Now that we’re officially and firmly in December, it’s time to get festive. Deck the halls, get a partridge in a pear tree (somehow, and for some reason) and start debating whether you’ll hang up some mistletoe before hosting that Christmas party because we’re almost at the most wonderful time of the year!
Surely, even the most cynical person (who isn’t me) must be starting to feel the excitement that is synonymous to the season. We may not see a ‘white Christmas’, but there’s a good chance we’ll see a wonderful Christmas; especially if we adhere to the many traditions that make the day so special.
…But what if the traditions are feeling a little stale? What if you want to mix things up a little? What if you want to make the most out of the season and keep things going longer than just a couple of days? Then how about trying something new this year, or making a few changes to the tried-and-trusted elements of the festive period?
Let’s dive into some of these slight changes and think of some fun ways that you, and your little ones, can count down the sleeps until Christmas.
1. Advent Calendars
Starting off with a classic, advent calendars are beloved by both children and adults, usually taking the form of chocolate filled calendars that rewards patience with candy (and punishes those who tear open the doors prematurely with disappointment and shame).
Dating back as far as 1851, advent calendars used to contain everything from miniature candles to bible verses, and only started to feature little doors to open around 1908 when Gerhard Lang started to craft and sell them, having had them made for him by his mother as a child.
It was during the 50s that chocolate started to fill the spaces behind the doors, and since then there have been plenty of different innovative variations created. After all, I did say we’d discuss ways to mix conventions up, right?
Instead of chocolate, kids (and creative adults, of course) might love the thought of one of the various LEGO advent calendars, ranging from classic LEGO figures to the Stars Wars themed LEGOs. Us responsible adults, however, can find all manners of alcoholic advent calendars, including rum, vodka, gin and beer-based calendars that feature a unique drink every day.
…Maybe only enjoy them after work though.
And, who said it had to form a cardboard box. Christmas advent calendars come in all forms, from toy trains to stocking bunting, crackers to hanging mobiles.
2. Wear Christmas PJs
A somewhat simpler approach to December is to start wearing festive pyjamas, granting every morning and every night a little bit of Christmas magic.
Of course, this can be enriched even further by finding some similarly seasonal bedding. I recently shared a few of my favourites in our post: Baby It’s Cold Outside the Covers: Our 8 Favourite Festive Bedding Sets of 2018.
Of course, pyjamas can be said to describe all manners of casualwear, such as the dreaded ‘onesie’. I have no doubt that there’s going to be Christmas themed apparel in most stores on the high street, meaning you’ll surely be able to start feeling a little cosier and a little more festive when snuggling up at home counting the sleeps until Santa.
3. Watch a Christmas Film
Just to get this out of the way; yes, ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie. The screenwriter himself said it is, and really, it’s much more Christmas themed than ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, even with ‘Christmas’ in its name.
Anyway, now that it’s December, why not expand upon the tradition of watching rubbish Christmas films on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day by watching them every day?
Of course, going through themed films like ‘A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ would be beyond exhausting, so it’d be a great idea to make a point of watching a different film each day that you can tie in with Christmas. For example, the Harry Potter films often play around Christmas, so a Potter-thon, anyone?
4. Hand-Make Little Gifts
They say that it’s the ‘thought that counts’ when it comes to gift giving. I’m not saying it’s something that should be tested, as my friends’ reactions to my shoddy sock puppets last Christmas proves, but it’s certainly not a statement to shoot down easily. After all, it’s all well and good buying some big and fancy presents for the ones you love, but you’d be able to enrich the occasion with an ensemble of personal delights.
No matter how creative or competent you may be, not matter how big or small the fruits of your labours are, they’re sure to be delightful additions under the tree of filling a stocking at the end of the bed. Maybe don’t go with the sock puppets though, I couldn’t tell who’s faces looked more aghast; my friends’ or my terrible sock puppets’.
If you’re looking for advent calendar ideas, getting crafty and making a small gift for a loved one for every day of December certainly sounds like a sweet solution to me.
5. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
Easter isn’t the only occasion that allows the likes of fun scavenger hunts. Sure, the spring may be warmer and thus able to accommodate these hunts outside, but there’s nothing stopping parents from trying these activities at home for their kids. Mums and dads can spend a little time thinking up clues that lead to a different hiding spot every day, one that hosts a little, wrapped present or a tasty snack.
It might be a bit of effort, but it’d be a rewarding activity to keep the children busy and entertained, all whilst instilling a new tradition that could enhance Christmas for your family for years to come. Think about it, “today’s treasure is hidden where the dirty becomes clean” makes teaching the kids where the washing machine is fun, and it’ll prepare them for when they can do their own cleaning!
6. Eat Christmas Tree Chocolate Ornaments, Replace Each Day with Normal Ornaments
Much like an advent calendar, a Christmas tree can serve as a superb host for chocolates and treats. Cadbury’s, in particular, make delightful tree ornaments, but there are classics like candy canes that can be hung as charming and tasty partners to the likes of wooden charms and decorations made when you were a talentless kid in school who was fond of using tin foil.
Either way, no matter what kind of ornaments you use to adorn your tree the daily progress of chocolate ornaments being replaced by non-edible ornaments can act as a charming way of watching the days pass as you and your family countdown ‘til Christmas.
7. Make Christmas Themed Food
It seems like an obvious suggestion, but I’m not just talking about the occasional bite of stollen cake. Save the massive turkey for the day itself and treat yourself to the trimmings throughout the month; it may sound a tad overkill, but you and I both know there’d be nothing better in this world than eating pigs in blankets every day of the week.
If the stuffing balls and sausages seem too much for every day dishes, then there’s all manners of Christmas themed delights available for more casual occasions. From classic chestnuts to the Christmas editions of Pringles, there are simple ways of getting the tastebuds tantalised in anticipation of Christmas dinner.
There’s also an array of different recipes that can be tweaked to taste festive yet not usurp the traditional feast, such as honey and mustard beef and orange and juniper glazed duck; a creative cook can make the whole of December taste like Christmas!
8. Make Christmas Themed Drinks
Interestingly, even kids and non-drinkers can enjoy this idea, what with the likes of mocktails, but, personally, I think there’s much more fun to be had by experimenting with cocktails! Perhaps the mocktail versions are best practiced throughout the week, but you can bust out the spirits and make some delectable drinks on the weekend?
Classics, such as eggnog and mimosas, make for great drinks to enjoy on the day, but there’s plenty of alternatives for the rest of December. Cosmopolitans can be made a little festive with ginger wine, mulled wine can be enhanced with Cointreau and espresso martinis can be finished with Baileys; there’s plenty of recipes available online but it’s always interesting to simply experiment.
As mentioned, there’s plenty of non-alcoholic variants too, such as peppermint infused hot chocolate or a non-alcoholic spritz by using fruit juice and sparkling water.
9. Create a Christmas Olympics
When I say ‘Christmas Olympics’ I don’t mean organising several gruelling physical activities; it’s way too cold for that. No, I mean organising a few games, tasks or even brain teasers to try as a family; or engaging in all manners of crazy video game based capers like the good folk at Outside Xbox. This is the kind of thing I’d be organising if I had kids of my own, but it works equally well with friends, especially as the likes of Wii Sports makes the combination of gaming and sports a lot more accessible and fun.
Plan out some fun challenges throughout the month, have everyone in the family or your group of friends engage in it, and at the end of your little ‘Olympics’ tally up the scores and award funny little prizes! First place gets to choose what’s on TV for the day, second place gets the sofa as their napping spots, and so on in such a manner; it’s an exercise in creativity as much as it is a fun pastime!
10. Do a Good Deed Everyday
And finally, what better way to count down the days than to make someone else’s day a little better? Everyone should strive to do a good deed at least once a day, but the run up to Christmas seems to be the perfect excuse for it.
Help to get everyone into the festive spirit and embrace the season of giving by helping however and whenever you can. If you have children then this’d be a great way for them to ‘earn brownie points’ before Santa visits!
Of course, one should always strive to do good, but surely Christmas is the best time to try and help everyone feel merry!
How Will You Count Down the Sleeps ‘Til Santa?
Of course, you want to make the festive period as magical as possible and our Christmas advent calendar ideas will do just that, but the festive period is also a time to rest and recuperate. So, make sure your kids have the best sleep possible by investing in a new single bed and kid’s mattress this December, and maximise your hours in bed by discovering what time your child will wake up using our Christmas Sleep Calculator.