Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

April 22, 2024

Ultimate Winter Fun Checklist

Make the season bright and stay safe with our simple yet fun holiday checklist.

Let’s do this! Let’s make this the brightest, merriest winter of ALL! After experiencing all that 2020 has had to offer (yuck), let’s flip the switch and do the holidays BIG! Let’s focus on all the good stuff… the stuff that memories are made of, those intimate, warm family moments that make our Grinch hearts grow three sizes. The excited and bewildered look in a child’s eyes as they admire twinkly lights, those concentrating gazes as they decorate their cookies just perfect and the magic and wonder of decorating the house together. Here is our Ultimate Holiday Checklist to get your season feeling extra merry and bright:


 Movie night with matching PJ’s.

Is it a little cliche? Maybe. Does it still feel oh-so right when your family sits down to movie night in matching PJ’s? YES! Make it a tradition to look forward to and parents, savor those movie night snuggles while you can. 

December movie checklist: ELF, Arthur Christmas, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, Jingle Jangle, The Polar Express, Noelle, Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nutcracker, Miracle on 34th Street, The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol.


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Favorite places for matching jammies: Carters (, Old Navy (, Target ( and definitely PatPat (


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Check out these simply adorable matching pajamas from PatPat! We love them for matching holiday pajamas… and all of their cute year round looks! Be sure to keep them in mind for future looks. 

Sip hot cocoa during storytime.

Know what’s all the rage right now? Hot cocoa bombs! And for good reason. They are decadent, dramatic and seriously delicious. 


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Our favorites are from The Cheesecakery (4901 Whetsel Ave.). They are made with Callebaut chocolate from Belgium and are available in 3 flavors: hot cocoa with marshmallows, white chocolate peppermint and Reese’s peanut butter. Check them out at

Here is a list of our fave winter books to pair with a hot cocoa bomb: The Polar Express, The Snowy Day, The Mitten, Sneezy the Snowman, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.



Deck the YARD.

Spread some holiday cheer to everyone who drives past your house. That means twinkly lights, big bows, ornaments and… INFLATABLES! 


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Head to JoieDomi ( for some impressive holiday inflatables that range from 6 foot tall present-wielding dinosaurs, 8 foot long dashing dachshunds, large llamas pulling Santa’s sleigh, a festive flamingo, and snow much more. We love the unique looks and the grand sizes of these inflatables- they really send a jolly message to everyone who passes by. (Hint! Use code: HOLIDAY to save 15% on your order!) 


Count Down the Days.

The anticipation is building! How many days are left until Christmas? String a paper chain or get a nifty advent calendar to help you count down the days. Some of our favorite grown up advent calendars can be found at Aldi (hard seltzer advent calendar… yes, please!)… but for the kiddos, we love the advent calendars found at (Hint! Code HOLIDAY will get you 15% off your order here, too).


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Joyin has a variety of non-food advent calendars with everything from slime, toy cars, dino digs, sensory toys, arts and craft goodies, make up, stuffed animals and so much more behind the little doors! 



Decorate Cookies while listening to Holiday Tunes.

The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear. 



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Belt out those beloved Christmas tunes while decorating the ultimate cookie kit from the BonBonerie. Skip the home baking (and dishes) and go for tasty perfection. Does it get any better than a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth cookie from BonBonerie? I think not. This year, call and order your family a cookie kit, then pick it up using their curbside service. You can stay in your car, in your pj’s and no one will know or care. Easy peasy. The cookie kits come complete with a dozen cookies (3 christmas trees, 3 Santa heads and 3 “Joy” cookies), 3 icings (red, green and white) and 2 generous cups of sprinkles (rainbow and a fun blue mixture of pearls and sanding sugar).  Order a kit by calling 513-321-3399, then pick it up at 2030 Madison Road. Visit for more information.

Songs to add to your playlist:

“All I want for Christmas is you” , “I want a Hippopotamus  for Christmas”, “The Little Drummer Boy”, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”,  “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”, “Carol of the Bells”, “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree”, “A Holly Jolly Christmas”, “Here Comes Santa Claus”, “O Holy Night”, “The Chipmunk Song” and be sure to add in “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by NSYNC if you want to hear Mom sing. 


Get out of the house and enjoy the lights! 


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Bring some cocoa and cookies in the car and prepare to be awe struck by an amazing holiday drive through. Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods is a Cincinnati winter tradition with over 1 million twinkly lights and 250 holiday displays spanning a one mile wooded drive. This seasonal must-see has been running for 31 years in Cincinnati, and they really get it right. With displays ranging from fun (silly dinosaurs wagging their spikey tails), cinematic (Miracle on 34th Street!), magical (elves decorating a holiday tree in 2 seconds flat) and terrifically traditional (it would be a fun challenge to count the presents and trees!), there is something to make every member of the family say “OoOoOo, I like that one!”. It is a joy to talk about everyone’s favorite displays on the car ride home, although it might be a challenge to pick just one. Be sure to head to Holiday in Lights this month, located at 11450 Lebanon Road in Sharonville. Questions? Call 513-769-0393. And don’t forget to snag a $1 coupon by visiting 





About the Author

Amanda Ciani

Amanda Ciani lives in Northern Kentucky with her husband and their three terrific sons. She enjoys writing haiku parenting poems for her Instagram account (@cinciciani), and Twitter account (@haikuciani).