15 WAYS TO MAKE MEMORIES WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS CHRISTMAS
Posted by Stella Lang on 24 Nov 2019
When it comes to Christmas, you get three types of people. The first, those who LOVE it and have already ordered their Christmas tree in November. Next, you get those people who hate it and avoid any shopping malls during ‘the season’ for fear of hearing Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ which seems to be playing earlier every year. And then, the last group, those who don’t love or hate it but just go along for the ride, sipping the occasional mulled wine at a Christmas party. This last group normally also leaves all their festive purchases until the 23rd of December…
I am definitely a type number one kind of gal. I have sorted our Christmas jumpers and family PJs already by the first week of November. So, if you are a number two type, please, for your and my sanity, scroll past. You will find this content too merry…
Whilst I was doing my Christmas planning, I compiled a list of traditions we already treasure, and ones we’d like to add. It is a list of fifteen items and, whilst it may sound like a lot, it really isn’t if you consider that the season spans approximately 30 days. You can pick, choose and adapt this list according to your own preferences. Please note, some of the activities are bookable and sell out fast
So here goes 15 ways to create memories with your family and friends this Christmas…
1. Oh, Christmas Tree…
Decorating the Christmas tree is kind of a big deal for our family. The first weekend of December marks the official start of Christmas season in our house. We get our real pine tree, take the decorations down from the loft and start decorating. And of course, no Christmas tree should ever be decorated without, wait…you guessed it…Christmas music playing in the background! The beautiful thing about starting Christmas so early is that come January 1st, we’ve had enough of ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ and can happily switch off all Christmas related noise.
With over 7 million trees going to landfill every January, why not opt for an eco-option where you rent the tree? The tree gets delivered to your house, collected once Christmas is over and cared for back at the farm until the following Christmas when it is rented out again. Or you could buy a potted Christmas tree and care for it in your own garden post-Christmas and re-use it for years to come. Crockford Bridge Farm starts selling their Christmas trees from 23rd November this year.
4th Ewell ‘Nonsuch’ Scout Group are selling Christmas trees to fundraise for the Scout Group. We ordered our tree through their website last year and the tree was beautiful despite us not physically choosing it ourselves.
2. Get matching Christmas pyjamas
We started this tradition last year: wearing our matching PJs when opening our gifts on Christmas morning. It adds a sense of excitement to the day. It also makes for a great family photo opportunity in front of the Christmas tree. I particularly like the Boden Milkshake Pink Festive pyjamas with matching men and kids versions. Sainsburys, Next and Matalan also does lovely matching family pyjamas which you can purchase locally.
3. Visit a Santa’s Grotto
If, like me, you haven’t been privileged enough to get an invite to Harrods’ VIP Christmas Grotto, don’t worry—you’ll survive. Jokes aside, there are plenty of wonderful Grottos in the area including Godstone Farm and Hobbledown where your child can experience the Christmas magic. Don’t leave booking for much longer—most of the weekend slots at our favourite locations are now ‘sold out’.
We will be taking our girls to Bocketts Farm on the day our eldest’s school closes. After visiting Santa there last year, it is undoubtedly one of my favourite Grottos. The Santa Express ride is exciting and the Grotto itself is beautifully decorated—best I’ve ever seen.
Lapland UK looks amazing and I heard many great things about this experience. Definitely one for our Christmas 2020 list!
4. See a Pantomime
Coming from Africa, Pantos are not something I have seen or heard of before I set foot on British soil but I love this tradition. Like most Christmas events, tickets sell out fast so do get your booking skates on if you’d like to join in the Panto fun. We’re going to see Peter Pan at Epsom Playhouse with some of my daughter’s friends. Locally you can also see Sleeping Beauty at the Leatherhead Theatre and Cinderella at New Wimbledon Theatre.
5. Spread the Holiday Cheer – Homemade Gifts
Last year we made spiced apple and pear juice as little gifts for our neighbours and daughter’s nursery teachers. It was such a lovely family activity and our neighbours still talk about it. I know, it’s amazing what a bottle of homemade juice can do, right? To get yourself in the festive spirit, try a homemade recipe and share it with your neighbours. A great way to build strong relationships with the people around you.
6. Christmas Carols
We attended our first Christmas carols at the Royal Albert Hall with good friends a few years ago. We visited The Crusting Pipe in Covent Garden before we headed to the sing-along concert. The Crusting Pipe is one of our favourite spots in Covent Garden. It is situated on the lower ground level of the Market Building and if you find a seat in the outdoor terrace you might be lucky enough to enjoy impromptu performances from local musicians.
The Royal Albert Hall is one of my favourite venues in London, and singing along to Christmas carols in this beautiful space is my idea of heaven. Coupled with a visit to Covent Garden’s Christmas décor, you can’t help but have yourself a very merry little Christmas.
See this list of the best Christmas Carols in Surrey.
7. Write Letters to Santa
Royal Mail has a ‘Letters to Santa’ service whereby Santa will respond to your child’s letter! Get those pens and papers out as the last letters should be posted by December 6th. My four-year-old is big enough this year, so we will be writing to Santa in the coming days.
Letters need to be addressed to Santa (or Father Christmas) and send to:
Make sure you include your child’s full name and address so Santa knows how to reply. And don’t forget to put a stamp on the envelope… I guess there really is no free lunch in this day and age.
8. Go See a Local Light Display
Since I was a little kid in Africa there has always been that ONE house that goes all out with the Christmas lights and decorations. As they are such popular attractions, many home owners turned their displays into charitable fundraising opportunities. I love a win-win situation like that! It is rather fun to go and see these displays in your local area; it creates a lovely community spirit. Last year we went to see the Chessington Road Christmas Lights in Epsom. It is a jolly affair with people chatting to each other and the home owners selling mince pies and mulled wine to help with donations to their chosen charity. This year they are fundraising for Epsom General Hospital’s paediatric ward, the Casey Ward and Children’s A&E. A fabulous cause in my opinion. See what is happening in Epsom Town Centre.
9. Reverse Advent Calendar
Instead of, or in addition to, a standard Advent calendar, why not do a reverse Advent Calendar where you put 25 items in a box by December 25th and donate to a local foodbank? Or do 25 random acts of kindness in the community. See guidance on how to support The Epsom & Ewell Foodbank this Christmas.
We are supporting the Little Red Rucksack appeal run by my daughter’s school providing essential items to the homeless. A quick Google search will show many opportunities to support your community.
10. Get Personalised Christmas Decorations
We always try to buy Christmas decorations when we are on holiday throughout the year. It is quite special to remember your holidays while you unpack the decorations for your tree. It is literally creating memories within a memory.
I love supporting local small businesses and Stacey Oakley Calligraphy makes the most beautiful personalised baubles.
11. Decorate the children’s bedrooms
Children are the most excited about Christmas. Decorating their room doesn’t need to be elaborate but a few strings of Christmas lights and a miniature Christmas tree or reindeer ornament will create a magical atmosphere for them. Anything from your current Christmas decoration collection will do. Last year we decorated our daughter’s room with Christmas bedding from Next. Guess what will happen to her bedroom on December 1st…
12. Watch a Christmas Movie with Hot Chocolate
What is that one movie that your family watch together every festive season? Our daughter is only four and not really into movies but she seems to love Santa’s Apprentice and Arthur Christmas.
Here’s some inspiration by Country Living on the best Christmas movies for children.
Why not make a whole event of it? Get the hot chocolate and marshmallows ready. You can even take it up a gear or two by making a family bed, having a sleepover by Christmas tree. It might not be the most comfortable night’s sleep but it will definitely be memorable.
13. Christmas Arts & Crafts
I love making decorations to adorn the house for the holidays. A few years ago, I attended a Wreath Making workshop at Morden Hall Park and now make my own wreath every year.
Want to socialise with your friends at home while making a wreath? Why not contact Nikkie from Nikkie’s Floral Design who facilitates workshops for up to 8 people in your home.
Grow Cook Enjoy is running some fun activities including Christmas baking and gingerbread workshops for children. Sounds like fun!
Pinterest has some great ideas on family craft activities. Visit Red Ted Art where Maggy shows you step-by-step how to make 70 Christmas Crafts for Kids.
14. Ice Skating
There are so many ice rinks popping up in beautiful locations around the UK this time of the year. We try and visit a new rink every few years and since we’ve not been to the one at Hampton Court Palace we have booked it as a post-Christmas treat with friends of ours. It’s lovely to create traditions with friends who you don’t get to see very often. Here’s a list of the UK’s best Christmas ice rinks.
15. Adult Traditions
Whilst it is really is lovely and magical to create traditions with your children, it is equally important to have ‘adult only’ traditions with your partner, spouse or good friend(s). We’ve never done this, but since the arrival of our second child last December we do find that there’s very little ‘us’ time. It could be anything from booking the same table at a nice restaurant near your house every year on the third Saturday of December to a spa experience. Pennyhill Park does amazing twilight spa experiences. What could be better than watching the sun set whilst sitting in an outdoor jacuzzi sipping on some champagne? This year my husband and I plan to go and see The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall and when our children are old enough to join, we will take them along and find a new ‘adult only’ Christmas tradition…
And, on that note, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Have a cheerful and joyous holiday season.