treats. 

93. Plan a Holiday-Themed Family Yoga Session

Unwind and connect as a family through a holiday-themed yoga session. You can look on YouTube for guidance if needed!

94. Roast Chestnuts

Get yourself a chestnut roaster and roast chestnuts on an open fire.

95. Make Snow Angels

Bundle up warm for this one! Go outside and make snow angels, just like when you were a kid.

96. Have a Holiday-Themed Science Experiment Day

Create snow-like substances, explore how candy canes dissolve, or make simple homemade ornaments using scientific principles.

97. Donate Winter Gear

Got gently used mittens and coats that no longer fit anyone in your household? Donate to people who can’t afford to buy them!

98. Plan a DIY Holiday Spa Night at Home

Pamper yourselves with holiday inspired facials, peppermint foot scrubs, and pure relaxation.

99. Make Homemade Snow Cones with Holiday Flavors

Make refreshing homemade snow cones featuring holiday-inspired flavors like peppermint or cranberry.

100. Perform a Random Act of Kindness

Get everyone out of the house and, together, find a way to cheer up a stranger.

101. Hold a Christmas Cookie Exchange

It’s kind of like a potluck, except everyone brings cookies to share.

Christmas Bucket List – Final Thoughts

Whew! That’s quite the list of family-friendly Christmas activities. Of course, you can pick and choose whichever work best for your family.

I’d love to hear: What’s on your Christmas Bucket List this year? 

More Christmas Content from The Writer Mom:

75+ Christmas Gifts for Kids That Aren’t Toys

25 Magical Christmas Eve Traditions to Start This Year

“12 Days of Christmas” Gift Ideas for Kids

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