Updated: Dec 23, 2020
WELL, STUFF MY STOCKINGS! It’s December already and excitement levels are rising. Let’s not let 2020 get the better of us; we can still create magical memories this year - and maybe that magic is needed more than ever!
We’ve got some great ideas to help you get into the festive spirit throughout December:
LIGHT UP LIGHT UP! You may already have your Christmas lights up along with a vast amount of the country taking part with The Big Christmas Lights Switch On but let us now embrace another big theme of 2020 and buy local this Christmas. The idea of Christmas shopping isn’t for everyone but this year it's all about doing it online and safely away from the crowds so set aside an evening, pour yourself a Bailey’s (heavy on the ice) and have a flick through CARA’s Shop Local for Christmas Directory to see what beautiful ideas our local independent businesses are offering this time of year.
KICK OFF THE HOLIDAYS with something creamy and decadent. Try your hand at our Festive Egg Nog recipe - it’s sure to warm the cockles after a Christmas Day walk on the beach - remember, don’t forget to do a beach clean while you’re there and help out @plasticfreenorthdevon who have done a marvellous job this year, supporting the health of our coastline.
6 egg whites (whipped until fluffy)
6 egg yolks
2 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Angostura Bitters
750ml rum or 500ml rum and 250ml brandy
1. Whip egg whites until fluffy.
2. Add rest of ingredients in bowl and whip all till creamy
3. Gently mix the egg whites in.
4. Add in alcohol and stir.
5. Fill in a glass bottle and keep in the fridge.
6. Serve in small glass over crushed ice
PAPER PACKAGES TIED UP WITH STRING! Let’s get seasonally sustainable this year and prepare your own homemade wrapping paper. Carve out some seasonal shapes on a halved potato, dip it in some paint and have a go at printing on the paper. Why not embrace the rainbow in homage to Lockdown 1.0!? Collect holly and ivy whilst out on a walk and tuck them under the parcel string to add a touch of elegance.
ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS. Trial a different kind of advent calendar with the kids this year and create a Santa’s Beard Countdown by sticking on cotton wool balls each day or even create a reverse calendar where you choose an item from your home each day to donate to others. Your collection of 24 items can then be donated to charity or food banks after Christmas. This is a great example to model to little ones, plus giving to others gives you a big feel-good factor (and a handy de-clutter too!) Come Christmas Eve join in and track Santa Live at 6:30pm on this Facebook event https://youtu.be/T_Jr-DUlM58 plus you get a bedtime reading of 'T'was the Night Before Christmas' thrown in as well!
LITTLE ROBIN RED BREAST and his buddies will be thankful for some extra treats this year so try making some of our toilet roll bird feeders to hang on trees. Paint your roll with peanut butter and roll it in bird seed (available at all garden centres/pet stores). Thread through some string and hang it up on a tree or bush in your garden - it will become a winter wonderland of birds (and quite possibly squirrels too!) all too soon!
FEELING AS STUFFED AS TWO FAT LADIES with all that Christmas turkey? Print off this after dinner Christmas Bingo Game, simple enough for all ages to join in https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw8Qe3h6Pi9vVk45bTI4dy1KWXM/view?usp=drivesdk. To keep little ones entertained at the table, print off our seasonal Christmas placemat! http://www.couponsaregreat.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/CAG_Christmas-PlacematsPrintable8x14.pdf Burn off some of the mince pies by taking part with some festive yoga with the little ones and try out Cosmic Yoga's Christmas Special https://youtu.be/T_Jr-DUlM58
IT'S ALL ABOUT HOMEMADE touches this season, so why not try your hand at making your own dehydrated orange slices to hang on your tree and let the scent of Christmas fill your home. Slice the oranges into 5-8mm thick slices and place on kitchen towel to absorb the juice. Place on the oven shelves at 120/140 C for around 3 hours, turning every 45 minutes. Leave them to cool in the oven and leave out to dry overnight. Create lasting Christmas memories by making salt dough tree fingerprint decorations or gift them to family members as a keepsake:
4 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of table salt
2 cups warm water
1. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough and get the children to add their fingerprints
2. Make a hole in the top to thread through the ribbon/string.
3. Bake on 250F for 3 hours, flip halfway and leave out overnight to dry.
4. Use acrylic paint if possible for colour brightness, an ink pad to to colour the finger prints and a thin Sharpie to mark the string lights.
CATCH UP with wider family and friends maybe more of a virtual occasion these days so why not inject some extra fun with a game of 'Henry Challendar’s - Desperate Measures' . Take it turns to rummage in the depths of your drinks cabinet and unearth some of the mini Schnapps bottles bought back in 2007 whilst holidaying on the Costa del Sol. Your challenge is to create a brand new festive cocktail using your audiences’ suggestions and measures. The final challenge is to taste test the final creation and give it a suitable name.
We wish you all a happy, healthy and memorable Christmas. We hope our ideas can help ignite the spirit of Christmas in your home this year.