One of the best things about Christmas is the tradition of it all; but let’s face it, if you do the same old thing every single year, it can get a bit dull and it’s harder to get into the festive spirit if you don’t have anything new to look forward to. No fear! We have come up with some truly seasonal activities that you might not have tried yet, or that you use to do as a kid but you have since forgotten the magic of it! Here’s 15 original things to do this Christmas:
1. Cook orange slices
Something so simple can not only decorate your house, but make it smell amazing too! All you have to do is cut the slices finely, place them on a baking tray and on a low heat, cook for several hours until dry and crisp. Here’s a tip, be sure you slice the orange on its side, not vertically, this allows you to keep all the segments intact.
2. Have hot chocolate outside with a blanket
Whether you are in the woods with a thermos or in your own back garden with your favourite mug, having hot chocolate outside is an incredible feeling. It really does warm you up, (though take a blanket and layers just in case,) and allows you to enjoy the wintery surroundings without freezing your extremities off! (Heads up, tea, coffee and coco work just as well!)
3. Take a tour of the local Christmas lights
Some people go all out when decorating nowadays, so much so that they become honorary tourist attractions. Some towns even offer open top bus tours that visit the best decorated houses, shops and streets. It’s a great trip out with the kids that won’t cost you much and who knows, it might even inspire your own display this year.
4. Make a traditional stocking
Back in ye olde days, we didn’t have piles of presents as far as the eye can see. You had a stocking, filled with small, novelty or practical items. Now stockings tend to be mostly decoration, but sewing and filling your own traditional stocking is a lot of fun and makes a super personal and thoughtful gift. Fill it with small toys, a little mirror, key rings, cheap jewellery items, tree decorations, sweets, an orange and a sugar mouse.
5. Visit a Christmas craft fair
Most of them are free to attend and full of hand-made, quality goods that make great gifts. Doing your Christmas shopping here can also be cheaper than trolling the highstreets and it’s definitely more enjoyable; often with live music, mulled wine, artisan food and the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap! If you have a local craft fair be sure to take the kids and have a festive day out, whilst supporting crafts people.
6. Take a winter walk through a park with a loved one
Christmas is a crazy time of year. In all the stress of trying to get the right present, keeping under a budget and making room for extra relatives staying over, it’s easy to forget to enjoy yourself. Taking a breather from the madness by going on a calm Winter walk is a way of resetting your internal cool and if you go hand in hand with a loved one through the park or forest you can turn it into a romantic day date.
7. Buy yourself new Christmas bedding
Let’s face it, in the chilly weather, we all spend a little extra time in bed. Hitting the sack after a long day of gift shopping is a wonderful feeling, but not if your bed actually looks like a sack! Many shops have Christmas or winter inspired bedding that can make your bed feel just that little bit extra cosy. This small treat to yourself might help you enjoy the holiday a bit more and brighten up your bedroom.
8. Donate toys to a children’s charity
People do become more charitable this time of year, but it’s difficult to physically hand over your hard earned cash when you never get to see exactly where it’s going or who it’s benefiting. There are many charities that simply ask for toys instead. Children worldwide who have been affected by war, poverty, famine and natural disasters may never own a toy in their life; these charities give them something that no amount of money could… their childhood back. Everyone can clear out their loft and find a dozen kids toys they have no need for anymore and with so many special offers on toys like ‘buy one get one free,’ this is a super cheap way to donate to a child who may own nothing. My favourite is Operation Christmas Child or ‘The Shoe Box Appeal’ with Samaritan’s Purse.
9. Make a mini cinema to watch a Christmas movie
If you are lucky enough to have a big TV or better yet a projector and a white bedsheet, you can create your own cinema experience for you and your friends. Go all out with popcorn, milkshakes and pick ‘n’ mix for snacks and sleeping bags, pillows and sofa cushions to create a blanket fort. Then select your favourite Christmas movies and make a night of it.
10. String popcorn onto your tree
This is more of an American tradition than UK but the fun is international! Freshly popped popcorn works the best so grab a cheap box of microwavable popcorn and heat for about 3 minutes. Then with a thin needle and white thread, simply pierce the pieces in the centre and thread them together into a garland. This is very easy, so kids, (old enough to be trusted with a needle,) will have fun with this craft and of course, any popcorn left over can be eaten, just make sure you’ve threaded enough before you tuck in!
11. Take a mini break to a big city
They may be super busy and crowded, but big cities tend to have a lot on at Christmas and a lot of it is really worth doing. Whether it’s London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, New York or Munich, you should definitely take a mini break to a city and see how they are celebrating the season. It can be expensive to stay in hotels around this time of year so look into guesthouses, smaller B’ n’ B’s or hostels for cheaper prices in great locations.
12. Test out Christmas cocktails on friends
Alcohol is expensive, but for a lot of us, having a cheeky cocktail or six at a Christmas party is a tradition we are not willing to part with, so why not make your own? A quick google search and a trip to Lidlls or Audis means you can learn to make some delicious cocktails without a massive price tag. Invite your friends over and test out your concoctions on them, to see which one’s will be a success on Christmas day and New Year’s eve. You’ll all have a lot of fun, just make sure one of you stays sober to remember all the recipes!
13. Have a hot cider or mulled wine at a traditional German market
You don’t need to buy a plane ticket to experience a traditional German Christmas market. These things are actually cropping up all over the place within Europe. A series of quaint little log cabins display and sell anything and everything from hand-made decorations, real ales, soft pretzels, toys, fashion, bratwurst and artisan chocolate. Often staying open until late, these markets are lit by thousands of fairy lights and are a great place to get in the festive mood or burn some of that excess energy in the kids.
14. Make your own Christmas cards
We spend a lot of money on Christmas cards and more often than not, most of them end up in the bin, (a recycling one hopefully.) Hand making your cards not only saves you money but adds a personal touch of extra effort to your greeting that people will love and want to keep. You don’t need to be a crafting ninja to glue some glitter or add some buttons to a piece of card and if you are looking for inspiration, Pinterest has thousands of images of simple yet charming DIY card designs.
15. Challenge your friends to your own bake off!
Fancy yourself a bit of a Mary Berry? Put your skills to the test by hosting a Christmas bake off for your friends. Set each other recipes like fairy cakes, gingerbread houses, Christmas cake and fruit pies and race against the clock to achieve your dessert. You’ll have amazing fun speed baking and even more fun eating it all to judge the winner. Have bottles of wine on hand to help the creative juices flowing, but you can make this kid friendly too by simplifying the baking and have them decorate gingerbread men and iced biscuits instead.
Well there’s some ideas, let us know what you get up to this Christmas and as always, we want to see your crafts via social media. Use #Shinycreations in your posts so that we can see your pictures and automatically enter you into our prize draw to win some EPIC prizes in time for the New Year. Happy Christmas everyone, we hope it’s shiny!
Creative Head of Shiny Creations