How to embrace and enjoy Christmas 2020
Christmas is right round the corner and, for many people, this would usually mean spending time with friends and family.
This festive season may be different, but it can be an opportunity for reflection on the year gone by and time to find excitement for the good things to come in 2021.
The Government rules and restrictions will affect many Christmases this year and, with the guidelines constantly evolving, it may be an overwhelming time. Not sure what the current guidelines mean for you? Visit the AgeUK website for a detailed breakdown of what Christmas now looks like in each tier.
No matter what your plans are this week, Christmas 2020 can be the time to reflect on the past year and look ahead. Reminiscing of good times and looking forward to the health and happiness that lies ahead can be a cathartic way to enjoy the holiday season; embracing the end of 2020 and even making new traditions.
Christmas often provides the luxury of indulgence, and the availability to enjoy activities you may not usually make time for throughout the year. Whether your time will be spent with loved ones (virtually connected, over the fence or in person) or spent alone, there are a wealth of creative ways to enjoy the festivities and keep entertained this Christmas.
Read on for top tips and useful resources to inspire you this Christmas.
Setting a festive scene can be invigorating
Whether you are planning to spend Christmas at home or with loved ones, it’s still a great opportunity to switch up your usual surroundings and decorate your home. Many people have been stuck inside for a large part of the year, so it’s more important than ever that our surroundings are comforting and stimulating this Christmas.
One of the simplest ways to embrace and enjoy the festive season is stimulate your senses, keeping that warm Christmas feeling alive. So burn your winter-scented candles, bring nature indoors and you'll be feeling the holiday spirit in no time.
If you're able to collect sprigs and pine cones from the garden or out on your walks - perfect. You can build wreaths and table-top decorations that will smell wonderful, look amazing and are free to create!
Remember, if your Christmas is looking to be different this year, it will be the little things that help maintain the feeling of normality.
Bringing natural, seasonal plants indoors can have a positive impact on your mood, with scents like pine and frankincense promoting relaxation. It has also been proven that they reduce toxins and pollutants, keeping the air fresh and stopping you from feeling sluggish!
A positive mind-set is always key during this time of year and it has been found that embracing the season can have a great affect on your mood and wellness - happy mind, happy body, and a happy new year!
However, no matter how much you may try and elevate your surroundings, you might still be feeling isolated and lonely. Which, regardless of the global pandemic, can be a common feeling for many throughout this time of the year.
Remember to focus on your mental health and wellbeing
If you are having difficulties or feelings of anxiety, remember you are not alone. Many are experiencing loneliness like never before in 2020 but, along with reaching out to friends and family, there are an abundance of charities and organisations out there to help. They are available 24/7 if you need someone to talk to; it can be anonymous and sometimes it’s just nice to be able to hear a friendly voice.
There are many services out there that provide you with someone to talk to. Here are just a few which are there to help today, and every day:
- Shout is an online text message support service, specialising in supporting people who are feeling alone. It's a free service that operates via text, so you don’t have to physically speak on the phone if you don’t want to. All you have to do is text “SHOUT” to 85258.
- Samaritans is a well known charity whose aim is to help anyone who may be struggling. You can contact Samaritans if you need someone to talk to on 116 123, and they will listen to whatever it is that is on your mind.
- Mind is one of the most well-known mental health charities in the UK, offering many online resources and ideas for coping in any situation. If you or someone you know is finding life difficult, they are on hand to listen, call them on 0300 123 3393.
- The Calm Zone is a leading charity against “living miserably”. They are also on hand to chat to you at 0800 58 58 58. Alternatively, they do have a web chat option if you don’t feel like talking.
Have fun: activities and inspiration for all ages
Enjoy laughter and adventure, through the TV
Christmas television is often one of the highlights of the year, and thankfully 2020 is no different.
Television programmes offer a sense of escapism and pleasure, all from the comfort of the sofa! From feel-good films, to classic comedy reruns and festive TV specials - there will be something for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.
Get creative this Christmas
Not sure how to spend your spare time this year? Why not delve into a spot of festive crafting? It’s fun, will keep you occupied and will have your home feeling Christmassy in no time.
This year, Mind has been getting crafty with its charity fundraising - it’s all about craftmas! Up and down the country, households have been crafting away and raising money for mental health awareness - an issue that affects many people, particularly this year.
From creative cross-stitches and decorative garlands to mastering the art of calligraphy and wreath building, there are lots of arty activities to enjoy. Plus, if you’re thinking of a few last minute gift ideas, this could be a great way to save money and give a handmade present.
Keep connected with friends and family
Video conference calls aren’t just for businesses these days. Online calls via video have taken the world by storm this year and kept people around the globe connected.
Platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Skype and Zoom have provided a vital lifeline for many, and a key way for friends and families to stay connected.
Video calls offer a quick and easy way to make sure you're able to see a friendly face, and most of the time they’re free to use!
New to video calls? Not sure how to get set up? We've got the perfect guide for you. Plan ahead and get ready for virtual Christmas festivities in four-easy steps! You can even print out a free guide.
Virtual family fun
Christmas should be fun; it is the perfect time for a bit of light competition and entertainment. That shouldn't stop if you're not seeing all of your loved ones face-to-face. With video calling at the forefront of 2020 communications, have you considered online events with family?
If, no matter how many mince pies may be involved, the thought of yet another quiz might be too much for you, why not try something different?
If you've got a group to entertain, festive alternatives could include karaoke, bingo and even those age old scavenger hunts!
Not sure where to get started? Searches online will provide many options and ideas, including guides on how to set up your karaoke (you may even like to make score cards to turn it into a family wide competition), but here are our pick of the top templates for you...
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit different over the Christmas period, why not suggest bringing the kitchen to the video call?
A shared experience with friends, family, or even strangers, can provided a much needed sense of connection and community; and it's a great way to try something new and have a laugh along the way!
Whether you’re into sushi, baking or vegan alternatives, there are a huge variety of online cooking classes or easy to follow recipes out there for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.
Be sure to keep an eye out online for your favourite local restaurants (or even places further afield that you’d never get the chance to visit), as many have taken to hosting online cooking classes in 2020.
2020 has seen uncertain times for the hospitality industry, so businesses have adapted to offer take-away services and teaching as a way to keep operating. Supporting small and local businesses can give a sense of pride and accomplishment and too.
Connect with the community
If you’re not shielding or vulnerable and you want to get out and about in the new year, have you considered volunteering?
Volunteering offers the perfect way to give back to your local community and is important, now more so than ever, as many will be struggling with mental wellbeing and isolation. It’s a great way to come together and help one another in many different situations.
Not sure where you can volunteer? Online searches and social media groups can offer an abundance of organisations that need your help, plus simply looking out in your newsagents or local notice boards can highlight opportunities in your area. Ask around, you may be surprised just how many opportunities there are just around the corner.
Do-it are an organisation that provide a database of the most up-to-date volunteering positions; set your location and travel distance to see your area.
In what has been an uncertain year around the world, many are looking forward to all that 2021 will bring, yet Christmas can still be an enjoyable time.
Take the time to relax and surround yourself with as much festive joy, love and laughter as possible. Whether this comes from seeing your loved ones over video call, enjoying simple crafts or indulging in too many mince pies, be sure to embrace and enjoy the festive season knowing that if you do need help or support it is there.
Don't forget to share these resources with friends and family. Not everyone will be aware that there are services available if they are struggling and it could be a lifeline for someone over the festive period, as well as any other time of the year.
On behalf of the Neal family and all at Homewise, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the new year ahead.
Are you thinking about relocating closer to friends and family in 2021? Not sure you can afford to move? With the Home for Life Plan you could boost your moving budget and secure your perfect property for less than the market value!
Homewise is a family-run business and has been helping home movers aged 60 and over find their dream home for over 45 years.