If you're looking for fun things to do in January, then you're going to love this January Bucket List! The printable list has 40 creative ideas for indoor and outdoor winter activities that will keep you busy all month long!
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Are you a fan of January? I have to admit that it's one of those months I definitely have mixed feelings about.
I'm always a little sad that the holidays are over, but that feeling of a fresh start every new year brings is wonderful! And then there's the weather ... even here in Texas it tends to get pretty cold. Brr!
There's a lot to love about the first month of the year though. And if you're looking for fun stuff to do in January, you've come to the right place! I've rounded up 40 activities that will keep you busy all month long.
Whether you want to stay cozy inside, or you're looking for things to do outside, this list truly has something for everyone, so let's jump in!
Things to Do in January
Whether your idea of winter fun is staying as warm as possible inside, or it's heading outside to play in the snow, I've got you covered! You will find 40 creative ideas below, including the best winter activities and things to do alone, as a couple, with friends, or as a family.
There truly is something for everyone here! Before you jump in though, one word of advice: don't feel like you need to do everything on this list. This list is meant to inspire you ... so pick your faves and have fun!
And make sure to read all the way to the end, where you'll find two FREE January Bucket List printables! There's a PDF that includes each of these ideas, plus a blank PDF that you can use to create your own a customized list of things to do in January.
1. Create a New Year's Day tradition
Start things off on a good foot by creating positive New Year's Day traditions. This could be an annual brunch you host for family and friends, a New Year's Day walk or hike, setting aside time to think about your goals for the year, or something else you'll look forward to doing at the beginning of each year.
Personally, I'm a little suspicious about the first of the year (ha). I like to have a clean house (usually I do this the day before), positive attitude, and I always make Black-Eyed Peas served with rice and greens for good luck and prosperity in year ahead.
2. Write Down Your New Year's Resolutions
If you enjoy setting New Year's resolutions (or yearly goals), now is the time to actually write them down. No matter what you resolve, for the best success, make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).
Is one of your resolutions to make healthier choices? I have a few resources to help you:
- Printable Food and Fitness Tracker - An easy (and free!) way to keep track of your meal plan, what you actually eat, and your workouts. There's even a goal planning worksheet!
- How to Create a Night Routine - Simple tips to (finally) help you get a better night's sleep.
- 10 Easy Ways to Eat Better - Small changes that can have a big impact on your diet.
- How to Ease Back into Working Out - Need to start working out again? Try these easy ideas to kick start a new routine.
Tip: Not a fan of resolutions? You could also choose a word for the year or create a vision board to set your intentions instead.
3. Make a Big Pot of Soup
January tends to be cold, and as far as I'm concerned, a steaming hot bowl of soup is the best way to warm up. These cozy recipes are Hello Little Home fan favorites that you're sure to love:
- Vegetable Stew with Dumplings
- 15 Bean Soup
- Vegetable Barley Soup
- Creamy Kale and Potato Soup
- Vegetarian Chili
- Classic Vegetable Stew
4. Take a Polar Bear Plunge
As someone who's never quite warm enough in winter, this one isn't for me! But if you're feeling brave, why not take the plunge? Polar Bear Plunge events usually take place at the beginning of a new year, although you'll often find them scheduled throughout winter.
5. Celebrate Three Kings Day
Not ready to give up on Christmas just yet? For many Spanish, Latino, Hispanic, and European people, the holiday season doesn't end until Three Kings Day (also called Día de Los Reyes or Epiphany). Celebrated on January 6, Three Kings Day is recognized as the day the three kings first saw the baby Jesus, and it's the last day of the 12 Days of Christmas.
This special day may be celebrated by opening Christmas gifts, eating a special cake (known as Roscón de Reyes in Spain and Galette des Rois in France), and through other traditions. Read more about Epiphany and how it is celebrated around the world.
6. Embrace the Spirit of Hygge
January is for getting cozy, which makes it an ideal time to start practicing hygge. Pronounced hoo-ga, this popular Danish concept is about creating an atmosphere of comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Some easy ways to embrace hygge are spending time with your friends and family, lighting all your candles, wrapping up in a cozy blanket, or relaxing with a Netflix movie.
If you'd like to learn more about hygge, I highly recommend reading The Little Book of Hygge! It's a quick, but fun and informative read that will give you lots of ideas.
7. Start a Line a Day Journal
I've never been a huge journal keeper. Somehow, I never manage stick with it. But I do like the idea of being able to look back at a snapshot in time, and a Line a Day journal (which only has room for a sentence or two each day) is perfect for that! I got my journal about three years ago, and I've found it easy to keep up with, plus it's so much fun reading over old entries. You'll find lots of different options, but this is the Line a Day Journal that I have (and love) ... my husband even has one!
8. Take a Winter Escape
When you have the winter blues, having a trip to look forward to is everything! Here are some ideas if you need a little inspiration:
- If you're looking for affordable beach destinations, check out Chacala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Orange Beach.
- Not a beach lover? Consider visiting a southern city, like New Orleans, or maybe Mexico City. While the weather may not be balmy, it will probably be very pleasant, and you can leave that full-length puffer coat at home.
- Are you a baseball fan? Then, start planning a Spring Training trip! My husband and I go every year, and it's so fun!
- Want to head abroad? Spain is one of my favorite winter destinations! While the weather can be cold, it's typically milder than in northern European countries. And of course, the farther south you head, the warmer it gets. I especially love visiting Seville in January, when the streets are lined with orange trees full of fragrant, colorful fruit.
- Are you a snow lover? Then take advantage of the frosty weather while it lasts. Some of my favorite recent trips have featured freezing temps! Winter in New York City is so pretty (Central Park is stunning after a fresh snowfall). And of course, it's the perfect time to head to the mountains for skiing. If you really enjoy arctic temps, head to Niagara Falls, which is a veritable winter wonderland at this time of year!
- Winter is also a great time to visit National Parks, as crowds are generally much smaller than in summer.
9. Plan a Staycation
Can't getaway? You don't have to go far to enjoy some rest and relaxation. Sometimes a night at a local hotel with a pool is all you need! You could also stay at home, but make a list of things to do in your city (or a nearby one), like art or history museums, new-to-you restaurants, historical sights, walking tours, and seasonal events. Then, spend a day or weekend being a tourist in your own town.
10. Soothe Your Skin and Hair
Winter weather is so bad for hair and skin. Whether it's due to the harsh wind or freezing temperatures, even my combination skin and oily scalp tend to get dried out. While it can sometimes feel easier just to give up, constant moisturizing pays off. Here are some easy ideas that can help:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Two of my current favorites are La Roche-Posay Gentle Foaming Moisturizing Wash and ELEMIS Superfood Facial Wash.
- Look for creams, which are thicker and richer than lotions, when shopping for moisturizers. Right now, I'm loving this CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream (it's super rich, but doesn't break me out). My dermatologist recommends adding multiple layers! This Eucerin Eczema Relief Cream also works great (for the body), whether you have eczema or just dry, itchy skin.
- Use a moisturizing scrub to gently soften the skin on your body. I like making my own from coconut oil and sugar. For a scrub with a beautiful scent, try my Lemon Lavender Sugar Scrub ... it smells so good!
- Don't forget about your hair! My Winter Hair Care Guide has lots of helpful tips.
11. Write Thank You Notes
Did you write thank you notes for all those holiday gifts you received? I didn't think so! Before we get tooo far into the new year, take an hour or two (maybe while watching a movie so it goes faster) to send your thanks to your friends and family.
12. Make a Hearty Salad
Whether you're trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, working more salads into your diet is an easy way to do it. For an exciting salad that won't leave you hungry, look for recipes packed with protein and a variety of delicious ingredients. Here are a few recipes from my archives to inspire you:
- Caprese Freekeh Salad
- Warm Farro Kale Salad
- Mexican Kale Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette
- Kale Pasta Salad
- Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Veggies
- Pumpkin Couscous Salad (can also be made with winter squash)
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Tex Mex Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- Winter Kale Salad
- Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Superfood Salad
13. Create a Winter-Inspired Craft Project
I don't know about you, but I always get a little sad when taking down my Christmas decorations ... my apartment feels so bare at this time of year! To counteract that, I love decorating for winter. It's an easy way to add a little character to your home, and a winter inspired craft is a fun way to do it.
Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
- Decorate your door with a seasonal wreath. I love this Snowy Winter Wreath from Creative Green Living and this colorful Paper Winter Wreath from Jennifer Maker.
- Protect your coffee table with my cute DIY Wood Slice Coasters.
- Hang a few of these Snowflake Marquee Lights in a cozy corner. You can use them as-is, paint them, or use your favorite paper to decorate them. (Check out my DIY Arrow Marquee Light for inspiration and to see how easy these lights are to decorate.)
- Make these Cigar Box Chalkboards, then add a wintery message.
- String up this DIY Photo Display to show off all your favorite winter photos, or make some of these fun Canvas Mounted Instagram Photos!
14. Cook Healthy Comfort Food
This is the time of year when there's a constant pull between trying to eat healthier and wanting every meal to be filled with rich, hearty comfort foods! Instead of depriving yourself, fill your meal plan with healthier comfort foods instead. Here are some of my favorite recipes that will still satisfy you on a cold winter day, but won't destroy your diet:
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese - Replace some of these cheese with butternut squash. Even squash haters (like my husband) love this recipe!
- Mexican Quinoa Casserole - One of my favorite recipes ... I need to make it soon! It's packed with fresh veggies.
- Crock Pot Spicy 3 Bean Chili - This recipe is so easy to make, plus super delicious!
- Baked Polenta with Chunky Roasted Red Pepper Sauce - A yummy recipe that relies on healthy convenience foods. Preparing it is a total snap!
- Hearty Minestrone Soup - I love this veggie-packed soup, and it even has a little pasta to cure your carb cravings.
- Moroccan Spiced Cabbage Rolls - Yum! This delish recipe is filled with warm, fragrant flavors you'll love.
- Tamale Pie with Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce - This tasty recipe will keep your warm, toasty, and totally satisfied.
15. Host a Sports Viewing Party
Winter sports season is here! Whether you're following football, basketball, hockey, snowboarding, or skiing, it's the perfect time to gather your friends and family for a viewing party. Keep things simple with a few delicious dishes (check out these yummy Veggie Game Day Recipes for ideas) and drinks, or go all out with the decorations (you'll love these easy to use Football Party Printables!).
16. Set Yourself Up to Workout at Home
If you're trying to start an exercise habit, but find the gym overwhelming, set yourself up for a great workout in the comfort of your own home. You don't need a lot of fancy equipment ... a yoga mat (I LOVE this thicker mat ... so nice for sensitive knees), balance ball, and hand weights are fun and easy to use, plus affordable. I also love streaming exercise videos (this 30 Day Yoga Challenge is a fave) or popping in an old school DVD. Check out all of my essentials for exercising at home here.
Having trouble getting motivated? I find that the less time I spend thinking about it, the easier it is to get started! So make a weekly plan, then set out your exercise clothes before you go to bed. Put your exercise clothes on as soon as you get out of bed, or the minute you get home from work. Once you're dressed, grab some water and start your routine right away.
17. Treat Yourself to a Bubble Bath
Did you know that January 8 is National Bubble Bath Day? This is one holiday you won't want to miss celebrating! Simply turn on some relaxing music, fill your tub with hot water, and hop in. Make things extra fun by popping in a bath bomb or adding a calming bubble bath. If you like to read or enjoy a drink while bathing, this beautiful wood bath tray will safely hold everything you need!
18. Get Organized
If you're anything like me, you are constantly on a quest to be more organized, especially at this time of year. There is nothing quite like a well organized home, and the new year is the perfect time to take stock of your possessions and try to figure out what you really need and what is just weighing you down.
If you need a little help, I highly recommend the classic book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. My home will probably never be as minimal as hers, but I love the way she approaches clutter. I've written a bunch of posts on organization, too! Check out my tips for organizing a Small Kitchen, Jewelry, or a Small Closet. I've also shared my favorite way to organize and Save Christmas Cards and Organize Tax Receipts. This DIY Custom Memo Board is also a fun project if you like to hold onto little mementos!
19. Try a Winter Sport
If you're not a fan of cold temps, it can be tempting to hole up all winter long. But before you get cabin fever, why not try a winter sport instead? There are so many fun options, like ice skating, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hiking, snowboarding, fat biking, and more. And no matter your fitness level or passion for sports, all of them will get your blood pumping and warm you up. I personally LOVE cross-country skiing ... it's so peaceful, especially when you have to woods to yourself!
20. Make a Green Smoothie
Are you getting enough fruits and veggies? Green smoothies are one of my favorite ways to pack tons of healthy ingredients into a delicious drink. You can make them with almost anything you'd like, and it's fun to experiment with different flavors. This Berry Green Smoothie and this Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie are two of my favorites. They're both super scrumptious and easy to make, and they taste more like fruit than greens ... even your kids will love them!
21. Spend an Afternoon Reading
Is there anything better than curling up with a great book and a cozy blanket on a cold, winter day? I can't think of much! If you're looking for a good book, stop by your local book store, or check out my reviews of all books I've read recently. With everything from thrillers to literary fiction, romances, and more, you're sure to find a book you'll love!
Tip: This is also the perfect time of year to create a reading goal, which is a great way to motivate yourself to set down your phone and spend more time reading. I use Goodreads to help me track the books I read ... you can follow me here!
22. Make a Snow Angel or Build a Snowman
There's nothing more magical in winter than a fresh snow! So embrace your inner child (or grab your kids) and head out into that winter wonderland and make a snow angel, build a snowman, make a snow fort, or have a snowball fight.
23. Plan a Movie Marathon
If your idea of a fun winter time involves getting cozy, stay inside and enjoy a movie marathon. Winter is the perfect time to catch up on all those movies you've been meaning to watch, whether they're new releases, old favorites, or maybe potential Oscar-nominees. Throw together a big batch of popcorn (this Parmesan Popcorn is the BEST!), make a delicious drink (try my Sweet Cinnamon Milk Tea), grab a comfy blanket, and you're all set!
24. Visit a Local Museum
Whether you're into art, history, science, or something else, January is the perfect time to visit your favorite local museums ... or maybe even discover a new favorite!
25. Learn More about Martin Luther King, Jr.
Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! This federal holiday commemorating MLK's life and legacy takes places every year on the third Monday of January, and it's considered a National Day of Service. You can add meaning to this important day by volunteering (find service opportunities on the Americorps website or at the Department of the Interior), visiting a civil rights or Black history museum, reading a book about Dr. King, or walking in MLK's footsteps at a National Park.
26. Attend a Local Event
Another great way to get shake things up on a cold January day is by attending a local event! I like to keep an eye on area websites, newspapers and magazines, blogs, and more for fun ideas. From winter festivals to author readings, art exhibits, music concerts, and more, you're sure to find some unique ways to get out of the house.
27. Relax in Front of a Fireplace
No January Bucket List would be complete with a day spent relaxing in front of a fire! If you don't have a fireplace yourself, don't let that stop you. Head over to a friend or family member's home, or make a reservations at a local bar or restaurant.
28. Start Volunteering
Volunteering in your local community is one of the best ways you can give back this year. Look for opportunities related to something you're passionate about, whether that's working with homeless people, getting involved in the arts, helping to plan community events, cleaning up a favorite park, or something else. Reach out to local non-profits or check out VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities near you.
29. Go Sledding
Don't spend your next snow day inside! Grab a sled or toboggan and hit your nearest hill. You'll be sure to get your heart pumping while also having a great time.
30. Indulge in a Homemade Hot Chocolate
One of my favorite winter treats is mug of homemade Hot Chocolate ... it's so easy to make and so delicious, that you'll never go back to the packets! Once you've mastered that basic recipe, try a fun twist on the classic, like this Peppermint Hot Chocolate or this Mexican Hot Chocolate!
31. Schedule Annual Medical + Dental Appointments
While not necessarily fun, scheduling your annual medical, eye, dental, dermatologist, etc. appointments is one of the best things to do in January. Not only will doing so take a big burden off your plate, it will help you keep your healthy habits on track all year long.
Tip: While you're at it, why not schedule other appointments (like hair cuts and cleaners), and add important dates (like birthdays and anniversaries) to your calendar, too?
32. Learn How to Knit
January is a wonderful time to learn a new hobby, like knitting! Learning to knit is actually much easier than you'd think, and it's such a enjoyable and relaxing winter hobby. Start with a simple project, like a hat or a scarf, that will help you learn all the basics. This How to Knit YouTube series covers everything you need to know in an easy, step-by-step method!
33. Clean Your Desk
Start your year fresh, by clearing and organizing your desk! If you're anything like me, my desk attracts non-stop clutter, from loose receipts to papers that need to be filed. Organizing your desk in January is the perfect way to clear the books and set up all your systems for the coming year.
While you're at it, clean out your email, stock up on office supplies, and buy a new calendar or planner. I like to use a combo of digital and paper planners. That way I have multiple reminders and rarely forget anything! These inexpensive Blue Sky Planners are my fave ... they have plenty of room to keep track of appointments and to do lists, and they're lightweight enough to carry around when needed!
34. Make a January Playlist
If you're a music lover, consider making a January playlist! This is the perfect way to set the tone for your year, as well as gather all your favorite songs in one spot.
35. Get a Houseplant
Did you know that January 10 is National Houseplant Appreciation Day? Whether you love plants or think you have a black thumb, this month is the perfect time to pick up a new houseplant. Many plants are surprisingly easy to take care of ... my snake plant is still kicking even after years of neglect! Check out this guide to the best houseplants for beginners, and this helpful houseplant care guide, then get started.
36. Make a Yearly Photo Album
One of the best things to do in January is gather your favorite photos from the the previous year into an album! I love doing this every year ... it's a great way to get photos off your phone so that you can enjoy them for years to come. You can either buy a physical album or upload the photos to an online printing service (I love Shutterfly!) Check out my Yearly Photo Album Tutorial for lots of helpful tips!
37. Warm Up with a Hot Cocktail
Treating yourself to a delicious hot cocktail is the perfect winter treat, and a great way to warm up on a cold day! Try one of my favorites:
38. Celebrate a Unique January Holiday
Each month is full of daily, weekly, and monthly observations, from goofy to serious, and January is no different! For example, did you know that it's National Soup Month, or that January 21 is Museum Selfie Day? You can also celebrate National Handwriting Day, St. Dwynwen’s Day, National Word Nerd Day, and more this month. Find more January holidays at Women's Day and Country Living.
39. Plan Your Summer Garden
Winter is the best time to start planning your summer garden! If you're not sure where to begin, check out a book for beginners, like The Old Farmer's Almanac Vegetable Gardener's Handbook or Beginning Gardening Step by Step. Once you have a handle on the basics, you can start planning your garden and ordering everything you'll need once the weather warms up.
40. Play a Game
Playing board games is one of my favorite ways to spend a winter night! I like playing a mixture of classic games and new finds. Pass the Pigs is one of my all-time favorites (it's fun for kids and adults), and my husband and I can't get enough of Mexican Train Dominoes either! You could throw a Game Night Party (the perfect low-key, winter get together). And if your friends and family are a competitive bunch, you'll want to make this easy DIY Award Ribbon, too!
Printable January Bucket List
Looking for a checklist for all your seasonal fun? I've created two FREE Printables for you!
The first one is a January Bucket List with each of my ideas included, and the second one has room for you to create your own customized list. Click anywhere on the images below to download the PDFs.
I hope you found these January Bucket List ideas inspiring. What is something you're looking forward to trying this month? Let me know in the comments ... I can't wait to hear what you have planned!
More Creative Activities
Looking for more cool things to do this January and beyond? Check out these posts next: