10 fun and free (or near enough) Christmas activities
Believe it or not, you can still enjoy the festive period and have a lot of fun without going over budget.
Here are ten ways to do just that.
Get ready for some oohing and aahing as you and your family or friends hit the streets to check out the lights in your area.
It’s great fun to drive or walk around and see who has the prettiest Christmas lights and festive displays. Plus, in every neighbourhood, you’ll always be able to find at least one person who has gone way, way overboard and turned their house into a blazing festive spectacle which can be quite the sight to behold. Think Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell’s competing light displays in the Christmas film Daddy's Home.
There’s nothing quite like a crisp and clear Winter’s day. Even some of those bleak December days where it feels like it never quite gets light can have their own charm; after all, they signify the approach of the shortest days of the year, which themselves herald Christmas.
One of the best things about going for a walk in the cold is the prospect of returning to your home and cosying up afterwards.
So, invite some pals along, wrap up, and get walking. Or if you’re with kids, you could even turn it into a DIY scavenger hunt, with festive clues, treats and stories along the way.
Ditch an expensive tradition that nobody likes – how many people buy Christmas pudding just because they feel they should? – and instead adopt a new one.
This doesn’t need to involve any money. You could, for example, try sharing a little festive warmth: before a Christmas feast, go around the table and each talk about something you're thankful for, as well as what you’re looking forward to in the next year, and finally, something you love or appreciate about the person sitting next to you.
Why not team up with friends, neighbours or family and hold a bake swap? Choose an item, such as cookies or mince pies, and each bake a batch. Then meet up and share the haul. It’s just an excuse for some festive baking and a get-together, perhaps with a competitive edge.
Like Christmas itself, one reason to love Christmas movies is that you basically know what you’re going to get: from an ice-skating scene to snowfall at the perfect moment, most Christmas films share some common themes and moments.
A fun way to embrace festive flicks’ dependable repetitiveness is to play Christmas Bingo. If you fancy a go, you and a gang of friends or family can find printable cards for free online, such as this one. Every time you watch a Christmas film, just tick off the classic moments when you see them.
Yes, admittedly this involves one key ingredient that isn’t always available. But if the white stuff does happen to start falling from the sky in sufficient quantities, then whether or not you have kids, get out there and make yourself a snowman.
It’s little wonder that gingerbread houses are so popular: they look and taste great, and gingerbread is really simple to make.
So even if you’re not much of a baker, you can still try out this activity - and it’s one that’s most fun done with others.
You can find recipes and templates for your house online, such as this one from the BBC Good Food. Then it’s over to you to get creative and show off your masterpiece.
Find a carol service in your area and enjoy the atmosphere, perhaps singing along yourself. Or, you could take things a step further and create your own little carol singing group.
Also, perhaps get some practice in first, before you take to the streets.
You don’t need to spend any money. Simply go along and wander around to soak up the lovely Christmassy atmosphere.