Cocoa, Christmas cookies, and sleigh rides—print our free winter bucket list and stay busy all season long.

By Emily VanSchmus
Updated December 01, 2020
Advertisement

There’s nothing more magical than drinking a warm mug of hot cocoa, watching fresh snow fall, and listening to cheery Christmas music. But winter isn’t just about the holidays—and it’s often the days and weeks after Christmas that we feel the most stir-crazy. If you’re feeling the winter slump while snow or sleet covers the neighborhood, try a few things from our curated bucket list to keep you busy.  Whether you decide to build a puzzle by the crackling fire, read a Christmas novel, or make a truly epic gingerbread house display, this editor-approved list is sure to keep your household entertained until spring. We've even got ideas for ways to do good after the hectic holiday season. Download our free printable winter bingo card and hang it up so you can check things off as you go.

Get the free winter bingo card

1. Decorate Cookies

Baking cookies is one of our favorite winter activities because using the oven keeps the whole kitchen toasty warm—and we get to eat cookies! We have more than 35 insanely good Christmas cookie recipes to try this year, and our Santa sugar cookie tutorial will help you make the most adorable ‘ho ho ho’ cookies. 

2. Build a Snowman 

Do you want to build a snowman? No, we’re not talking about watching Frozen 2—next time your neighborhood gets a heavy dusting of snow, head outside and build your very own Frosty. If you don’t get snow this year, make an adorable snowman wreath for your front door instead. 

3. Read a Book

Since we'll be staying home for much of the winter, we're on the hunt for relaxing at-home activities. If you like to curl up with a good book, consider one of these 7 festive Christmas-theme books for your next read. The sweet storylines have a guaranteed happy ending (something we could all use this season) and are sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

Credit: Jacob Fox

4. Make a Gingerbread House 

We love a classic gingerbread house, but there are so many fun new cookie house kits on the market this year. Get creative and make a colorful confetti house or try making an entire woodland scene

5. Do a Puzzle

We’re always looking for indoor activities that don’t involve screen time—especially when it’s too cold to go out. Puzzles are one of our editors’ favorite hobbies, and we love that it can be a solo project or a group effort. If you need a new challenge this winter, check out the list of our favorite puzzles

6. Host a Family Game Night

For a memorable winter evening, everyone will enjoy, host a family game night! Make party mix, cookies, and finger foods, and set out your favorite games. We recommend playing with just the members of your household for the safest game night possible this season.

7. Make Snow Angels 

There’s nothing more magical than playing in fresh snow, and this classic winter activity always reminds us of childhood. You’re never too old to make a snow angel! 

8. Watch Holiday Movies 

We love a good movie night cuddled up under the blankets. Make your way through our list of classic Christmas movies to watch with your mom, cue up the holiday section on Disney+, or make a plan to watch all 40 of Hallmark's newest Christmas movie premieres

9. Sip Hot Chocolate

Making homemade hot chocolate is a must-do in the winter, and this year we’re mixing up delicious flavors. Make a batch of peppermint hot chocolate for your next holiday movie night, or spend the next snow day cuddled under a blanket with a steaming mug of cinnamon hot cocoa

10. Do a Random Act of Kindness

The months leading up to the holidays can be stressful for everyone, so we like to squeeze in a few extra acts of kindness this time of year. It doesn’t have to be anything big: Pay for a stranger’s holiday drink at the drive through or surprise a coworker with a few sweet words of encouragement via text or email. If you’re expecting a lot of Amazon deliveries before Christmas, you could even put out a sweet surprise for your delivery drivers!

11. Wrap Gifts

While you may not be gathering in person to exchange gifts, you can still make sure this year's gifts are wrapped in festive paper and topped with a bow. If you need a quick refresher, here's how to wrap a gift like a pro—and how to make your own gift bows out of ribbon. If you're planning to mail your wrapped gifts, be sure to follow our easy holiday shipping guide to make sure they arrive safely (and on time).

12. Listen to Christmas Music

We’ll admit it: We started listening to Christmas music way before Thanksgiving this year, and we don’t plan to stop any time soon. Play one of our favorite Christmas albums or stream the classics on Amazon Music. 

13. Shovel a Neighbor’s Driveway

Shoveling snow likely isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do, which makes it a sweet surprise to walk out of your house and see that a neighbor has done it for you. If you have neighbors who don’t get around as well, make an extra effort to keep their driveway and sidewalks clear of snow and ice this winter. 

Credit: Thitikorn Kinsorn, EyeEm/Getty Images

14. Make a Donation

Donating to charity is something we try to do every holiday season, but the process of deciding where to give (and how much) can be overwhelming. To help you navigate the situation, we chatted with experts about the best ways to give back this season.  

15. Go for a Sleigh Ride 

Take your holiday celebrations up a notch by taking a sleigh ride. While it can still be safe to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride throughout the city this holiday season (with masks, of course), you can also set up a DIY option at home. Decorate a sled with festive garland, bells, and bows, and take turns pulling each other around in the snow.

16. Send Holiday Cards

Sending out the annual holiday card is always top of mind as we enter December, but without any vacation photos or major milestone updates from the year, you may be wondering what to send. Not to worry: If you want to send a photo card, follow these pro tips for how to take a family photo at home (no photographer required!). Or skip the photo and send out a set of Rifle Paper Co.'s gorgeous new holiday greeting cards instead. 

17. Put up Holiday Decorations

No matter what winter holidays you celebrate, decorating for the season is always fun. Gather the family to trim the Christmas tree, or deck the halls with some of this year's most popular Christmas decorating trends. If you celebrate Hanukkah, these gorgeous menorahs will help you light the candles in style this season.

Credit: Universal/Getty Images

18. Watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’

While ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ is technically a Christmas movie, we love to watch it all winter! Freeform will air the movie on Christmas Eve, but you can also pick up your own copy of the movie for a few dollars and binge-watch Max and Cindy Lou Who all winter long. 

19. Have a Snowball Fight

There’s only one thing to do after a particularly heavy snowfall—have a snowball fight! Grab your gang, dress in your warmest clothes, and establish the rules. When everyone is tired out, head inside for some hot apple cider.

Credit: Jason Donnelly

20. Adopt a Family 

If you have the financial means to buy extra gifts this year, adopting a child or family from an angel tree is one of our favorite ways to give back. Get the whole family involved in picking out the perfect gifts. Local churches, businesses, and schools often have information about how to sign up—and they’ll sometimes be able to give you a specific wishlist as well. 

21. Go Sledding

Sledding is a fun, affordable activity the whole family can enjoy. Grab an inexpensive sled (or two!) and find a snowy hill in your area. Be sure to bundle up before you head out into the cold!

22. Relax by the Fireplace 

If you’re lucky enough to have an indoor fireplace, take advantage of it by planning a relaxing evening at home. Read a book, drink hot chocolate, or catch up on your favorite shows while the flames crackle away. If you don’t have a fireplace (and if you don’t live in a super cold climate), you might still have time to build your own DIY fire pit outside!

23. Look at Christmas Lights

Once you’ve hung your own Christmas lights, take a drive around the block to admire your neighbor’s lights and debate which is better: White lights or multicolor lights? If you live near enough to one of these locations, you could also check out one of the gorgeous light displays at public botanical gardens around the country. 

24. Make Paper Snowflakes 

Paper snowflakes are one of the easiest (and least messy!) winter crafts to make indoors. Grab a few pieces of plain white paper, fold them over a few times, and cut! If you’re feeling extra festive, hang them from the ceiling with fishing line to create an indoor winter wonderland.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
January 12, 2020
Seriously. On January 12 you send a list of "winter" activities that are for the most part Christmas oriented? That ship has already sailed! And to add to the uselessness, many of the activities can only be engaged in in areas where there is snow, ice. Did you forget the Middle Atlantic, South and West coast exist? I had high hopes but unfortunately, I wasted my time!
Anonymous
January 12, 2020
It's January 12! May we please have suggestions that do not involve Christmas?