CHRISTMAS 2022 was headlined to be the best of the 2020s so far.
Christmas parties were being booked, trips to see Father Christmas were on the horizon and plans were in full force to have all the family round the table together once more with no fears of self isolation or lockdowns being announced at the final hurdle.
But for many this Christmas will be spent with a different worry as the cost of living crisis hits.
Instead some families will be having to make difficult choices over whether to turn the heating on or to enjoy a hot Christmas meal.
In a bid to help budgets stretch a little further we have come up with a few low-cost and free ideas of things to do to add some extra sparkle to the festive period.
- Scavenger Hunt
Walks around the local area were a daily event for some during lockdown, so why not grab a warm coat, a hat and a flask filled with a brew and pick the habit up again! And to keep the little ones interested turn it into a festive Scavenger Hunt.
Despite it being winter and most of the flowers having died back and the trees losing all their leaves, there’s still plenty to spot whether you live in a busy city centre or a rural village surrounded by woodlands.
Think up ten or so items that can be easily seen like winter pansies, poinsettias, a robin, a fir tree, a door wreath, a Leylandii, a frosted spider web and maybe a cheeky scout elf playing a trick for the little ones to spot while out and about.
- Salt dough decorations
Decorating the tree brings back memories of Christmases past as shop-bought and children’s hand-made ornaments are taken out of their wrappers. Use this year to make some more decorations that can be treasured for years to come.
Using salt dough means your imagination is the limit from holly to candy canes wherever your artistic skills take you.
A couple of ideas tried and tested are hand-prints turned into Father Christmas’s face or a reindeer face and footprints can become snowmen or penguins.
Once baked and cooled they can be painted and hung with care and treasured for years to come.
- Christmas film
You can’t get through the season without watching a festive favourite – or ten – or catching a new one.
Whether its Miracle on 34th Street, Die Hard, Love Actually, Elf or any of the other Christmas films out – there’s always plenty to choose from on streaming services or that make up the season’s TV schedule.
Make a watch list of films on offer then throw on the festive jumper, or pyjamas and slippers, then get cosy on the sofa under a blanket with a home-made mice pie or seven – or break open that tub of sweets which has been saved especially for Christmas.
- Festive picnic
Picnics are great any time of the year so why not have one at indoors around the tree or if you’re brave wrap up and head outside and find a bench in the local park.
There’s no need to go and buy extra food either, just use what you would normally for lunch or dinner.
Dig out those Christmas cookie cutters and use them to make tree, angel or even snowman sandwiches instead of squares or triangles and for anyone feeling particularly create a different shape.
And for a drink grab a hot chocolate or warm milk for the little ones with sprinkles or treat yourselves to a festive drink from a coffee shop.
- Church Events
Churches are a hive of activity in the lead up to Christmas. As well as the sermons where the advent candles are lit as Christians prepare for Christmas – churches open their doors to the public for events.
There are Christmas Tree Festivals where organisations including schools and charities from across the area decorate a tree which goes on show for all to see. There are also Nativity Festivals, which follow the same idea.