Whether you find Christmas traditions heartwarming or a thing of habit, you won’t be the only one if you’re wondering what you can do to have an alternative Christmas this year.
While you might not be ready to say goodbye to all of your festive customs, there’s plenty you can do to mix things up, from gift ideas to social activities for you and your friends. So if you’re hoping to hang up your usual traditions and create some new ones instead, we’ve put together a list of alternative Christmas ideas to help you on your way.
Christmas is a time for giving, but shopping can be stressful and worrying about what to buy for our loved ones can take the fun out of things. Instead of ticking off an item on their wanted list, why not surprise your friend with a more thoughtful alternative gift instead?
If they enjoy reading or have a particular interest, consider taking out a yearly magazine or newspaper subscription for them, so they never have to miss one. Or if they’re big into food or drink, sign them up to a wine or dining club, which will ensure they have fun all year round and not just on the big day.
Another alternative Christmas gift is to organise something for the two of you to enjoy together. The festive season is often busy, and it can be difficult to spend any quality time with our nearest and dearest when we have so many people to fit in. Arranging a future activity for you and a partner or friend will give you both something to look forward to, whether it be a hot air balloon ride, a TV studios tour or a gin tasting afternoon.
If there’s a class or course that your loved one has been meaning to sign up to, why not do it for them? Perhaps they’ve always wanted to learn a new language, or try a pilates course. Paying for their place will give them the gentle nudge they need to step out of their comfort zone.
Alternative Christmas gift ideas don’t have to break the bank either, so think outside the box to show your friends and family that you care. If your friends are long overdue a date night, offer to babysit for them once every few months, or if you’re good in the kitchen, plan to cook them a post-Christmas meal. If you find sending Christmas cards a chore, let everyone know you’ll be donating the money to a charity of your choice instead.
Alternative Christmas socialising
Don’t be afraid to throw some alternative Christmas activity ideas in the ring this December.
Turn off that festive film you’ve seen a million times, get on your Loose Ends app and round your friends up for a pre or post Christmas Day stomp around the countryside. Leave the onesie and the chocolates at home and pick up your hiking boots instead; the exercise will either make room for the Christmas Day feast, or burn off the calories afterwards.
The financial pressure at Christmas can often leave us stressed and our social calendars have a lot to answer for, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to spend time your friends and family. Set a date and organise some festive fun indoors instead. Go the extra mile by planning a Christmas Murder Mystery night, assign everyone a character and enjoy each other’s company in the comfort of your own home.
If you still feel like venturing out but want to avoid the long bar queues and the hustle and bustle of the Christmas markets, try booking a group activity like the Breakout Rooms.
Alternative Christmas at the office
Monday mornings are never anyone’s favourites but this coming Monday will be especially hard for those braving it into the office!
If you’re working this Christmas Eve, why not bring some cheer to the office by holding a Christmas Bake Off or getting everyone together to pull a cracker at lunchtime? Although you might be stressing about busy trains and last minute Christmas shopping, the last day in the office is a great chance to tick things off your list and go into the holidays relaxed.
To make the day fly by try playing the music from your favourite Christmas films? You’ll be rocking around the Christmas tree in no time!
Alternative Christmas Day
While there’s so much preparation that goes into it, Christmas Day comes and goes in a flash. Putting traditions to one side, there are so many alternative ways you can spend the big day.
Spare a thought for others this Christmas and give back to the community. Offer to help out at your local homeless shelter on Christmas Day, or set an extra place at the dinner table this year. If you know your elderly neighbour would enjoy a carol concert, why not offer to take them? It might be out of the norms of your usual activity, but it’s certainly an alternative Christmas idea that will help spread the festive cheer.
Another alternative Christmas idea is to offer to work instead. It might be an undesirable shift, but putting yourself forward for the day will spare someone else from doing it, and it’ll mean you relish the time you have off around the big day instead.
Christmas Day often centres around food, but don’t feel obliged to cook a turkey. Tell your guests you’re preparing something different this year, or ask everyone to bring a dish of their choice so you can party around the buffet table instead.
If you’re usually a slave to the kitchen at Christmas, why not eat out? There’s no law that says you have to have a traditional dinner, so for an alternative Christmas feast, try booking in at your local curry house instead.
While Christmas is a time to spend with your loved ones, don’t forget to spend time on yourself too. Grabbing an hour alone might not sound like a priority, but we can often forget about ourselves at this busy time, which is often when we need it the most.