By Beth Brown

I realise I’m a little late to the party. We’re basically half way through December and I’m only just getting around to writing a winter bucket list, so apologies for that. This year has been, and continues to be, a different one. It’s been tough for many, illuminating for many, and I think it’s forced most of us to appreciate what we have and who we have around us. This holiday season, we’re unable to complete a lot of the traditions that we hold dear to us because of the virus that must not be named; be it a trip to the Christmas markets, visiting family and friends to deliver presents, or the annual work do, it’s essentially forbidden.

So, in the spirit of lockdown, a tier system, and appreciating the little things, I’ve tailored my Winter bucket list to activities that are a little more 2020 friendly:

  1. Go for a drive or walk and look at the Christmas lights in your area. (This one is inspired by my Dad as he assured me that I simply must take a drive around our street to marvel at the array of fairy lights draped over neighbours’ front gardens.)

  2. Write a letter to Santa. Now, hold your judgement a moment. Yes, if you are still a child then it is mandatory to tell Father Christmas what you would like, how else will he know? But, if you’re an adult (sadly) you can still write a letter. It might not be to good ole Mr Claus (you could write it to your future self, your past self, a friend, the universe etc), but this year has taught us to be grateful for what we can be. Write that gratitude down, list it, make an acrostic poem (the world is your oyster pals). Round up this weird year with a collection of beautiful things you are happy to have in your life and things you would like to come into your life.

  3. Take a family photo. There’s nothing better to treasure than a memory captured on film. With separation becoming a common theme this year, it may have to be a zoom screenshot with only your Nana’s forehead in it, but do it anyway. You’ll cherish it all the same.

  4. Make a gingerbread house. This one is trickier than it seems (they sell pre-fab gingerbread bungalows online if you’re not culinarily talented cough message me for the link cough)

  5. Buy some new PJ’s. If ever we deserved comfort, it’s this year. I’m a huge advocate for wearing pyjamas at any moment possible so this point was probably a little selfish.

  6. Write Christmas cards (or send e-cards). The more homemade the better. Slip a few printed photos into a card of you and the person you’re sending it to to make it all the more special and remind them of the amazing memories you share. If you’re doing an E-card, and are proficient with photoshop, you could use your own pictures to make them personalised.

  7. Take a winter walk. Stick on a beanie and get outdoors. You could collect pinecones or winter foliage to create a beautiful homemade decoration. (One of my favourite winter memories is going for a walk with my Uncle and collecting holly to make our own wreath).

  8. Make a list of Christmas movies and tick them off as you watch them. The cheesier the better. (Last Christmas on Netflix had me unexpectedly sobbing last week.)

  9. Attempt to make Hot Chocolate Bombs. I’ve been seeing these all over social media recently and they look incredible. It’s essentially a hollow ball of chocolate that you fill with hot chocolate powder and marshmallows (I saw someone using a kinder egg, which honestly looked like my heaven).


  1. Donate to a Charity. If you have any money to spare, charities are more in need than ever as they haven’t been able to carry out a lot of their usual fundraising. As much as we like to receive gifts at Christmas, it’s also a time to give to others. It doesn’t have to be monetary, you could donate your time by volunteering if it’s safe for you to do so.

  2. Random acts of kindness. Nothing gives you a warmer feel than that of helping others. Pay forward a coffee at your local coffee shop, make a bundle of warm clothes and food and give it to someone who is sleeping rough, check on someone you know may be lonely this time of year and offer to help them in any way they need.

  3. Roast chestnuts (and eat them next to the fire).

  4. Make your own mulled wine (I’m going to attempt this with a bottle of non-alcoholic red so I’ll update you either way if it goes incredibly well or morphs into the worst thing I’ve ever tasted).

  5. Do secret Santa. Chose a bunch of your nearest and dearest and pick names. If you wanted to you could elect to only give presents from local shops or make homemade gifts.

  6. Buy a new bauble for the tree. I do this every year with my mum and it’s lovely to look back at all of the mismatched baubles that collate each year.

  7. Make a moment out of reading. Pull on your favourite winter jumper and head to a book shop/library/online book shop (tier dependant). Peruse the shelves until you find that perfect book and then, when you have it in your hands at home, snuggle down with a blanket, put a Christmas playlist on in the background and allow yourself some time to get lost in the words on the page.

I hope this list has made you feel a little cosier, and a lot more Christmassy-er (another made up word- very sorry). I’d love to hear from you if you have any thing on your winter bucket list this 2020, or similarly if you tick any of these activities off.

Until next time.

You can find more from Girl on Pause at or keep up to date with my attempts to romanticise every-day life on my Instagram: @girlonpause and my new Facebook page ‘Girl on Pause’.