30 Winter Bucket List Ideas for Everyone


People have many euphemisms for death. One of the most well-known is the phrase “kick the bucket.” There are a few disputes over the phrase’s origin. Some people believe the idiom is a reference to condemned men at the gallows having a bucket kicked out from under their feet.

Others believe it may come from the Catholic custom of storing holy water in buckets at the feet of a deceased person. When mourners came to pray over the body, they’d be able to easily access holy water to sprinkle over the departed.

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Regardless of its etymology, the phrase undeniably went on to inspire the term “bucket list.” A bucket list is a list people make of things to do before the kick the proverbial bucket. It makes the concept of achieving things before death more palatable and less morbid.

Some bucket list items are better suited for particular times of the year. Here are some of our favorite winter-themed ideas and adventures for you to do with your loved ones or alone.

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Winter Bucket List Ideas for Adults

Winter has a magic about it that even adults find irresistible. Here are a few winter bucket list ideas that embody the spirit of the season.  

1. Make spiked eggnog

As a kid, you might not have seen the appeal of the eggnog your parents all drank. A beverage made of raw eggs probably seemed disgusting. But now that you’re old enough to buy rum, brandy, or bourbon to spike it with, it’s your turn to learn the secret family recipe. 

2. Shovel your neighbor’s driveway without being asked

One of the major signs you’ve officially reached adulthood is shoveling your neighbor’s driveway without being voluntold to do so. This kind of growth definitely warrants bucket list inclusion. 

3. Adopt a family for the holidays

There becomes a point in time when Christmas becomes more about what you give than what you get. As an adult, you can choose to give to people who really need it. You can be paired with children in need through programs like the United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa. 

4. Surprise your family with an impromptu holiday visit

Sometimes traveling to see family can seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Dealing with expensive airfare and holiday crowds is a lot. But no matter how old you get, your parents would probably love to spend Christmas morning with you in person instead of over FaceTime. If you can swing it, make that trip home this year.

5. Host a formal New Year’s Eve party

One of the best things about transitioning into adulthood is throwing your own grown-up parties. Have your friends come overdressed in their finest and kick off the new year in style. 

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Winter Bucket List Ideas for Families

Some families look forward to summer break for quality time. But family bonding in the winter is just as bucket-list worthy. 

6. Host family game nights

When the weather outside is frightful, playing family board games can be pretty delightful. Pick games that all generations can play together.

7. Have a snowball fight

In many families, snowball fights are practically a rite of passage. Draft your parents, kids, and extended family alike into an epic snowball battle for the ages. 

8. Get family photos done for Christmas cards

Your family could include a partner and kids. Or your family could be you and a dog in a sweater vest. Either way, consider checking the “iconic Christmas card” off your bucket list. 

9. Go on a tour of festive holiday lights

As a kid, you may fondly remember peering at Christmas lights from the backseat of your parents’ car. Replicating that experience with your own children or loved ones is a worthy bucket list aspiration. 

10. Build a snow family

Get your family together and build a series of snowmen in everyone’s image. Outfit them in extra hats, scarves, and gloves. As your family grows, keep the tradition going. 

Winter Bucket List Ideas for Couples

Married couples vow they’ll be together ‘til death do them part. These winter bucket list ideas are perfect for couples to check off their lists together.

11. Take a romantic winter getaway

Rent a little cabin and take a retreat to your own private winter wonderland. Make sure the cabin is stocked with food, and with plenty of blankets for snuggling in front of the fireplace. 

12. Go ice skating

While you may have dreams of pulling off a Pamchenko straight from The Cutting Edge or a Triple Lutz like many Olympians we saw in 2018, it’s okay if you and your partner are more Blades of Glory. The important thing is to spend time together on the ice.

13. Host a silly holiday gathering

In a white elephant gift exchange, participants bring silly and impractical which are unwrapped and then swapped around. As a bonus, have people wear the ugliest Christmas sweaters they can find and have a special door prize for the most spectacularly hideous sweater in attendance.

14. Go stargazing

Did you know different constellations become visible with the changing of the seasons? In the northern hemisphere, winter constellations visible include Canis Major, Canis Minor. Gemini, Taurus, Auriga, Carina, Eridanus, Monoceros, and Orion. Drive out far away from the city lights and bring a telescope and enjoy checking out constellations in the clear winter sky.

15. Cook a traditional holiday meal together

Share the foods rooted in the traditions of your family and culture. Fry up crispy latkes and broil tender brisket for a Hanukkah meal. Roast a fat Christmas goose. Sop up savory groundnut stew with sweet potato biscuits for a Kwanzaa feast. Better yet, marry several cultural dishes together to create a new tradition together. 

Check out our picks for the best date night bucket ideas if you're looking for more.

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Winter Bucket List Ideas for Teenagers

Teenagers can be in a hurry to grow up. But there’s no better time than winter to rediscover your inner child. Make an effort to recapture a more innocent time with these winter bucket list ideas. 

16. Break a winter world record

There are several wintry Guinness World Records you can try to break. Some, like breaking the record for the world’s largest snowman, probably can’t be done without significant help. But breaking the record for juggling snowballs bare-handed could be within your grasp!

17. Build a gingerbread village with friends

Forget a gingerbread house. You and your friends can put together a whole gingerbread city. Model it after your own town, or make something completely fantastical. 

18. Go Christmas caroling

The word “wassailing” has multiple meanings. It can mean to be boisterous and loud while drinking a lot of alcohol, or to go from house to house singing Christmas carols. You’re too young for the first kind of definition, but honestly, the second kind is more fun anyway.  

19. Make snow angels 

Kids love this game of tipping backward in the snow and moving their arms and legs to leave an imprint resembling an angel. Now that you’re more grown up, your angel impressions will be even bigger.

20. Learn how to bake your favorite holiday treats

Every family has certain recipes that are passed down through the generations. Take the time to learn them from your grandparents and parents. Baking the walnut snowball cookies or cherry nut cake you cherished in childhood is an important item to check off your list.  

Need more inspiration? Take a look at our selections for simple or cheap bucket list ideas to keep your teenagers occupied all year round.

Winter Bucket List Ideas for Students on Winter Break

Winter break can be a time to rest and relax. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to tackle some winter adventures on your bucket list. 

21. Host a multicultural holiday gathering

When you get to college, you may find yourself surrounded by people who celebrate different winter holidays than you do. Work with friends who celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Winter Solstice, St. Nicholas Day, and other holidays. Attendees can bring traditional dishes and share their favorite aspects of their holidays.

22. Have a hot chocolate contest

Everyone has their own twist on hot chocolate. Some people insist boxed Swiss Miss is the best. Some like spicy Mexican hot chocolate featuring chili powder and cayenne pepper. Some insist on using milk instead of hot water.

Some dedicated individuals make homemade marshmallows to float in their cocoa. Challenge your friends to make their tried-and-true recipes and volunteer to serve as a judge. 

23. Have a snow picnic

Who said picnicking is just for summer? Pack up the perfect winter picnic. Fill some thermoses with spiced apple cider and others with tomato soup, and wrap grilled cheese sandwiches in tin foil to keep them warm. The hot food is a fun juxtaposition against the frozen landscape.  

24. Host a cookie swap

Want to maximize your exposure to holiday treats? Invite friends to your dorm or apartment for a cookie swap. Everyone brings two dozen of their favorite kinds of holiday cookies and gets to take two dozen different kinds home. It’s a great way to try an assortment of treats without having to bake a dozen different types of treats yourself.   

25. Set up winter bird feeders

Food can be scarce for birds in the wintertime. Put high-fat nuts and seeds like peanuts and black-oil sunflower seeds into feeders. They’ll attract a wide variety of birds and help plump them up during the chilly winter months. 

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Winter Bucket List Ideas for Best Friends

As we get older, we don’t always make time to spend with our best friends. Schedule some time to hang out with your best pal, and go on some bucket-list-worthy winter adventures together. 

26. Do a polar plunge

Best friends are the people who you can always do something spectacularly ill-advised with. In a polar plunge, participants strip down and plunge into icy water. It doesn’t get much more ill-advised than that.  

27. Put together winter scrapbooks

If you and your BFF go way back, bring all your photos of you two together from Christmases past. Put together a fun scrapbook to show your kids while you reminisce about your younger years. 

28. Get crafty with good friends 

The holidays are a stressful time. Blow off some steam by venting with your best pal over some knitting projects. You’ll feel a lot better and make plenty of progress on your handmade holiday gifts. 

29. Have a movie marathon

Watch all your trusted holiday faves, from It’s a Wonderful Life to Bad Santa. Break out some mulled wine and turn it into a best friends-only slumber party. 

30. Have a winter spa day

Winter can be hard on the body and the skin. Take your best friend for a relaxing spa day. Soak in thermal pools to help with body aches and pains, and get a facial to replenish moisture.

Bucket List Ideas for Winter

Some of the items on your winter bucket list may seem downright prosaic. That’s okay! Bucket list goals don’t all have to be extravagant. In fact, it’s encouraged to include more achievable goals.

Regardless of your stage in life, these nostalgic winter activities make excellent - and easy - items to check off your bucket list.

Looking for more activities or adventures to do before you die? Head on over to our list of summer bucket list recommendations, fall bucket list ideas, and bucket list activities for college students.


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