The Ultimate Holiday Tradition Bucket List

Holiday traditions have to be the thing I look forward to most come this time of year! 

Now that we have a toddler on our hands, creating family traditions throughout the year and especially at the holiday season is super important to us!

Originally I was going to make a list of 25 holiday traditions, but then the ideas kept flowing and I had to share a few more!!

 They are in no particular order and are a solid mix of personal traditions from my childhood and ones I’d love to start with my little family!

This post does contains a few affiliate links.

  1. Going To See Christmas Lights

I don’t think I’ve met a child who doesn’t light up at the first sight of beautiful Christmas lights. I’m an adult and I still get excited and starry eyed when we go see all the christmas lights! I love this no cost but super memorable tradition!

  1. Baking and decorating christmas cookies + leaving them out with milk and carrots for the reindeer with a letter

Need I say more when it comes to christmas cookies! This is a great tradition for kids to do with parents or grandparents! There’s so much excitement in deciding which of the best decorated cookies will be left for santa and seeing the bites taken out of them the next morning!

  1. Decorating A Gingerbread House

All I have to say is that I’m 28 years old and still look forward to this every year. My earliest memory of gingerbread houses, has to be when I was 3 or 4 at my grandma’s day care that I attended and she would bake all of the parts to the gingerbread house from scratch with special house molds and then have it all decorated on display in the kitchen. THIS IS A HOLIDAY MUST DO!

  1. Making hot chocolate bombs

I love this idea and have never made one before, so this is definitely getting added to the Holiday Bucket List this year! I found this simple recipe to DIY them yourself!

  1. Christmas movie marathon

I think I start watching Christmas movies around mid September but come December 1st its christmas movies all day everyday! There’s nothing like having a few of your favorite movies picked out with all of your snacks and hot chocolate, sitting next to your tree with your favorite people all cozied up!

  1. Christmas eve game night

I am definitely that person around the holidays or any family gathering that is pro game night! Whether it be charades or a board game, Sign Me Up!

  1. ‘Santa’ puts candy canes on the tree to mark that he was there

This has to be one of my favorite memories waking up to a tree full of candy canes when we ran down the stairs. 

  1. A Christmas story marathon plays all night Christmas eve and all day Christmas day

I don’t know about you, but the only thing playing on our television Christmas Eve and into Christmas Day was ‘A Christmas Story’.  And this is the only Christmas movie that I wait to watch all season long until it airs its marathon on Christmas Eve.

  1. Christmas Pajamas and slippers

I love the idea of doing this on December 1st so you have a few weeks to enjoy your christmas jammies!!

  1. Decorating the tree

This one speaks for itself, but imagine; hot cocoa, Christmas Vacation, your cozy matching jammies and warm candles. So good!

  1. Decorating the house with lights

If you are able to, decorating the inside and out of your home just makes everything that much more magical and special and is something we do every year!

  1. Making christmas ornaments + A DIY CRAFT

I think this is such a fun idea to get the kids doing something fun and creative. I remember making cinnamon dough as a kid and using our favorite cookie cutters to cut out shapes and then baking them until they are hard and hanging them on the tree! And this year I made two wreaths to hang outside as one of my DIY crafts!

  1. Photos with santa

This year (2020) might be a challenge for some to get that photo with Santa, but some places will do a socially distanced photo with Santa which I think is still special! Insert: #AVeryCovidChristmas

  1. Create special name tags for gifts from Santa

This was always really fun for my sister and I! We knew what our parents’ handwriting looked like, so they printed out special name tags that went on the gifts from Santa!

  1. A family christmas morning brunch (mamas french toast casserole and egg casserole)

There’s something so special about christmas morning and breakfast with your family. My mom makes a few breakfast casseroles, one being a french toast casserole and the other being an egg casserole. So good and easy and great for a big group!

  1. Secret santa with family OR FRIENDS

Gift giving can get quite out of hand as the years go on and the family keeps growing. We decided to start doing a Secret Santa among the adults and keep the spoiling to the children!

  1. Read a special christmas story on christmas eve

Bedtime stories are the best and I’ve seen a few traditions around this idea, but I love the idea of having a special Christmas eve story to read to the kids to share the meaning of Christmas!

  1. Make or buy an advent calendar

Advent calendars are so fun and lately I’ve seen so many different themes; from wine to candy to ones you fill yourself! Theres an option for everyone! (But sign me up for the wine and the chocolate ones LOL!!) Here is great christmas wall calendar option too!

  1. Elf on the shelf

I think this is such a cute trend and a really cool idea for young kids to have one of Santa’s helpers hanging out with them during the holidays and making sure they are on their best behavior!

  1. Visit a tree farm/ Pick out a perfect christmas tree

Going to find the perfect tree is so important because you’ll likely be staring at it for the next month and a half and you want to like what you’re looking at! I have a dream of one day going to a, cut your own tree farm; but maybe when our kids are a little older!

  1. Family christmas photos

I think this is such a great idea to document each year and have to look back at over the years. They also make for great holiday greeting cards!

  1. Make a christmas wish list for santa

Sitting down with your kiddos and helping them write their letters to Santa with all of their wishes on it is something I definitely look forward to doing! It also gives you as the parent a great idea of what to get them from Santa! Print this one out for your kids to fill out!

  1. Make a charitable donation 

I think taking the time to teach children the spirit of giving at the holidays to those less fortunate is so important. Especially when children can get wrapped up in the idea of receiving gifts. A charitable donation could be volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating extra non perishables in your cupboard, and even hand making a gift or card for a local children’s hospital.

  1. Matching pjs on christmas eve

This goes along with number 9, but I love the idea of everyone waking up Christmas morning in matching pajamas! Burt’s Bees brand is my favorite for the kiddos!

  1. Ice Skating!!

If you are lucky enough to live near an ice rink, then mark this on your bucket list!! I think this is a great family outing or even a great date night idea for mom and dad!

  1. Open one present the night before christmas

Growing up we would do this and it was often our jammies, but I think a new game would also be a fun idea!

  1. Plant peppermint seeds to ‘grow’ candy canes

I just recently heard of this idea and I think it’s a fun idea for younger kids! This could be done in the garden or even in a small flower pot on the kitchen table. You could have the kids plant the seeds and water them and when they go to bed, mom and dad sticks candy canes in the dirt! When everyone wakes up there are freshly ‘grown’ candy canes ready for your hot cocoa or coffee!

  1. Make a living room winter wonderland fort to watch christmas movies

I think this idea is fun for any age and would be great for those game and marathon movie nights!

  1. Special wrapping paper for each child

My parents did this with our gifts and santas gifts and I think it adds a special whimsical touch under the tree!

  1. Santa footprints

I just saw a Santa footprint kit at the store for doing this! But you could also very easily take some powdered sugar on a plate and press a shoe into it and make footprints around the tree!

I’d love to hear your Christmas traditions and ideas! Leave a comment with your favorite holiday memory or a tradition you plan to start with your family!

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