I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt around about 0.025% festive this year. So I set myself down with a glass of mulled cider and jotted down a few ideas to feel festive whilst stuck at home – and I thought I would share them because they all made me smile and have helped to summon the Christmas spirit, even in these trying times.
My imagination and planning skills are some of the few things in my arsenal (oh, that and an overactive penchant for mischief) so I thought this, combined with a little bit of Christmas magic might just work. Project INDOORCHRISTMAS is go!
What a basket* fire of a year.
Throw yourself a festive afternoon tea (synchronise with family!)
I’m talking the whole shebang. Christmas carols playing, an afternoon baking scones, miniature mince pies, a bottle of bubbly gently chilling overnight, decoratively folded napkins… all the festive things. NB: to make it ‘authentically’ upmarket, you have to dress up nicely and have piano carols playing. Nominating someone else as the waiter is optional, though thoroughly recommended. If you want a few shortcuts; order a delivery/collection from your favourite local baker, get some of those supermarket sandwich fillers and order shop crackers instead of doing DIY ones.
Schedule a drink over video chat
Yes, yes, I know how over video calling we all are, but honestly these have been such a saving grace for me. From sipping wine with the ladies whose Whatsapp meme presence has been a sanity saver, to a simple cup of coffee of a weekend with my family in NZ. There’s something so bonding about going a step further and having a joint beverage – even if you did make it yourself.
Stream a Carol Performance (mince pies obligatory)
We’ve found some amazing carol performances here (even thought my favourite Royal Albert Hall carol concert has sadly been cancelled.
Learn a new Group Game that no-one knows how to play
Traditionally we play Monopoly with the nephews, but this year we’ve got a few online games up our sleeves – and we’re going to learn a couple too. Also, playing online escape rooms can be ridiculously fun – who doesn’t love a little healthy competition… I mean, teamwork…
Watch a ridiculously cheesy movie – the more implausible the better
In fact, we watched one yesterday which was set half in Connecticut, half in London but they clearly didn’t have any budget so had to use some terrible photoshopping/green screening, a few brick walls which they painted as a ‘British Goods Store’ and streetscapes that looked completely like Seattle and nothing like London. But, they managed to claw it back with a serving of sweet Christmas schmaltz, a genuinely Cockney bartender and the mulled cider I was sipping added a little glitter I suppose. Bonus points: watch it at same time as your friends/family – check your TV guide, Netflix have this as an option, or just arrange via instant messager to switch on at the same time – chat away on messenger or maybe even Skype to make it more fun.
Plan out & prep your Christmas Dinner
Those things you always plan to try making and never get around to? Do them this year. Hand bake mince pies, stir up a Christmas pudding or order a Gingerbread House for decorating. Dry some orange slices over a few hours in a low heat oven, or have a go at making a festive wreath from flora from your garden. (NB: Don’t try with holly leaves, you’ll lose a finger or two.)
Organise a spa evening
Put down the phone, get some facemasks (home or store bought), a box of chocolates, an excellent movie (or book and a bath with bath bombs + candles if it’s solo), some candles or scented oils, a bathrobe, slippers and turn off any light that isn’t a lamp. Simples.
Carry out some kindness
Bake some biscuits for an elderly neighbour, pack a collection of treats and toys to be donated to a family in need or donate to charities who are crying out for support. It doesn’t have to cost money – shoutout out a few charities on your social media channels, get the kids to make Christmas cards for your neighbours, carry out a few chores for someone who is struggling. (Socially distant of course.)
Buy yourself a treat for January
It’s going to be even more of a tough month than usual – to get yourself a little something from an amazing small business – and intentionally missed the Christmas deadlines so you get a lovely surprise in January.
Bring on the midsummer Christmas!
What activities have you found made you feel festive this year?
*bin fire, but stretched into a festive metaphor