Christmas Bucket List: Make the Most of the Season by Planning Ahead - Backyard Boss
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Christmas Bucket List: Make the Most of the Season by Planning Ahead

All year long we look forward to the holiday season and all of the fun activities that come along with it. There is so much to do… which is part of the problem. When the holiday season arrives, sometimes the options are overwhelming. To help you organize and decide which activities you want to do this holiday season, we pulled together this ultimate Christmas bucket list with more than 40 activities for individuals, families, couples, and friends to complete around the holidays.

Table of Contents

Outdoor Christmas Bucket List Activities

wooden sign for christmas against wood paneled surface

Although the wintry weather may deter some people from going outside, it is one of my favorite things about the holidays. Below are some fun and festive activities you can do outside around Christmas.

Build a Snowman or Snow Sculpture

Building snowmen and snow sculptures is snow much fun. Try making a classic snowman with buttons and a carrot nose, a funny snowman dressed up in silly clothes, or really challenge yourself and make a snow sculpture. Build yourself a chair, an animal, or even a portrait in the snow!

Go Christmas Caroling

Whether you are a great singer, or can’t even hold the tune of “Happy Birthday” caroling is a great way to spread Christmas cheer around your neighborhood. Gather some friends, wear your best ugly sweaters, and walk around belting some classics.

ice skating with hockey sticks on frozen lake in the morning

Go Ice Skating

While ice skating indoors is fun year-round, there really is nothing like ice skating outside! Strap up your skates and find a pop-up rink or a natural spot that is sufficiently frozen. Put on a show, play some hockey, or just try to stay upright. For the best experience, treat your frozen body to some hot cocoa afterward!

Start a Snowball Fight

If there is snow around me on the ground, it will at some point end up in the air, probably launched at my sister when she least expects it. Snowball fights are too tempting for me not to start because they are so much fun! You can start one by launching a snowball at your unsuspecting friend or family member, or officially invite some friends over, create teams, and have a full-on battle.

christmas tree shopping at a lot where a man is placing a tied tree into a stand

Shop for Your Christmas Tree

What is Christmas without a tree? Before you can put lights on, decorate, and care for your tree you have to go pick one out. You can do this through shopping or chopping. Pick out a tree at your local garden center, or drive to a Christmas tree farm and chop one down yourself. Of course, if live trees aren’t your thing, you can have just as much fun shopping for an artificial Christmas tree.

Decorate the Outside of Your Home

While decorating the inside of homes and Christmas trees is normally people’s priority, outdoor Christmas decorations are a great, easy way to spread holiday cheer. Whether you have an elegant home with warm, classic lights strung over your trees or a colorful one that crams your yard full of blow-ups, the holiday season is an amazing time of year to get creative with decorating.

Indoor Christmas Bucket List Activities

If you prefer to stay inside where it’s cozy and warm during the holidays, these delightful activities will be right up your alley.

a small girl hangs an ornament to decorate a tree for indoor christmas fun

Decorate Your Home and Tree

Most families have traditions around decorating their house and tree. Mine takes one evening to do all the decorating, putting lights on the tree and around the house, hanging up ornaments and wreaths, and placing decorations everywhere there is a spare spot. We bake cookies, drink eggnog, and listen to Christmas music, making a whole evening out of it.

Wrap Your Gifts

After all the shopping is wrapped up, it’s time to wrap your gifts. You can make your wrapping experience more fun by setting aside a whole afternoon to do it, cranking up the Christmas tunes, and nibbling on some Christmas snacks (like candy canes!) while you wrap.

Read a Christmas Story

There are so many delightful Christmas stories to read, I could make a whole bucket list just dedicated to them! My personal favorites are classic (The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol) and silly (The Cajun Night Before Christmas and Eloise at Christmastime).

    Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition

Buy at Amazon
    For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden All Aboard ornament.

    A Christmas Carol (Calla Editions)

Buy at Amazon
    Lovers of fiction, Dickens novels, picture books, and the holiday itself will delight in this magnificent hardcover edition of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. A dozen full-page color plates and 18 black-and-white images by the legendary artist recapture the story's Victorian charm and contribute to the keepsake quality of this heirloom volume.

Christmas Bucket List Food Activities

One of the best parts of Christmas is all the delicious holiday food you get to eat! With so many treats to eat it’s no wonder everyone resolves to lose weight at New Years.

hot chocolate cocoa from above with marshmallows on a wooden table

Drink Hot Chocolate

Christmas season is also cocoa season! Add delicious toppings to your cocoa, like whipped cream, marshmallows, or a chocolate drizzle to maximize its tastiness. For a crowd, build a cocoa bar with assorted fun toppings and flavors. (Kids love this!) If you have a fireplace or firepit, toast marshmallows for an extra-special treat. Plop down in an armchair next to a warm fireplace and you will be in heaven.

Build a Gingerbread House

Whether you buy a kit or make your gingerbread house from scratch this fun, tasty tradition allows kids and adults to get creative while playing with their food. I always make a little extra gingerbread to snack on so I don’t end up eating holes out of my house!

    3D Christmas House Cookie Cutter Set

Buy at Amazon
    Christmas Cookie Cutter Set is made of premium stainless steel, with a folded edge for safer handling and strong seams that won't come unstuck. These cutters will hold their shape for years.

Roast Chestnuts

It’s not just a song lyric, you actually can roast chestnuts on an open fire and they are absolutely delicious! For easy roasting, invest in a chestnut roaster that you can use indoors in your fireplace, or outdoors in a fire pit. What’s “nut” to like?

Drink Eggnog

This warm and festive drink is a must-have at my family’s Christmas celebrations. You can make it yourself or purchase it in jug form at a grocery store. Make some virgin eggnog so that the kids in your family can enjoy it too.

small hand holds a homemade moose cookie decorated with green icing and sugar

Bake Christmas Cookies

The hardest part of baking Christmas cookies is deciding what kind you want to bake. How are you supposed to choose between baking gingerbread, snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and every other delicious cookie variety? The solution is holding a cookie swap so you get to sample as many as possible. Remember to leave a few so you can put them out for Santa!

Enjoy Mulled Wine

My other favorite holiday drink is mulled wine! The blend of spices and the savory taste of mulled wine makes me crave it all year long, but it never tastes as good as in the winter after a long day out in the cold. You can make mulled wine or buy it and heat it up.

Crafting Christmas Activities

Since Christmas is the season of giving, it is also the season of crafting! You can handcraft heartfelt gifts for relatives or make festive decorations for your home.

a child making christmas cards with paper and washable markers

Create Christmas Cards

I love receiving Christmas cards during the holiday, and nothing is quite as touching as a handmade one. With some cardstock, ribbons, glue, glitter, and other decorative elements you can make some uniquely beautiful cards to send out to friends and family. If you need some inspiration, check out our big list of Christmas wishes, quotes, jokes and sentiments.

Make a Christmas Wreath

Wreaths are a classic and beautiful Christmas decoration that you can do so much with when crafting. Simply start with a wreath base, and then add on some gorgeous greenery like pine needles.

    Grapevine Wreath Set – 3-Piece Set

Buy at Amazon
    Includes 3 pieces of brown willow craft frames in 3 different sizes for different projects. Each ornamental wreath has been hand-woven using traditional rattan wood, which is durable, long-lasting, decorative and strong. Each wreath is coated with lacquer to wick off moisture.

For an extra touch of festive fun, add tinsel, ornaments, figurines, bows, candy canes or cookies to your wreath and hook up some battery-powered lights to show it off.

Make Homemade Gifts

When trying to think of the perfect gift for someone who seemingly already has it all, consider making them something homemade! There are so many simple crafts you can make, from personalized picture frames to pressed flowers, and from hand-knit scarves to hand-dipped candles. After you set-up your work station, help your kids make homemade gifts for relatives!

flatlay with scissors and paper snowflakes on a cutting mat

Cut Paper Snowflakes

One of the simplest and most classic decorations is paper snowflakes. Making snowflakes is fun for friends and families to do together! Simply fold up some paper and cut out crazy shapes with your scissors to make a one-in-a-million decoration. They look great strung on fishing twine or pressed up against your home’s windows.

Craft Some Ornaments

This is another great crafting activity to do with kids. You can use an ornament-making kit, or get creative and craft your own ornaments from scratch. Make ornaments for your own trees or send them as gifts to other people!

    Ruisita Christmas Button Wreath Ornament Craft Kit

Buy at Amazon
    Each kit includes 400 Christmas buttons in red, green and white; 48 chenille stems in green and red; 1 roll of 20m green rope; 24 pieces of gold colored jingle bells; 12 red bows; 12 green bows; 497 pieces in total.

Create Some Snowman Crafts

The snowmen you make don’t just have to be outside! There are tons of fun snowman crafts you can do, like making a snowman out of cotton balls, strips of paper, or even socks! The options are endless, just like your snowman’s lifespan, since this one won’t melt.

ugly christmas sweaters
CREDIT: All images via TWENTY20

Make an Ugly Christmas Sweater

Ugly Christmas sweaters have become something of a phenomenon, probably because they are so much fun to wear and make! To make one, buy a basic sweater, or use an old one that you don’t wear anymore. Using fabric glue, attach bows, pom poms, felt, and even lights to it. You will be so proud of your creation you won’t even want anyone to call it ugly.

Christmas Bucket List Activities for Families

Christmastimes is family-time! Below are some fun activities you can complete with family members—particularly younger ones.

a girl writes a letter to santa

Write a Letter to Santa

Writing a letter to Santa is a super fun tradition for children. Get some fancy paper and colorful pens and help your kids write to dear old Saint Nick. USPS even has instructions for mailing letters to Santa.

Get A Photo with Santa

Every family tries at some point to get a picture with Santa, whether that escapade results in your child calmly whispering their Christmas list into Santa’s ear, or screaming and crying away is out of your hands. Nevertheless, it’s a tradition, and the photos typically turn out cute.

Set Up an Elf on a Shelf

The Elf on a Shelf is a timeless holiday tradition that will bring your children joy every morning leading up to Christmas. It also has the added bonus of making them behave, after all, the elf does report on all their activities back to Santa every night.

    The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

Buy on Amazon
    Add a new member to the family this Holiday with this Scout Elf from the Elf on the Shelf. This scout Elf reports to Santa Claus each night to let him know who has been naughty or nice.

Go See The Nutcracker

So many families have the holiday tradition of seeing the Nutcracker ballet every Christmas. This enchanting ballet is fun for the whole family, with high-drama, beautiful costumes and scenery, and breath-taking ballet. Check to see if there is a Nutcracker performance happening near you! And if not, no worries: You can stream it through most subscription platforms, or purchase a copy of your own.

Christmas Activities for Couples

Christmas is one of the most romantic times of the year, with beautiful decorations hung all around, cozy time indoors, and mistletoe hung from doorframes. Below are some romantic ideas for couples around Christmastime.

tree lighting ceremony selfie at christmas

Attend a Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tree lighting ceremonies are not only beautiful and entertaining, they can also be totally romantic! Bundle up with your significant other and check out a tree lighting ceremony near you. Extend the date by getting a hot chocolate before to warm up your hands while you wait.

Stroll and Look at Christmas Lights

Take a romantic stroll around your neighborhood to look at all of the beautiful Christmas lights! This date idea is free and easy to do. Play some romantic Christmas tunes while you walk for some added Christmas cheer.

couple shopping for new christmas ornaments

Get a New Ornament For Each Anniversary

A fun couple tradition is buying a new ornament every year for Christmas. That way you can watch your shared ornaments grow with each year you are together. Decide if you want a theme for the ornaments, like them being a symbol of a memory from that year.  Put your own spin on this fun tradition!

Write Christmas Love Letters to Each Other

Whether you are together or with your separate families, consider writing your significant other a Christmas love letter. You can send it to them so it arrives around Christmastime or hide it under the tree and pull it out on Christmas morning.

mistletoe against a dark bokeh background hanging with lights.

Kiss Under The Mistletoe

Rules are rules. If you end up under a mistletoe at some point during the holiday season, you have to kiss someone. Of course, you can skew the odds by hanging some in every door frame in your house. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the tradition, after all.

Christmas Activities for Friends

Christmas means being on a break and coming home. Which means you have plenty of time for, and access to, your friends. These activities are perfect for friends hanging out during the holidays.

Go to a Christmas Celebration

In my hometown tons of small Christmas festivals pop up during the holidays, with live music, hot food, and various trinkets you can buy as gifts. I love going to these celebrations and seeing all of the lights and cheerful people getting in the holiday mood.

woman in green dress leading christmas singalong with friends

Have a Christmas Sing-a-Long

Make your own Christmas playlist with all the best hits, blast them on high, and sing at the top of your lungs. No Christmas playlist would be complete without “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, or “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Go Sledding

Everyone has a few legendary hills around them that are absolutely perfect for sledding! As soon as snow falls they have countless people going down them, flattening paths on brightly-colored, plastic sleds.

If you don’t have one of these hills, or don’t get snow, check out a commercial tubing hill near you that uses fake snow. They are a total blast to slide down!

Watch Holiday Movies

a boy and his best friend dog watch christmas movies

There are countless Christmas classics, from Elf, to Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, to Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer, to Home Alone. Grab some friends, put on some comfy pj’s, make some delicious Christmas snacks, and settle down to watch your favorites. You can even do a holiday movie marathon if you are feeling particularly ambitious.

Exchange Secret Santa Gifts

Secret Santa gift exchanges are so much fun to do with friends. Everyone’s name goes in a hat, and whoever’s name you pull out, you have to buy a gift for. The fun of not knowing who is giving you your gift, and trying to figure out what the perfect gift is for the person you chose, makes this one of my favorite holiday traditions.

Host a Christmas Party

Have all of your friends over for a jolly Christmas party! Decorate your house with Christmas decor, blast some Christmas tunes, and play fun games like “take a bow.” In “take a bow” you prepare a large bowl with lots of bows in it and place it in the middle of the room. Everyone at the party tries to place bows on other people’s backs without them knowing. Whoever sticks the most bows on other guests wins!

Christmas Kindness Activities

Christmas is the season of kindness, so its a wonderful time of year to help out others. Below are some Christmas activities you can do to help less fortunate people in your community.

Volunteer for a Good Cause

Donate your time to a good cause! Everyone feels busy during the holiday season, but just giving a few hours of your time can make a big difference. Would you rather be wading through a crowd at a mall or making a lonely, older person smile? Consider activities like volunteering to serve meals at a homeless shelter, collecting donations for a positive organization, or caroling at a medical facility.

Give Blood

Any time of year is a good time of year to donate blood. But if you haven’t done so in a while—or ever!—and you can, there are few gifts greater than more time with those we love. To find blood drives near you, visit the Red Cross website.

christmas kindness bucket list donation clothes and toys

Donate Old Winter Clothes

Although wintry weather is great for building snowmen, going sledding, and enjoying hot chocolate, it can be terrible for people who don’t have sufficient winter gear. Donate your old hats, scarves, mittens, and coats to shelters and other organizations in your area.

Donate Toys to Local Drives

Christmas morning is magical for children who wake up to presents under their tree. Bring some magic to a child in need’s life by donating old toys to toy drives so that they can wake up to something under their tree.

Do Random Acts of Kindness

Complete some random acts of kindness around your neighborhood to brighten up other people’s holiday seasons. Some examples would be leaving positive notes in public places, delivering baked goods to lonely neighbors, and shoveling older neighbors’ driveways. Your acts of kindness could inspire more, which could inspire more, and so on, creating a butterfly effect of kindness.

christmas celebration with friends a boy hangs an ornament on a christmas tree outdoors


I hope this list helped you find some Christmas inspiration. The holidays come and go as quickly as Santa does when he delivers presents! Now that you have all these ideas organized, hopefully, you can achieve them all before December is over.

If you found this list helpful please share it and comment below with other activities you believe should be on this Christmas bucket list!