Happy Holidays! This time of year always seems to fly by SO fast. I’ve been extra busy at work and it seems there are plans every weekend. So to remind myself to take time and enjoy the moment, I’ve planned out a holiday bucket list of sorts. These are my must-do’s to wrap up the season. I’ve compiled some fun, inexpensive activities along with items that get you outside and some that involve giving back.
Here’s my Christmas Bucket List. Make sure to let me know what’s on yours!
Enjoy an Epic Christmas Light Display
In Cincinnati, we have the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo for an inexpensive and unique Christmas light display. You’re able to visit the zoo after dark and walk through all the lights and even take a train ride through the zoo. Even if you don’t have this available near you, there is always a neighborhood that goes all out with the lights. Make sure to visit them one night.
Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange
Afterwards, deliver cookies to neighbors, friends, retirement homes or anyone who needs their day brightened up. It’s impossible to not be happy when festive cookies are available. My tip for a stress-free cookie exchange or baking marathon is picking up some mixes, like these from Krusteaz. Using their pre-made mixes cuts down on SO much time and makes grocery shopping a breeze. Then you can dress up the cookies to make them your own.
I always add some sea salt flakes to my chocolate chip cookies (I love that sweet and salty combo!). And I go crazy with the sprinkles on sugar cookies. My take on Christmas baking doesn’t involve being in the kitchen all day. I much prefer to enjoy the sweets of my labor and share the goodies with others, so I’ll take all the shortcuts I can find. If you need some help deciding what cookies to enjoy, visit Krusteaz Holiday Cookie Helper.
Binge Watch Harry Potter
The Harry Potter series is my go-to for entertainment during the holidays. I think it has something to do with the fact that a lot of the films would premiere right around the holidays and the Christmas scenes in the movie are so festive. The movies are always on when I’m home during the holidays.
And Marathon Other Christmas Movie Classics
For me, the classic is Love, Actually. That’s my end all, most favorite, classic Christmas movie. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s comforting to watch those movies that are familiar and predictable during this time. Other favorites are The Holiday and Christmas with the Kranks.
Donate Gifts to a Shelter or Volunteer
The best part of the holidays is giving back to others! Visit your local food bank to serve a meal or adopt-a-family and provide gifts to those in need.
Make a Gingerbread House
Even better is if you make this a contest! Have a party with friends or challenge your co-workers to see who makes the best gingerbread house.
Schedule a Skype Date with Out-of-Town Friends & Family
It’s not always possible to meet up with everyone during the holiday season. Instead of waiting until next time,
Send Holiday Greetings or Gifts To the Armed Forces
Learn how to do so here: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-send-christmas-cards-soldiers-overseas-2016-charities-collecting-donations-2446562
Make Hot Chocolate from Scratch
And load it up with marshmallows!
Attend a Christmas Tree Lighting
Your town square probably holds a special event for the lighting ceremony. I’ve actually attended one in New Orleans and it was SO fun. I loved the live music and the ceremony just kicks off the season.
Make a Christmas Music Playlist
…and sing at the top of your lungs. Please tell me Mariah Carey will be on your list?!
Get Pictures with Santa
Many places have free or donation photos with Santa. I would check with your mall, local businesses and if you have pets, Petsmart and Petco!
Donate Gently Used Clothes and Toys
Clean out your closet and donate your gently used clothes and stores to a local thrift store like St. Vincent de Paul. For some families, this might be where they do their Christmas shopping, so by donating your “forgotten” clothes might become someones new favorite gift.
Spend an Entire Day Home in PJs
I can’t wait for my vacation this holiday season. I’ll be staying local, but I’m really looking forward to just spending a day in PJs at home with my cats and boyfriend. Play board games, read books, watch movies and snack away. Consider it a mental health day. 😃
Throw or Attend an Ugly Sweater Party
It’s not the Christmas season until you don your ugly sweater. Host a party or find one to attend. There have been several Cincinnati bar crawls just for those in ugly sweaters so there’s no reason you can’t break out last year’s hideous sweater for another round.
Donate to an Animal Shelter
Animal shelters can always use extra towels, blankets and food. While I’d love to adopt even more kitties for Christmas, I know that’s not feasible. Instead, make a donation to your local animal shelter and stop in for some puppy kisses and kitten pets to get your feline fix and support those furry friends.
Thanks to Krusteaz for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands I use and love.