Slowing Down + Holiday Bucket Lists

With a chill in the air and the scent of pine filling our cozy little home, we are reminded that Christmas is just right around the corner. This chaos-filled time of year always seems to start earlier and earlier, allowing us to cram more and more into our already busy lives. With our sweet boy being due on New Years (and a history of early babies) It’s made it a lot easier to cram a little less on my plate simply because of the unexpected nature of birthing tiny humans. But whether your waiting to birth a baby or not, I wanted to offer a simple note of encouragement to slow down. Not in a way that makes you feel guilty for a full calendar, but rather permission to say “no” where you really want to, knowing that when you say no, your able to say “yes” to rest and things that actually matter.

Take some time to reflect on what you actually want this holiday season so that you can know what type of things to say “no” to. For me, that meant writing it down in a journal so I wouldn’t forget but you may not be as forgetful as me 😉 I included a short version here just for fun and to give you a few ideas. Also, I know everyone doesn’t celebrate Christmas, but the winter is a reason enough to shift your energies and your focus inward and spend some time in reflection. I hope this gives you some ideas and that you’ll take a few minutes to make your own holiday bucket list of items that are really meaningful to you this season!


My Holiday Bucket List

  1. Be present. This season I am making an effort to put the stress and worries aside and actually spend time with my family. For me, this has meant putting my phone, work & never ending to do list on hold to just focus on having fun with the people who matter most at least 1 day/evening a week. Trust me, the worry and work will still be there when you get back. But take some time to put those things aside and be fully present with your loved ones.
  2. Be thankful. In a time where every advertisement is trying to convince me that I need more, newer, better things, I have to make a conscious effort to fight against the LOUD voice of consumerism. When we move through the season with a thankful heart, knowing we already have everything that we need, it really does make the season sweeter. I feel lighter, less stressed and a lot less pressure to get and do more when I instead shift my focus to gratitude.
  3. Be kind and generous. We have had so many people love our family so extravagantly and generously this year and my prayer is that one day we will be able to love others just as extravagantly! However, you can still show so much kindness even with limited resources. So we all sat down as a family and made a list of ways we could “give back” to others and show random acts of kindness in the weeks leading up to Christmas and it has been so fun to do some of those things together as a family.
  4. Be Joyful. Yeah, I know it’s the season to be jolly, but I usually end up feeling like a big ole grinch by the time Christmas actually gets here because I’m so frazzled. In order to choose joy, I have started to guard my seldom off days so that I have time for self care and rest. It all comes back to the saying “no” allows me to say “yes” to things that truly bring my heart joy.
  5. Be intentional. Intentional with my time, intentional with my spending, intentional with my giving, intentional with my focus. Where we place our intention matters. So instead of drifting through the season, letting the cultural norms run us ragged, take time to think about why your doing what your doing.


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Holiday Traditions

Admittedly, I am a huge sucker for Holiday traditions. But keeping them simple and low key is the trick to making them actually fun! These are a few of our traditions that make the Holiday bucket list every year.

  • Hot donuts or fresh baked cookies and driving around to look at all the Christmas lights around town.
  • Decorating the tree together then eating homemade rice crispy treats while we watch the original grinch.
  • The kids get a small tree to go in there bedroom and each decorate their own little tree to act as their “nightlight” the month of December.
  • We stock up on holiday baking supplies so whenever we have an unexpected free evening, my daughter and I can try a new cookie recipe together without having to run out and get supplies.
  • Each year we pick a senior to “adopt” and take them cookies and a small gift. We pick an evening when we aren’t in a hurry so we can also give the gift of time by hanging out and listening to their stories.



Do you have a favorite Holiday tradition or bucket list item? If so, share in the comments! It’s always so fun to see how others celebrate the season.

Wishing all of you a restful, joyous and fabulous holiday season!!


Lizzy Jackson

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