Immerse yourself in traditional festivities throughout the winter months, from indulging in roasted chestnuts to hunkering down in a cosy bed in a log cabin, the festive season is a truly wonderful and magical time of the year.
1. Roast marshmallows by the fireside.
Indulge in the art of roasting marshmallows by the fireside. Pierce the marshmallows onto a fork and allow the gently toast but not burn ensuring to rotate to toast all sides of the marshmallows. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
2. Play traditional board games.
Be it a game of scrabble or chess; gather nibbles, drinks and enjoy playing board games with loved ones.
3. Visit a Christmas market.
With an abundance of Christmas markets taking place, why not indulge in artisan food or admire traditional crafts? Visit National Trust to find a Christmas market near you.
4. Indulge in festive mulled wine.
In a large saucepan, add one large orange, 125g light muscavado sugar, a few cloves, two cinnamon sticks, one star anise, ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract) and one bottle of red wine. Heat gentle and stir once or twice until the sugar has dissolved then continue to gently heat for another 15 minutes. Stir in 50ml of Contrreau or brandy and gently simmer for a few more minutes before pouring into heat-proof glasses.
5. Bake a gingerbread house.
Delight in the tradition of baking a festive gingerbread house decorated with icing and your favourite sweets. Or if you prefer something a little quicker and easier to do, Liz Druce of The Gingerbread House offers a selection of ready-to-assemble gingerbread houses which she bakes in her converted farmhouse in Whitby.
6. Sing Christmas carols.
There is nothing more lovelier or Christmassy than a jolly carol or two. Enjoy seasonal sing-a-longs with loved ones or visit a service. Here are my top picks:
♥ Carols by Candlelight (Cambridge) 21st December 6.30pm - 8pm.
♥ Carols at Treak Cliff Cavern (Peak District) 20th & 22nd December 2pm - 3pm.
♥ Christmas Celebration (Cornwall) 22nd December 7pm - 8pm.
7. Create a festive playlist.
Listen to your favourite Christmas hits or maybe classical carols by creating a festive playlist. I am enjoying listening to Spotify's Easy Christmas and Christmas is Coming playlists which includes an array of Christmas hits. I also like to indulge in the Yule Log playlist which includes relaxing sounds such as a cosy crackling fire.
8. Bake a Christmas cake.
I adore baking Christmas cake. Every year I bake one for my family and it always goes down a treat. I use the same recipe which has changed very little and turns out wonderful every time! I top the cake with a almond marzipan and royal icing. I shall be posting the recipe on my blog soon so keep checking back!
9. Go on a country walk.
Saviour the delights of a walk, absorbing the beautiful scenery and health benefits. Be it in the countryside or along the coast, wrap up warm and enjoy a long, restorative walk. Here are some lovely places to visit, although any walk in the fresh Winter air wonderful.
♥ Belle Tout, East Sussex.
♥ Brendon Hill, Wostuchour.
♥ Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Tenby, Wales.
♥ Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire.
10. Stay in a country retreat.
Get away from the cold of Winter and discover a country hide-away. Stay in a cosy cottage or a wonderful mill. Here are some of my top picks:
♥ Old Smock Hill (Kent).
♥ Pepper Cottage (Gloustershire
♥ Skipper's Cabin (Cornwall).
11. Indulge in roasted chestnuts.
On a crisp winter's day, nothing lifts the spirits quite like the aroma of roasted chestnuts. Best served slightly warm but also work well in pies and salads too.
12. Go ice-skating.
Take to the ice this festive season. Somerset House (London) allows you to skate in the beautiful courtyard of this inspiring neo-classical building. Feel nostalgic at Beamish Museum (County Durham) with period-style decorations, festoon lighting and fairground organ music, creates a wonderful ambience for visitors of all ages.
13. Watch the Nutcracker.
Watch the story of the Nutcracker brought to life with exquisite dancers and sets creating an enchanting atmosphere. Each year many visitors attend making it part of their Christmas celebrations. To find out more visit Royal Opera House or English National Ballet.
14. Make a jam jar snow globe.
A very simple but effective craft to make. Taking a clean jam jar and your chosen decorations, place them onto the lid and ensure the jar fits over easily. Once you are happy with the design, glue into place (a hot glue gun works best) and place to one side to completely dry. Fill the jam jar with water and a little glycerin (can be bought from most supermarkets) and sprinkle in a little glitter. Place the lid onto the jar securing tightly and gluing into place. A pretty handmade snow globe!
15. Create festive decorations using natural finds.
Gather an abundance of natural finds on country walks from cones to twigs to bring in a sense of the outdoors this Christmas. I like to use pine cones, feathers, moss, dried orange slices and leaves to make a Christmas countryside display.
16. Play in the snow.
Larking around in the snow either building a snowman or participating in a snowball fight, a white Christmas is truly magical.
17. Make a festive bunting.
A festive bunting is really easy to make. Use can use natural finds like leaves or pine cones or stick to using fabric triangles. HobbyCraft is a great place for a range of fabrics, colours and patterns. Or if you are looking for a ready-made bunting try The Cotton Bunting Company.
18. Hang a Christmas wreath.
An age old tradition declaring that the festive season is here and enhancing guests welcoming them to your home are now celebrated inside the home as well as outside, hung over a fireplace or in the kitchen. For a beautiful ready-made wreath try Wild Willow or Interflora.
19. Host a Christmas party.
Gather loved ones for an evening of festive fun, fizz and nibbles, music and games. Plan the evening and send out invitations to your guests. These Christmas party invitations from Wrendale Designs are beautiful as well as festive. Decide on a theme: maybe a cheese and wine evening or go the full hog and cook a sumptuous feast or make a 'help yourself' table and allow your guests to help themselves.
20. Read a festive story.
Whether it's classic such A Christmas Carol or The Night Before Christmas, hunker down with a festive read, a mug of hot chocolate and wrap up in a blanket.
What do you enjoy doing during winter time? Let me know in the comments section below.