Christmas is a matter of DAYS away. Food, school holidays and watching your Nan get giggly on the sherry awaits.
But it can be difficult to feel the warm glow of festive tidings when you’ve got a huge project due in January and the Christmas adverts have been on repeat since November. Sometimes too much glitter-dusted advertising and endless spins of Mariah Carey can leave you as cold as the weather outside… so here are 10 alternative ways to find your Christmas spirit this year:
1. Discover some different Christmas music
Even the biggest Christmas fan can be left exhausted by too many repeats of I Wish it Could Be Christmas Every Day, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t season-appropriate music out there to get you in the mood.
Start with A Very She & Him Christmas, a collection of calm and contemplative covers of well-known Christmas songs by Zooey Deschanel and musician M Ward, before moving on to Surfjan Stevens’ beautiful Songs for Christmas or the gloriously retro A Motown Christmas. Or head to Spotify and search for [insert genre of your choice here] + Christmas: someone will already have done the hard playlist work for you.
2. Go fantasy party dress shopping
Yes, you have to go Christmas shopping, and yes, it will wipe out your allowance (unless you make your own). But while you’re there, take some friends and go and try on the most badass outfits you can find for parties – imaginary or otherwise – you’ve got ahead of you. Head to the fitting rooms and try on something you’d never normally buy. The shops are full of Christmas music and sparkles, so it would be positively rude not to (and if you really like it, well, you know what to look for in the sales).
3. Have a Christmas craft afternoon
Paper-chains, cutting out snowflakes and covering things in glitter; set aside an afternoon to decorate your bedroom like it’s 1975. You’ll be amazed at what you can make from stuff you’ve just got lying around your home. If you’re stuck for inspiration there’s loads of brilliant ideas on Instagram and Pinterest, but here are a few to start you off: cute toilet-roll reindeer, this awesome wrapping paper Christmas tree and these cute egg box flowers.
4. Bake something
It’s cold and gross outside, and the endless scroll of Instagram and Snapchat are making you feel sluggish. Get off the sofa and into the kitchen: baking is a great way to beat boredom or give yourself some screen-free time (floury fingers don’t work on a touchscreen).
Whether you get some mates round to ice biscuits or cook up some easy festive cookies to give away to your friends (they make bargainous Christmas presents), it’s a lovely way to pass an afternoon. Plus if you make something with cinnamon or orange in, the whole place will smell Christmassy. Bonus.
5. Go for a wintery walk (and get cosy after)
The last of the autumn leaves might be falling, but there is still plenty of wintery wonder to be found in the great outdoors, especially with people putting up their Christmas lights. Go and find a bit of outside; whether that’s your local park, the posh bit of town or somewhere a little further afield. The best thing about shaking a leg? Heading somewhere cosy and comforting afterwards to warm up – even if it’s just your living room.
6. Get the lighting right
Whether you’ve subscribed to the Danish trend of hygge or not, low lighting can transform a room and conjure the right level of Christmassy cosiness. Whether you opt for some fairylights, light a few candles (make sure you’re always in the room when they’re lit, though, that’s candle 101) or both, you can create a sense of festive magic by placing a few twinkly things in the right corners of a room.
7. Do something for someone else
It’s a cliché but it’s true: sometimes the best thing you can do at Christmas is give back. Whether that’s as simple as helping out a friend or sibling with a problem or some homework, donating your time to a charitable cause – such as helping out at a charity Christmas fair – or spending some of your hard-earned cash on a donation to your supermarket’s food bank. That warm, fuzzy feeling inside? It’s not indigestion, it’s festive goodwill.
8. Have a Christmas film afternoon
Simple, but usually effective. Grab a mate or get your family together, pick a few of your favourite Christmas films or maybe a new one (although you can never go wrong with Elf), load up on snacks and switch your phone onto airplane mode. Don’t forget the blankets.
9. Help out with the Christmas feast
No, Father Christmas doesn’t arrive on Christmas morning and help the chef of the household – that’s a grown-up who has spent a ridiculous amount of time and money thinking about how to make everyone too full to move by 6pm on the 25th.
So surprise whoever’s in charge in the kitchen now by offering your help with the catering over Christmas (there’s that goodwill again) and, as the big day approaches, get involved with peeling potatoes or making pigs-in-blankets. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you can have – and it’ll make the finished product even tastier.
10. Plan something fun for the family to do over Christmas
Christmas takes a lot of thought and coordination from those that are running the show, so lighten the load and have something beyond presents to look forward to by planning a surprise for when the telly gets boring. Perhaps it could be a game of Just A Minute themed around family memories and in-jokes. You could suggest a film to watch that the others may not have thought of, or make your own crackers. You might even wind up starting a new Christmas tradition!
See, don’t you feel more festive already?