Wednesday, March 12, 2014

20+ Things To Do During Winter (Our Family Bucket List)

Background photo is a painting by Grandma Moses 
(I love her artwork!)

How many times have you said, "I wish we were able to do [fill in the blank]!"

Or maybe you asked yourself, "what should we do to make the winter season or holidays extra special?" (*raising hand here*)

Answer: Make a bucket list! A bucket list is a wishlist of activities to do in your life or in one season of your life. I find that it's definitely a great way to plan activities for you and your family during different seasons of the year.

Writing a list can be a valuable tool in planning by getting everyone in your family on the same page. This is especially true during the season of winter, when there is so much hustle and bustle over the holidays. The winter season typically lasts from December 21st to March 20th/21st (give or take) but it sometimes feels like the season flies right by you. There are parties and get-togethers and potlucks and people flying into town, etc. As I've written before in my posts on summer bucket list (35 activities for young kids) and a fall bucket list (with at least 20 activities), take some of the "thinking" out of planning by having a list to work from every yearPost it up on the fridge or frame it so you can all see it.

A bucket list has also helped my family remember what we like doing together and that by doing them, these activities matter to us. It may be easy to forget the small, meaningful activities that make the season memorable. And it doesn't have to be 100 activities, just a few "must trys" that take advantage of the unique weather and events that happen during the holidays. Save the list for next year to give you ideas on building yearly traditions for you and your family. 

Here are some tips for creating a bucket list:
  • Think of some traditional activities you and your family have enjoyed in the past. 
  • Ask each family member to come up with new ideas. Throw in a unique idea or two. And focus on your family's values, customs and culture, and goals for the season. 
  • Research what events or activities are going on in your city.
  • What holidays or days do you recognize? Examples of some holidays and days we celebrate and recognize over winter include Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day.
  • Pull out that list of books, craft ideas, or projects that you've been meaning to do and is season-appropriate. 
  • Think about how the weather can create new opportunities for activities. 
  • Finally, ask other families or friends what they'll be doing this year.

Visiting a neighborhood block filled with Christmas lights.
Observing rainy days in winter.
Holiday sweets (top to bottom):
baking giant cookies for Valentine's Day,
 preparing for french toast over Christmas brunch,
drinking Vietnamese coffee--a winter treat in general.
Unfinished winter business: my knitting loom

Our winter bucket list followed all these tips.  Did we do it all? We tried to do what we could (we didn't do snow day but it did rain a lot!) Plus we already had some set traditions during the holidays (see how I managed my Christmas by creating a holiday binder, which also includes a printable list of traditions).  Overall, however, I'd say we definitely made some great memories!

Our Winter Bucket List

Activities at Home

  • Make an advent calendar 
  • Watch a holiday movie  
  • Play holiday music and teach songs to my son
  • Bake something sweet (whether it's for Christmas or Valentine's or both!)
  • Take a funny holiday photo with the family
  • Make a special memory ornament for Christmas
  • Make different kinds of hot chocolate (I love Argentinian hot chocolate and Mexican hot chocolate!)
  • Make a DIY Valentine's Day card with my son
  • Read holiday books 
  • Make an indoor camp site with blankets (this one is for my son!)  
  • Attempt to crochet something
  • Make a special holiday "iron-on" shirt for my son (before he gets older and refuses to wear the cute stuff)
  • Send an end-of-the year family newsletter or make a scrapbook page to share with family
  • Write and frame family goals for the year
  • Observe snow/rain falling (for babies/toddlers!)

Out-of-the-home Activities

  • Visit Santa at the mall (take a picture with Santa)
  • Sit by a fire pit/fireplace and tell stories
  • Donate toys to a local charity 
  • Attend a Superbowl party
  • Attend a snow day or go ice-skating
  • Attend a tree lighting event
  • Attend a city event
  • Visit a neighborhood block with Christmas lights
  • Plan a "staycation
  • Go on a special Valentine's dinner (with friends or spouse)
  • Volunteer locally (at the church or with a nearby organization)

Think about how you organize your family:

What do you do to plan for the season?

Would starting a tradition of creating bucket lists and posting them at home be useful? 

Consider starting or finishing the winter season with some great family memories by trying a winter bucket list! Put it in your home management binder or in a frame (for extra decorating fun!)


  1. These are some great suggestions! I just made our first Spring Bucket List and so far we are enjoying the experience. I'll have to refer back to your lists for great ideas when I make the lists for the coming seasons. Thanks!

  2. Awesome list Cat! My son just jumped in a puddle the other day while we were walking around the neighborhood. I will definitely add that to our spring bucket list as well. I hope to post our list very soon!!! Thanks for the inspiration for spring...