Life is so busy anymore and especially around the holidays! Such a joyous time filled with so many wonderful things including spending time with loved ones–but also so many activities, parties, commitments, etc. My brain struggles to manage it all sometimes.
Though even with all the things, keeping holiday traditions are so important to me and making this time of year extra special for my girls is at the top of the list! And so I don’t forget any of the important stuff, I’m creating our Holiday Bucket List to make sure we get it all in over the next few weeks!
//Bake Christmas Cookies//
This is really a year round tradition as we love some cookies in this house. I’ve included Josie in on the baking for years now. She loves measuring the ingredients and cracking the eggs! She also loves being my taste tester during and after the cookies are ready. Isla is almost there. We might have her help on our next batch to see how big of a mess we can create, but it won’t be long until both of these girls are right by my side in the kitchen.
We had a family cookie exchange this past weekend which has become an annual tradition in my family. So many cookies, you guys. So. Many. COOKIES!
//See Lights in the Park//
One of the local parks does a Christmas light display through the entire park that you walk through, not drive. So even on a cold night, it’s fun to get all bundled up, grab a hot chocolate, and walk around to see all the festive displays. The kids love it and are usually exhausted by the end.
//Sit on Santa’s Lap//
At some point we’ll venture out to the mall to get our picture with ol’ Saint Nick! They also have a cute train ride that the kids like to get on. The first couple of years as a mama I was bad about this, so I’m trying to do better. I’m pretty sure we saw Santa in the grocery store parking lot the first year–haha.
//Make Hot Cocoa with ALL the Toppings//
And I’m talking the good hot cocoa that you make on the stove top. Not every time, but at least once we’ll make that and have marshmallows, whipped cream, extra chocolate chips, and maybe even sprinkles! Every other time its the good ol’ Swiss Miss because lets be real–it’s easy!
//Watch Christmas Movies//
This is a given, but we always have to watch the classics, along with whatever new movies might be out! On our list: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (I took Josie to see the new one and it was so cute!), Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, The Polar Express, National Lampoons, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and Elf. And then I have my personal favorites that are must see’s: Love Actually, The Holiday, and The Family Stone. So many good movies, so little time!
//Do a Holiday Craft//
I found a bunch of cute holiday crafts at Michael’s recently that were super cheap! Easy enough for Josie to do on her own, but also difficult enough to keep her interested. We’ll be making a reindeer ornament sometime this week.
//Visit the Tree Farm to Cut Down a Fresh Tree//
This tradition is one that stems back from my childhood days. Every year our family would bundle up and head down to the Christmas tree farm to pick and cut down our tree. We’d always pick a new ornament, get hot chocolate, and my mom would always get a fresh wreath. While my husband didn’t have the same, I love these memories of mine SO MUCH and want the same for our children! There has only been one year so far that we didn’t and that was last year. Mainly because we couldn’t swing it timing wise AND the tree we had the year before died super earlier and was an absolute MESS in our house. I guarantee there are still pine needles embedded deep down into our carpet. It was awful. So I welcomed the break.
This year, the farm that we went too was super backed up with only one person cutting down trees. Not sure if this is just where we went or not, but they wouldn’t let us cut our own tree–a staff member had to do it. Crazy right?!?! And it just so happens that at the time we arrived the only person working had like 25 trees to cut in front of us. Not exaggerating one bit there, y’all. So we spotted some cute Frazier firs that were looking extra nice and were already cut down and said “SOLD”. So we got us a “real tree” just didn’t cut it down ourselves. Oh well!
We still put up an artificial tree as well, and ordered a new one this year from King of Christmas. It just arrived this week and I love it!
Family selfie–We tried!
//Buy a New Ornament and Decorate the Tree//
Like I mentioned, we always got a new ornament for the tree every year. I’m not super fancy with my tree decorating, so we always use ALL the ornaments we have!
//Go to a Christmas Parade//
This was a new one for us, but I’m so glad we did it. Our downtown area always hosts a Christmas Parade and Annual Tree Lighting. Due to work schedules, weather, and the babies just being young, it has never worked out for us to attend, but we got to this year! It was so fun! I mean, who doesn’t love a parade?!
//Sing ALL the Christmas Songs//
And drive my husband nuts all month long. Hahaha. I’m that mom that gets a little crazy with the kids and singing and dancing are always involved. My husband just rolls his eyes and ignores us half the time, but only because he’s being a scrooge and is toooo coooool for singing and dancing. Bah-humbug!
//Donate Old Toys//
This is a new one for us, but will continue to be a tradition going forward. We are so grateful for everything we have, but the girls get so much stuff throughout the year. A lot that is played with for 5 minutes and forgotten. We simply just don’t have room for everything so a purge every now and then, and especially before the holidays, is necessary. I went through the playroom and reorganized and gathered a bunch of toys that just don’t get played with. I had a talk with Josie about what I was doing and why and she is happy to give some of her toys to other kids who don’t have many. Though my friend was just telling me how she has her elf deliver the news of giving away toys, which I thought was a great idea. I think we might start that next year. 🙂
//Spend Christmas Eve at HOME//
This is something that I had to put my foot down about after we spent Christmas Eve away a few years back. Josie was asleep by the time we got home so she didn’t get to leave cookies out for Santa, or read a Christmas story before bed in her Christmas jammies. Might sound silly, but these are all things that I want my children to experience so going forward the rule is that we are home on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Period. We all have our things–this is one of mine.
//Wear Festive Jammies//
Duhhhh…..we haven’t got on the family jammie train yet, but I think I’m close! I did pick up these cute matching jammies for the girls and their elf delivered them on December 1st.
//Have a Little Fun with Sophie the Elf//
Each year Josie gets more and more into Sophie, our elf. It’s the first thing she thinks of in the morning! Now if you are a parent, you know that this takes a good bit of effort to remember to move the damn thing. Mine usually happens in the morning when I’m like SH*T!!! I didn’t move the elf!!!!!!!!!! I know everyone has been there!
//Send Christmas Cards//
I did a poll on Instagram recently and was surprised to see how many people don’t send Christmas cards anymore. Nothing wrong with it, I was just surprised. We always do a photo card and I usually print through Costco because I’m typically last minute with ordering and they turn them around with the quickness. I love you Costco!
//Sponsor a Child’s Christmas//
This one is near and dear to my heart. We’ve been sponsoring a child’s entire Christmas for the last several years. As in, fulfilling their entire wish list, along with a gift for mama. This year time got away from me and I didn’t contact the bank that I used to work at for a name off the angel tree. Luckily, they do the same at my husband’s office so we sponsored a little 6 year old boy this year. Giving back is so important. We do it in many ways throughout the year, but especially this time of year. The holidays can be so wonderful for most, but we can’t forget all the not so wonderful as well. Be kind. Give where you can. Open your heart a little extra this time of year.
//Kiss Under the Mistletoe//
We have some hanging in between our kitchen/sunroom so its the perfect spot for a little holiday smooch. Muuuuah!
//Build a Gingerbread House//
Sophie delivered this over the weekend so the girls, and mostly Josie, can have some fun building and decorating. And that way we can have it on display throughout the month.
This list may seem like a lot, but I think it’s totally doable….and we’ve already knocked a few things off of it! I love this time of year and all our fun traditions to look forward too.
What’s on your holiday bucket list??