Monday, November 30, 2015

The Newlywed Christmas Bucket List

Couple Christmas Tree

The time has come. 11 months of waiting and now we're here: the happiest time of the year.

I am SO EXCITED for this holiday season-our first Christmas together:) I don't know if there's a better feeling than knowing you have someone to celebrate the holidays with for the rest of your life. And while it's exhilarating, I feel this weird pressure to set up all these special, unique traditions for our family so that when people ask ten years down the road where that tradition originated we can say "Oh it's no big deal, we've been doing it since we were married."

So basically it's now or never. 

If we don't set them up this year, we will never be able to use that phrase honestly. 

Is this pressure self inflicted? Yes. Will it matter in the long run? Mmmm...signs point to no. Regardless, here's the list I'm making us do this year. It's a mix of service ideas, holiday traditions, and fun activities. There are 22 bucket list items with the idea that we can do one per day counting up to Christmas, leaving room for family/friend/church parties or an "oops forgot" day if needed. Bucket lists with time limits are hard sometimes, and I didn't want to set myself up for failure you know. 
Newlywed Christmas Bucket List
Available as a printable.
1. Hang up lights together. I'm assuming that most newlyweds are in the same house-less boat as us, so you have to get creative with your lights. Light up your banister, your doorway, or in our case our basement awning. No roof no problems:)

Our Quaint Little Basement Entrance
2. Volunteer.  Just google "places to volunteer in _____ county." Tabitha's Way, a thrift shop and food pantry in Spanish Fork is where we are going to help out. They are always looking for volunteers, and their online sign up sheet makes it very easy to find a time that works for you guys. It's only a 2 hour commitment too. 
3. Decorate Christmas Tree. I watched two Youtube tutorials so I think I'm ready to go.
4. Build a cardboard fireplace. (Assuming that you're also living in a fireplace-less apartment.)
5. Send out cheesy Christmas Cards.
    From what I've gathered from my twenty years of Christmas experiences, you must meet 1 of 3 qualifications to send out Christmas cards: 1) You must have at least one or more offspring 2) If not, you must have a dog or 3) You must be a missionary sending pictures of you and your companion, and these can only be sent to family and close friends. Here in Utah, I've never received a Christmas card with just a married couple on it. So that's why we're doing it:) Since it's already a bit of a joke, we are dressing up as lumberjacks or wearing ugly sweaters. I'm sure you'll be seeing the end result soon.
6. Hang mistletoe in the house. When I was reading this list to my editor (my husband Tayler), he got really animated about this one and suggested that we construct an entire mistletoe canopy over our bed. Men.

7. Holiday Bar with Friends: Apple Cider, Hot Cocoa, Egg Nog.
   You know, the Mormon version of "bar." ;) We've been wanting to have a Couples Party forever, so there's no better time than the holidays! I'm planning a smorgasbord of hot drinks served in crockpots, with some simple bagels and muffins on the side. A drink bar is a lot easier to manage than a dinner, and it's a smaller time commitment for everyone which is nice during the holiday season.
8. Read & Watch the Polar Express with Nieces/Nephews.
9. Letters to Santa. (Aka detailed wish lists to make it easy for one another)
10. Write Notes to each other to place in stockings and read on Christmas morning.
    I'm hoping that this will be a tradition that continues in the years to come. The letters can be of appreciation for each other, a story of a certain favorite incident that year, predictions of where we'll be and what we'll be doing next year at Christmas time, whatever you want!
11. Night Drive to see the Lights. Or a romantic walk. You know those rare winter nights when it's lightly snowing and the streets are empty and the whole world is quiet? Perfect romantic walk time.
12. Make & Deliver treats for Neighbors
13. Watch Christmas Movie & Make Mug Cake Mug cakes are especially great for couples because they make a single serving. The one and only occasion I baked a cake during our married life it took us a week to finish it. And by that time we were both so sick of it we ended up throwing the last row away. Cake in a mug is the way to go for a cozy Christmas movie night. Cookie Dough Mug Cake recipe here.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mug Cake with ice Cream
Image via Babble
14. Build Gingerbread Dream House Growing up, we would always decorate gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve. My older brother traditionally went all out, modeling it after his "future" home: two stories, three car garage, wrap around porch, the whole shabang. Nows as good a time as any to find out what your spouse has in mind for your home sweet dream home. 
15. Go Ice Skating
16. Gift Shopping for family
17. Double Date to the Lights at Temple Square It's no secret that being married is a cult. And once you're in, you want all your friends to be in. We've been setting our friends up left and right since we got married, and it's always fun to double.
18. Donate to Food Bank. I've never treasured canned food as much as I have this year. It seems like every time I turn around somethings rotting. The produce drawer. The sandwich meat. Last week's leftovers. But not my canned food. Oh no, it's wonderfully oblivious to the passing of time. Which is why we need to donate some to the food bank. Its magical.
19. Watch the Grinch Because it is my favorite. And Tayler has never seen it what the.
20. Shovel a neighbor's walk It's always attractive to see your partner working up a sweat for a good cause. 
21. Read Twas the Night Before Christmas 
22. Open PJ Packages on Christmas Eve The gift of PJ's seems to be a standard tradition in this country, but I love the Pinterest idea of expanding the PJ's to a movie night theme, like the picture below. In addition to PJ's, you can add hot cocoa packets, popcorn and chocolates for a movie. To "adult" things up, we'll add the illusion of alcohol with a bottle of Sparkling Apple Cider and maybe some more exciting nightwear;)
PJs for Christmas Eve

That's all! I'll keep you updated with posts as Tayler and I complete our daily activities, and I hope you've found some ideas you feel like using too. 

Happy First Christmas my newlywed friends! I'd love to hear anything you would add to the list. What traditions are you planning on starting this year?