Christmas Bucket List :: Things to Do This Christmas Season


The magic of Christmas extends far beyond the few minutes spent opening presents on Christmas morning. In fact, my favorite part of Christmas is all the festivities that happen beforehand and help add to our anticipation. After the craziness of this year, I am looking forward to getting cozy and spending time with family. Here are some ideas to help your family embrace the Christmas spirit this year. 

Christmas Bucket List

Mail Christmas cards.

Getting mail other than bills and advertisements always puts a smile on my face. I love the idea of bringing that joy to our family and friends by sending Christmas cards.

Photo by Annie Spratt 

Attend Glow Wild at the zoo.

We love our membership to The Birmingham Zoo and are excited for this event that will be taking the place of Zoolight Safari this year. The Zoo will be decorated with glowing lanterns in various animal shapes during the months of November, December, and January. Here is more information about this event

Make Christmas cookies.

Our family does a Christmas cookie competition where we each decorate a cookie and then let our Facebook friends vote for their favorite. The winner receives a small prize and bragging rights.

Photo by Kari Shea

Read Christmas stories before bed.

I think this is such a sweet way to fill your little one’s dreams with Christmas joy.

Experience E.L.V.E.S. 

E.L.V.E.S. is a virtual event hosted by the Birmingham Children’s Theatre. This live, Zoom-centered performance is an interactive experience that is equal parts story and activity. Up to 10 kids at a time will embark on a treasure hunt around their own homes to help collect the items needed to save the North Pole! With a little help from parents, participants will find special items in hidden locations.

Drink hot chocolate by a fire.

If you want to make this feel even more special, you could do a hot chocolate bar with different toppings like peppermints and marshmallows.

The most magical Christmas with our sweet baby

Listen to Christmas music.

We love to listen to Christmas music at home and in the car because it brings back so many fond memories.

Pick a tree from a Christmas tree farm.

We took Noah to Pine Hill Farms when he was only five days old (his first outing). We had so much fun and can’t wait to go back again this year. Other Christmas tree farms in the area include Beavers Christmas Tree Farm and Old Baker Farm.

Amandalyn Dorner Photography

Watch Christmas movies.

Few things feel cozier than snuggling together and watching a movie. Holiday-themed snacks and hot chocolate also add to the fun. Our family loves making movie night even more special by going to the drive-in!

Wear matching Christmas pajamas.

I love the idea of opening presents Christmas morning in matching pajamas. Not only does it make for adorable pictures, but they can be worn all season long.

See The Nutcracker ballet.

I thought this ballet was magical as an adult so I can only imagine how magical this would be for a child. The ballet will be limited to 30% capacity and is taking other measures to keep their patrons safe this year, so tickets will sell quickly. 

Put up Christmas lights and decorations.

There’s a reason the song says, “the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be on your own front door.”

Stacy Wooten Photography

Get pictures with Santa.

I haven’t decided how we will handle Santa when our son gets older. However, I still think we will have fun getting pictures with Santa and watching our little one grow year to year. Some socially distanced options for getting your picture taken this year are to attend the Holiday Drive-In with Santa on November 22nd or visit Santa at The Summit or Santa at Sims Garden. 

Make a gingerbread house.

I love this activity because it can be as simple or elaborate as you want.

Photo by Randalyn Hill

Make paper snowflakes.

Our son is too little for this right now, but it was always a favorite activity of mine when I was a child.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

Whether you choose to pay to see lights at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland or you just drive around in festive neighborhoods, it’s always fun to see where people have gone all out with their lights.

Give to a family in need.

There are so many amazing opportunities to volunteer and give during the holiday season. While the holidays can be a time of celebration and joy, they can also be very difficult for families that are struggling financially. I think it’s important to pay it forward if possible, and I think it’s a wonderful lesson to teach your children as well.

I hope that this bucket list makes you as excited for Christmas as it does me. If you have a family favorite that you think I should add, I would love to hear about it!

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Courtney moved to Birmingham seven years ago with the dream of becoming a nurse. She left behind her five wild brothers but brought along her high school sweetheart, David. David and Courtney got married after their freshman year at UAB at the ripe age of nineteen. They thrived on cans of soup while pursuing their education and working odd jobs. Courtney graduated and landed her dream job in the Neonatal ICU. One year later, her husband also graduated and began working as an Engineer. They now live in Trussville with their two-year-old son, Noah and are expecting baby number two. Courtney’s hobbies include eating, being outdoors, traveling with her family, and making wooden toys which she shares about on instagram (amindfulmom). She is passionate about mission work and has been privileged to serve on trips to Tanzania, Costa Rica and Ecuador.