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Christmas will soon be upon us; a wonderful time for many to connect with friends and family, share stories, and celebrate into the new year.
Christmas can also sadly be a time many people, especially in later life, find themselves without many plans and perhaps without friends and family close by.
Whether you're planning a jam-packed Christmas or a quieter festive season, here are a few ways you can make this year’s Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Visit a Christmas market or fair
Christmas Markets are a time-honoured tradition for people of all ages to surround themselves in festivities. Take in the atmosphere as you indulge in mulled wine, handcrafted gifts, and freshly baked goods. Perhaps you could pick up a knitted scarf or some traditional Christmas sweets. Everyone loves to be treated at Christmas, so make sure you treat yourself too.
2. Make your own decorations
While all Christmas decorations are wonderful, there’s simply no substitute for a decoration made by hand – so why not make your own? Buy some mistletoe, holly and ivy branches and make yourself a festive wreath, design your own Christmas baubles, or make your own advent calendar. The sky is the limit, and your decorations also make wonderful gifts for friends and family members alike.
3. Send Christmas cards to friends and family
Much like making your own decorations, there is nothing more special than receiving a Christmas card from somebody who has taken the time and effort to design a card and thought of you – and you can give others that same special feeling. Create your own cards to send to absent friends and family and they will value it just as much as you do.
4. Go out for a festive meal
For those on their own at Christmas, it can be a relief to not have to think about the stresses of Christmas dinner – all the preparation, timing and entertainment needed when playing host can be overwhelming for some. Instead of spending the day preparing and cooking your own Christmas meal, head out to eat and let all the stress be handled for you while you enjoy your evening – without worrying about doing the dishes at the end.
5. Try something adventurous
Step outside your comfort zone this year and take the time to try new things or something you haven’t done in a long time.
If you live near London, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum celebrates its 16th and final year, being turned into a green space year-round as part of the Urban Nature Project in 2022. With accessible skate sessions, you can enjoy this wonderful and rare experience no matter your ability. You can also find Christmas ice skating opportunities across the country, with similar accessibility options available. You could also visit your local tree farm and pick out your own Christmas tree, perhaps to complement your hand-crafted decorations.
7. Bake home-made Christmas treats
Expert or novice, everyone loves baking Christmas treats. This year, put on the Christmas special of the Great British Bake Off and have a bake-along, putting your skills to the test and trying something new, or stick to the tried-and-tested mince pies and Christmas puddings.
If you do want to try something new, the excellent chefs at our restaurants have some recipes you can use for inspiration – you may even find a new favourite.
8. Connect with friends and family
In a digital age, company is always just a click (or tap) away. If you do feel like connecting with friends or family who are not able to be with you this year, give them a call on Skype or Zoom, or schedule a group call for multiple family members to have your own Christmas party without needing to go anywhere.
If you are not as tech-savvy, a regular landline call is still the best way to get in touch with distant friends and family. For some, especially the younger generation, the novelty of an actual phone call can create a special connection or even a unique memory.
9. Set goals for 2022
For some, the festive period is not always joyful. Not everybody enjoys the cold weather or the short days, and always looks forward to the moment the sun comes out again and the weather gets warmer.
If Christmas is just not for you, why not look forward into next year? Set yourself some goals for 2022; start travelling again, try a new hobby, start an exercise routine, or even just declutter your house.
At Audley, we know how daunting the task of decluttering and downsizing can be, especially if you are in a large property which requires too much upkeep for you to handle by yourself. Perhaps next year you might consider visiting or dining at one of our villages to experience a luxury UK retirement village for yourself – we can take care of the difficult parts, like arranging removals companies, and make the transition as seamless as possible.