My Family Christmas Bucket List

Can you even wrap your brain around the fact that we are barreling into the middle of December like the Polar Express on that crazy mountain?  Although the halls have been decked here at the Ranchito, we haven’t yet had time to press into the “chill” of that mythical December in our dreams.


To be completely honest, so far December has looked like a lot of late night Nutcracker rehearsals, confounding calendar meetings, and quality time with no one but Amazon Prime.

It always feels this way, doesn’t it, every year?  We have the best intentions of soaking it all in, savoring every moment,  being completely present, inviting in the magic of simplicity and booting out the unhealthy expectations we put on ourselves… And then 35 trips to the grocery store later,  4 never ending email threads about class parties and teacher’s gifts, and infinite Christmas list revisions from my kiddos and you can just call me The Grinch!  And I want to be Cindy Lou!


I think in this season, more than any other, there is such tension between the doing and the being.

Some of us Pinterest types have really gotten a bad wrap lately.  There is serious push back to anything perfectly planned and pretty.  Fancy automatically equals fake and all to-do lists must be burned at the stake immediately in the name of stillness and authenticity.  And a girl like me, and maybe you too, is left feeling just as much anxiety in letting it all go as she does in getting it all done.

Maybe the magic of Christmas will just land on your home like gently falling snow as you sit by the fire ignoring the grocery lists and emails, but it doesn’t happen like that for me.  The way of  anything left on its own is to unravel.  The way of Christmas with 4 kids, a huge ballet production, countless parties and commitments,  and visiting in-laws left unplanned would be complete chaos.  So here is where I am…

I am being proactively intentional with our Christmas this year. 

God is showing me a lot about my own wiring lately and how He has created me and here is what I know:  I AM A LIST MAKER.  There, I said it.  I like a Pinteresty party and a perfectly planned menu.  I send Christmas cards out the day after Thanksgiving, and every gift is already wrapped and placed under the tree.  What I am realizing is that the shame thing can work both ways, like “reverse shame.”  When we lift the mess up too high, then those of us on the other side feel like our organization and lists makes us less human, less real, and somehow the enemy to fellow women everywhere.  The pendulum has shifted and I am feeling it this Christmas.

family-christmas-bucket-listSo, this holiday season the family and I have made a different kind of list.  We are working on our Family Christmas Bucket List.”   We sat down at dinner one night and I just asked, “What do y’all want to MAKE SURE we do this Christmas?”  Now, in our little town options are pretty limited, but here’s what we have so far:  We will be attending the Living Nativity at the Baptist Church, the hayride through the best lit neighborhood at another church, and the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our own church home.  We will have a sleepover with our besties in bedroom forts.  We will decorate Christmas cookies,  make applesauce cinnamon ornaments, and drink copious amounts of hot chocolate.  We will watch big sister in her 7th Nutcracker and celebrate all of her hard work.  We will also watch every “claymation” Christmas movie we can find and sing all the songs by heart.  We will sit by the fire pit outside and listen to Daddy play Christmas carols on his guitar.  We are loving She Reads Truth’s advent cards at the dinner table and our Jesse Tree readings at bedtime.  We will probably see Star Wars’ “Rogue One” approximately 15 seconds after it is released.  Stuff like that.  The list is on the fridge and we can add to it as new ideas come to us.  I just don’t want to look up in the middle of January and think, “We missed it!”  We were too busy to do the good stuff.  Or everyone just vegged in their rooms so much we forgot to really go out there and embrace it all!  I’m proud of our list!  No shame!

Here is another juicy little tidbit.  The hubs and I are making a “Romantic Christmas Bucket List.”    It is NOT on the fridge.  After all, Christmas is the most romantic time of the year, and I don’t want to miss that either.  But if we are not proactively intentional, we will.  The only conversations we will have will be what to wear to the office party, where to hide the bike until Christmas morning, did you get those new addresses for Christmas cards, and when are your parents getting here.  Not sexy.  When I asked him what he wanted to put on the list via text the only response I got was, “Make out.” No.  But, if you say, “Make out by the fire with Christmas music playing” then yes! We will be watching White Christmas alone, have a hot chocolate and hand holding date, trying out the new coffee shop together, and some other stuff I’m not going to write because my dad has been known to read the blog but you get the idea.

So, list makers of the world unite!  No shame in our game when it brings some proactive intentionality to our Christmas!  You can schedule Selah as well as search for it!  I would really love to hear your ideas on what is on both your Family Christmas Bucket List and your Romantic Christmas Bucket List as well.  Don’t let the inertia of the season, whether it be crazy or lazy,  leave you disappointed come New Year’s Eve.

To help you cultivate the things that matter into your family’s schedule this Christmas season, I’ve created a printable bucket list for you to use. Just click on the image below, print and post on your fridge!

A Word That Matters

Let’s get proactive and intentional with this precious gift of Christmas! Joy to the World Y’all!

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