Make it a Christmas with a difference

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If you own a lot of ornaments or want to start a new collection, choose a colour theme for this year's tree. Stick to all red or all white ornaments; or hang only metallic, shimmery decorations or only clear glass balls on the tree.

The holidays are all about tradition, and that’s part of the reason we love them. But sometimes it seems as if we go through December on autopilot, doing everything like we have been doing for years.

Why not get out of the holiday rut and add one or two new festive features?

You don’t have to replace the cherished rituals your family look forward to. Just think of something to add a fresh perspective to one of December’s practices, such as decorating, giving to others, entertaining or just sharing the spirit of the season. Here are six holiday ideas:

 

Simplify

You don’t have to produce a multi-course, formal Christmas lunch every year. Why not go out for the midday meal and invite friends and family for a dessert party later? You’ll save time shopping, cooking and scouring pans, yet you can still pull out your best china and crystal.

Or host a bite-size affair, where you serve cocktails and appetisers all night. You can prepare mini turkey burgers, butternut squash turnovers and other mini treats.

This way your guests can move around and be informal.

 

Reconnect

Put aside an hour during the holiday season to reconnect with a long-lost friend or relative or two. Think of someone with whom you have lost touch but who may need some attention.

Instead of just sending ane-mail greeting, call the person or meet them for coffee or a drink.

 

Brighten up the outdoors

Don’t stop at hanging a Christmas wreath on the front door, as you are likely to spend many hours out of doors. You can upgrade your patio or deck by hanging up suitable Christmas decorations, such as decorative branches or rattan stars, or make a table arrangement with artificial items such as poinsettias, holly or cherries.

If you live in an area where you can pick up pine cones, use them to set around plants in your patio pots. String LED fairy lights around a tree in your garden.

 

Nurture generosity

Let your children experience the joy of giving, not just the joy of getting. Make a plan to help kids create their own individual gifts.

Arts and crafts workshops are held over the holidays to keep kids entertained, so you can take your kids there to create their own presents for others.

Alternatively, you or granny could show them how to bake cakes, cupcakes or biscuits, or how to sew their dad a bow tie or make you a lavender sachet for your drawers. If they are arty, lay out paper and paints, and then have their best efforts framed.

 

Colour-code

Instead of reusing old wrapping paper or refilling worn gift bags, a commendable recycling option we’ve all tried, do something unexpected under the tree just this once.

Try wrapping the gifts of every family member in a different colour or pattern. If you do that, there is no need for gift tags.

Or try this: if you own a lot of ornaments or want to start a new collection, choose a colour theme for this year’s tree. Stick to all red or all white ornaments; or hang only metallic, shimmery decorations or only clear glass balls on the tree.

Next year, change it again.

 

Share

Think of three people who make a difference in your life in small ways, and add them to your gift list. Give them a little something for the holidays, whether a Panettone, a gift card or a bottle of wine.

Some of the unsung heroes may include a neighbour who has done you a favour during the year, a colleague who makes your time at work a pleasure, or the security guard who stands on watch in your street all year long. – The Washington Post and Cape Argus Reporter

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