folded toki mats with a small fir tree and a toy menorah

Holiday Bucket List Ideas for the Family

November 27, 2023

The holiday season is in full swing, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. With colorful lights adorning houses and street lamps, festive events in local communities, and days off from work and school, the holidays are perfect for spending quality time with your family. Kids have a way of bringing magic into our lives, and this time of the year is extra special when you can share it with your little ones. If you want to instill in them the true spirit of the holidays (which isn’t just about gifts!), here are some festive bucket list ideas to help you celebrate all month long and strengthen your bond as a family.

toddler girl sitting on a toki mats play mat with a small fir tree

1. DIY a Handprint Ornament

No matter what age your kids are, they’ll never be this small again. Whether you have a baby, toddler, or older child, making a handprint ornament is a sweet way to capture a moment in time. Use a kit designed for this purpose or DIY it with homemade salt dough! It’s super easy and you can paint it, then seal it with Mod Podge for extra protection. Make a tradition of it, and don’t forget to write the date!

2. Thank Your Mail Carrier and Delivery Drivers

The people who deliver your mail and packages do physically demanding work in the extreme heat and frigid cold, and often without a thank you! Taking a moment to express your appreciation for their hard work can go a long way in brightening their day and uplifting their spirits. You can leave a handwritten card for them to read, or go the extra mile and make small gift baskets for them with water, snacks, and maybe a gift card. Never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.”

3. Go on a Holiday Lights Tour

There’s something about bright, colorful lights that really set the mood for the holidays. This time of year, there are so many holiday light tours to attend, and it’s a great feel-good family activity. If you can’t find one near you, pack the whole family in the car with plenty of snacks and drive around town to see holiday decorations on everyone’s houses.

4. Enjoy a Movie Night

With the evenings getting colder as we head into winter, family movie nights are about to get super cozy! Pop the popcorn, pour the hot cocoa, gather the bean bags and cushions, and put on your favorite holiday film. 

5. Take Photos in Matching Holiday Pajamas

We know that moms tend to be the ones behind the camera, but it’s nice to actually be in the photos for a change. Get the whole family matching PJs for a super cute yearly memory and snap some photos with the handy self-timer feature. This is a great annual tradition to start, and there’s no time like the present!

6. Teach Your Kids About Other Cultural Holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or something else around this time of year, it’s always great to teach your children about the other cultural holidays. Centering other cultures helps them understand the world they live in a bit better and teaches them respect for diversity.

bot sitting on a folded toki mats play mat and playing with a toy menorah

7. Donate Old and New Toys

Another great lesson to teach your kids is helping those who are less fortunate than they are. Have them each pick out all the toys they no longer play with and put them in a bag to donate. You may also want to consider going to Target or a local toy store and picking out some new toys to give to a toy drive as well. Since your kids will be getting plenty of new things to play with for the holidays, this is a great chance to not only make room, but to teach them a valuable lesson in empathy.

8. Have a Cookie Decorating Party

The only thing better than eating cookies is making and decorating them first! Enlist all your kids to help with baking, then enjoy decorating them together as a family! Put out the icing, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows, and let them all get creative. Nothing makes the whole house smell better than freshly baked cookies, and it’s a great way to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

9. Make Homemade Holiday Cards

Rather than buying the nice holiday cards this year (although you can still do that, too), you can have your kids make them for your loved ones. They don’t have to be perfect, and, in fact, will be all the more endearing if they’re messily glued and scribbled over with markers. 

10. Set Up a Neighborhood Food Drive

The best way to start a food drive is to first contact your local food bank and learn about how they work and what kind of food they can accept. Let your children participate in every part of the process so they can learn about how these things work. By helping you work with your community to organize a successful food drive, your kids will develop skills in leadership, empathy, teamwork, and social awareness.

Holiday Bucket List Ideas for the Family

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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