We hope you have already managed to bring some festive cheer to your household with activities and decorations, that will hopefully help bring a bright end to this extraordinary year. Nevertheless, we all know Christmas and the festive period is going to be very different this year. That is why we have come up with some ideas below to keep you and your household entertained and to fill some of your time with fun.
Things to make
1) Bake some goodies - Sweet treats (and savoury ones!) always go down well, especially at Christmas. After you are full from your Christmas dinner, they can be a perfect option for an evening’s graze. Alternatively, you can enjoy them over the festive period with a glass of mulled wine or mug of luxury hot chocolate! We have found some recipes, which we think look really great, to give you some ideas and inspiration:
- Glitter Honeycomb
- Christmas Pudding Brownies / Chocolate Brownies
- Vegan Christmas Cake
- Mince Pie Baklava
- Gingerbread House
- Vegan French Toast with Berries
- Cheese and Rosemary Biscuits
- Brie and Cranberry Twists
2) Get ready for 2021 - Why don’t you prepare for 2021 by using the ideas below:
- Design and make a calendar. You could do this yourself on Word, download free PDF designs from Google or create one using a calendar-creation company with some of your favourite photos.
- Make a list of goals you want to achieve in 2021, such as learning a new skill.
- Prepare your study/work materials.
3) It’s not all about Christmas Day - It is a good idea to think of things you can make for other days over the festive period or to do with your Christmas bubble, for example:
- Make some Christmas decorations, e.g. Pinecone Craft Ideas, Origami Star Bowl, Christmas Wreath and Christmas Ornament Ideas.
- We have found some ideas you could use to make a Christmas Eve box.
- Things to make pre- and post-Christmas Day. These could include, making your own wrapping paper from shopping bags (paper ones) or using recycled paper, which you could add your own designs to! Also, you can have some fun by designing and creating spaceships and castles etc. using the boxes your presents/deliveries came in. Make a festive playlist to accompany these activities. In addition, get crafty and create your own thank you cards for your Christmas presents. Finally, create your own album of photos you have taken over the festive period.
Things to do
4) Something new - Why not take the time to start learning or trying something new. Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Learn a new language
- Try a new food (whether it is festive or not!)
- Reach out to someone new. You could try ringing your local care home to see if there is someone who could really appreciate a chat this Christmas or a neighbour who hasn’t got family close-by. Alternatively, you could message or write to an old friend you have lost contact with.
- Listen to new Christmas songs by bands that wouldn’t normally be on your playlist. Or play remixes of the old classics.
- Buy from a business/company you haven’t used before. It has been widely recognised that now more than ever we should be supporting our small, local businesses.
- Try a new sport or exercise class.
- Take some ‘me-time’, whether that be on a walk, whilst conducting Grounding Meditation, sinking into a good book or relaxing in a bubble bath.
- Go for a festive walk or bike ride.
5) Christmas is about giving - It is important to think of others, especially those who may be less fortunate than us. Ways you could do this (restrictions permitting) are:
- Donating food and sundries to local food bank, such as The Trussell Trust.
- Volunteering in a local charity, animal shelter or care home.
- Helping out a neighbour, friend or family member.
- Making someone a home-made thoughtful gift.
- Try to achieve one random act of kindness each day.
- Giving presents to children in need, such as via Birmingham City Mission, Giving Tree or Action for Children: Secret Santa.
6) Be merry and bright – lights and music are a big part of Holiday celebrations. Therefore, we have thought of a few ideas you could do to keep you feeling festive!
- Look around your local area to see the Christmas light displays on people’s houses and along your high street.
- Light a candle, maybe in a festive holder and take the opportunity to give thanks for the things and people in your life you can appreciate. This is also a great way to meditate and take some time back for you. Focus on the candle, be in the present moment and give recognition for your health, happiness and what you are thankful for.
- We have found some ideas to help for when hosting a virtual Christmas party/disco. We are all very familiar with Zoom and MS Teams etc., but why don’t we make use of these platforms for non-work/study related fun and music!
Things to attend
7) Virtual gathering – We can thankfully still come together virtually this Holiday season. Why don’t you use some of these ideas to join in with some festivities:
- Take a look at virtual Christmas Carol Services and Concerts that are being held this year.
- Join The Virtual Birmingham Christmas Gifts Market Facebook group. Plus, research your local Facebook groups and news articles to see what other concerts, services and events are taking place virtually this year.
- If you have younger siblings, children (or just love a pantomime yourself!) we have found drive-in pantos and cinemas, which have become popular for Christmas 2020! Plus, The Parking Lot Social are showcasing lots of fun events this Christmas, including drive-in films, a pantomime and adult comedy night in Coventry and around the UK.
- Have video calls with loved ones. Especially if you can’t see your family and friends in person this year, make sure you make some time to phone or video-call them.
- For the younger members of your household/ Christmas bubble, remember there are many free apps you can download for them to receive a FaceTime or similar from Santa!
8) Try and get out and about – Depending what tier you are currently residing under, you can join in with some of the Christmas festivities and fun below:
- Outdoor light shows are still a popular attraction this year. Including, Malvern Winter Glow Outdoor Walk and Blenheim Palace's Illuminated Trail.
- Find out where you are able to visit Santa's Grottos this year.
- We have found a couple of free entry Christmas markets that are still going ahead this year. There is a Pop-up Christmas Market in Kings Heath full of independent, small business stalls, open Thursday to Saturday 10am to 8pm. Plus, Outdoors at the Kingways, a new seasonal market located on a former cinema site on Kings Heath High Street, which is open 1pm to 5pm Tuesday to Thursday and 11am to 6pm Friday to Sunday (£1 entry charge for adults on the weekend).
- Visit a castle this Christmas. Enjoy Christmas at Warwick Castle or meet Santa and his reindeer at Dudley Castle and Zoo.
- Enjoy meeting Santa and the animals this Christmas at West Midlands Safari Park, Twycross Zoo's Christmas Spectacular and at Hatton Country World's enchanted Christmas Kingdom, full of lots of festive fun and even have a drive-in cinema.
- Experience a special Santa train-ride this Christmas with Severn Valley Railway.
- Tamworth Snowdome is hosting their very own Winter Wonderland.
- Enjoy Christmas celebrations at Cadbury World.
- Also go to Visit Birmingham to have a look at other Christmas events go ahead this year.
9) Virtual hobby or skill class: Many classes are now taking place online. So why don’t you take the opportunity to attend a new class in your area, such as flower arranging, yoga or book clubs and make some new friends, whilst having fun.
Things to play
10) Hide and seek: Finding games are always fun and rewarding and can also help with meditation, by allowing you to be in the present moment. Why don’t you try:
- Creating a treasure hunt around the house to find hidden presents. Alternatively, while on a walk task yourself with finding certain items, e.g. robins or pinecones (which could later be turned into Christmas decorations or wreath embellishments).
- Hiding tasks/dares in balloons and then taking it in turn to pop one to reveal what you have to do. Alternatively, for younger children you can put coins (chocolate or real) inside balloons, cover the floor with them and make it a challenge to them to find them all.
11) The classics: Make some time to play classic games and get everyone involved (in your Christmas bubble or virtually):
- Monopoly, Cluedo or Pictionary are popular choices at Christmas, or why not find a new game to try!
- Try writing and hosting a Christmas themed quiz or even a quiz all about 2020 (you can also find premade quizzes online).
- Join in with our free BCU Hedgehog Friendly Campus fundraising quiz on 17 December from 19:00 to 20:30. You can play individually or as part of a team to raise money for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. Prizes to be won!
- Play interactive games such as Guess Who or Charades.
- Create a Christmas bingo, such as things the Queen will say in her speech, words said in a Christmas film or what you think your family members might say or do on Christmas Day.
12) Dress-up: Have some fun by holding competitions:
- Best Christmas jumper or widen it to festive attire.
- Ask each member of your Christmas bubble to dress-up to a theme, e.g. black tie, green and red festive colours only or animal print, with a prize for the best. This could also be done virtually.
- You may have some left over toilet rolls from bulk buying in the first lockdown. Adapt the toilet roll mummy game - wind toilet roll around members of your household and add accessories to create the best looking snowmen!
It is important to look after your Mental Health at Christmas.
Our blog discusses some factors that could contribute to depression at Christmas and what steps can be taken to help reduce it.