Winter Bucket List: 25 Fun Things to Do in Winter on a Budget

Here at 25 fun and inexpensive things to do this winter, many of which are completely free! Make sure to add them to your winter bucket list!

1. Build a snowman

I grew up in a subtropical climate: the lowest temperature ever recorded was 4°C (39.2°F). As a result, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw snow for the first time in Chicago. I have grown accustomed to snow since then, having moved to Canada permanently, but the passion I have for building a snowman remains.

Building a snowman is a fun outdoor activity that you can do alone or with friends and family. Don’t forget the carrot because your snowman needs to breathe!

2. Do some winter sports

Speaking of outdoors, doing some winter sports is certainly a great item to add to your bucket list. The options are endless. Here are just a few:

  • Skating (to be budget-friendly, you can check out free local public skating rinks)
  • Skiing
  • Dogsledding
  • Snowboarding
  • Ice hockey
  • Curling
  • etc, etc.

3. Watch hockey games

Ice hockey is the national sport of Canada. For us Canadians, a winter bucket list is not complete without adding “watching hockey games” to the list. I love the speed, the sportsmanship, and the lots and lots of goals! If you have never watched a hockey game, this is the winter to give it a try!

4. Watch the Super Bowl

Speaking of sports and winter, I have to mention the Super Bowl. If you aren’t an American football fan, you have to at least watch the Super Bowl. Yes, it is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), but it has evolved to something much more than just a game. Grab your favourite food and drink and enjoy the show.

5. Check out an ice sculpture exhibit

I have to admit that I only have the skills to build a bad-looking snowman (sorry), so attempting to build an ice sculpture is beyond me. But that makes it an even better reason to check out an ice sculpture exhibit! This year’s experience may be a little different due to the pandemic. For example, my local ice sculpture exhibit has changed into a drive-through event. Although you may not be able to walk through the exhibit and touch the sculptures, you can still appreciate their beauty closely with your eyes!

6. Drink hot chocolate

There is nothing better than a glass of hot chocolate for a cold, dark winter night. The wind may be howling outside, but you are feeling warm and cozy thanks to this delicious drink. I love adding some marshmallows in my hot chocolate to make it more fun to drink!

7. Make your own apple cider

A close second of my recommended hot drink for the winter is apple cider. You can either get a bottle or carton from the store, or you can try making your own! Here is a delicious recipe from Tasty!

8. Make a gingerbread house

Making a gingerbread house is fun for the entire family. You can try making everything from scratch or buy a gingerbread house kit. Decorate the house with colourful candies and icings! Better yet, start a friendly gingerbread house decoration competition with your neighbours and your friends, and see who can make the most creative gingerbread house!

9. Try a soup or stew recipe

Dishes like soups and stews bring you a level of comfort and warmth perfect for combating the winter cold. These dishes are typically done in a slow cooker, but if you don’t have one, a pot on the stovetop works just fine.

10. Have a picnic indoors

Who says picnics are only for the summer? Although the cold weather may prevent you from dining outdoors, you can still have a picnic inside your house! Grab your picnic blanket and spread it on the floor in your living room, make yourself and your family some sandwiches and simple salads, and you can have a fun meal at home. I can already see the smiles and hear the exciting screams from your kids! What are you waiting for? Time to add it to your winter bucket list now!

11. Host an ugly sweater competition

My company used to host an ugly sweater competition every year. Although it is no longer happening in person this year because everybody is working from home, we are still doing one virtually.

This can be a fun event to do with your co-workers, friends and family. If you don’t have a store-bought ugly sweater, you can simply find an old sweater of yours and start decorating it with dollar-store snowman dolls, green and red yarns, and whatever buttons you can find. There will be plenty of laughter at the event, and who knows, you may win the competition with your DIY sweater!

12. Knit a scarf

If you enjoy DIY projects, knitting a scarf is a perfect item to add to your winter bucket list. For the more advanced knitters, you can consider knitting a hat or even gloves. There is nothing more stylish and unique than wearing items that you make yourself.

13. Play some board games or card games

Just because we are more likely to stay at home doesn’t mean that we can’t have some fun! Playing board games and card games is a cheap yet enjoyable event that your entire family can participate. What are your favourite board games or card games? Leave a comment down below!

14. Do a jigsaw puzzle

Other than playing board games, another fun activity you can do during the long winter is to do a jigsaw puzzle! It is a fun challenge. Although you may feel frustrated at times having to, for example, discern the subtly different shades of blue, you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish it!

15. Christmas shopping

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, you may have started shopping for presents even before winter arrives. Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones is a satisfying experience that many of us cherish.

Given the special circumstance this year, I recommend that you shop online this year to stay safe and to respect social-distancing rules!

16. Enjoy time with your family for Christmas

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, at least in the western world, we can all appreciate the few extra days off. Spend time with your family. Even the most mundane things like washing dishes and doing laundry can create memories because you are surrounded by your loved ones.

17. Take a family photo

Take a family photo to capture the most precious moments. Years later, you may not remember every exact detail of this winter, but you will have the family photo to bring you down the memory lane.

18. Read a book

If you are a book lover, you will certainly appreciate the quiet winter mornings when you cozy up in bed with a book in your hands. Reading a book, or even just a few pages, is a winter morning routine that I have incorporated into my life.

If you are looking to improve your personal finance, head to my Ultimate Personal Finance Book List and choose one. Keep in mind that most of them are available as Kindle ebooks, so purchasing one can be as easy as clicking a few buttons!

19. Catch snowflakes as they fall from the sky

When was the last time you closely observed these little angels? While you stand outside of your house trying to breathe in some winter air, catch some snowflakes as they fall from the sky. What patterns are they? How long do they last in your hands before they melt away?

If you are curious about snowflakes, head to the Wikipedia page and learn more about them!

20. Cuddle in bed with your significant other/pet/your teddy bear!

Cuddling in bed is the ultimate form of love and comfort. It doesn’t matter how cold and snowy it is outside, at home in bed, it is warm and safe.

21. Enjoy a DIY spa at home

‘Tis the season for a spa! If you think you can only enjoy the experience at a high-end spa, think again!

An at-home spa doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply taking a warm bath in your bathroom lit by candlelight can help you reduce stress. If you want to go a bit a fancier, pop on a sheet mask, or a DIY mask. My favourite DIY mask is to mix some honey and a bit of lemon juice. These two ingredients help soothe and exfoliate my skin.

22. Take care of your physical health

In winter, it is natural to spend more time indoors. This makes it even more important to take special care of your physical health. Establish an indoor workout routine for yourself by carving out specific time in your calendar to exercise. You can follow a YouTube fitness instructor if you’d like. If you don’t get enough sun exposure, consider taking some Vitamin D supplements. The National Institute of Health currently recommends 600 – 800 IUs per day. Of course, you should always bundle up when you go out so you don’t get frostbites!

23. Take care of your mental health

Have you ever felt a wave of low emotions during the cold, dark days of winter? Winter blues are real and can impact your mood, your relationships with your loved ones, and your work efficiency. Here are some simple tips recommended by the Canadian Mental Health Association to combat winter blues:

  • Let the light in
  • Exercise
  • Try to keep a normal sleep schedule
  • Give yourself a pat on the back – you’re doing great.

Speaking from personal experience, I find that rewarding myself with some small luxuries is another great way to elevate my mood. Check out my post to find ways to treat yourself for under $10!

24. Write down your New Year’s resolution

What good habits are you determined to maintain, and what behaviours would you like to change next year? What personal goals would you like to accomplish, and how would you like to improve your life? Think carefully about these questions, write down the answers in your New Year’s resolution, and make a commitment to keep them for a full year.

25. Wish everybody you love a Happy New Year

Winter means the end of one year and the start of the next. Put it on your winter’s bucket list to wish everybody you love a Happy New Year. May the new year bring you and your family hope, happiness, and yes, vaccines!

Final words

There you have it, 25 fun and inexpensive things to do in winter. How many of these will you add to your winter bucket list?


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