10 Festive and Budget Friendly Things to do Before (and After) Christmas
Christmas is almost upon us! Despite the cold and gloomy weather that usually comes with the North of England. I’ve been pretty on it this year with gifts, but I’m constantly thinking about what else I need to get or when my next free day to do that extra thing that needs doing is. With so many errands to run, people to see and gifts to buy it’s easy to get carried away. The end result being a strained bank account and you feeling so much less than festive that you just want to sleep until the 1st of January. So I sat down the other night and made a list of 10 affordable and festive things to do this season to get you back into the Christmas spirit (and not just wanting to drown in the spirit of the alcoholic variety)
Photos featuring myself taken by Eloise Craven-Todd
Bake, bake and more baking - this is something I am keen to try out this year. I've come across so many delicious looking recipes this year and have become addicted to watching food programmes on TV with my morning coffee. I'm hoping to perfect my gingerbread man making skills, so I'm grabbing my rolling pin and we'll see how that one goes.
Decorate your house – if you haven’t already. I personally love decorating my house and it really gets me in the festive spirit. Once those garlands and baubles are up, I really feel like Christmas is here. So stick some Christmas tunes on, grab a hot beverage and deck the halls!
Visit a garden centre or stately home - this is another one of my favourites. Garden centres and large stately homes seem to do Christmas so well. Even if you just pop along for a coffee or maybe to get a gift for someone. A couple of weekends agoI visited Petersham Nurseries in Richmond and it was the perfect place to kick start the festive feels! Stately homes also tend to have wonderful gardens to walk around and admire and are perfect for either some alone time or a family trip out. These places are also decorated so well for Christmas they would put Santa’s grotto to shame.
Host a party - now, hosting a dinner party may seem stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you ask your guests to each bring a part of the party food the point is more about the gathering and festive cheer rather than the hosting. You can even switch things up and add a theme to the party such as ugly Christmas jumpers or even a Secret Santa for your guests. But if all else fails, remember, there is a good glass of wine in it for you in the end!
Read a book - this is probably the easiest and most obvious choice but personally I can’t go wrong curling up in fuzzy socks, a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate in hand and delving into the new world of a book. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction you fancy, having some winding down time with the tv off and scented candles burning is the perfect way to de-stress. I myself have a whole pile of books I want to read over the season. A great way to feel extra festive is to read a Christmas themed book. So put your feet up and grab a new tale or an old favourite for those cold December nights.
See a new movie - it is an annual tradition in my family that we go and see a movie on Christmas Eve. These movies are usually the big blockbusters that come out around this time of year such as Star Wars or, back in the day, Harry Potter. But seeing any kind of movie can be a good way to relax and travel to another universe for an hour of two. The cinema can get a little pricey, so for a more affordable option why not grab a bag of your favourite flavour popcorn and cosy up on the sofa for a makeshift cinema experience at home. Gremlins and Home Alone anyone?!
Go for a walk - again this may seem very obvious but it is also the most budget friendly option! The colours of nature are fantastic this time of year and if you live near a forest or park a causal stroll through the crunching leaves and fresh air can be a good way to clear the head. I usually grab my camera to take some photos of my wanders and capture the glistening reds and golds of the trees as the leaves fall.
A wonderfully winter activity – from ice skating to skiing and many more, cold weather activities can be found pretty much wherever you live. At this time of year major cities are swarming with skating rinks or if you're feeling a little more spendy you can head to a dry ski slope. If you live in a place that has been lucky enough to get some snow to stick this month, why not embrace it by grabbing that old sled from the garage? Or bundle those stresses into a snowball and let loose.
DI (or GI) Y – Putting your own personal spin on something is the perfect way to show someone you care. So a bit of DIY can go a long way. From designing your own Christmas gifts to making your own decorations, it can be extremely therapeutic to custom make something for the holidays. If you're feeling a little less adventurous, you can always do a bit of GIY (Glam It Yourself) by taking something already made and customising it to suit yourself or your loved one.
Search for the lights – One of my favourite things to do when I was a child was driving around town and looking at the myriad of lights that adorned the houses. There are a couple of places that completely go overboard in the best way this time of year so a short tour of the christmas lights around your area can be fun for people of all ages.