This post is a list of fun holiday activities to add to a Christmas bucket list.
Family bucket lists are a fun way to create an itinerary that keeps everyone looking forward to the next event, outing or activity.
With that said, have you ever written a Christmas bucket list?
Having a holiday bucket list filled with fun activities and ideas is a great way for family to bond and spend quality time together. It also reminds you to make the holiday season rich instead of just letting it pass by without brilliant new experiences.
There are even plenty of fun Christmas activities to enjoy during the holidays without breaking the bank.
52 Festive Activities For Your Christmas Bucket List
Searching for activities or ideas for your Christmas bucket list? Then you’re definitely in the right place, as I’ve curated a list of some of the best ideas that will make Christmas a memorable day for you and your loved ones.
1. DIY (or Buy) a Custom Ornament
Imagine having a tree that captures your family’s growth. A tree that chronicles all of the important and sentimental events that happens in your lives over the years.
Achieve this by decorating with ornaments that are customized for each year.
If you’re not interested in DIYing an ornament, it’s really easy to purchase a beautifully designed custom ornament.
2. Hide Candy Canes Around The House
One of my favorite things about Christmas as a child for me was sneaking candy canes off of our Christmas tree every night. It made December feel like Christmas every time.
Create a season-long scavenger hunt for your family by hiding candy canes in both easy-to-find and tricky spots around the house. Whoever finds a candy cane gets to eat it!
3. Make Christmas Crafts
If you’re a die-hard crafter (or if you usually hate DIY-ing during the rest of the year), the holidays are the perfect opportunity to add a hands-on special touch onto a project or two.
There is a wide selection of very nice Christmas-themed crafts on the internet and on this very site. Here are some great ideas:
Whichever one you pick, making your own crafts will make for a fun night of family bonding. You might also save some money on gifts!
4. Host a Cookie Swap
This is the cookie version of a potluck. Instead of cooked food, everyone gets to bring home-baked cookies.
Invite family, friends and/or community members to bake their favorite cookie or a cookie that they are known for. Then, get together and trade! It’s a low-stress holiday merriment that people will look forward to every year.
5. Wear Matching Holiday Pajamas as a couple or family
Want a photogenic way to show off your family unit? No better way to do that than to snag a coordinating pajama set for the group.
Not only is it a perfect look for your holiday pictures, it’s an extra way for you all to bond while you do the other holiday activities on this list.
6. Cruise the Neighborhood for the Best Holiday Lights
Pile into the car in the evenings and drive around your neighborhood to fully enjoy all the Christmas decorations and lighting. This is a unique experience because it presents your neighborhood in a mood that is different from any other time of the year.
If your hood isn’t very festive, drive a bit further to find an area that has their houses, businesses, or shops decked out in holiday lights and decor.
7. Make a Christmas Wreath for your Front Door
The circular shape of a wreath symbolizes eternal and unbroken unity.
Tap into this symbolism by making a season-specific wreath to decorate your home. From modern hoop wreaths to traditional green ones to candy wreaths, you can DIY them all!
8. Have a Christmas Tree Campout (overnight sleepover)
Few things are more magical than the glow of twinkling Christmas lights on everyone’s face at bedtime.
Bring cozy pillows, blankies and sleeping bags to the living room, turn off all the room lights leaving only the Christmas lights on and have a glowing overnight sleepover in the living room by the Christmas tree.
9. Read Christmas Books at Bedtime
When you’re already used to reading books at bedtime, switching to Christmas themed books when December rolls around is an easy transition to make and one your kids will look forward to year after year after year.
10. Make Gratitude Lists
The holidays are for giving thanks. Practice gratitude and teach your children to value it by making gratitude lists. Make a general or themed list either once or every night of the 12 nights of Christmas to make thankfulness a part of your family heritage.
11. Have a Holiday Movie Marathon
Christmas is not complete without a Christmas movie or two. Ort a whole marathon!
Getting together to watch your favorite holiday flicks is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Popular Christmas Bucket List Films include:
- Home Alone (Part 1 & Part 2)
- Miracle on 34th Street
- A Christmas Story
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- The Santa Clause
To make your movie marathon even more fun for the group, let everyone pick a movie of their choice. This makes it inclusive.
Also, instead of binge-watching all the movies at once, you can decide on a particular time for everyone to gather to watch what made it onto the final list. You can decide to watch only one movie every night or just pick a night every week to binge-watch them.
12. Crown a Gift Wrapping Champion
It’s the effort that counts, they say. Create some hype around the effort you put into the presentation of the gifts you give.
Do all your gift wrapping together as a group, then vote and reward the most unique and beautiful gift wrapping job.
13. Host Christmas Dinner
Food is a major part of the holidays and Christmas gives you all the opportunity you need to try out new recipes or cook something traditional that you may not have the time to otherwise.
Coming together to prepare a meal can also be a meaningful experience for the whole family.
14. Make Eggnog
Or cider. Or hot chocolate.
Some drinks just scream holiday season. Whichever you choose, you’ll be anticipating it all year.
15. Attend Local Christmas Parades or Tree Lighting Events
Attending parades and tree lighting events are fun holiday activities that should be on every family’s Christmas bucket list.
Most towns and counties host a Christmas tree lighting and/or a Christmas parade to celebrate the holiday season. Find out if one of these is happening around you from your regional paper or website.
Then, bundle up in a couple of warm blankets and prepare some flasks of hot cocoa before enjoying the processions and competitions.
16. Take Pictures With Santa Claus
Sitting on Santa’s lap for a picture at the mall could be one of the oldest traditions on this list!
Snap a flick with ol’ St. Nick and you’ll look back on them fondly for years to come.
17. Put Together a Large Christmas Puzzle
If you need an idea for an indoor Christmas tradition, try a large Christmas-themed puzzle! The idea behind choosing a 1000-piece jigsaw is to make it challenging enough to last the entire holiday season.
I recommend this beautiful, well-made holiday scene; you or your family will be obsessed with working on it for an hour or two every night.
18. Pick a Tree from a Christmas Tree Farm
When you’re on that farm, the perfect tree will pick you! Or so they say….
Either way, everyone should enjoy the natural scent of pine, in their home, at least once a year.
19. Give Themed Christmas Gifts
Sometimes Christmas gift giving gets stale and predictable. This won’t be the case, however, if you have unique gift exchanges.
20. Read the Christmas Story by the Fireplace
Can’t spell Christmas without Christ, right? In the same way, a central holiday tradition for anyone and everyone to adopt is to know the reason for the season.
Start each holiday season by reading the original Christmas story in Luke 2 and it will keep your perspective on track all season.
21. Visit a Christmas Market in Germany
Traveling for Christmas allows you to explore the rich customs and traditions that are held around the world.
To incorporate traveling into your holiday bucket list, you can make it a goal to visit Christmas markets around the world, especially in Germany where they are said to originate.
22. Build and Decorate a Gingerbread House
If you can’t go to Germany, get a taste with this 16th century German tradition. Bake a little house with walls made of gingerbread and decorations made of icing and candies.
Choose a gingerbread house recipe and mold and get to work constructing this delicious abode.
23. Prioritize Random Acts of Kindness
Random acts of kindness are an important holiday activity for your family.
You can donate to your local food bank, make homeless care packages to hand out, gift toys to children’s hospitals, donate to a charity, assist at an orphanage or shelter near you or fill a shoebox for an organization like Operation Christmas Child.
This spreads Christmas joy to others and teaches yourself (and your children) about being more considerate and generous.
24. Roast Marshmallows
This is a shoo-in for any Christmas bucket list, because if we are being honest, who doesn’t love marshmallows?
Start a fire outside or on a tabletop fire pit then roast your marshmallows while exchanging stories and making conversation.
You can also place marshmallows on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven until they are toasted golden brown. YUM!
25. Kiss Under a Mistletoe
Hanging mistletoe isn’t just any Christmas tradition, it’s a romantic holiday tradition for couples to share.
Here’s a list of 37 more Merry Christmas Traditions for Couples.
26. DIY your Home Decor
Putting together the Christmas decorations is a nice way to get the whole family involved in Christmas prep. (It’s also a perfect way to cut costs while adding that personal, homemade touch to your holiday home).
From garlands to candle holders to banners, there is a variety of DIY decor projects to choose from.
27. Make an Advent Calendar
Advent calendars are used to count down the days of advent (which are the religious days leading up to Christmas Eve).
These festive calendars are usually filled with simple treats, like chocolate or candy. However, in recent times, a wide range of gifts ranging from perfume to liquor or beauty products are gaining popularity as advent calendar staples.
28. Do a Secret Santa Gift Exchange
The element of mystery is what makes this classic Christmas tradition so exciting.
Gather a group and allow each person to discreetly pick the name of someone else within the group. Everyone becomes someone else’s secret Santa, which means that on the day of the exchange, they must give their person a thoughtful gift and reveal their identity.
29. Attend a Candlelight Service
A Christmas candlelight service usually involves singing carols, talking about the significance of Christmas, and lighting candles.
It can be the perfect way to start or end your Christmas season.
30. Christmas Game Night
If you’re looking for something to bring the family together after Christmas dinner (or for a remote Christmas celebration), then a game night is the answer to that question.
This printable 15-in-1 pack of Christmas games makes it super easy.
31. Make or Buy Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Ugly Christmas sweaters are a modern holiday tradition that I totally love. There’s just something about intentionally planning to look as bad as possible that I find really funny!
Make this into a fun activity for everybody in the family or at work. After making (or buying) your sweaters, have a small competition to determine who is wearing the ugliest Christmas-themed sweater.
32. Take a Family Christmas Portrait
Christmas is one of the best times to take a family portrait, because the whole family is usually gathered and in high spirits for the holidays. Take advantage of this opportunity and capture a few memories to enjoy for years to come.
33. Attend a Christmas Concert
What better way is there to proclaim “Joy to the World” than by attending a Christmas concert with your family?
Find out where the Christmas concert is happening near you then set out to have a fun evening filled with Christmas music, carols, and all sorts of entertainment.
34. See the Nutcracker Ballet
The Nutcracker is a classic Christmas story by Tchaikovsky. It’s a fairy tale ballet about a family’s Christmas Eve celebration and it is performed all around the country every Christmas season!
If you’re a family that enjoys shows and theatre, this is a must-add to your holiday bucket list.
35. Hide Elves on the Shelves
An elf on a shelf around the house acts as Santa’s eyes and ears. They convince your little ones to behave so that they don’t get on “the naughty list”.
After everyone has gone to bed at night, change the elf’s position so that it looks like he’s just come back from reporting his observations to Santa. It is quite amusing to watch everyone figure out the elf’s new location every morning.
36. Go Christmas Caroling
Love to be musical? Get your family, a group of friends, your neighbors together to rehearse Christmas carols (songs).
When you feel ready to perform, walk through your neighborhood knocking on doors and sharing Christmas cheer through your vocals. It’s a great way to socialize and brew up holiday spirit.
37. Attend Christmas Church Service or Mass
Christmas is easily one of the holiest days of the year. It’s no wonder that church services tend to be packed on Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve).
Services often incorporate nativities, plays, hymns, prayers, Christmas wishes and scriptural readings. To keep a spiritual focus, this is a very grounded way to commemorate Christmas.
Enjoy outdoor winter activities
It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t put at least one outdoor activity on your Christmas bucket list! Spending time outdoors helps to bring a sense of delight to the winter time period.
Here are some ways to add outside activities to your holiday itinerary.
38. Go Sledding
Lots of fun! Finish a day of sledding with a few cups of hot cocoa or apple cider to warm up; it will make the memory one to look back on in the future.
39. Snowball Fights
Go out and pelt each other with balls of snow until you are tired (or break yourself into teams for extra fun).
If you live somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of snow or any snow at all, you can still have fun with an artificial snowball fight. All you need is a set of artificial snowballs. Then, let the games begin!
40. Build a Snowman
This might be one of the more cliché entries on the list, but it’s a staple among those participating in the holiday camaraderie.
Go out into the snow and gather enough to make 3 enormous balls of snow which you can then stack on top of each other. Make sure to add a hat, carrot nose and twig arms!
41. Make Snow Angels
The fact that you can only do this in the wintertime makes it a perfect entry for your Christmas bucket list.
Plop yourself onto a pile of snow and wave your arms and legs to create the perfect snow angel. Make as many as possible!
42. Go Ice Skating
As soon as winter comes around, ice skating rinks pop up even in places with no snow.
Get yourself to the nearest ice skating rink, rent some blades and prepare to have the time of your life. It is a thrilling experience for both experienced ice skaters and newbies.
43. Winter Scavenger Hunt
If you’re looking for outdoor winter bucket list activities that don’t involve snow or ice, what about a scavenger hunt of wintertime objects?
This printable winter scavenger hunt makes it easy- all you have to do is print them out, pass them out and then head outside!
44. Attend Holiday Parties
Christmas is the season for parties- company parties, restaurant parties, reunions, family get-togethers…take your pick!
Some of them will have fun dress codes like “ugly Christmas sweater” while some might require you to turn up in your finest digs. Have fun at all of them!
45. Send Holiday Cards to Soldiers
For defending the country from foreign and domestic threats, military personnel deserve our love and gratitude.
Since a lot of soldiers don’t get to come home for the holidays, sending them handmade cards is a beautiful and welcome appreciation of their service. For children, this activity is an important lesson on being grateful to the men and women who sacrifice to keep the country safe.
If you don’t know anyone in active service, you can send cards through certain organizations like USASOA.
Another way to teach empathy, charity and gratitude through your Christmas bucket list is by lending a helping hand.
You can volunteer at an animal shelter or soup kitchen and make things easier for people who need services. You can also pick a cause or movement that you feel passionate about and spend the day contributing to their activities.
47. Make a Christmas Playlist
Is it even Christmas if Mariah Carey isn’t singing “All I Want For Christmas Is You“? I think not!
Christmas music sets the mood and put you in the right frame of mind to celebrate the holidays.
Create a Christmas playlist filled with everyone’s favorite jingles and play it in the background as you carry on with your regularly scheduled Christmas celebrations.
48. Hang Stockings
Christmas stockings make the holiday decor feel complete. Their dainty appearance create a warm atmosphere and provide the perfect place to stuff tiny gifts and surprises.
49. Host a Christmas Potluck
Eating good food is a very important part of the Christmas holidays. That being said, what better way to bring a variety of tasteful dishes together, while keeping costs down, than a potluck.
To ensure your potluck goes well, assign different food categories to different guests. By doing so, you ensure a well balanced spread.
50. Decorate a Christmas Tree
A well-decorated Christmas tree brings a lovely festive feeling and serves as the perfect backdrop for wonderful Christmas photos.
51. Design the best holiday light decor
After decking out your Christmas tree with ribbons, wreaths, garlands, baubles and toppers, don’t forget the outside of your home! Use lights to show your holiday spirit on the outside as well.
52. Revive a cherished childhood tradition
The holiday season always brings around a special sense of nostalgia. It’s a good time to share these deep memories with the loved ones in your life.
Think about one thing you loved about the Christmas season during your childhood and celebrate it by incorporating it into your present day festivities.
Bucket lists are awesome to have, especially when it’s a Christmas bucket list. What’s on your family’s bucket list this holiday season?