30 Bucket List Items for Your Family During the Holidays

It’s officially the holiday season, our favorite time of the year! This year we have adorable new prints and matching pajamas, from winter in Vail to our first-ever Care Bear Collaboration. 😍 Shop new styles and matching holiday pajamas before they sell out (Christmas is always our bestselling season!) 

What we love about this time of year is getting to spend so much time together as a family, creating lasting and beautiful family memories. And this year, we want to make sure that you’re able to do the same! 

Today we’ve rounded up our favorite Christmas and Holiday activities to do as a family. No matter how old your Birdies are, there’s something for everyone on this fun holiday bucket list for families. We’re going to break this post down by holiday, starting with Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, and then New Year’s Eve. Let’s dive right in! 

Thanksgiving Family Bucket List

1. Donate Thanksgiving dinner to a local shelter

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for the good things that we have in life – and this year a lot of families will be going without. If you’re in a financial position to do so, take Thanksgiving dinner to a local food bank for a family in need. You don’t have to cook the meal, just collect some canned items, premade pie, and a frozen turkey. It’s a great way to practice thoughtfulness and gratitude with your Birdies this year. 

2. Go ‘Leaf-Peeping’ 

If it’s not too late in the year where you live, take a drive to see the fall colors! It’s always amazing to see mother nature transform with the seasons and can help your whole family feel an appreciation for our beautiful home. 

3. Break out an old family recipe

Does your great-grandmother have a traditional recipe that your family makes every year? This might just be the opportunity for you to bring your kids into the kitchen to share the secret family recipe with them. 

Breaking out an old family recipe can be a great way to connect with your kids and teach them about their family history. 

4. Play the thankfulness game (with a twist!) 

This year, go around the table to share the things you’re grateful for but take a moment to write them down on little slips of paper. Put them in a jar and save them so that next year, and the years after that you can be reminded of what you were grateful for previously.

This can be an incredibly sweet family tradition to start, I know that when we lost a member of our family, it was so special to go back and read her Thanksgiving Gratitudes, and it makes us feel like she is always with us. 

Keep your gratitudes in a jar labeled “Thanksgiving Gratitudes” and store it with your Thanksgiving decorations so it doesn’t get lost in the attic!

5. Bake Thanksgiving cookies and decorate them as a family 

Christmas isn’t the only time to bake cookies! Grab some Thanksgiving-themed cookie cutters such as turkeys, leaves, and pumpkins, and bake some holiday-themed cookies with your kids. Everyone can gather around the table to decorate and if you’re competitive (as our family usually is), you can nominate one person to judge for the best-decorated cookie! Odds are, it’ll be the youngest… it always is, isn’t it? 

6. Learn how to say “thank you” in multiple languages

Spend time learning how to say “thank you” in a few other languages. You can have your kids choose a couple, but if you’re based in the United States, a great place to start is with Spanish and Sign Language (ASL). Make sure you practice together as a family, and challenge everyone to use each new language once during Thanksgiving. 

7. Create leaf catchers

Fall crafts are a great way to get the whole family gathered around the table. Plus, these leaf suncatchers will help to celebrate the beautiful colors of fall and brighten up your windows! We love making suncatchers, and this guide is so easy to follow

8. Do a ‘random act of kindness’ 

Whether it’s buying someone’s coffee or groceries in front of you, or helping to rake your neighbor's leaves, another way to show amazing examples for your kids this holiday season is to do a random act of kindness. You can also have your kids practice doing them for each other! Challenge everyone to do one random act of kindness for someone else in the family, and see what they come up with.

9. Color some creative Thanksgiving coloring pages

You know we love coloring pages! They’re a fun and free activity, that you can make more challenging for older kids (by doing the coloring challenge) or just let little kids run wild by letting their inner artist out. We also love that there are so many places to get free coloring pages online, but our favorite is always here

10. Eat pie for breakfast! 

Lastly, what better way to get into the Thanksgiving spirit than by eating pie for breakfast? (and don’t worry, we don’t mean pumpkin pie!) Allrecipes has some breakfast pies that are going to make eating breakfast more fun this Thanksgiving! Follow along with their easy-to-make recipe here

Pro tip: if you don’t eat meat, just substitute the sausage with a meat-free alternative. That’s what we do!

Christmas Family Bucket List

Christmas is going to be here before we know it! Let’s make this year even sweeter with a fun family bucket list for the whole family. 

1. Go pick out your Christmas tree

It might be early to cut a tree down… but Christmas tree lots are usually open for tagging the day after Thanksgiving! This means you can pick out your Christmas tree, write your name and phone number on the tree’s tag, and reserve it! This can be an amazing family activity to transition from one holiday to the next! 

2. Cuddle up for Christmas movies in matching pajamas

Christmas is the ultimate time of year for matching family pajamas. This year, cuddle up and watch your family's favorite Christmas movies in buttery soft, bamboo pajamas. We have adorable new collections, prints, and styles out now! We know you’re going to love this one

3. Mail a letter to Santa

It truly isn’t Christmas if you haven’t mailed your letter to Santa yet! Break out the fancy paper and sparkly pens to write your letters to Santa this year. His address is hard to forget: 

Santa, North Pole. 

If you want a response from St. Nic, it’s possible! Here are the instructions from USPS on how to properly write and receive a letter from Santa! 

4. Go ‘Christmas Light Peeping’ 

Similar to leaf peeping, except with less mother nature and more creative neighbors! Bundle everyone into the car and drive around the neighborhoods that put on the best Christmas lights show. There’s usually somewhere to get hot chocolate along the way, and if you’re going to have the windows rolled down, don’t forget to bundle up

5. Create a family playlist

Ask everyone to contribute their favorite Christmas songs to a family playlist. Then make sure to play it all season long!

6. Get your picture with Santa

Everyone needs a picture with Santa to remind them of their childhood! This year, head to your local mall and get a cute snap of the kids with St. Nic and his elves. 

7. Bring the 12 Days of Christmas to a family in need

This Christmas tradition is near and dear to my heart. When I was a kid, my family used to do this every Christmas. We would pick 2 families in need and become their 12 Days of Christmas Secret Santa. 

Every day for the 12 Days of Christmas you doorbell ditch a gift related to the song on their front porch, without revealing your identity! We used to have the most fun getting to take turns leaving the gifts at the door as kids. This will obviously be a lot harder with the invention of ring doorbells… but still a fun way to give to others this holiday season. 

The rules are: 

  1. Pick a family in need or one that you want to show extra love to this year
  2. Secretly drop off a gift on their porch with a note. The first note implies that you will be giving more gifts so they should be expecting something every day. You could reveal which day will be the last or keep it open!
  3. Drop off a gift every day for the next 12 days with a fun little note.
  4. Reveal yourself on the last day.

As a family, we always did something along these lines, and to this day, it is my favorite family tradition.

8. Bake cookies for Santa

Make sure to bake (and decorate) cookies for Santa this year! This is a great activity for the day or two before Christmas, so the cookies stay fresh for Santa. Don’t forget to leave out some carrots for the reindeer. 

9. Do ‘Secret Santa’ as a family

Another thing we always did as kids was Secret Santa. My mom would have us all pull names out of a hat and then we had to come up with a gift for that person in our family. Of course, she would be the one helping, but it was always a fun and creative way to do something nice for your siblings!

10. Make Christmas tree ornaments 

OK, we shared this in another post but they are too cute! This year make handprint (or footprint) salt dough ornaments! They’re easy, affordable, and a great way to save a precious memory of how small your Birdies are. Follow along with easy instructions here

There are so many fun ways that you can celebrate Christmas together as a family! What are your family’s favorite Christmas traditions? We’d love to know. Come chat with us over on Instagram and don’t forget that Christmas is so much sweeter in matching pajamas! Shop new prints and styles here

New Year’s Eve Family Bucket List

And just like that, another year has flown by! Celebrating New Year’s Eve with little kids isn’t always easy. Most of the time, they’re going to be asleep long before you ring in the new year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a special evening for the whole family. Here are some ideas to celebrate with kids both big and small this year.

1. Collect noisemakers

This definitely won’t work with little Birdies and babies who are going to be asleep long before midnight… but for older children who are going to make it to the ball drop, make sure they can make some noise! From whistles to pots and wooden spoons, gather your noisemakers and bang them in the driveway when the clock strikes! 

2. Throw a pajama party 

You’re going to be up late anyway! You might as well do it in your pajamas. Have everyone cuddle up in their favorite pajamas and play games, watch movies, and eat snacks all night long. 

We launched our first-ever celebration collection of New Year’s Eve favorites! Shop the new prints here.

3. Create a family scrapbook of your favorite memories

Gather the family together one evening to create a family scrapbook for the year. Ask everyone what their favorite memories from the year were and print photos from those days. Then grab stickers, glue, markers, and paper to create a fun family scrapbook. 

There’s no better way to commemorate the year and remember all of the amazing times that you had together as a family. 

4. Write family resolutions or goals for the New Year

Of course, the most traditional tradition to have on New Year’s Eve! Write your goals for the new year. Challenge yourself and your kids to think about what they want to accomplish in the new year and write a small list. We always think it’s important to create small, achievable goals with your kids, to give them something to celebrate and teach them how important is, and how easy it can be to better yourself.

5. Play your favorite board games

Wear the kids out with their favorite board games all night long! Whether you’re a family who’s banned Monopoly… or you’re a family that loves it, there’s definitely going to be a board game that your family can stay up all night playing!

6. Go to see the fireworks

Some towns and cities go all out with their fireworks displays! Even if you don’t want to set them off yourselves, there are plenty of places to go and see the fireworks. Spend the evening going to see an amazing display of fireworks this year. 

7. Watch the ball drop in New York

Gather around the TV to watch the ball drop in New York. This is one of the most classic ways to ring in the new year! And it’s especially good if you’re in a timezone further West than New York because then you can put the kids to bed after ‘midnight’ in New York! 

8. Toast a glass of bubbles

From champagne to sparkling apple cider, there are definitely options for everyone to toast the New Year! As kids, we always grew up getting to drink a glass of Welches Sparkling Cider, which always made us feel very special on this holiday. 

9. Take a family photo

This will be your last chance to take a photo in 2023! Make it a good one by setting your phone up with a timer, dressing up in matching pajamas, and making your silliest faces! 

10. Make a family bucket list for next year

If you haven’t noticed… we love making family bucket lists! If you’d like to try making one of your own, New Year’s Eve is a great place to start. Have everyone list one or two things that they’d like to do (as a family!) next year and put together a simple bucket list. Hang it on the fridge and be reminded of all of the fun things that you want to do together as a family in the new year. 

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is already here! But we do love the holidays, so we hope that this fun holiday bucket list helps your family find ways to spend the end of the year celebrating and creating lasting memories together. 

We would love to know what your family’s traditions are. Come chat with us over on Instagram. You can find us at @birdiebeanbaby. And don’t forget to shop our adorable new holiday collections (like Care Bears!) out now!