For most of us, today is our last official full day in work before the Christmas 2014 break, so I thought to get you through what is probably a long day of clock-watching until home time, I would share my seven favourite things to do in the run-up to Christmas to get you in the festive spirit.
#1 – Take a moment or ten to enjoy the festive displays all around you – whether it is the Christmassy scene in your office at home, or the incredible lights and shop windows in town, just simply enjoy the beauty of this time of year. If you are in London there are so many gems to enjoy, my favourite being the Harrods windows display, they always go big each year and this year is spectacular. I also love driving around our local area admiring our neighbours Christmas decorations, some people really must spend weeks putting up their lights.
#2 – Head to a Christmas market, I know there isn’t long until the big day but trust me you’ll have fun just wandering around, listening to Christmas carols and you never know you might even pick up a few last-minute gifts you didn’t even know you needed. I also love checking out the food and drink as they seem to be more continental and you can get something new. I can’t wait to head down to St Albans this weekend, I have heard they have a huge market this year.
#3 – Do a back-to-back Christmas movie marathon. I have previously shared my movie recommendations for the holiday season – check out my all-time favourites as well as a festive rom-com special. But if you after a quick suggest to get you started why not embrace your inner child and watch Home Alone, or laugh along with Elf, and you must not forget the ultimate Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street, the best Christmas movie ever!!
#4 – Go Ice Skating. Gather your nearest and dearest and head off to your local rink, I love that nearly all major cities embrace ice rinks at this time of year, it really is a lot of fun and if you can get a late night slot you will get to skate around in twinkle light. Normally I do Somerset House but I am thinking this year we need to get our skate on at the Natural History Museum rink. I do wish though that I was in New York to skate in Central Park – maybe one Christmas!!!
#5 – Get baking!!! There are a whole host of goodies you can bake for the festive season from sugar cookies to mince pies and even gingerbread men, oh and basically anything chocolatey. I love baking, but it always feels more fun at Christmastime, and I have been searching around Pinterest for recipe inspiration as that place is pack full of yummy treats, and here are just a few I have found that I want to make. Want some quick and easy festive cupcakes to get you started – check out this recipe I posted last Christmas.
#6 – Go for a winter walk. OK so this isn’t just required before Christmas, but I do like to get out and smell the fresh air especially during a manic season such as this. Head out into the countryside, or to the coast, and just take in the changing season. Winter is one of my favourite times of year for a walk, you get to wrap up in lots of layers, you get to treat yourself with a flask of hot chocolate for that mid-walk break, and most of all I love taking pictures of the frosty mist that covers the countryside, it always looks so pretty.
#7 – Finally, why not do something for someone else. This could be as little as sharing a batch of mince pies with your neighbours, helping an elderly person with their heavy shopping bags, or even volunteering at a local charity that runs soup kitchens and homeless shelters. You can also get on board with one of the many Christmas charity campaigns, the two that caught my attention were the: Salvation Army’s appeal, a £19 donation could deliver a box of food and modest toys to a family who are facing hardship; or why not help give £21.62 to Crisis to reserve a place for a homeless person this Christmas.