Quirky Christmas alternatives

Same thing year in, year out – as nice as traditions are at Christmas it’s fun to spice things up once in a while, and we don’t mean with cinnamon and nutmeg. So ditch the tinned sweets, the repeated films and the board games (or bored games) and give your Christmas the revamp it needs, while still keeping the Christmas spirit intact.

Charitable Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving, but often that stops at friends and family. A more charitable idea is to give the money you would have spent on gifts to a charity instead, or donate toys to a children’s home or ward. Christmas doesn’t have to just be about the presents so hopefully these alternatives will bring home the meaning of Christmas (cheesy but true). Oxfam Unwrapped is a great place to start as you can help those less fortunate than yourselves in other countries. Or to bring matters closer to home you could support Shelter to share the spirit of Christmas with the homeless in the UK. But if your friends and family really can’t live without their gift sets and games, take it upon yourself to give your time to a volunteering scheme; perhaps helping in a care home or manning a helpline. Be your very own Ebenezer Scrooge and transform yourself into a Christmas saint (thankfully, without the help of three ghosts).

[See also: The most bizarre Christmas traditions from around the world]

Something you’ve always wanted

Christmas can be a pricey occasion, what with all of the gifts, decorations and food – not to mention to the booze! Families each year succumb to the seasonal ‘necessities’ and tradition, but have you ever thought of going without your Christmas pud and stocking fillers for just one year? Using the hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds you would have spent on festive features for something much longer lasting may be the way to go this Christmas. Just think of that new bathroom or sofa you’ve been longing for all year, or a new car to replace the exhausted family taxi. The family fund could be better spent on one big addition rather than an amplitude of gifts and treats.

O come all ye bargains

There’s nothing more annoying than hitting the sales after Christmas to find that everything from tinsel to the turkey you bought the week before have been slashed in price. To avoid this festive frustration (and to save some pennies) why not postpone the celebrations of the 25th to the week after? While this may seem a bit bah-humbug at first, think of it as a way of saving cash and avoiding the post-Christmas blues. Between you and your immediate family you could agree to have a Boxing Day sale spree instead and then enjoy the festivities a week later for half the price. There are always bargains to be had, not forgetting that good things come to those who wait. Just be sure to tell friends and extended family about your plans or they’ll think you’ve put them on the naughty list.

Home and away

If Father Christmas can venture the globe over Christmas then why can’t you? Leave behind the stresses and strains of hosting Christmas at home and escape instead to sunny climes for a totally relaxing holiday. Picture this; sun, sea, sand and not a sprout in sight. Or, to keep the cosy Christmas theme intact then fleeing the UK for snowy scenes such as Russia or Canada would make for an idealistic white Christmas with the excitement of being somewhere totally different. But for something really special, why not visit Lapland – the home of Saint Nicholas himself? European city breaks or a tropical escapade, Christmas doesn’t have to be about staying at home – find adventure instead this year and celebrate Christmas with a difference.

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