Updated: Nov 22, 2020
For those who celebrate this joyous and magical holiday, Christmas is about spirit and celebration and we all have our own special traditions to mark this wonderful time of year. But what are the festive must-haves to make your day merry and bright?
Maybe you open one gift on Christmas Eve, you start Christmas mornings with bucks fizz and eggs Royale and cooking the dinner is a whole family event. Perhaps nan cracks open with the sherry at midday, you never miss the Queen's speech, and whole family enjoys a post Christmas lunch walk.
However you spend it, we have some ultimate festive must-haves, because Christmas wouldn't be complete without them - we know you'll agree.
1) Christmas Tunes
Mariah Carey, Chris Rea, Bing Crosby, Michael Bublé (the classics in our opinion 😉) but whoever you love listening to, nothing makes you feel more warm, cheery and merry than the Christmas hits. Whack them on loud, dance around the room because baby, we wish it could be Christmas everyday.
When we were kids, the absolute highlight was opening that selection box and devouring them all before dinner (well we did anyway 🙈) but for us, Christmas always started when the supermarkets piled those giant tins of chocolates by the front door! Our house was never without.
Take a look at Coco Loco's Organic and Fair Trade chocolate hampers that will keep you riding that sugar-high till New Years. Better yet, if you're there, check out their entire Christmas Chocolate Gifts range for stocking filler sweet treats or just for the handy handbag 'give-me-strength' while Christmas shopping moments.
Either way, stock up! and don't forget the After Eights (there's an Orange Mint and G&T flavour now too), Mint matchsticks, Lindt balls, Terry's Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Yule log... need we go on!
3) Fairy lights
There is something about the presence and warm feeling of fairy lights. Call it magical, call it romantic - Christmas isn't Christmas without the fluorescent hue of a warm white glow of fairy lights.
We dress our trees with them, our windows, heck - we'd dress ourselves in them if we could!
And if you're anything like us we have Alexa set-up to turn our house into Santa's grotto at the beckon of 'Alexa, it's the most wonderful time of the year.' 🤗🎄
4) Mince Pies
Not going to lie, Jen's sister makes the best mince pie pinwheels. Check out the recipe here.
But if you prefer the regular kind - might we suggest you try Paul Hollywood's mince pies.
However, if you're not quite the Mary Berry-kind, that's ok, here are some of our other must-tries:
Firstly, make sure they're sustainable! NO-PLASTIC please! but Christmas dinner is very much in need of paper hats and jokes. Anything for a smile. 😁
Little Eco Eats have just launched their 'Make Your Own Christmas Crackers' - featuring compostable packaging, seed paper to write your own jokes, a BPA free star shaped chocolate mould and 100% cotton patterned fabric to make your own hats. And what's more - they donate £1 for every box sold to Sponsored Stars, a charity supporting Children living in poverty in the UK.
6) Christmas Games and Quizzes
Whether Monopoly is your jam or Head's-Up is your giggle, a good game brings the whole family together. So make sure you get your children off their new Playstation and your other-half from watching endless Christmas specials on the TV and play a game.
We always have a family quiz - it's the highlight of our day - and we want to share our latest 2020 Christmas Quiz with you! Access it here. Here is also a selection of fun Christmas games for the whole family.
Many of us have been without our family for a long time this year and if we get to be with one another again, try and keep TV to a minimum and have fun together.
7) Christmas Movies
It doesn't matter whether you're an Elf family or The Holiday family, there is nothing more Christmassy than snuggling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and settling down to a good festive flick. If you're stuck for ideas check out Esquire's best 55 Christmas movies to watch.
Our personal favourites however are...
The Holiday & Love Actually
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Muppets Christmas Carol
It's a Wonderful Life
8) Christmas Drinks 🥂
(for the adults only*) What is your festive tipple? Baileys, Mulled Wine, Snowball? Maybe a nice bucks fizz in the morning, a bottle of red over dinner, mulled wine in the evening?
We have found some great Christmas cocktails if you wanted to try something extra special this year.
*Drink responsibly guys!
9) Christmas Decorations
A pretty big one we'll admit, but ignore the tree and lights for a moment - they're a given. We're talking dressing the hearth, lighting the candles, hanging the cards - it all adds to the festive magic.
As children, we used to make paper chains and hang them from the ceilings along with foil garlands and baubles on ribbons. The hundreds of pin holes in the coving must have driven our parents mad, but they never let on.
Today, we're a little more grown up - but still just as creative. And while we're not allowed inflatables or front garden ornaments (largely because they wouldn't fit 😆), we like to make a fresh homemade wreath for our door every year and Castle Farm has us covered with their Christmas Wreath DIY kit.
If you're looking for other great home Christmas decorations, look here.
Let's face it, the only real festive must-have we want at Christmas is our family!
Give thousands of homeless families across the UK the chance of a happy Christmas. Your donation could give an urgent lifeline and the hope for a happier Christmas. Donate to Shelter today.
We might not know what Christmas looks like this year, but however you spend it, whatever your traditions - may all your Christmases be merry and bright.
Stay safe everyone.