The Reynolds Family Winter Bucket List Adventure-ganza

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013

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This year, to make sure we made the most of our summer without breaking the bank, we came up with a low budget list of things to do in the Ottawa-area as part of our Reynolds Family Summer Bucket List Adventure-ganza. We accomplished most of the things on our list, finishing 13/17. It was certainly a high enough success rate to warrant putting together a winter version: the Reynolds Family Winter Bucket List Adventure-ganza.

One thing to note is that winter doesn’t officially get underway until mid to late December and we’ll be knocking items of the list well before then. My rationale is that we live in Ottawa, it’s pretty much winter as soon as Halloween is over so we deserve to do the fun things before the seasons officially change.

First, a few of the things we’ll do, you’ll more than likely already know about so I won’t go into more detail about them. As many Ottawa families do, we’re (I’m) going to drink piles of Cochrane’s Dairy Farm Eggnog, we’ll skate on the canal, we’ll eat Beavertails, we’ll drink Starbucks holiday drinks until we need our stomachs pumped and we’ll go to the Santa Claus parade and wave crazily.

So what else does that leave (note that almost all of these can be done in whatever city you live in too.)

Drive through one of the neighbourhoods in our area to look at Christmas lights

As happens with Pinterest, we saw an idea one family put into action that we want to copy. What they did was follow their normal bedtime procedure—brush teeth, get into pyjamas, read bedtime stories before their kids find a strategically placed magic ticket that gets them access to a car ride to check out Christmas lights in the city while getting to eat candy and Christmas treats.

It’s entirely possible the kids will fall asleep while doing this and even more possible that they’ll have a sugar induced meltdown that will cut the evening short. But this will be our attempt to start a new Reynolds family tradition and it’s worth a go.

Maybe we’ll try this the same night you do and I’ll wave to you as we drive past one another with screaming kids in the back. I’ll look for you.

Pick a perfect Christmas tree

This isn’t at all unusual but I love it so much I wanted to single it out as if it was something none of you had ever thought of. While we don’t have a go-to Christmas tree spot that we’ve been to every year, we do have a few favourites. Thomas Tree Farm┬áin North Gower has been our spot for the last few years because they offer far more than just a tree. You take a sleigh ride out to the trees, cut it yourself then get treated to cookies, a campfire, a playground, a tree shake and tree netting—it’s truly an all encompassing experience.

This year, we’re planning to head to a smaller spot on Anderson Road called Mageaus Tree Farm (I believe). We’re doing this because they grow Fraser Firs and the Fraser Fir Christmas tree my parents had last year could still be used today it retained its needles so well.

Christmas tree day is magical even if most of it is spent freezing and swearing. I will also be drinking piles of eggnog as we decorate it at the end of the day.

Take part in the Santa Shuffle

We plan on extending our practice of having a fun 900 metre race followed by 100 metres of my leg hurts at the Santa Shuffle being held in early December. Family runs are great fun especially when they’re only 1km in length, when you’re wearing Santa hats and when you’e doing so within shouting distance from SuzyQ Doughnuts which has in the past carried Cochrane’s eggnog (the best in the world) and had delicious gingerbread doughnuts.

Use our backyard hill as a toboggan hill

When we bought our house, part of the deal was the previous owner had to upgrade the septic system. They did that and it left us with something between a hill and a mountain in our backyard. Most of the year this hill/mountain is just a pain in the ass to mow, but when it gets covered with snow, it finally becomes useful. Not every family has a hill quite like ours in their backyard, but we do and we’re going to once again make the best use of it we can.

Skate on an outdoor rink or just watch young kids play pick-up hockey

I learned to skate on a backyard rink but don’t strangely don’t have access to a water supply now to build one in the backyard for my kids to learn on. That leaves me with no choice but to take the kids to one of the many outdoor rinks in Ottawa because there is a Canadian law that states if you have children, you cannot go an entire winter without them visiting an outdoor rink.

Perhaps we’ll skate (The Eldest is after all asking Santa for a pair of hockey skates), but maybe we’ll just watch the older kids throw their sticks into the middle of the ice and then play as though they were facing off in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final.


And that’s it. Aside from that we’re just going to sit around in our long underwear playing crokinole. Hopefully you’ll be able to take in some of these activities but I’d also love to hear your winter must-dos.

One response to “The Reynolds Family Winter Bucket List Adventure-ganza”

  1. Halden says:

    This is a great idea, we often do this at the beginning of summer vacation.

    The Santa Shuffle is nice but I cannot in good concious give money to the Salvation Army.

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