lighted christmas tree
Brit Lifestyle,  Seasonal

How to feel festive after a difficult year

It’s that time of year again: shiny things are in the shops, Christmas music is on the radio, and we’re starting to plan how we are going to spend the big day. But after the year that 2020 has been, it’s probably a little difficult to feel festive. You might be suffering from financial issues, mental health concerns, or grief, which I can understand completely halts our desire to celebrate.

Fear not! Although Christmas might not be the same as it once was, there are ways to ease into that festive feeling, without breaking the bank.

Set up a Secret Santa

Depending on the size of your family, you might struggle to sort Christmas presents this year, leaving you feeling a little dejected. A Secret Santa might enable you to ensure that everyone gets to open something on Christmas Day, but not cost you an arm and a leg.

There are apps that can coordinate who gets who in a Secret Santa, sending a text message or email to all members of the group. Also, a Secret Santa allows you to be a little stricter on pricing. We all know someone who splashes out at Christmas time, buying gifts that are way beyond an average budget. A strict price guide means that the person who is the most ‘hard up’ won’t be left feeling uncomfortable.

Wander around Christmas shops

I love a Christmas market, and although we are still suffering the effects of the pandemic, there are some still running. I booked tickets to my local market back in October! Wrapping up warm and wandering around the stalls with a hot chocolate in hand definitely makes me feel festive.

Likewise, garden centres often stock a collection of Christmas decorations and gifts. I’ve never seen displays like the ones I have in Essex garden centres! Even if you don’t pick anything up, an opportunity to gaze at flickering lights and bright colours will certainly pick up your mood. But let’s be real, how could anyone walk away from a Christmas shop without a new bauble or wreath?

Switch from coffees to hot chocolates

Coffee has that bitter, autumnal taste, but hot chocolate has that cosy, hug in a mug feeling. Make your hot chocolate feel festive by adding spray cream, marshmallows, and perhaps even a little candy cane.

Flavours like peppermint, gingerbread, and nutmeg certainly make a hot chocolate more ‘Christmassy’, and you might even want to pair it with a gingerbread man, mince pie, or a shortbread.

If it’s been a tough week, consider adding a little Malibu to your hot chocolate. The coconut flavour gives it a kick, but also a celebratory taste. And if you’re not a fan of Malibu, Bailey’s or liqueurs can have the same impact.

Throw a decoration party

A tradition worth starting this year is a decoration party. How many of us see decorating for Christmas as a bit of a chore? Of course you won’t feel festive if you look at it like that.

Related: Our Christmas Decorations 2020

Instead, switch on a bit of Bing Crosby, get your hot chocolate and mince pies ready, and pull on a Christmas jumper. You could use it as a date day for you and your partner, or a boozy afternoon with roommates, friends or family.

I always save decorating for the first Sunday of December – I know we’ll be at home, and I can use the day as a practice run for the real thing. I cook a roast, with some of the trimmings, and make sure I have a dessert too. Sometimes I might even push the boat out and get crackers.

After decorating, and dinner, I like to continue that festive feeling by wrapping the presents I already have. Then I have something to put under the tree, and it means I don’t have to do it later.

Christmas Movie Marathon

Lastly (as long as you can) why not set yourself a Christmas Movie Marathon? Each night, cuddle up in front of the TV with a blanket and your favourite Christmas treats to watch some of the best Christmas movies.

How could anyone not feel festive after all this? What other tips do you have for feeling festive? Let me know in the comments.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas.

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