Christmas is going to look a lot different this year, and while we won’t be able to visit Christmas markets and engage in many of the usual traditions, there’s no reason this can’t be a memorable holiday. From DIY activities to cocktail hours, here are some fun things to do to bring back some much-needed holiday cheer.
Create some Christmas dishes from other countries and travel from your kitchen
While turkey and glazed ham are undeniably delicious, this Christmas, take advantage of the extra time at home to turn your kitchen into a smorgasbord of festive dishes from around the world. It doesn’t get more festive-looking than Mexican chiles en nogada, stuffed green chili topped with white walnut sauce and sprinkled with red pomegranate seeds. Pastry-wise, try baking Colombian hojuelas, a fried pastry, or Lithuanian kūčiukai, a sweet pastry made with leavened dough. For more inspiration check out our post on Christmas dishes from around the world.
Recreate the Christmas market experience from home
Heat up the oven and light up the fireplace because the Christmas market is open for business – in your own home. Re-create all your favourite food and drinks – bake gingerbread cookies and stollen, roast some ham, cook sausages over the open fire and fill up pitchers with hot mulled wine. Set up different parts of the house as various food and drink stalls, set aside M&M’S and frosting to decorate the gingerbread cookies, and make a day of it.
Decorate as festively as possible
Remember those little woolly gnomes, Christmas market cups and colourful miniature houses gifted to you by friends and relatives of Christmases past? Now is the time to dig them out of the trunk and put them to good use. Set the gnomes by the windowsill, fill the cups with candy canes and light the little chimney on the miniature house. Go all out with the tinsel, wreaths, stockings and even try some DIY decorations with red and green paper and ribbons, too. The more festive the better!
Make a commemorative ornament
Whether it’s humorous and tongue-in-cheek or deeply personal and meaningful, whip up a DIY ornament, something to remember this unique Christmas by. It could be Santa and his nine reindeers wearing facemasks, something toilet paper and hand sanitizer themed or a simple ornament with well wishes for a healthy New Year. And for families spending the holidays apart this year, make a special ornament for your loved one who isn’t able to make it home this Christmas.
Create a cosy cocktail for cocktail hour, virtual or real-life
Prepare the cocktail shakers and whip up a cosy, festive drink. Some ideas: warm apple cider, cranberry mimosa or pear punch made with vodka and orange bitters and topped with sliced pears and star anise. If all else fails, there’s always hot chocolate spiked with Baileys Irish Cream or spiced rum. As for your accompanying holiday playlist, Michael Steven Bublé, Mariah Carey, or the many renditions of “Jingle Bell Rock” never gets old.
Have a Christmas karaoke, either on Zoom or at home
If there’s one thing that Christmas movies get right, it’s the soundtrack. Put on the ugly Christmas sweater and reindeer antlers – and your best singing voice – for a Christmas sing-along with family and friends. Even if you’re apart from each other this year, organise a karaoke session on Zoom. Get comfortable with a cup of eggnog by your laptop. Last Christmas and Sleigh Ride will surely sound better after a few sips.
Take a walking tour of your hometown to see the lights
Sometimes, the best way to lift the spirits is a simple stroll down the street so put on your mittens and start walking. Take in the sight of your entire neighbourhood or city bathed in twinkling lights: shop windows decked with cartoon animals making Christmas cookies and wrapping presents, multi-storey buildings draped in sparkling wreaths and dressed up as advent calendars. And, of course, all the beautiful Christmas trees, big and small, all with their brilliant string of lights.