Lockdown Christmas - Alternative Ways to Stay Merryby Jodie Keith
I don’t think any of us expected that we’d still be knee deep in COVID at Christmas, and despite the ‘Christmas Bubble’ rule for the special day, it is still a Lockdown Christmas for the majority of December for many of us – especially those of us in Tier 3 (big up my Tier 3 crew! We’ve got this!). All is not lost, however, as there are plenty of ways to stay merry and enjoy the festivities of Christmas from the comfort of our own home. Here are my top ways to stay merry this Lockdown Christmas…
Christmas Lights Walk
If, like us, you had tickets for a light show that has had to be cancelled – don’t fret! There’s a great alternative even closer to home, and guess what: it’s free! Pop your hats and scarves on and go for a walk around your local neighbourhood in search of Christmas decorations. Many people decorate their houses with fairy lights, reindeer or even snowflakes projected onto the brickwork. If you’re lucky, you might even find a few houses who really go the extra mile to out-do one another in decorations… an expensive electricity bill for some but great joy and entertainment for the rest of us. Some houses even go all out to raise donations for charity – how great is that?!
Top tip: If you have a local Facebook group, why not pop a question on asking for road names of those who have popped up some good outdoor decorations? That way, you can come up with a bit of a plan before you leave home to make the most of your walk.
Christmas Lights Drive
Similarly to the above, except go out in the car! Going out hunting for Christmas lights in the car means you can cover more mileage and is especially great for those whose neighbours haven’t yet got in the Christmas spirit, or if you don’t fancy braving the cold. Why not see if a local shopping centre or attraction has any special light decorations? If you’re local to Bluewater in Kent, the infamous reindeers are lit in all their usual beauty and are certain to get a ‘oh wow!’ out of your toddler.
Hot Chocolate Movie Night
This is what it says on the tin: a night of movies and hot chocolate! We can’t go to the cinema to watch our festive favourites, but we can cuddle up on the sofa and watch a cringey Christmas movie with an array of hot chocolate – whipped cream, marshmallows and the lot. Stick the fairy lights on, get in your comfiest PJs and make a night of it. If, like us, you tend to stick to a strict bedtime routine, letting your children stay up a little bit later and do something different is so fun and exciting for them!
Christmas Themed Books
Another easy way to get into the Christmas spirit and stay merry this year is to replace some of your normal books with Christmas books! Some parents even choose to do a book advent – where the child gets a new Christmas related book every day instead of a traditional advent calendar. If you want to build up your own collection of Christmas books, why not buy a few books a year – in a few years’ time, you’ll have a great selection. The Works tend to have a great selection of books in their 3 for £5 and 10 for £10 offers. Alternatively, most libraries are offering Select and Collect during December – meaning you can request some books online or over the telephone and then collect them safely from the library. Why not give your local library a call to see if they have any children’s Christmas books?
Christmas crafts are a great way to stay merry and are something I personally choose to do throughout the whole month of December to stay in the festive spirit. From making Christmas cards for your loved ones, baubles for the tree or window decorations, the options are endless! Stick on some Christmas songs whilst you get cracking and don’t be scared to use lots of glitter! Pop your crafts in an envelope and post them to your loved ones this Christmas – although we can’t be together with our families as we normally would, we can still spread some festive cheer and let them know we are still thinking of them.
We’re big fans of baking in our household, and there’s few things I love more than themed baking! This year, we’ve opted for reindeer and snowflake decorated sugar biscuits. Cupcakes are always a great shout for younger children, and you can even get themed box mixes in supermarkets. Why not try and make a spiced carrot cake or white chocolate, orange and cranberry cookies? If you have family local, you could even drop off your baked goodies on their doorstep as you’re passing on your Christmas lights walk.
Christmas Eve Box
In addition to the traditional stocking on Christmas morning, more and more parents are choosing to curate a Christmas Eve Box full of a few select goodies for – you guessed it – Christmas Eve! Typically, a Christmas eve box contains things like new pyjamas, slippers, some chocolate and a book, but the options are never-ending. We’re choosing to also include a box baking kit, a colouring book and some bubbles in ours to keep us busy on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great way to keep kids busy, and is great fun for adults too! Simply write a list, draw a picture or take and print out photos of your Christmas household items, and ask your child to find them. You could hide the items out of sight for older children or make it more difficult by leaving clues or riddles. You could even make this into a great Zoom game for all the family to play – all you need is one member of each household to set the same game up, and 3,2,1… go!
A Christmas photoshoot is something I’m trying to make an annual tradition. If you can afford it and want to, then paying a photographer to take extra special Christmas photos is a great way to stay merry for this lockdown Christmas – after all, photography is socially distanced by nature! If that’s not your cup of tea, just make an effort to take some nice photos indoors and you’ll be thankful for the memories in years to come. Last year, when my son was a baby, we sat him on our bed surrounded by baubles, crackers and other festive decorations, and let him play with them – we managed to get some great shots and we sent the photos via text to friends and family on Christmas day as a little ‘Merry Christmas!’ e-card. This year, I plan to do something similar, but you could also get your photos printed and framed, or printed onto Christmas cards.
Top tip: If you have a camera you’re able to change the shutter speed on, then remember you want a super quick shutter speed for babies and toddlers that won’t sit still – I set mine to 1/250, otherwise my photos come out very blurry!
What are you doing this Christmas to keep busy and stay merry?