Bring Christmas to the Backcountry with These New Traditions

Bring Christmas to the Backcountry with These New Traditions

Bring Christmas to the Backcountry with These New Traditions


Who said Christmas should be spent huddled inside? It doesn’t have to be. Typically, the holidays have certain traditions that may involve a big family meal, presents, and watching ‘A Christmas Story’ on TV. But, when you come from an outdoorsy kind of family, your traditions may be a just a little bit different.

If you want to bring Christmas to the backcountry this year, then check out these awesome ideas.

Attend a Popular Outdoor Christmas Event

Believe it or not, you’re not the only one out there who wants to put an outdoorsy spin on Christmas. Some national parks have caught on, and want to help provide a meaningful experience to the community. In Branson, Missouri, you can attend the Ozark Mountain Christmas. There will be all kinds of events going on, like ziplining, the opportunity to stay in a wilderness lodge, and time to hike the Christmas Tree Trail.

Another place that’s offering some backcountry Christmas fun is Austin, Texas. What began as a gift to the city from the Austin Parks and Recreation Department in 1965 known as the “Yule Fest” has turned into an amazing annual event for outdoor enthusiasts. Though there are many other events going on, the Trail of Lights is the highlight. This approximate two-mile hike will let you see more than 40 displays, 2 million lights, and participate in holiday activities. This is how you bring Christmas to the backcountry!

bring Christmas to the backcountry, trees, evergreen trees, forest

Hike for the Biggest Christmas Tree

This one can be done before Christmas or on the day of. Even if you already have a Christmas tree in your house, there’s no reason you can’t search for another! Take the family outside and go on a hunt for the largest Christmas tree ever! This can be done at a national or state park, or in the wooded trails near your home. Just keep an eye out for those tall evergreens!

bring Christmas to the backcountry, campfire

Trade the Fireplace for the Campfire

Many families enjoy spending their Christmas around a fireplace, warming up their bones and talking about old memories. But, if you’re the outdoorsy family, it’s likely that you don’t mind changing up your regular Christmas destination. So, instead of sitting around an indoor fire, why not bring the fire outside? Go to a local campsite with your family, light up a campfire, and sing Christmas carols in the wilderness!

bring Christmas to the backcountry, caribou, reindeer

Try to Find “Reindeer”

Rabbits and deer would probably love a Christmas celebration, too! We’re not saying you should go feed the animals or anything like that, but if you do find one of nature’s creatures in need of a little help this Christmas, make sure to spread the love. Otherwise, you can just take the family on a wildlife scavenger hunt, where you can see if you can find Rudolph and Santa’s other reindeer out in the wilderness. (If you don’t think there are reindeer, you may know them as ‘caribou.’)

bring Christmas to the backcountry, stargazing

“Look For” Santa Claus

In some families, Christmas Eve is spent at a nice restaurant or around the table at a relative’s house. People stay up late, but not too late, as kids need to be asleep before Santa arrives. But, perhaps this year you can change up the whole Santa Claus thing, by encouraging your family to get outside and “find Santa.” What this really means is heading out into the backcountry, and taking a look up at the skies. Do some stargazing in the beautiful December night, and see if you can catch a glimpse of Santa’s sleigh!

There are no rules when it comes to Christmas. This year, take your outdoorsy family and bring Christmas to the backcountry!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.