Why settle for ‘same old, same old’ when it comes to 25 December? In partnership with Smint, here are our top ways to make Christmas more memorable this year.
Christmas is about tradition, which is all very well until we start to dread that annual game of Charades and almost choke on the sherry that we always forget until we get to 25 December that we don't actually like it very much. It's easy to do the same old thing without thinking but, by just keeping up the habits we enjoy and replacing the rest with better stuff, Christmas will be infinitely better. We’re determined to mix things up, by doing things a little differently this year. Here are our top five tips to taking a fresh approach to Christmas Day.
1. Escape on a day-long Buddhist retreat
Yes, really – you can simply skip Christmas. If the thought of listening to Gramps snore his way through the Queen’s Speech makes you break out in hives, head to the London Buddhist Centre instead, where you can spend the day in meditation and reflection with other likeminded festive escapees. Bring your own vegetarian lunch to share and a £30 donation and a day of peace and tranquillity awaits.
2. Take a deep breath
Skip the pre-dinner walk this year and go for a freezing-cold dip instead. The antithesis of stuffy festive formalities, Christmas swims take place up and down the country with the oldest recorded in 1860 by Brighton Swimming Club. You can take part in Lowestoft in Suffolk, St Agnes in Cornwall, and Weymouth in Dorset, or stay warm and opt to cheer on the plucky souls brave enough to take the plunge during the annual Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park.
3. Become a gamer (kind of)
Forget Monopoly. Life’s too short. Instead get some paper plates and marker pens, instruct everyone to put the plates on their heads and try to draw a snowman. The person whose drawing most resembles a snowman gets to choose what to draw next. Better yet, try to save the world from infectious disease with the board game Pandemic Legacy. It’s about as far away from Christmas twee as you can get.
4. Upgrade your turkey
It’s time to stop pretending turkey tastes of anything other than Bisto-smothered cardboard. Go for a show-stopping alternative this year like baked glazed ham, pomegranate-braised pork belly or game pie with cranberries and chestnuts. All recipes available on bbcgoodfood.com and all better than turkey.
5. Go to midnight mass
Religious or not, spiritual or not, drunk or not, midnight mass is a community-infused sing-along guaranteed to cheer up the staunchest festive Grinch. Schedules are flexible so make sure you check how close to midnight your local service actually is, but then grab a programme, a candle and a knee cushion and prepare to belt out some classic carols and hear some life-affirming speechifying.
A fresh approach with Smint
Smint, great tasting sugar-free mints, deliver a fresh state of mind and a boost in confidence. With 40 mints per dispenser or 50 mints per tin, you can feel reassured that wherever you are, whatever the occasion, you’ll be facing things head on. Available in Peppermint, Spearmint and Strawberry flavours (all sugar-free), take a fresh approach to the Christmas season with Smint.