My Christmas Bucket List

Oh, I am so excited it is almost Christmas! Last year, I wrote down a list of everything holiday-themed we did, and the things we didn’t get to (like celebrating St. Nicholas Day), so I could remember for this year. A Christmas bucket list, if you will.

I am big on traditions and consistency. I think kids thrive best when they can depend on not only a daily rhythm, but a yearly one (a little flexibility is good of course).

I want to give my daughter memories and traditions that I never got to create, or didn’t receive consistently.

Another List?

Each year, I want to try and do a Christmas-themed thing every day during December, even if it is something super simple.

We see bucket lists for summer and fall all the time, so why not for the most wonderful time of the year? I know it may seem overwhelming to add another list to your December, but I find that a bucket list helps keep me accountable in the midst of the holiday chaos, and it ensures we slow down and take time for what really matter to us: spending quality time together.

Ok, so here is my list. Please let me know if I am forgetting anything; like I said, a lot of these traditions are new to me!

Our Christmas Bucket List

  • Open some new christmas jammies on Christmas eve (I like these for kids).
  • Make an advent calendar.
  • Put up lights outside this year. Papa, this is all you. And you better do it soon.
  • Put up a second Christmas tree in the kitchen for our salt dough ornaments.
  • Make salt dough ornaments.
  • I would love to take my daughter to Disney to see all the decorations and lights.
  • Some sort of volunteering that is age appropriate. I need some ideas! Maybe go to an assisted living home? Shop for toys for underprivileged kids?
  • Go see the Christmas lights in our neighborhood.
  • Go see the Christmas lights at Dorothy B. Oven park.
  • Go to Thomasville’s Victorian Christmas. We went to Tallahassee’s last year and it was meh.
  • Get our Christmas tree at Tallahassee Nurseries. We have gotten our tree there since 2005. My husband likes the stands they sell because they are really sturdy and that they put the tree on the stand for you.
  • Bake Cookies! I am going to try and make ginger cookies this year, from a recipe from Peter’s great-grandmother, wish me luck!
  • Go get our turkey from the farm for Christmas Eve dinner.
  • Christmas Eve Mass.
  • Take my daughter to see Santa. Last year the restaurant in our neighborhood golf course did a Santa brunch. It was a really relaxing way to see Santa, so I hope they do it again.
  • Watch holiday movies, last year Polar Express was her favorite.
  • Get a special ornament for my daughter.
  • Get a wood or plastic nativity scene so she can play with them. Teach her the story. I’ve also heard great things about this virtually unbreakable nativity set.
  • Make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. Usually I buy store bought, but I would love to figure out an easy recipe to make them from scratch. Anyone have any easy ones?
  • Eat pan dulce on Christmas day. This is an Italian tradition from my husband’s family in Argentina. His family is of German and Lativan descent, even though they are Argentian. There are so many Italian-Argentians, that the tradition has stuck.
  • Handprints on the tree skirt. The year our daughter was born, I bought a tree skirt from Red Envelope and you make hand prints each year, and then, in twenty years it’s full.
  • Crafts! I have several planned out, but still looking for a few more ideas.
  • Make a gingerbread house. We did this last year, well Papa took it over and we watched, it was really fun.
  • Make my daughter a Christmas outfit.
  • Make one of her gifts.
  • Put cookies and milk out for Santa on a special plate. I bought one last year, so cute!
  • Sing Happy Birthday to Jesus on Christmas day.

So there you have it! What am I missing? What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

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  • Michelle P
    December 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Great bucket list!

  • Krissy
    December 1, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Wow! That is a huge list! I have the same feeling too, I love traditions and I want them to be something my kids remember and look forward too each year as well. My family wasn't big on traditions and I want to do things differently in that department as well 🙂 Baking Cookies with my son who is 2 is a must; he absolutely loves to watch the Kitchen Aid mixer in action! Also watchin the Polar Express for the first time is on my list too. We will go meet Santa again and take a picture with him and this Saturday we go to pick out our fresh Christmas Tree which we cut down like we did last year 🙂
    Many of the things on your list are on my list as well, with exception to making a Christmas outfit for my boys! Lol I am not skilled with sewing to say the least. Our kids are getting a homemade gift from us this year, my husband and I are building a play loft for them in their playroom and I truly can't wait to see them play in and on it for many years to come!

  • Kate
    December 1, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Build a collection of Christmas books! Read one each night.

  • Victoria
    December 1, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    My parents always got us each special pajamas on Christmas Eve…one of my favorite memories!

  • LoserGirl
    December 1, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    As a youth group leader, we tell our youth to bring $5-$10 and we go to the Dollar Store/Dollar Tree/Etc and buy lotion, socks, tissues, shampoo, footies, etc. We wrap each item individually and label what it is. We then take it to our local nursing home and they pass it to residents who are in need.

    That is something that I think any age can be a part of.

  • Sarah
    December 2, 2011 at 3:38 AM

    I love these traditions! I'm glad you posted this, because it's reminded me of my tradition bucket list! My family was never real big on Christmas traditions, and neither was my husband's, but I think it would be really special to have some we do for our kids. It's crazy how fast Christmas sneaks up on a girl, though! Luckily, since my son is only 6 months, as long as we get started on a few things this year, we'll be ok.

  • Jessica
    December 2, 2011 at 6:16 AM

    I LOVE your list! My little one is 8 months old so it is exciting that it is her first Christmas but I am looking forward to next year when she can understand and participate more! I may be incorporating some of your ideas into my own next year!

    When my brother and I were little my mom sold Christmas Around the World decorations and one of the items we owned was a children's plastic nativity set. I have fond memories of playing "First Christmas" with my brother with the set when we were younger. My mom still has it so I am looking forward to my daughter playing with it too.

    If I didn't have that set, I saw at Target a Little People Nativity set that looked adorable! My little one is getting the Noah's Ark set for Christmas from my mom.

  • Nicole
    December 4, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    When I was younger, we would visit assisted living facilities and nursing homes after making them christmas cards and cookies. They loved getting visitors and a little extra holiday cheer! That could combine a couple of your items (baking cookies and volunteering!)

  • Mia Elizardi
    December 4, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    HI! I am new to your blog and just loving it!

    I totally agree with your thoughts on the importance of traditions for little ones. I have a 9 month old daughter and my husband and I have been brainstorming all of our favorite traditions from when we were little and combining them to share with her. My mom was amazing at making Christmas magical, full of simple but timeless traditions.

    I think your list is fantastic! One thing you could from our family's list is a special breakfast on Christmas morning. Every year growing up we had quiche, homemade sweet rolls and freshly squeezed orange juice from our orange tree. We eat quite healthfully as a family and the quiche is made with bacon and cream and things we normally don't eat and sweet rolls never grace our tables, so we all look forward to it each year-even though my siblings and I are in our thirties 🙂 Definitely going to share this one with our daughter.

    Thank you for some of your wonderful ideas to share with the little kids! And Merry Christmas!

  • Stephanie
    December 5, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Thanks for all your sweet comments and ideas, I really appreciate it! Merry Christmas to you all!

  • Mia Elizardi
    December 5, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    Oh and this was the recipe that I was going to try this year for Cinnamon Rolls. Growing up my neighbor made us Herman Bread, which is a 10 day process (yes, she was amazing!!!) so our sweet breads were delivered to our door (how amazing is that?!). This will be my first year making our sweet bread myself and this one looked great and could be prepped the night before-Score!

    Looks like you could easily add orange zest or raisins or maple or whatever flavors you liked, too.

  • Lauren
    December 7, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    So many great ideas! We've started a few traditions with Ethan. Decorating the tree at Nana and Pop's house, going to Dorothy B. Oven and our house and making Amish Friendship Bread. This year I'm going to try and add a few more. I want to go to Victorian Christmas but with husband's crazy work schedule I don't think it's going to happen this year, maybe next. Do you know anything about the Christmas festival in Havana?

    As far as Cinnamon Rolls go, I have a great recipe. It's my husband's Grandma's. She used to cook all the time and bake and bake and bake. What's great about her's are they aren't super sweet and you can freeze them! That's what she used to do. Now that she can't bake so much many of the cousins are taking over. I'm going to make them this year as well. I'll send you the recipe when I get it typed up. It's in the family cookbook.

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  • Victoria
    November 9, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Wow. What an extensive list. Love it.

    I’ve created a template so any of you can print out your own bucket list!
    You can also read my Christmas bucket list if you choose.

    • Stephanie
      November 13, 2012 at 12:27 AM