• Discover Hidden Britain

WELLBEING | 10 Alternative Christmas Day Ideas

So if you don’t celebrate Christmas Day or you’re just not a big fan for personal or moral reasons, what else could you do on Christmas Day when pretty much everything is shutdown. Well, we at Discover Hidden Britain, think we have some pretty good ideas. And we’ve done some of these. It is surprising when seemingly everyone else is gorging themselves with turkey, chocolate and pudding what you can do…

1. A day of self-care

Plan a day of lovely things just for yourself or each other. It could be just your favourite things that you love to do. It could be the things that you never have the time for. Or it could be something purposeful. But I would suggest a day that supports positive mindfulness

Start the day off with sunrise salutation or just some gentle or vigorous yoga. We love Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. A little calming meditation. Some relaxation. Listening to music. Reading. Photography. The only thing that matters is that this day, this day is about you.

2. Take on Baggy Point

I cannot imagine Christmas Day without a walk. Some hardy souls always manage to prize themselves out of their seats to take a post-lunch wander. But what about if you just set out for the day with your pack for company – turkey sandwich and a flask of tea? With the fact it gets dark about 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon, you’ve just got to time your ramble amble – but there is nothing more freeing than putting one foot in front of another. And let’s face it – nature doesn’t care its Christmas Day…

Go to the North Devon coastline and take on the Baggy Point walk from Croyde or part of the Offa’s Dyke Path – think circular not linear – because they’ll be no buses to pick you up today.

3. On yer Bike

I’m always amazed about how many people get up early on Christmas Day and disappear for a few hours on their bikes – so whether you’re a road bike junkie or a downhill biker – gets the blood pumping.

And the trails are always open… So whether it’s one of national cycle trails that exist across the country or the forest downhill trails – get on yer bike!

4. Seaside anyone

Without fail, whether it’s Christmas Day or Boxing Day, whether I feel like celebrating Christmas or not, I take a trip to the seaside. I suspect that for me it reminds of Christmas when I was a child when after being stuffed with chocolate, and not wanting to be kept inside anymore, my mum and dad used to take us to the coast – a pebble beach but I just loved the fresh air – the freedom!

The other thing about the seaside is that whether you celebrate Christmas not, there’s normally other people knocking around. And its quite nice to nod in greeting, to watch as passers-by exchange conversation about their Christmas – some who are hiding, delaying their entrance into their own ‘family’ Christmas and some who just want to spend the day dawdling before a glass of sherry and a Turkey sandwich.

So consider the seaside – whether its an old-fashioned seaside resort like Eastbourne or Brean Down; or the rugged coastlines of the south-west or the north-east. But be prepared, it will most likely be bracing – sunny, cloudy, drizzly – but usually cold. So take a hat, a pair of gloves and take in the sea air. It’ll do you good.

5. Road Trip

Road trip? Really? Well yes, it really is possible to do your own mini-road trip on Christmas Day. Its something that can be done. The only thing to remember is when dawn and dusk are – which is around here sunrise 8:15 and sunset 16:00. So once you know when daylight appears and disappears and catering for break/snack/lunch stops give you a few hours to get places.

Consider places you have never been locally. Views. Viewpoints like these on Discover Hidden Britain. Sights. Sounds. Forests. Walks. Places. Drives. Roads. The world is your proverbial oyster. And to be frank – traffic is going to be fairly light. Because well, people are busy doing Christmas. So seize the moment. Make a route. Plan some stops. Plan some breaks. And take yourself on a journey just for you.

And if you really want to include an homage to Christmas – take a turkey sandwich, a cold sausage or some cheesy puffs.

6. Do something momentous – climb a hill, walk 10 miles, perfect your own perfect souffle

And this is something just for you. And remember you don’t have to apologise for the personal decisions you make on this day. Its your day. Your decision.

But maybe instead of just making up the numbers at someone-else’s Christmas, or pretending you still enjoy the Christmas that you really don’t – you decide to set yourself a challenge. A goal. A thing to achieve.

What about that massive hill that you’ve seen across your landscape for the last five years? Like May Hill in Gloucestershire? What about that walk that you’ve always planned on doing? What about that recipe you’ve always wanted to get right? Well here’s the thing – if someone gave you one day, 24 hours – wouldn’t you want to spend it doing something you want to do?

You might not like Christmas, you might not enjoy Christmas, you might not celebrate Christmas – but don’t hide from it – make it a day for you. Make it a celebration of all that is you.

7. Read your favourite book

Now you might not be one of those people, people like me, who can read a book in a day and love it! Well I can’t think of a more perfect day than sitting in your favourite armchair, perched on a bench outside with your thick coat on, or lying down on the bedroom floor turning the pages of your favourite book.

What was that? Don’t have a favourite book? Find one – get yourself a stack of books from the library before it closes and dig in…

Put your favourite chill tunes or your killer tracks – and engage in cultural advancement.

Besides when was the last time you made the time to read… words… on… a… page…

Good words. Fine words. Words that make your heart sing, your voice tremble, your brain shake.

8. Explore somewhere new

Discover Hidden Britain celebrates ‘exploration’ – the art of discovery, finding the new, expanding your horizons – so dip in and explore somewhere new…

So find your new – somewhere local, somewhere near… get your discovery boots on and find your new…

What about the Roman town of Caerwent in Monmouthshire? Open all year around. Only daylight is your problem.

What about a park with interesting historical connections like Victoria Country Park at Netley near the water in Hampshire?

Or an Iron Age Fort like the one at Old Sodbury in South Gloucestershire?

You don’t need fixed opening hours to find something awesome to find.

9. Do something productive

Its no surprise that most holidays are booked over the Christmas period. So if you’ve got some time to plan then go on Discover Hidden Britain and start thinking where you’re going to explore in the New Year.

Some people love to plan. Some people hate to plan. So spin the plates, roll your dice and make some plans for the next week, next month or the next year.

So spread your wings and make some plans…

10. Spend the day with the ones that you love

Who cares what the day is? Who cares what the calendar says? Take the day. Spend the day. Play cards. Read the paper. Discuss literature. Watch films. Go for a walk. Cook bad food. It doesn’t matter. The only thing that days like Christmas exist for is to remember those who you loved who are no longer here or be with the ones you love who are. Because every day is important. Not that it’s the 25th December. But because it is another day. And I can guarantee that for those Christmases we would rather not have had, there have been Christmas Days we would love to have again. So light a candle, lay some flowers, and make the day your own. A day for those we love.

So however you feel about Christmas Day, its still just another day, a day to experience life, to explore, to discover, to relax, to engage, to be you!