With numbers on our minds, restrictions to abide and aftermaths to consider, Christmas this year is not what it usually is! But here at Pointvoucher, above all else we believe one thing: that we should make the best of what we have! Even if it is not your usual choice, Christmas at home can become everything you need.
This year is the year to eat ourselves into a coma, watch the most Christmas movies we’ve ever watched, and delve into Christmas traditions we may have forgotten. We can still make this Christmas magical, so join us in perusing our festive list of tips!
One difference this year that might not be so bad, is that a lot of us have extra time on our hands. We might still be working, but we don’t have to commute. We still shop, but we shop online.
So if you have extra time, why not make some decorations instead of buying them? To enjoy Christmas at home to the fullest, we might as well make it homely. And what’s more homely than a house sparkling with handmade beauty?
This is also a great activity for children. Decorations made of pasta, clay, paper, card, painted objects, and even edible decorations can be made. (I am personally a huge fan of a chocolate bauble!)
Ideas, recipes and step-by-step walkthroughs can be found all over the internet, but here’s a nice video to get you started!
Special Advent Calendars
Advent Calendars can be a big effort, or zero effort project. We can buy cheap ones from the supermarket (or high quality ones!), we can buy fancy ‘fun sized gift’ calendars from make-up brands, and we can make our own.
Honestly, it’s a little hard to choose, isn’t it? I love the nostalgia of the simple Christmas-themed chocolates and I love the indulgence of a fancier (e.g Lindt) chocolate. But I also love the extravagance of a little present every single morning, and the freedom to include all three styles in a homemade calendar!
Well, there’s no rule that demands we only have one advent calendar per year, right? I think my ideal would be one chocolate advent calendar, and one homemade. Finding fun, cute items small enough to fit into the advent pouches is a wonderful challenge!
And watching the kids race downstairs to find out what’s in there each morning is a brilliant way to bring festive cheer to every day in December!
Here’s another video to get you started on the many possibilities of advent calendars!
Letters To Santa
This is one specifically for the kids. Christmas at home means sitting on Santa’s lap might be out of the question this year, but that doesn’t mean our wishes can’t reach him! Going retro and writing a letter to Santa is lovely way to keep the magic alive.
Pick out nice paper, stickers and coloured pens and let your children go crazy (including the ones that are too little to write words yet!). If you live next to water as I did as a child, putting the letters in a bottle and sending it off downstream is also very exciting! (…Wait, is that littering?!)
If you’re too modern to even own paper, there is an option for you, too! There are apps for sending Santa a text, or this website can even create personalised calls and videos from Santa!
The Elf on the Shelf
In this international age, we don’t just have to choose from our own country’s traditions. We can borrow a thing or two from anywhere we like!
A new and popular Christmas tradition in the US is Elf on the Shelf. It’s a daily activity during December to get kids excited, and teach them various Christmas values and promote good behaviour.
The tradition works like this: your elf is a ‘scout-elf’, he travels back to the North Pole every night to tell Santa what he’s seen that day. If you want to stay on Santa’s Nice List, you can’t let the elf see you being naughty! But, where is the elf? That’s the fun part: every night the elf will leave, and every morning he’ll appear somewhere new. Parents find creative places and hilarious positions to put the elf in, and every morning the children will run around the house to find him and find great amusement in his antics!
The one other rule is that the elf cannot be touched. He’ll lose his magic if he is!
To get more information and take part, you can buy your own elf at The Elf on the Shelf.
There’s also a great article from Good Housekeeping full of creative ideas for your elf antics!
The Early Present
To make up for any of the usual excitement we might be missing out on, we need to add as much extra excitement to our Christmas at home as possible!
So, I have a question: do you allow one present to be opened early on Christmas Eve?
If you don’t, or if you never have, this year is the year! Advent calendars and traditions like Elf on the Shelf aim to make every December day special. But once it gets to Christmas Eve, we are at our wit’s end from excitement!
Only something extreme can satisfy us now, and that is opening one of the presents under the tree!
Not only is it a great way to add another moment of excitement and joy to our Christmas schedule, but it’s also got another benefit.
The little ones can start to get a tad overwhelmed when the end of their long 25 day wait draws closer, and the final evening can be tough. By indulging their desire to open a present, we can calm them down a little and provide them with a toy to distract them for the rest of the night!
Another classic Christmas activity that might usually get lost in the busyness of the month. I know I’ve had years where I’ve wanted to make a gingerbread house, but never quite found the time. But Christmas at home means more home activities!
If baking and decorating isn’t your strongest suit, don’t worry! If you’re making it with the kids, creating a masterpiece isn’t the goal anyway, but if you want to try and out do yourself, the internet can help. Tips, tricks, recipes and walkthroughs galore!
Oh, and if you don’t like gingerbread, sugar cookies are an option, too!
Here is a popular ‘how to’ video:
And a recipe for amazing mini gingerbread houses!
Plus, if you want to see the ultimate in gingerbread house expertise, check out some former winners of the National Gingerbread House Competition!
Christmas at home doesn’t have to be lonesome. If your extended family has decided to be extra cautious and stay home, then get together online. A little extra effort to set up a webcam pointing at the sofa and a microphone that can pick up all of your voices is a worthwhile exchange for getting to spend some easy (technological difficulty-free) time with your loved ones.
As for what to do over video call, we have plenty of options! Check out these various articles on online party games, family favourites, and Christmas movies:
The key to Christmas-at-home food is simple: go as all out as you usually would. You might have fewer kitchen-helpers at your disposal this year, but you also likely have less mouths to feed.
All families have their own styles and traditions when it comes to Christmas dinner (plus Christmas Eve food, Christmas breakfast, and Boxing Day food!). As much as we want to up the excitement this year, we also want to achieve as much of a sense of normalcy as possible.
So, whatever you do, don’t downsize! Go all out! The turkey, the stuffing, all 10 side dishes, 5 desserts and 25 varieties of throughout-the-day-snacks, everything! Christmas is food.
Celebrate Christmas Month, Not Christmas Day
Lastly, a good way to soften the blow of a less extravagant event on the 25th, is to spread the festive activities throughout the month. Advent and Elf on the Shelf everyday, decoration making one week, letter to Santa the next week, gingerbread house the week after that, movie marathons every weekend… the list goes on.
This year, ‘less is more’ goes out the window. More is more! This year, of all years, there is genuinely no such thing as ‘too much fun’. Do it all, and do it big! Eat so much that January’s detox will be welcome, not forced!
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