It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and no virus is going to stop us from humming a few tunes to our favourite jingles, pre-downloading a whole bunch of Christmas movies, decking the halls, and well, just spreading some festive cheer.Yes, yes, we know, this time Christmas is looking to be a lot less Chistmassy than we’d like. There’s still plenty of reason to look forward to celebrating the holidays however, potentially making this one our most memorable yet!
- Deliver meals to family, neighbours, and friends: Not being able to host/attend that customary large family dinner this year is a major let down, but if you are of the few in lockdown with at least immediate family, consider yourself blessed. Spare a thought for those having no choice but to celebrate alone this year (single friends, elderly neighbours, family members far away, etc.); those who may not be up for cooking fancy for one. Consider making extra when prepping your own Xmas dinner, portioning them out, and dropping off food baskets at their doorsteps. You can even try whipping up some of these festive meals for your vegan buds. If your loved ones are too far away, there are plenty of restaurants and home bakers offering entire themed menus, desserts, and platters (check out Feasty’s hearty Christmas menu and Platter It Up’s personalizable Jingle Boxes!) which you can just as easily have delivered. For the older relatives with dietary specifications, consider Hash Deli for some decadent confections to suit any dietary restriction.
- Unique prezzies from small businesses: We can all agree that the pandemic has us much better acquainted with the satisfying sound of the ‘add to cart’ click; but surely this year in particular calls for showing more love to our small, local businesses? For the little ones, both Poms Island, and Akura Learning Toys, known for their cutesy, open-ended, wooden toys, have just revealed their downright adorable Xmas drops. Keily Colombo has some lovely advent calendar filler ideas, and Sesame & Berry’s mini festive craft boxes are sure to have the kids even more excited about their favourite time of year. Alengko Sri Lanka’s Christmas crackers hide some perfectly sunning jewellery, and Bath Bliss’s curated collection of handmade soaps and scrubs for the season make for the perfect pampering treat.
- Get the kids involved with holiday bakes: Is the season really complete if not for the delicious smells of baked goodies wafting out of the kitchen? Get the kids excited about whipping up some of their favourite holiday sweets, and just watch as the sounds of those messy giggles summon back the holiday cheer. Take your gingerbread houses, bauble-shaped cookies, and red and green frosting-ed cupcakes up a notch with the cutest festive sprinkle mixes from Sprinkled by Sprinkles. Not much of baker? Brew 1867 by Dilmah has revealed their DIY gingerbread house kit (complete with tools!) to let loose the architects in the family. Japanese-inspired treat station The Keki has curated some lovely festive-themed DIY gift jars of mixes (muffins, brownies, hot chocolate, etc.), and Kookies with a K have also released their popular festive cookie decoration kits.
- Gift experiences: Store gift cards are so unimaginative. Vouchers for experiences on the other hand, are an entirely different story. This year, try gifting your loved ones something a little more thoughtful and unique. An Italian cookery masterclass perhaps or Chinese language lessons by Hanyu Services for that friend who’s always been keen, go-karting sessions, a Midaya build-your-own-ceramics pottery experience, a ready meal subscription for a busy bestie, or even a thrill-seeking date with a zip-line?
- Glam up boring presents: Nobody likes finding boring old socks or ties under the tree, but what if you jazz up what is otherwise a groan-worthy gift, into something far more valuable? Stores like Srina Palace, & Glamours are an absolute trove of all things trimmings, be it sequins, lace, sewing kits, and even paints and easels. Ordinary mugs and t-shirts can be artistically hand painted or with funny messages. If you’ve got even basic sewing skills, Christmas stockings, sleep masks, and handkerchiefs can be personalized. Get the kids in on it too by having them glam up face masks or Santa hats with sequins and glitter.
- Curate personalized gift boxes: Instead of racking your brain trying to come up with one memorable gift, why not put together a few thoughtful smaller items, that you know the receiver will appreciate, into one personalized gift box? Perhaps even a combination of some/all of the above!
- Attempt a green Christmas: Considering that we’re all forced into turning things down a notch, this year serves up the perfect opportunity to think about making this holiday a whole lot greener than those of Christmases past. Scavenge about for alternatives to store-bought wrapping paper (old newspaper, leftover twine, the kids’ artwork, etc.). Opt for locally-made gifts to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of delivery. Switch to LED lighting for décor. Start a new Christmas tradition of planting a tree together as a family. Reduce food waste by planning ahead your leftover recipes.
- Schedule a Zoom cook-along: Be it just with mum, or your group of girlfriends, make a plan to cook Christmas dinner together…virtually. Plan your menu ahead, keep the ingredients at the ready, and log in to go through all the steps together right up until meal time. The best bit? Plenty of time for a laugh and chat in between, making you feel like you were right beside each other all along.
- Take the festivities outdoors – In a truly unconventional fashion, bring forward Christmas dinner and drag the tree outside for a festive, socially distanced, day-time picnic complete with a scavenger hunt and gifts for the kids, and perhaps even a Secret Santa gift swap for the adults. Just remember, masks on, no sharing of cutlery, and ‘Ayubowan’ greetings only!
- Have an Xmas movie marathon: There’s no shame in wanting to watch Love Actually for the 27th time. Schedule a full-blown movie marathon with all of the seasonal favourites, complete with the cinema experience (surround sound, lights out, popcorn, and all). Keep the family favourites for when the kids are up, and save the rest for when they’re tucked in.
- Charity: There’s no better time than the season of giving to think of those less fortunate; especially those most severely impacted by the current pandemic. Consider buying your meal ingredients from the local grocer’s, look up charities giving out care packages to so you can make a financial donation, or even better, volunteer your services to physically help.