I’ve seen other Holiday Bucket Lists, many of which were obviously based somewhere in the northern hemisphere because, as much as I would love to, I won’t be building snowmen here in Australia.
Here, at least for me, Christmas consists of a BBQ with family, cold salads, iced cold drinks, and generally a dip in the pool. The air conditioner is usually on and we’re in shorts and singlets, not jeans and sweaters.
I will experience a white Christmas one day.
Until then here is my Australian based Holiday Bucket List (with Kids, cause well they aren’t going anywhere).
Decorate the Tree & Home
This one is a given but as has always been tradition, December 1st the house goes from covered in toys to covered in tinsel. Every year I like to have a running theme or colour throughout the decorations. It is a great opportunity to bond as a family over Christmas Carols (before you’re sick of them), and getting into the holiday spirit.
Send a Christmas Care Package
Not everyone can be lucky enough to be home with their family over the holiday period, and instead these brave men and women are serving our country. What better way to give them thanks than send a support package over this time of giving. I think that instilling the idea of generosity is important all year round, but especially during a time of year that we are particularly lucky, while knowing others are not as lucky.
In Australia, from Monday 6 November to Friday 8 December of this year, you can send a general care package to support our troops that are deployed over the Christmas period.
The address to send the packages to is:
An Australian Defence Member
Australian Defence Force NSW 2890
For more information visit defence.gov.au or click here.
Place a Gift under the Kmart Wishing Tree
This is another opportunity to teach the gift of giving. For those who are not able to afford to give at Christmas, or have no one to exchange gifts with. This year the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is celebrating 30 years of helping those in need during the holiday season, and if you’d like to help the appeal by making a donation you can check in your local Kmart or online here.
Do Christmas Footprint Art
I think the footprint art is the cutest thing and family members generally enjoy getting art pieces from the little ones, so what better way to combine a fun activity and gifts by creating cards or gift wrap for Family members to enjoy!
Get This Years’ Special Keepsake Ornament
Every year we add a special ornament to our keepsake tree (a second smaller tree that lives in the boys bedroom). This began when my now-husband and I first moved in together, it continued the next year when we added our first son to the family, and we’ve added a special ornament every year since. Whether it be something that reflects the year that has passed, or a special event (such as a ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ ornament). Picking this out with the kids is trying, because my eldest usually wants something minions or cartoon related, and I want something a bit more sentimental but it’s an experience nonetheless.
Build a Gingerbread/Sugar Cookie House
I have never done a Gingerbread House but have always wanted to. Downside, I hate gingerbread, so this year I will be attempting to create a Sugar Cookie House, so same thing, different ingredients. To find out when that post is coming, check out the BLOGMAS 2017 Post.
Get a Holiday Photo (With or Without Santa)
If you’re like me and don’t really take any other set or scheduled picture at the same time every year that reflects your child’s growth, this one is for us. I enjoy being able to compare the pictures through out the years; where we were, how old the kids are, and just how much a year makes a difference when they’re so young. The sometimes creepy guy being in the picture is generally just to keep up the illusion of Santa for the little ones. I have no intention of keeping Santa in the picture when either they say they don’t want to take a picture with Santa or they no longer believe in him.
Make a Holiday Wishlist/Letter to Santa
This is another way to see change through the years. Sitting down with your kids and playing scribe as they list out all of their crazy Christmas desires is fun and can give you inspiration on what to get them, if you’re at a loss. And as they grow, and begin to write the letter for themselves, you’ll be able to keep the memento, and compare the change in writing from year to year.
Go See the Light Displays
This one can be fun for both adults and kids. Christmas lights are beautiful, especially when they have whole streets decorated. Some displays are even interactive. Seeing the happiness, awe and wonder on your child’s face as they take in the breathtaking scenes of warmth and light, is as heartwarming as it gets. If you’re in Australia, to look for Christmas Light Displays in your area, check out the Christmas Light Search Website.
Watch the Carols by Candle Light Special
For 80 years now, Vision has held a Christmas Eve celebration of celebrities coming together to sing and celebrate Christmas. Whether you’re able to attend the event yourself, or just watch it from TV at home, it isn’t Christmas Eve, if you aren’t watching the Carols. Check out the Vision Website for more information.
Hang the Stockings
This is a tradition that we only really picked up properly after having kids. We had one decorative stocking that we’d hang around but last year I invest in some personalised stockings that featured our names and they really bring the Christmas feel to the house. My eldest loves to interact by trying to read the names on the stockings, he also tried wearing them, but at least he was having fun!
Make a Traditional Family Recipe
I love the idea of handing down a recipe through generations, and what better time to start than having your kids help our with a special recipe during the holiday season. For me, I have two recipes, they will be my Great Grandmother’s caramel Tart and my Grandfather’s Rum Balls. Both of which I will be sharing with you over BLOGMAS and will link once they are published.
Volunteer – Your Time or Your Ear – to Someone in Need
As much as Christmas is considered to be ‘The most wonderful time of the year’, for a number of people it isn’t. There are people who have no one to celebrate with, who feel alone, and others who haven’t got the money to enjoy the holiday. Many people feel the effects of depression or a decrease in mental health over the holiday period, and even after. It is important to look out for the warning signs of something greater, but even if it isn’t as bad as that; ask if someone is okay, invite someone without plans to Christmas dinner, be courteous and thank those working over the holiday period. Giving someone who needs it, a little extra attention can change someone’s day, their outlook, and in some cases save a life. If you, or someone you know is struggling during this holiday period, there is help out there, in places such as Beyond Blue, Lifeline, and more.
Have a Christmas Movie Night
I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas movies, the romance ones or the adult ones anyway, something about the cheesiness puts me off but I will happily snuggle on the couch with my kids and watch ‘Elf’, ‘The Grinch’, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (Maybe not this one, my eldest LOVES Halloween and he watched it a good 100+ times in October, it’s still fresh, might skip it), or ‘Rise of the Guardians’ any night.
Create Your Own Family Advent Calendar
My son LOVES advent calendars, well the chocolate in the Cadbury’s ones, not so much the ‘1 a day’ rule. This year I picked up a gorgeous advent calendar with drawers you fill yourself. No idea what I’m putting in it (Any suggestions? Please leave them below) but having the little ones help me fill it or open the drawers with excitement each day will make whatever effort it takes for me to fill them worth it. There is a post coming soon about advent calendars, check it here!
Bake Holiday Treats as a Family
Everyone likes some kind of treat; cakes, cookies, crumbles, pastries. Making or even decorating them together is sure to be fun, messy, but ultimately fun!
That’s my 2017 Holiday Bucket List, though I am sure there are many other things I will add!
What other things do you have on your Holiday Bucket List?