This season is full of holiday activities and traditions! And I really do love traditions. Now that we are parents of a child who is old enough to really start remembering and participating in the holidays, it’s even more important that we create amazing holiday memories together. There are certain things I try and do with my family and friends every year to get into the Holiday spirit! Here are some of my favorites. I’d love to hear about some of yours!

Save or print out this Holiday Activity Bucket List that I’ve created for you, and see how many you can check off this year! Anything awesome that I left off? Let me know! I’d love to add it to the list! 😊

#1 | Take Festive Photos!
Just for fun, or of course use for sending out holiday greeting cards! This is one I have done for as long as I can remember. Every year we find a friend, or set up a tripod and take some cute photos to put together and send to friends and family. There are lots of great online stores to order cards from. My favorite for the past few years is, they never disappoint!

#2 | Visit Santa!
Our local favorite is the Great Big Greenhouse! Unfortunately, due to Covid, we’ve skipped this year and last, but we had so much fun the years we did go! We love them because they have a great setups, there is no big line to wait in, the Santa is the best! You can take your own photos. And of course once you are done, you can walk around and shop for plants, or admire the amazing trainset they have in the middle of the greenhouse!

crop woman with candy cane in cocoa in cafe

#3 | Make Hot Cocoa!
Let’s be honest I’ll drink this all year round thanks to K-cups! 😊 But when its chilly outside, making hot cocoa with some marshmallows and cuddling up under a blanket is the best. Here is a great recipe for homemade hot chocolate!

food snack popcorn movie theater

#4 | Watch Holiday Movies!
I love movies. And nope, sorry, I don’t enjoy the sappy, romantic ones. Never have, never will. A few of my defaults are Home Alone, the Grinch, A Christmas Story, Rudolph and, the Nightmare Before Christmas and my favorite – Edward Scissorhands, which may be debatable as a Christmas movie, but I’m up for that fight! 🙂

#5 | Bake Cookies!
This has been a staple holiday activity for my entire life. We used to make a ton of big, cookie cutter sugar cookies growing up, covered in sprinkles. Which I still like to do today. But my favorite is making gingerbread cookies! Here is my go-to recipe!

snow wood vacation people

#6 | Build a Gingerbread House
Speaking of gingerbread cookies, we must make a gingerbread house! Last year, my son and I tried to DIY it from graham crackers and icing…. It did not go well, but was a hilarious fail. He pretty much laughed his face off every time the walls fell down. It was so cute. This year, we bought a great kit from Michael’s, just to make life easier. And it was prefect!

#7 | Holiday Lights Tour
We’re lucky, because not too far from us is an amazing neighborhood that completely goes all out decorating their street for Christmas. If you live in Richmond, it’s definitely worth a drive through! So much for the kids, while the parents just cannot believe how anyone has that much time and patience. And also how high that electrical bill gets…

#9 | Advent Calendar
We always did this growing up, and my son now loves it too! We’ve been using it as a way for him to learn numbers, counting down and of course, enjoying some small treats each day! There are so many unique and creative advent calendars out there now as well to choose from. We do a traditional chocolate one and a magnet calendar one with a little gingerbread man.

#10 | Write a letter to Santa
We always did this growing up, and my son now loves it too! We’ve This is a great way for younger kids to practice writing. And remind them to attempt to be good all year 😊

happy family looking at the christmas balls

#11 | Decorate!
Decorate the tree, house, or wherever you please. And listen to Christmas music! This is actually one of the only times that I purposefully listen to a holiday playlist. It just feels right to put it on and transform the space!

a person holding a wreath

#12 | Make a Wreath!
Make, or buy if you don’t have the time, a wreath for your front door. There are so many great ideas online for this. It’s fun to do and adds cheerful charm to your front door. You can go simple and modern, of traditional with evergreens and bows. There are no rules here, have fun with it!

#13 | Gift Exchange
Secret Santa gift exchange. Or a “white elephant” party. This is always so much fun at work, or with a group of friends. Everyone trying to outdo each other with the silliest gift becomes a festive competition.

#14 | Holiday Sweaters!
Secret Santa gift exchange. Or a “white elephant” party. This is always Wear your holiday sweaters. They’re impossible not to find nowadays. The “uglier” the better! And I guess we can throw holiday matching pajamas in here too. We don’t do that, but so many people love that tradition!

#15 | Donate Old Toys and Clothes
Donate old toys and clothes. You need to make room for new things, plus this is a great time to declutter the house and help out someone else. We try and do this each winter. There are also so many toy, clothing and coat drives that will greatly benefit your community.

#16 | Christmas Morning Breakfast!
Holidays always involve lots of delicious food. We like to start right away! Years ago, I started baking this delicious Danish on Christmas morning and it’s been a huge hit! It’s easy to make, so so good and can easily be cut into pieces and transported. Does great leftover too if you have any left!

So, have you or are you planning any of these fun holiday activities? Did I leave anything obvious off of the list?
Whatever activity you may try, don’t forget to snap photos along the way of these wonderful times together!

Below is my free Holiday Activity Bucket List!

I’d love to hear what you think and what you love to do each holiday with your friends and family! Comment, email me, tag @TinaTakeMyPhoto in a photo of your Holiday fun and enjoy some time alone, connect with your family and take a few minutes to remember what really matters.

tina thomas personal branding photographer richmond about me

Tina Thomas is an award-winning photographer & filmmaker in Chesterfield, VA. With a passion for capturing real, intimate and joyful moments, my experience allows me to take a laid-back approach where I can guide, observe and record genuine connection and personality.