Blogger Jo Middleton offers her ideas and inspiration for doing something a little different on the big day this year…
With everyone at home opening presents and tucking into their Quality Street, Christmas Day is ideal for exploring your nearest city and admiring the architecture in peace.
It’s 11am on Christmas day. The kids have torn through a mountain of presents already and you’re trying desperately to release the Christmas toys from their packaging while your partner hunts unsuccessfully for batteries. Christmas is all about tradition, but sometimes you need a break from doing the same thing year after year…
Get your skates on
Nothing quite says winter like gliding gracefully across a smooth frozen lake. My ice skating experiences have primarily involved falling over on indoor rinks, but there are dozens of outdoor ice rinks across the country popping up for the festive season. Don’t forget the après-skate – we recommend a steaming hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream and marshmallows.
Go back in time for a Dickensian Christmas
The Charles Dickens Museum, the author’s only surviving London home, will be the only London museum open to visitors on Christmas Day. The newly refurbished museum will be decked with festive greenery and authentic Victorian trimmings and will be hosting lively readings from A Christmas Carol. All visitors will enjoy special festive treats including mince pies and gift packs.
Take a Christmas dip
Christmas swims take place in various locations throughout the UK, but Cornwall in particular has a strong tradition for festive dips, so if you’re in the area do check out your local beach. Going into the sea in the depths of winter isn’t for the faint-hearted but at least when you’re done the log fire and hot mince pie will feel well deserved!
Go to church
Amidst the mountains of chocolate and wrapping paper it’s easy to forget why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. You might not be a regular churchgoer, but taking part in your local Christmas service is a wonderful way to bring your family together and imbue an appreciation of what Christmas is really about.
Build a sandcastle
If going in the sea is too much, how about just taking a stroll along the sand? Visit your local beach this Christmas for some much needed fresh air and to give your day a sense of perspective as you stare out to the horizon. An empty beach is also the perfect place to test drive that new remote control car. Don’t forget your thermos.
Explore a city
A beautiful city takes on a whole new personality when the streets are empty and quiet. With everyone at home opening presents and tucking into their Quality Street, Christmas Day is ideal for exploring your nearest city and admiring the architecture in peace. Pete Berthoud conducts various guided tours of London on Christmas Day, including the dawn walk at 6am and the ‘Seven Noses of Soho’ walk in the afternoon.
We’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
A visit to the zoo is a family favourite any day of the year, but on Christmas Day it becomes something extra special. Edinburgh Zoo is open on Christmas day from 9am until 4.30pm and if you fancy really pushing the boat out, why not book into the zoo’s Mansion House for a sumptuous three course Christmas dinner?
Let’s go treasure hunting
Dragging the kids out for a walk isn’t easy at the best of times, but how about if you turned it into a Christmas day treasure hunt? All you need is a GPS device or GPS enabled mobile phone and you can go geocaching. Grab the co-ordinates for a geocache near you, bundle up in your new Christmas woollies, and head out on the hunt for treasure!
Get fit and do your bit
‘Get fit’ are not two words you’d normally associate with Christmas, but local families in Cumbernauld in Scotland are being encouraged to do just that by taking part in a fundraising boot camp on Christmas Day. The event, being held at 11am in a local Tesco car park, is being held to raise money for Cancer Research UK. If Scotland is a bit far for you, how about planning your own mini-sponsored walk or cycle ride?
Let it snow
If we’re lucky enough to get a white Christmas there will be plenty of reasons to get out of the house. Build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or get the toboggan out of the garage and seek out your nearest hill. Free Christmas fun at its very best and the perfect way to burn off some of those mince pies!
Jo Middleton blogs at Slummysinglemummy.