RECIPE LAST-MINUTE TREATS
Aaaaargh! It’s nearly Christmas, and you still have a few last-minute presents to get. Why not give some quick-and-easy edible gifts that are simple enough for kids to help make? These peppermint creams and chocolate truffles are our go-to sweets, while Gingerbread Syrup is unusual but delicious – try it on your morning porridge. Or go savoury – a jar of home-pickled onions or chutney is always welcome, Jamie Oliver’s pear and chilli pickle is a treat with a kick, while a slighty more fancy baked camembert kit makes an oozy, easy lunch for a friend.
RECIPE MAGIC WITH LEFTOVERS
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.
The mountain of Christmas wrap can be used again too; gather the most colourful to make these funky magazine beads, add some to your rainy day box or use the prettiest cards to make adorable baubles for next year’s tree.
DO ONCE UPON A TIME
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 our tips here and more here, here, and here. Or find ways to celebrate storytelling 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 FESTIVE FOOTSTEPS
’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.
The popularity of year-round swimming has grown and grown, with many of us taking dips on even the iciest of days (find out more about it here) . There are group plunges across the country over the holidays – you don’t have to dive in, watching the shivering swimmers in fancy dress is just as much fun. Find one near you here.
Santa Tracker: If you have young children, set aside five minutes on Christmas Eve to take a peek at the Google Santa Tracker. The company track the fellow in red and white via a real-time uplink from his personal GPS on board his sleigh (we’re putting our concerns about privacy issues aside for the evening). Follow the trail here
WHAT WE’RE READING 5 Gratitude Secrets for a Calm and Happy Christmas: ”Christmas and gratitude go hand in hand as we pause and reflect on our lives over the past year – especially if a new baby is on the way (or here!). But gratitude is much more than a warm holiday feeling. Here are five gratitude secrets for a calm and happy Christmas you should know.” Read more here
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING This year, with many theatres closed, why not sit down and take in a show online. English Touring Opera’s digital season is free; watch their colourful, child-friendly, fast-paced take on Handel’s Amadigi, Aidan. Or enjoy Sadler’s Wells’ Second Hand Dance’s Night Tree Films, where children and their adults explore wintry forests through movement. Alternatively, Disney Parks’ YouTube channel is the place to find glitzy, musical productions of Frozen and Tangled.
Happy winter holidays to you from all at The Green Parent! We wish you a peaceful, happy, and blissful family time this festive season!