Is there anything more magical than the time leading up to Christmas?! Your home is decorated with lights glowing, the fire is burning, baked goods are being baked, presents are being wrapped, and of course, Hallmark movies are being played on the TV!
As Christmas 2020 approaches and with a global pandemic still going on, many yearly Christmas traditions might be slightly altered. However, just view this as a way to potentially make some new traditions, and most importantly, a way to continue making memories!
I’ve put together a Christmas 2020 Bucket List and I hope you and your family will partake in some (maybe all) of the activities! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@kalettehittle), as I want to follow along in the fun!!!!
1. Drive-Through Christmas Lights
Going to look at Christmas lights are one of the jolliest things to do around Christmas. From driving around your neighborhood to hitting up some of the drive-through Christmas lights displays, you have lots of options to pick from.
I’ve put together a list of some of the options (drive-thru and outdoor displays) available for my local readers in the Dayton area.
- Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve (Troy, OH) – 1.25-mile driving tour of over 60 light displays. Open weekends thru December 27 from 6-10pm on Fridays & Saturdays and 6-9pm on Sundays (Bonus Days: December 21-23 6-9pm). $10 per car / $30 for 15 passenger vans
- Light Up Middletown (Middletown, OH) – For 21 years now, this light display has been bringing joy to families. Open nightly from 6-10pm through New Year’s Eve. Admission by cash donation. BONUS: Check the lights out on December 15th, and see the balloon glow, which consists of ~10 hot air balloons lit up.
- Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH) – Don’t miss Southwest Ohio’s largest Christmas lights drive thru event! Complete with a petting zoo, Santa’s Workshop, Christmas village, and gift shop, this stop has it all! Masks are required when in the park. Open nightly (except December 25th) from 6-10pm. $7 per person admission.
- Whispering Christmas (Eaton, OH) – This drive-thru only tour is home to over 2 million lights, and the kiddos can see Santa waving to them as they pass by. Open 6-9:30pm nightly thru December 31st. $5 per car donation is appreciated.
- Clifton Mills (Clifton, OH) – This one isn’t a drive-thru, but what a beautiful sight if you don’t mind fairing the weather and crowd (masks are mandatory). This stop features over 4 million lights that cover the mill, the covered bridge, and the Clifton gorge (wait until you see the synched music show). Open nightly from 6-9pm through December 30th (6-8pm on December 24th and 25th). Cost: $10 per person for 4 and older / 3 and under are Free
- The Christmas Ranch (Morrow, OH) – This is an indoor/outdoor option, so you can chose to stick with the drive-thru portion or add on the indoor and outdoor activities. It’s like walking into a Winter Wonderland, with over 1 million lights, train and wagon rides, Santa’s Bakery, and multiple little Christmas shops. For those entering buildings, temperature checks will be performed and masks are required. Open nightly through December 23rd. Hours vary, so check the calendar before planning your visit. $15 per car / $30 for oversized vehicles (10+)
- A Carillon Christmas (Dayton, OH) – Check out the Carillon Historical Park’s 65-acre campus transformed into a winter wonderland. Masks required at all times while in the park, whether indoors or outdoors. Important Info: Advance timed tickets are required for entrance! Open nightly from 5-9pm through December 30th (closed December 24th and 25th). $12 per adult / $8 per child (ages 3-17) / Free to children under 3
2. Mail a Letter to Santa
Every kiddo needs to make sure they mail a letter to Santa…I mean, he needs to know what every good little boy and girl want on Christmas morning. Grab some cute stationary, or even some decorative cardstock or construction paper, and have the kiddos write their letters to Santa while eating cookies and drinking milk! So how does your kiddo get a response from Santa? Well the United States Postal Service has all of that info you need on how to get a return letter, complete with the North Pole postmark stamp!
3. Make a homemade garland to display
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite parts of Christmas decor is the lighted garland strung all throughout the house! No worries though, as garland can be homemade! Grab some paper, ribbon, candy, cranberries, etc. and create a new decorative garland for your house this season!
For this easy garland, I took a string of lights and 3 different patterns of wired ribbon (~2.5 inches). Just cut the garland in strips of about 5-7 inches and then half the ribbon lengthways. Tie the ribbon around the cord (in between the lights) and you have an easy lighted ribbon garland!
4. Watch a Holiday movie favorite
While a good day of Hallmark Christmas movie binging is wonderful, take some time to watch one of the classics. There are so many to chose from, whether you like the original Christmas cartons or maybe you’d prefer something like Home Alone or Polar Express. Pop some popcorn and snuggle up on the couch with the family for a good ole’ movie night!
5. Bake Christmas Cookies
If this one doesn’t spell Christmas, then I don’t know what does! I love being in the kitchen with the family, rolling out cookies, smelling the aroma of them baking, and then pretending to be amazing bakers as we ice and decorate them! I’ve got my favorite food blogger’s (Jamielyn Nye – I Heart Naptime) Christmas cookie recipe for ya. I also used her super easy powdered sugar icing recipe, which hardens so you can store those cookies away without worrying about messing up the icing!
Pro Tip: Need some Christmas cookie cutters? This is the 18-piece Wilton metal cookie cutter set we use. Just add it to your next Wal-Mart pick up order while you’re grabbing all the supplies you need to make these delicious cookies!
6. Open one Small Christmas Gift on Christmas Eve
One of my favorite Christmas memories from my childhood was from Christmas Eve. We would go to our Grandparent’s house and the entire family would be there for the evening. After dinner and before presents, Santa Claus would make a special appearance for the kiddos. He would come inside the house, we would all get a chance to sit on his lap and tell him what we wanted him to bring later that night, and then he would have a special gift for us.
While I don’t have Santa coming to our house on Christmas night, I have passed the gift on Christmas Eve tradition down to Kaylie. Every year, she gets to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and every year, it’s a pair of new Christmas pj’s. So, I suggest grabbing some matching family pj’s and everybody gets to unwrap them on Christmas Eve (and of course immediately put them on!).
I would 100% order these AMAZING matching family pj’s (if only Jeremie would agree to it)!
7. Make a Christmas Craft
I love grabbing some crafting supplies and the kids and gathering around a table to let the creative juices fly! Just head on over to Pinterest and you can find all kinds of fun crafts to chose from!
Here’s a fun one to get your search started…b/c I don’t know about you, but I’m loving all of those cute gnomes I’m seeing everywhere!!
8. Go Christmas Caroling around the neighborhood
Alright, now I’m no singer (one that you would want to hear, that is), but I’m all about spreading joy! So gather up some of your neighbors and head around the neighborhood with a hot drink in your hand to stay warm!
Pro Tip: For those of you who are a little timid about your abilities, try using YouTube as background sound. Get this…all carolers log into a Zoom session on their mobile devices (but don’t connect to the audio). The host can log in and share this YouTube screen. Attach the host’s mobile device to a Bluetooth speaker, and then you have a nice sounding choir with you and everyone has a digital songbook in front of them!
9. Make Hot Cocoa bombs and drink hot cocoa around the tree
If you’re on social media, then you’ve probably seen these little goodies take the internet by storm! They are so cute, and how fun to watch them melt and the goodies inside appear! Bonus, there are all kinds of different mixtures you can create, from the traditional chocolate with marshmallows to white chocolate snowmen!! Here’s a post with a few hot cocoa bomb recipes you can use and don’t forget to pick up your silicone molds! Once you have these beauties prepared, sit around your tree and enjoy your warm cup of deliciousness!
10. Put together a Christmas puzzle
I can remember doing puzzles all year long with my Grandparents, but isn’t the magical season of Christmas a great time to just slow down and do something fun with the family…all while maybe bringing back all of those feels you remember from back in the day with your loved ones! So grab a Christmas themed puzzle (1000 pieces for sure!) and you and and the family can spend Christmas break working on creating the finished look!