Christmas can be a stressful time that requires a good deal of planning and preparation before the big day. It can also require a great deal of money to be able to have what many deem to be a traditional family Christmas. If you are bored of the traditional gift-giving followed by a turkey dinner, then why not try one of the following unique ways to celebrate Christmas? Christmas doesn’t have to be ordinary or boring, it has to be happily memorable.
1. Dive into crafting
Instead of spending a fortune on gifts this Christmas, why not choose to give handmade gifts to your friends and family? The Internet is full of tutorials on how to create just about anything including photo frames, jewellery, clothing and much more. A handmade gift is also far more personal than an item bought from a store. You can also create your own festive decorations to boost your Christmas spirit.
2. Take a long vacation
If the sight of shops selling Christmas decorations in September makes you crazy, then escape from the festivities entirely by taking a long vacation. You can celebrate Christmas on a sun-soaked beach somewhere in the Caribbean or head to the mountains for a skiing holiday. This Christmas idea is perfect for a whole family.
Charities are often desperate for volunteers around the Christmas period, so lending a hand at your local homeless shelter is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday. Many shelters are happy to accept families as volunteers and will match your skills to whatever positions they have available.
4. Head to sauna
If you feel like doing something completely different this Christmas, then why not head down to your local sauna? As strange as it may sound, the Christmas sauna is actually a popular tradition in several countries. Estonian families often enjoy a sauna together before church on Christmas Eve, and households in Finland have been following the custom for centuries.
5. Give the gift of thought
Show your family how much they mean to you this year by giving them the gift of your time and attention. Think of one special thing you can do for each member of your family, and present them with a gift certificate for the act that they can redeem at any time they wish.
6. Remember the dead
Visiting a graveyard may sound like a depressing way to celebrate Christmas, but for Finnish people it is a well-known custom. Finnish graveyards are illuminated by hundreds of candles on Christmas Eve as relatives return to honour their deceased loved ones and enjoy the peaceful, solemn atmosphere.
7. Celebrate Saturnalia
Why not celebrate an ancient version of Christmas this year? The ancient festival of Saturnalia was held on the 17th of December and consisted of a week’s worth of partying, gift-giving and celebration. The Romans used the celebration to honor the deity Saturn who represented wealth, liberation and abundance. Many historians believe that the modern Christian celebration of Christmas is based on Saturnalia.
8. Running of the Santas
The Running of the Santas is a modern tradition in the US where hundreds of people from all over the country get together and dress as Santa for an epic bar crawl. Each town holds its own version of the event, and attendees are required to purchase tickets well in advance. The tradition has been followed for over 30 years in Australia, but revellers often wear Hawaiian shirts instead of Santa costumes.
9. Head down to Kentucky Fried Chicken
If you ever needed proof of the awesome power of advertising, then Japan’s obsession with Kentucky Fried Chicken is undeniable proof. Thanks to an incredibly successful advertising campaign from the 70s, the vast majority of Japanese people head down to their local KFC on Christmas Eve with some families pre-ordering their meal up to three months in advance.
10. Winter swimming
If you live in a cold climate, then why not celebrate the holidays by diving into a freezing lake or ocean? Winter swimming on Christmas day has been an English tradition since 1860, and brave swimmers don various costumes and fancy dress before jumping into the freezing waters.
In Western culture, Christmas has become more about consumerism than spending time with loved ones. Choosing to do something different on Christmas day is a great way to reclaim the holiday back from the big corporations. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to spend your day with those you care about and focus on your relationships rather than the latest electronic gadget.