DO Fireside Chat
Take the opportunity of nights together around the hearth to fire up your storytelling skills. Sharing tales on a dark afternoon or evening is a lovely way to bond with your family, and encouraging children to create fantastical sagas is rewarding. Find some tips here, here, and here. Older kids and teenagers might need something a little more spicy. We love a good, old-fashioned ghost story at Christmas – our favourites include those by MR James while there are some ideas you could build on for your own stories here, and some brilliant pointers for telling even more terrifying tales here and here.
DO Reuse, Recycle, Create
No matter how much we try to reduce packaging, post-Christmas, we always end up with a small mountain of gift wrap. We have used ours to make hand-made cards and to cover books in the past, but there are some excellent ideas for reusing old paper here. The collage-creating and paper bead-making look a lot of fun, and will fill time in the long stretch between now and New Year!
RECIPE Leftover Gold
Can we let you in on a secret? One of our favourite times of the festive season is just after Christmas; there’s no pressure, no expectations, just acres of space begging to be filled with cosy, fun things to do. We adore recycling our Christmas excess creatively. Find some recipe brilliant ideas for uneaten Christmas pudding and cake here (don’t tell anyone, but we think Christmas pudding ice-cream is better than the hot version!). And there are some really tasty leftover cheese recipes here, for the bits of the board that no-one can face. Or use up your mountain of roast potatoes with these Mashed Potato Pancakes . Finally, Rebecca Oliver has come up with world-beating leftovers sandwich ideas here
EVENT Docking around the Christmas Tree
The Museum of London Docklands is one of our favourite places to spend time in the school holidays; its edge-of-town setting means it’s often a lot less busier than the blockbuster galleries, it’s an exciting trip on the DLR to get there, and there’s a great, interactive section for kids that includes a soft play area for tinies. Its sister museum, The Museum of London is more central, but still relatively crowd-free. Enjoy lots of free events this holiday at both venues, including a Christmas cracker joke workshop, Victorian ghost stories told by a mysterious governess, cake collaging, cooking workshops and a ballet performance of The Sleeping Beauty. All for free! Find out more here
DO Happy Feet
’Tis the season to get walking! Stroll off some of your mince-pie-and-potato bloat with a wild wander. Potter among the ponies in the beautiful New Forest, try one of our favourite winter walks, or test-hike an old favourite selected by the Ramblers. Perhaps you might like a tramp with a theme – try a walk into history, a ramble with a view or try one of Julia Bradbury’s favourite family friendly treks across National Trust land. Plus, of course, the Ramblers’ Festival of Winter Walks continues – join them for an organised, cobweb-shifting group hike.
What we’ve been reading this week:
Ten wildlife success stories to sing about in 2019
“There has not been much good news for life on Earth this year, with up to 1m species at risk of annihilation, many within decades. But scientists, conservationists and armies of volunteers are working relentlessly to understand and preserve endangered species. Here are 10 biodiversity stories that provided a glimmer of hope.” Read more – and take in some gorgeous pictures – here.