We’re well into the holiday season…only 17 sleeps until Christmas Day! No pressure, right?

Inbetween the rush of normal life, holiday shopping, mailing cards and shipping gifts, we’re all trying to squeeze in some holiday cheer. Every year my kids look forward to our holiday activities list. So, even when I’m feeling less than enthusiastic about planning for the season, I pour myself a second or third cup of coffee and Make. That. List. I know the drill…put in some effort ahead of time for less stress and more fun in the future.

Do you do the same activities year after year? Or are you a mix-things-up-every-year kind of person? I fall into both categories. We have our favorite Christmas shows and movies, we love delivering goodies to our neighbors, our tour of our favorite neighborhood light displays can’t be missed, and our living room picnic on Christmas Eve is tradition. Most everything else can be rotated or mixed up year by year.

Making lists for everything saves my sanity (and helps my brain remember stuff I tend to forget). If you are the type of person who can keep it all in your head, please tell me your secret! I start out by writing down everything we’d LIKE to do, also referred to as my “fantasy phase.” Buying tickets for The Nutcracker or planning the BIGGESST CAROLING PARTY EVER is not something we can partake in every year. So after making my fantasy list, it’s time to reel things in and remember that the point is to have fun and spread cheer…not to do ALL the things. Keep everything simple and fun.

So, here’s what we ARE doing this year…

See middle school production of Elf, The Musical (This was a BLAST! I would have enjoyed it even if I weren’t the parent of a middle schooler)

Polar Express reading at Barnes + Noble (Our elementary school does this every year during a book fair so we try to make it whenever we can)

Get our Christmas tree and decorate (Done and done!)

Mail nice notes to grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles

Watch our favorite Christmas shows/movies (Charlie Brown, The Grinch, Rudolph, Prep and Landing 1+2, Elf, Polar Express, Arthur Christmas, White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story)

Holiday cheer with friends (We’ve split this into more intimate gatherings this year, rather than hosting one big party)

Garden Fest of Lights at our local botanical gardens

Crafting (Coffee filter snowflakes, making peppermint play dough, possibly throwing in a gingerbread house decorating day)

Volunteer + Give (Food Bank distribution, book drives, food drives)

Get presents for/write cards to teachers

Cookie making day

Walk through our town’s Grand Illumination (We missed the big night, but since everything stays lit throughout the season, we can still enjoy it…and with less crowds!)

Deliver goodies/gifts to neighbors

Go on our Christmas Lights drive (bring hot cocoa)

Enjoy our Christmas Eve living room picnic/read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

We’ve checked off some of our list already, but the real fun always starts when the kids get out for Winter Break. I hope you are enjoying the activities and traditions on your lists! And if you haven’t made a holiday activity list, there’s still time! Also, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite holiday activities!