I love doing a seasonal bucket list with my family. It makes us spend quality time together doing worthwhile and fun activities. We do not use a candy filled advent calendar to countdown to the holidays. But what we do is create experiences for us as a family to come together, give to others and have fun! We decided several years ago to create these pockets of time during the week and on weekends with low key activities that can be pulled out at any given time.
Family time and memories are worth so much more than gifts, and statistically, giving experiences may help reduce your stress levels and contribute to family bonding.
Once we have complied list, we place little pieces of paper with our activities in a bag or box.
We don't plan an activity a day- because sometimes life has other plans for us. Why be held hostage to something that should be FUN and create harmonious memories! I have found that this system has worked extremely well and has really helped the boys (especially our oldest) to understand that holidays are for experiencing, giving to others and creating memories.
So often families have to leave activities and experiences to the weekend. Rightfully so, as many of us work during the week. But then the weekend comes and its cramming in everything in a short amount of time. This then leaves us feeling depleted when we should feel rested. What we have done is place the larger experiences (searching for Christmas lights, holiday movie at the drive in, snow tubing and family movie night) in a different box. This box is separate and allows us so to have more time to accomplish these larger and more time consuming activities. We also only pull one activity per weekend! It helps us to keep our promise that whatever is picked we will take the task head on!
The biggest tip I can give someone who wants to do a bucket list but works during the week or has many to dos, is to keep your list simple.
Choose experiences that are easy to create! If baking is on your list, buy ready made pie crust or sugar cookies and as a family roll out the dough, cut into seasonal or fun shapes or just plop on a cookie sheet and bake! How fun is it to decorate cookies with extra frosting and yummy candies! Or make it even easier, grab Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread cookies, a chocolate bar and marshmallows and make a quick s'mores! The kids will LOVE it! Remember you don't have to make dough from scratch or spend hours creating the perfect experiences!
I can guarantee your children will not remember that you didn't make the cookies from scratch, but they will remember making and decorating cookies with you!
If age appropriate, place scissors and paper on the table and get to work making homemade snowflakes and other paper decorations. Even inexpensive stickers from the Dollar Spot at Target with a few note cards make for a sweet little note making session. Be sure to grab a few stamps then you can head to your nearest Postal Box to mail your notes.
This weekend, I shopped for ALL the craft and special baking supplies we will need for activities. I also put each activity or materials needed in a separate bags. This makes it super easy for us to be able to grab an activity and get to having FUN!
In the spirit of lessening my work load, I ordered this beautiful hot cooca board from Bespoke Boards. This is one of the activities that I am pre-planning for our Sunday family movie night in December. Instead of buying far too many cookies, candies and goodies and arranging a hot cocoa bar, I can leave it all to Bespoke to put together a perfect and most delicious hot cocoa board to accommodate our family of 4!
Now the only work we will have to do is pick a movie and relax together!
It’s so easy to get caught up doing the same routine day-in and day-out but a seasonal bucket list can give the family things to look forward to and ways to spice up our day-to-day lives. Remember, your winter and holiday bucket list activities do not have to be elaborate or expensive either. We love it and love that we are creating memories with our children that will last a lifetime!
Here are a few ideas that our family has come up. We hope you try a few!
1. Search for holiday lights in your community. If you love a particular home, leave the owners a note and let them know.
2. Drink Hot Cocoa with extra marshmallows.
3. Make Paper Snowflakes
4. Go Sledding or snow tubing - if weather permits!
5. Read a New Book (Even little ones that can’t read yet can do this one by having a parent read to them.)
6. Do Something Nice for a Family Member
7.Make Homemade Soup (If you want to try something different, try this delicious soup.)
8. Have a Snowball Fight
9. Stay in PJ’s all Day + have breakfast for dinner
10. Watch a Movie in a Fort
11. Make Homemade Pizza
12. Send notes to friends and family
13. Listen to holiday music
14. Make Cookies
15. Donate winter gear to a local homeless shelter
16.Make a winter craft
17. Donate books and pajamas to a local organization
18. Catch Snowflakes on your tongue.
19.Go on a nature walk
20. Be Kind. Laugh more. Have fun together.
Enjoy your family, and practice slowing down to make memories this winter and throughout the holiday season.