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Free and Low Cost Christmas Bucket List Ideas

Try new family traditions this year with this big list of free and low cost Christmas activities. Make a Christmas bucket list this year and work on it as a family.

The holiday season is all about spending time together as a family and taking a break from the regular routine. These Christmas family activities are fun to do to get into the holiday spirit and while the kids are on winter break from school.

Christmas bucket list ideas for families

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Are these family Christmas traditions?

Any of these Christmas bucket list ideas could become yearly traditions for your family. They're a great way to connect the generations, too. Plan some activities that the kids and grandparents can do together.

Would you like to start some new traditions with your children this Christmas? If so, there are plenty to choose from. You can make the holiday season more exciting and enjoyable while celebrating as a family and making unforgettable memories.

Are these free holiday activities?

Most of these Christmas bucket list ideas are free, while others are very inexpensive. There are so many ways to enjoy the holiday season with your family without spending too much money. Save your budget for fabulous food!

What's a Christmas bucket list?

Don't think of a “bucket list” as a stressor. Keep it on the fridge to get new ideas for winter break or anytime you're looking for a fun activity for all ages. The kids can put a checkmark each time you complete an activity, or you can just use it for inspiration for things to do at Christmas.

Christmas cookie cutters and sprinkles with bowl of flour

Things to do as a family for Christmas

Visit a Light Show Close By

Visiting a local light show in your area is a good idea. You may be amazed at how FUN the kids think a light show is. Many times, you don’t have to pay money to see those fun light display. In our area, there are a couple neighborhoods that do it, plus a local gas station has a huge

Matching Christmas Pajamas

Who enjoys wearing Christmas jammies? Almost everyone! Grab matching Christmas pajamas for the people in your life this holiday season. The pictures are the true prize when you wear matching Christmas pajamas.

Create Holiday Decor Together

Go to the store to buy supplies to make holiday decor together. By making the decorations right at home, you can save money and enjoy this family time together. Making your own holiday decor is a great tradition worth a try this year.

Participate in a Cookie Exchange

Want something new to do this year? Participate in a cookie exchange with your friends and neighbors. Kids and adults LOVE cookie exchanges!

Two cups hot chocolate with marshmallows

Hot Chocolate Bar

Make a fancy hot chocolate bar with the family–either store-bought or homemade hot cocoa. You can let them be as creative as they want by adding their own goodies to the warm mug. Marshmallows, whipped cream, and Christmas sprinkles – all are a winner in my book.

Read Christmas Books Together

Head to your local library to find new-to-you Christmas stories plus old favorites. Our family had the tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve every year.

Play a Family-Friendly Game

Playing games together is a fun tradition that any family will love. Try different types of board and card games to find some that everyone enjoys. You can even print Holiday Bingo to play at home.

Go Ice Skating

Does your family enjoy ice skating? Visit an ice skating rink (indoor or outdoor) as a fun holiday tradition worth doing this year as a family.

gingerbread house with pretzel roof - Christmas bucket list ideas

Decorate a Gingerbread House

Buy a gingerbread house kit and put it together with your loved ones. It’s fun adding different elements to the gingerbread house to make it look presentable. Alternately, make graham cracker houses.

Open a Gift Early

When it comes to Christmas Eve, don’t be a Grinch, let the kids open a gift. You get to choose the gift you want them to open. It can be hard to not give the family the best gift you gave them, but save the best for Christmas day!

Watch a Christmas Movie

Look for a good Christmas movie to watch on Christmas Eve with the family. You can set things up while offering assorted snacks, including popcorn and chocolate. The great thing about Christmas movies is that you can start watching those early in the holiday season.

Bake Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

Who doesn’t LOVE cinnamon rolls? You can prepare Christmas themed cinnamon rolls for your guests and they will enjoy it so much. You can even make vegan cinnamon rolls.

Paper Christmas ornaments - Christmas bucket list ideas

Make your Own Ornaments
Use whatever art supplies you have on hand (including recyclables) to make your own Christmas ornaments. You can hang them on your tree or give them away as gifts.

Go Christmas Caroling Together

Consider going caroling as a family. This is an old-fashioned Christmas tradition that you can start up again this year. You can also stay home and just have a family sing-a-long.

Decorate the Windows Together
Decorate the windows together with window clings. You can buy the clings at the dollar store, or even make them yourselves.

Listen to Christmas Music

Go ahead and play Christmas music and decorate the tree with loved ones. Add decorations, tinsel, garland, and any other items you like to put on the tree while singing along to some of your favorite holiday songs.

Snow on pine trees at winter farm

Winter Farm Fun

Head to a local forest or farm to take a walk in the winter weather. If you can afford to, pick out a tree at a Christmas tree farm. Many families love this tradition.

Donate Toys

Christmas is a wonderful time for families to serve others with volunteering and gifting. Let the kids choose toys to donate to organizations like Toys For Tots. Find your local drop-off center on their website.

Host a Christmas Potluck

Use the holidays as a time to catch up with friends and family. But don't do all the work yourself–ask for help by hosting a potluck brunch, dinner or dessert party. A Christmas potluck can help relieve you of stress when others bring something for everyone to enjoy.

Bake a Christmas Dessert

Is there a dessert you love around Christmas time? You can get the family to lend a helping hand with making whatever it is you decide to serve, such as pie. You can keep it really simple with these 3-ingredient holiday cookies. My family tradition growing up was to make gingerbread men and decorate one for each of our teachers.

Look at Christmas Photos

Look back at family photos from Christmases past. Talk about favorite memories and Christmas traditions through the generations.

Christmas tree made of lights

Look at Holiday Lights in Your Neighborhood

Take a walk around your neighborhood to look at holiday lights and decorations. Or, drive to an area known for many decorations. You can even print a Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt for the family to complete.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Go to Goodwill and pick out the ugliest Christmas sweaters you can find. Wear them on Christmas day! Your family will LOVE this tradition. If you live where it’s warm, then do an ugly Christmas t-shirt contest.

Play Secret Santa

Consider doing a Secret Santa! You all draw a name and each person has to buy for the name they drew. This can be a lot of fun if you don’t tell the person who drew their name, until they open their gift.

Create a Holiday Trivia Game

Make your own holiday trivia game to play with the family. You can take your favorite holiday movies and songs and ask questions about them. Grownups may enjoy this printable Christmas movie trivia quiz.

Printable Christmas bucket list

Download this printable list of holiday activities to do with the family this season. Add your own ideas, too! You'll never run out of things to do at Christmas with the kids.

Free printable Christmas activities list - Christmas bucket list for families

Use these Christmas family activities to enjoy the school break and holiday season with the kids. Plus, you can start plenty of fun Christmas traditions with your loved ones.

More winter fun

Free and low-cost Christmas family fun activities