Christmas? Bah! Humbug!
Every year we do the same thing. Irritating Christmas songs, insincere ‘good will’, Christmas dinner with unwelcome family, rows, deluded hopes for snow and the routine exchanging of gifts.
We all then take a deep breath and smile when it’s over, only now poorer and more stressed.
Have you ever considered not repeating the same thing each year over and over again? We have, which is why we’ve come up with some great ideas for a ‘non-Christmas Christmas’.
Be a Grinch and get away from it all this year, and even save money whilst doing it!
All the while you’re in the UK it’s hard to escape the constant bombardment of Christmas.
The TV will batter you with alleged Christmas offers, embracing the commercialisation of the festive period, and your friends and family will undoubtedly have a “merry Christmas” on their lips – frankly, they should be boiled with their own pudding (well, maybe that’s going a little far!)
To truly avoid it all, you need to go somewhere else. So here are a few of our suggestions.
Go somewhere sunny
Christmas in the UK is usually cold, damp and grey. To kill that dank mood completely you should go somewhere sunny.
December 25th is in the middle of the summer in Australia. Instead of the wet British weather you could spend Christmas on a hot sunny beach.
Instead of your usual awkward family dinner, with truly roasted potatoes and watery Brussels Sprouts, you could be having a satisfying BBQ. Chill out in your swimwear and get a tan, instead of desperately trying to keep warm in one of those ghastly Christmas jumpers (we don’t care how many people wear them!)
Or, if you really feel like splashing the cash, why not make a break for the Bahamas. Blue seas and a beautiful tropical climate might be just the thing you need to get rid of those winter blues!
Go somewhere that doesn’t celebrate Christmas
If sunshine isn’t enough for your Christmas detox, and you need somewhere where no-one is going to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’, then go to a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas at all.
You could go to an Islamic country* where Christmas isn’t recognised as a celebration. For example, Saudi Arabia has been letting in more visitors recently. You could visit The Empty Quarter, the largest sand desert in the world, or scuba dive in the reefs of the Red Sea.
Or you could head off to Tunisia, which is a little bit more tourist friendly but Christmas would still be easy to avoid. There’s so much to see there, not least some of the filming locations for the original Star Wars!
*Note: As of 2015 we would not recommend travelling to an Islamic country until there is no longer a terrorist threat.
If going to an Islamic country seems a bit too extreme for you, then you could always go to Japan. We can’t guarantee there won’t be a whiff of Christmas, but it’s not traditionally celebrated there. Lose yourself in the spectacular streets of Tokyo. It certainly beats listening to that Wham! Christmas song every time you enter a shop!
Other east Asian countries such as China, Vietnam and Thailand also don’t celebrate Christmas (except for some possible decoration in major cities) and you could miss Christmas in Russia if you travel before the 7th January as that’s when the Russian Orthodox Church recognises the celebration.
If you can’t afford to get away this Christmas then there are certainly ways to avoid Christmas at home. Here are some ways to make sure you have a British non-Christmas.
Let’s be honest, most Christmas presents we receive we could really do without. Buying gifts for everyone can be a huge drain on your finances, and all you get in return is a load of old tat you need to find room for. Although if you’ve still got things lying around you could always sell them on eBay.
Explain to your friends and family you won’t be buying presents this year and instead put the money you would spend towards something more important. If paying bills with Christmas money sounds too depressing, then consider saving for the perfect holiday or putting the money towards something you really want. Getting something you really need is much more satisfying than getting loads of bits and bobs you’ll never use.
Not buying presents might not be great for those with kids though. I wouldn’t want to be the kid who wakes up Christmas morning to find mum has used the Christmas money to pay off that payday loan… just saying!
Think outside the box if you still want to buy presents. Why not save money by making your own presents? It’s a great way to show people you care without buying into the rampant consumerism. Or you could buy your family and friends an Oxfam gift, where the money goes to a good cause. For example you could feed a family for £7 or provide chickens for £10.
Or instead of buying material gifts why not consider buying an experience instead? It’s certainly a lot more constructive than most the tat you get at Christmas. Red Letter Days have a load of great experiences you could buy including a view from the Shard and lunch for 2 for £100 and 50% off Formula Renault Driving.
No Christmas music
This is an obvious point really, but have a year off from that tacky noise that comes out each year. Put on music uncharacteristic for this time of year.
Even better, why not use the opportunity to broaden your musical taste. If you don’t know your Bach from your Beethoven then you can use the period to brush up on some classic music. Or, if you couldn’t tell Black Sabbath from Motorhead then give a bit of metal a go… it’s got to be better than listening to that horrible Bony M Christmas song again!
Did you know you can make money by listening to music? You can get paid for giving feedback to unsigned artists. This is surely better than any Christmas present for the true music enthusiast!
No Christmas dinner
At Christmas we all forsake our dignity by putting on those silly paper crowns and tucking into an overpriced turkey. Let’s be honest, turkey is a pricey, less satisfying chicken substitute – if we liked turkey that much we’d have it more than once a year!
Break tradition and do something completely different. Curry houses are open, so consider having an Indian instead. What could be better on a cold winter day than a piping hot vindaloo?
Use Groupon to find discounts for restaurants in your local area so you can save some money as well!
Or, if it isn’t raining, go and have a BBQ. If you live near the beach then imagine it’s a sunny day and make the most of it. Wilkinson’s have some great value BBQs including a Bar-Be-Quick Build in Grill & Bake Assorted for just £60. Tesco have some great offers on BBQ food as well, from juicy sausages to quality beef burgers.
If you’re inland then find a local green or park. Build a bonfire, wrap up warm and have baked potatoes, sausages and sweet corn cooked on the fire.
You could even consider having a vegetarian day. Show the animals some of that seasonal good will, and find a nice vegetarian restaurant – it’s healthier as well.
If you still want to stay at home then try something completely different. If you’re struggling for food ideas read our food blog for inspiration.
Just do something different
Most Christmas days play out pretty much the same; presents in the morning, family arrives, Christmas dinner followed by everyone drinking themselves into a lethargic state around the TV watching a repeat of Only Fools and Horses.
Surely there are better ways to spend the day! If you live near the countryside, mountains or even a nice park, go for a walk with the family. Find some nice National Trust spots. Thankfully, nature doesn’t know it’s Christmas day.
If you live near the sea go down to the beach and have a swim – it will be cold but invigorating. If there’s a chip shop open then relax on the pebbles and tuck into a hot portion of chips.
Think outside the box and do whatever you want. You could even visit a Buddhist Centre, many are open on Christmas day, and have a completely different experience to what you’re used to.
Really it’s not about being a Scrooge or a Grinch, it’s about finding a different way to enjoy the day. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you have fun!