How to have an alternative Christmas

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Christmas is like Groundhog Day. The same old thing every year; turkey, TV and tinsel. Try something a little different this year with our alternative guide to Christmas, suitable for all the family.

For the Kids

Image via Stephen Butler

1. Say goodbye to the chocolate advent

Instead of a traditional chocolate calendar, why not wrap up 25 childrens' books and place them under the tree on 30 November. Each evening before bedtime, one of the children can pick a parcel to unwrap. The whole family can enjoy a festive story and it’s the perfect excuse to get the kids to bed on time.

2. Let’s go outside

Get outside at Christmas and visit the zoo or a local nature reserve. Edinburgh Zoo is one of the only zoos in the UK to open throughout Christmas day, but if Scotland is a little far from home, we suggest wrapping up and taking your own Christmas picnic to a local nature reserve. For a Christmas in the wilderness, prepare a mix of outdoor games including ‘Find the Reindeer’ and ‘Christmas Musical Statues’ or create a Christmas tree from twigs and branches.

For Mum

3. Pre-Christmas pamper

Every woman would love a slice of girly heaven before the chaos of Christmas begins. So whisk yourself away for a day at a countryside spa such as Ragdale Hall or Cowley Manor for complete self-indulgence.  Relax with a massage or manicure, good food and a glass of wine or two. Christmas is the time to enjoy a little ‘RNR’ after all.

4. Home away from home

Wish you could gather all the family in one place over the holidays? If so, pack the car and the kids and get on the road. Share Christmas with the whole family in a home big enough for you all. From stunning manor houses to seaside cottages, narrowboats to treehouses; really making this year a Christmas to remember and enjoy the food, the fun and the festivities together.

For Dad

Image via Jenene Chesbrough

5. Suited and booted for the big day

Can’t wait to get out of those greasy overalls? Get suited and booted for the season and treat yourself to the ultimate tailoring experience. Go for a traditional bespoke suit from Gresham Blake or a personal styling session at Harvey Nichols. And for the pièce de résistance complete the treat with a traditional wet shave at your local barbershop.

6. A very Bentley Christmas

Christmas at the in-laws again? Your brother-in-law will turn up in another new car followed by mph and 0-60 chit chat over lunch. This year really give him something to talk about and impress the family by turning up to lunch in a Bentley Continental GTC or what about a Jaguar F-type? Hire your dream supercar for the weekend and arrive in absolute style.

For the Family

7. The gift of giving

Toys, books, clothes and chocolates have exploded all over the living room and Christmas has become chaotic. Sound familiar? Prepare for a clutter free Christmas by donating old or unused toys to a local charity. Get the kids involved by asking them to donate a bag of unwanted goodies to those who need it the most. They get to enjoy the gift of giving and you get a clutter-free house– at least until they open this year’s presents.

 8. Ban the TV!

Our daily routines are filled with addictive box sets and reality TV these days. Give those square eyes a rest by insisting the TV is turned off on Christmas Day. Tune into the seasonal songs on the radio, get outside in the fresh air and spend hours playing games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Uno. You can catch up on EastEnders another day!

For your Tummy

9. Put your feet up

Order a readymade Christmas feast to arrive on the big day or hire your own personal chef to take care of all the kitchen duties for you, exactly as you like it. From a butler to a team of cleaners, take away all the stress of Christmas and simply relax with your feet up, whilst feeling like lord or lady of the manor.

10. Curry Christmas

By the time Boxing Day arrives we realise we overdid it on the turkey order at the butchers, and the fridge is full of leftovers, again! Forget turkey sandwiches and whip up a spice storm in the kitchen; enjoy a curry for Christmas and try one of’s favourite recipes from our friend Hari Ghotra, the turkey tikka masala!