Christmas once again will be celebrated differently this year as we sit under the dimming lights of the pandemic. But unlike last year, we will hopefully see the return of some of our favourite traditions in line with the guidelines ensuring we all stay safe this festive period. Although,we may not be joined by our friends as we crawl the 12 pubs of Christmas, or have long, lingering lunches with a full plate of festive treats. We can, however, lean into the idea of another alternative Christmas and rejuvenate some of those ideas we had last year to make this Christmas truly special and memorable.
Volunteer at Christmas
Christmas is often a time of reconnecting with family and friends, being grateful and appreciative of what we have, and giving back. Volunteering at Christmas is a wonderful way to foster that feeling of togetherness and connecting with the wider community. Check out the ivol.ie database for volunteer opportunities.
Make Advent About Gratitude
Many of us have recognised the overly commercialised nature of Christmas and have tried to take a step or two back so we can embrace the true meaning of the festive period. One way to do this, is to make advent and the Christmas break period about gratitude rather than opening thin foil chocolates from an impersonal advent calendar. Instead of sweets or toys for advent, every calendar day, open a box with a kindness or gratitude message.
You either fell out of love with Zoom or embraced it with your whole being over the last two years. Regardless of your relationship with video calling, we can all agree that finding ways to stay connected is top of our list. Go back to basics with being together this Christmas if distance is a factor and kick start that family Zoom quiz again.
Go Christmas Light Viewing
To celebrate Christmas take a walk around the town in the early evening when the sky is glistening with stars and spot the sparkling Christmas trees in the windows. Even better, grab a takeaway hot chocolate as you wander around the neighbouring estates and fill your boots with Christmas lights.
Make a Holiday PhotoBooth
Make it a tradition this year to take quirky holiday photos with everyone who visits. Simple DIY photo props can make this activity a memorable and fun occasion. Best photo wins the last mince pie. Make this a new Christmas tradition.
Be A Secret Santa Postie
Not knowing exactly where we will be with restrictions can leave many of our festive plans up in the air. So, why not organise a secret santa with those you are not sure you will get to see this year and send the gifts through the post. If guidelines allow then why not play being postie yourself and spend the afternoon delivering thoughtful gifts.
Embrace the Outdoors
Yes, it’s cold out there, but there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes! Wrap up warm and meet up with friends in the crisp, open air and take to the hills for a festive hike. Getting outside in winter is just as important as the warmer months, except in winter you are joined by the added sparkle of the season.
Instead of just writing a quick message on a greeting card this year, take the time to write letters to those you wish to connect with. Remind them of why they are important, and why you are happy they are in your life. The last two years have made us appreciate our family and friends.
Wander the Christmas Markets
Not all of our traditional markets are open this year, but you will find some of the most delightful local markets are still open in line with guidelines in your area. Keep an eye out on local community boards for festive celebrations.
Regardless of how you connect with friends and family this year, remember that plans may swiftly change, so have a plan B in place to avoid the disappointment many of us experienced last year. Christmas, at its core for many of us, is about connecting and loving our families, friends, and those close to us. So, host a dinner party with your nearest and dearest, have fun with the karaoke, have a biscuit making competition, or hit the ice at an ice-skating ring. All the while, remember to stay safe, enjoy the fresh air, the twinkling lights, and be merry.