Often December can feel dark, cold and gloomy, or a frantic rush of Christmas shopping and wrapping. Despite being the season of joy, it can feel like an overwhelming or nerve-frazzling period with no time to enjoy and appreciate the world around us. Why not take some well earned time-out this December to squeeze in these fun and fulfilling activities, either alone or with friends and family?
Take A Winter Walk
Feel like you spend your whole time in shops or at work? Get out and about; walking could benefit your physical and mental health. Wrap up warm and visit your nearest woodland or river. If you want to make a day of it, the Cotswolds and the New Forest are lovely destinations, if you’re prepared to take a train or car ride; I can guarantee it’ll be worth it for the gorgeous scenery. If this is beyond your budget or time constraints, then even a simple walk around the block can lift your spirits and get your blood pumping. Take soup or hot chocolate in a flask to warm you up as you go!
Want some more thrilling fun this winter? Ice-skating remains one of the best-loved winter sports, which people of all ages and varying abilities can have a go at. Lots of temporary rinks pop up around this time; from special locations such as the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London, to ones at local garden centres. It can be fun to have a go, or makes a sweet date night treat with a partner. Just don’t forget to wear plenty of layers if you’re a newbie, and be prepared to fall over a bit!
Play A Board Game
Getting out Monopoly or Cluedo may seem old fashioned, but they’ve experienced something of a revival, with European board games in particular winning lots of awards for innovation. A perfect way to spend time with family and/or friends away from technology, why not try a cooperative game such as Forbidden Island or Pandemic, or if you’re feeling competitive try 7 Wonders or Spyfall. For a more creative group, the imaginative card game Dix It might go down well. If all that fails, it’s back to the old staples; do not pass Go, do not collect £100!
Go On A Decoration Hunt
This is a tradition I indulge in every year; I walk around my local area, usually in the evening, and assess the quality of the Christmas decorations outside people’s houses. Give marks out of 10 for taste, quantity, quality and sheer enthusiasm! Perfect for nosey folks like me, it livens up a walk in the cold to argue passionately about whether classy gold-lit reindeer beat a house covered with red, green, blue, yellow, purple and pink Santas from top to bottom. In my opinion, the glitzier the better!
Visit A Christmas Market
If you want to get into the festive spirit, nothing beats a trip to Christmas market. Bath, Manchester and Birmingham have good ones, but have a look locally to see where your nearest one is being held. They’re usually packed to the rafters with delicious foods, handmade crafts, unusual gifts and plenty of seasonal cheer. Don’t forget to have a cup of mulled cider or hot chocolate to keep you going through the crowds!
Snuggle Up Indoors With A Movie
After all the hustle and bustle, it can be a relief just to curl up with a blanket and watch a comforting film. Instead of The Walking Dead or an involved box set, now is the time to dig out the old classics; pick out a Christmas movie, or if you’d rather stay away from festive themes, favourites such as Back to the Future, Indiana Jones or Harry Potter are always winners.
Bake Some Biscuits
If you’re missing The Great British Bake Off, this one’s for you! Although you may feel like you’re spending all of your time tied to the kitchen this December, somehow baking biscuits never feels like a chore. If nothing else, if gives you something to nibble whilst you’re completing other tasks! Gingerbread men are the perennial favourite, or if you’re feeling ambitious, why not whip up a gingerbread cottage?
With the popularity of Pinterest and Etsy, craft is really having a moment. Taking some time to let out your creative side can give you real satisfaction, and lower your stress levels. Pop on some music and make Christmas cards, spruce up some pinecones with glitter, or if you’ve got the skills, knit a scarf or a Christmas stocking – look online for plenty of inspiration!
Words by Heidi Teague
Tweet Heidi @TeagueHeidi