Make your own mince pies. Not as awful as you might imagine and even if your pastry does end up tasting like old shoe leather, who cares. You can still savour the smell of Christmas spice and all things nice wafting through your home, then dig out the mincemeat with your tongue and cast the party aside when no one’s looking.
Brew your own booze. OK, so there’s not actually any brewing going on but Clemencello is absolutely the tipple of choice in any happening Christmas house. All you need is vodka, clementines and sugar. Serve straight as a liqueur, or added to fizz. Great as a little homespun gift.
Read a Christmas Chart Topper. Walk into any bookstore at Christmas and you’ll be greeted by a wall of books by big name celebrities – all fighting it out to be top of the bestseller list. These tomes tend to be huge so make sure you read it in a comfy armchair propped up by piles of cushions. This year’s contenders are: So Anyway….by John Cleese, The Hairy Dieters, by Dave Myers and Si King and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, by Rachel Joyce.
Walk. Make sure to fill your lungs as well as your boots. Whether you live in town or country, stride out in the watery winter sun. Pick a spot within a five-mile radius of your home that you’ve never explored and head out to break new ground. It’s amazing how many of us ignore the landscape on our doorsteps in favour of distant delights. Look out for our great walks post on the blog on Boxing Day.
Watch telly. Despite the vast array of digital entertainment choices the Radio Times still finds itself onto many a Christmas coffee table like some quaint object of curiosity from a bygone age. Indulge in a little analogue nostalgia by browsing through putting crosses against all your viewing choices. Be warned the Radio Times is now so bloated with freeview and satellite channels that this activity alone is likely to take you through to 2015.
Do a good deed. This one is a bit of a festive no brainer but it does us all good to remember that giving at Christmas doesn’t always involve a financial transaction. Hitlists of goodwill towards all the usual suspects and anyone you come across in need of a helping hand. No need to limit yourself to one.
Kiss beneath the mistletoe. This tradition seems to have rather fallen by the wayside, a sad and lamentable passing that we hope to reverse. We all seem to indulge in increasing amounts of air kissing these days but what we need is a proper, good smacker, cheek or lips, it matters not just so long as there’s a healthy amount of puckering up and real, good, old school kissing.
Sing. Join a local gathering to sing Christmas Carols and let your voice soar into the cold December air. Inside a church, outside round a tree or carolling door-to-door. It’s all good. Singing in a group is fantastic for raising the spirits. Absolutely guaranteed to fire up the Christmas cheer.
Shop Local. Rather than relying on Mr. Waitrose, Mr. Sainsbury or M&S at Christmas, spread the love locally. Buy from the butcher, the baker and perhaps the farm shop. And while you’re at it pop into your local country clothing shop, bookshop, or other and keep the gifts local too.
Make your own decorations. It’s simple it’s fun and very often all you need can be foraged from the hedgerows and garden, or baked in your oven. Watch out for our special Country Creatives Christmas Deco post on 12th December.