How to have a very merry alternative Christmas
Friday, 21 December 2018 | Kate
Roll back time a century and Christmas was... well, Christmas. It was a Christian celebration centred around Bethlehem, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, farm animals, stars, kings and angels, and we all gathered round and did the traditional thing.
Now, in the 21st Century, things are very different. Fewer people are religious, and fewer of us than ever celebrate the old Christian legend. In Britain, over the past decade or two in particular, we've seen a happy influx of interesting folk from all over the world, including Eastern Europe, Africa and Afghanistan, joining a growing number of British atheists and secularists who prefer to do things a bit differently. Or even very differently.
In a world where Christmas can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people, from robins to snow, bells to babies in mangers, what will you be doing to celebrate? Here are 15 bright ideas to help you enjoy a very merry alternative Christmas, things that are a bit more interesting and fun than lounging in front of the telly for two days.
15 fun ideas for an alternative Christmas
- The ultimate alternative Christmas? Just say no. Just don't do it. Refuse to play. Do what you fancy on Christmas Day. Don't visit anyone, buy presents or eat special food. Just relax and chill in the magical knowledge that you have two entire days to yourself, to indulge yourself in any way you like. Heavenly!
- Volunteer. Every festive season there are thousands of events around the nation designed to give disadvantaged people a treat on the big day. You could volunteer to cook or serve Christmas lunch to the homeless or elderly, for example, or volunteer at an animal shelter or children's home for the day.
- If you're lucky enough to live by the sea, take a dip in it. Hundreds of crazy people do it every year. The average sea temperature at this time of year is 6-10C, colder in the North Sea, but a swift, furious swim will soon warm you up
- Find a pub! If you're lucky, you might find a friendly local pub open for the afternoon, within walking distance. What a relaxing way to spend the day, all cosy with your favourite tipple and good company at hand
- Go walkies. Plenty of families take a festive walk after Christmas lunch, but how about spending the entire day out and about in your walking boots, cagoule at the ready? Urban and suburban walks are just as much fun as country ones, and you'll find everyone you meet has a big smile on their face. It's that time of year. No wonder the National Trust reckons an impressive 43 million of us take a Christmas Day stroll every year
- Do a picnic in the garden. Do you have a chiminea? Or a fire pit? Even a pizza oven? If so, get busy with the alfresco fire and spend the day outdoors, nice and warm by a roaring blaze, toasting chestnuts and marshmallows, mulling wine and roasting apples on sticks
- Arrange a movie spectacular. Invite your waifs and strays, people who don't have Xmas plans, to your place and have a big, warm, generous-hearted party complete with your favourite Xmas movies played back to back
- Disco! Get out your disco and funk albums, CDs and digital tunes. Grab your mixing desk if you happen to have an internal DJ dying to get out. And dance the day away indoors with your besties
- Stuff turkey. Bugger Brussels sprouts. Eat your favourite foods on Christmas Day and Boxing Day instead. It might mean stuffing yourself with Battenberg cake or Pomfret cakes, avocado salad or fish and chips. Whatever you love best, treat yourself to lots of it
- Hide from Christmas in a pretty, remote holiday cottage in the middle of nowhere and only emerge when it's done and dusted!
- Play board games and parlour games instead of glueing yourself to the telly for two days
- Go see something amazing. Britain is stuffed full of amazing attractions and while they're often horribly crowded, at Christmas they tend to be peaceful and crowd-free. How about Stonehenge, Dorset's spectacular Jurassic coast, Avebury stone circle, Silbury Hill, Edinburgh castle or zoo, Anthony Gormley's brilliant sculptures on Crosy Beach, Liverpool, or the City of London itself, the infamous Square Mile. They're all particularly special at this time of year, quieter and a lot more atmospheric
- Make a massive curry and keep it on the hob to serve to random people who turn up
- Disappear abroad somewhere hot and sunny for the duration and return with an enviable tan. Or go skiing and enjoy a proper winter wonderland. Or head for Lapland to experience the Northern Lights, the Sami people, the 'real' Santa Claus, and herds of genuine reindeer
- Go surfing! Or go watch other people surfing. This is a brilliant time of year for big waves, so there's a half decent chance we might get some surfable ones in Devon and Cornwall, particularly at Croyde in Devon and Fistral Beach in Cornwall
We wish you a merry Christmas
Whatever you're doing, traditional or alternative, we'd like to wish all of our lovely customers a wonderful, magical festive season and a happy, fun 2019. Have a great time. We'll see you next year!