The Holiday Bucket List: A Fun Idea

Posted: January 8, 2013 in creativity, fun, junior high ministry, middle school ministry

Recently I was talking to a few other friends who are doing middle school ministry, and in the midst of sharing some ideas of things we’re trying, I shared a creative idea we tried in the past several months. It worked really well for us, so I wanted to share with you all.

Before I begin, I have to confess that my inspiration came from Pinterest. There are actually amazing ideas for churches on Pinterest. I basically found a holidays page and adapted one idea into a youth ministry challenge. So before any guys start judging me (all out of fun I’m sure!), get on there and look around, and TRY not to be inspired!

LIFT Bucket ListThe idea is called the “LIFT Holiday Bucket List.” (LIFT is the name of our middle school program.) Basically, it was a fun ongoing challenge to students to complete a list of holiday activities between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The challenges were designed for students to have fun and also to serve others. Here are a couple examples of Holiday Bucket List challenges we used:

  • Create an epic blanket fort
  • Rake the leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor
  • Have a 3-movie marathon
  • Serve a meal at a homeless shelter
  • Give a secret Christmas gift to someone
  • Create the coolest Christmas ornament
  • Scrape the ice off your parents’ car windows

This was a huge hit with students! But the most successful part of the whole challenge was the photo-sharing. We told students to take pictures as they accomplished items on the Bucket List and tag it with the hashtag #LIFTbucketlist on Instagram. If students didn’t have Instagram, they could post to our Facebook page or e-mail them to us and we would post with our @LIFTscc account. But I would venture to guess that 90% of our middle schoolers have Instagram.

On our last Sunday before Christmas, we had a pre-service and post-service slideshow of everyone who had posted a picture with #LIFTbucketlist (which was 100+ at the time). It was really cool to see students get excited about their picture on the big screen. Some of our Life Groups even accomplished bucket list items together, which created great memories!

If you want the file to our version of the Holiday Bucket List, send me an e-mail at and I’ll share it with you! Also, search Instagram for #liftbucketlist to check out a few of the pictures that were posted! (Most of the profiles are private, so you will probably only be able to see a few, but you’ll catch the drift!)

Have you tried anything like this in your ministry or with your kids? Comment with any ideas you’ve had!

  1. Jaclyn says:

    I LOVE this idea! One question: did you have one bucket list for your entire youth group or did each kid create their own bucket list?

    • Hey Jaclyn! Sorry I am replying so late! We had one bucket list for the whole group. My team came up with the objectives, but we had our Communications team graphic design it all and print it on good cardstock paper. I think we’ll do it the same way this year because it created some healthy competition between the students to complete it first!

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