In a special Christmas edition, here are 10 things to do this month to make sure that you have a great Christmas.
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Start off your December on the right foot! You’re never too old to have an advent calendar. For those on a diet, there are alternatives to chocolate; it’s really all about opening doors to see crudely drawn nativity pictures and the anticipation that the number of sleeps until the 25th of December is one fewer each day. But remember: don’t eat all the chocolates in one go. We’re not monsters!
Win prizes each day with the Metro Advent Calendar! Also DON’T FORGET – chocolate is poisonous to dogs so don’t share with your four-pawed friends!
2. Buy local produce/meat for Christmas Day
Times are always pretty tight around Christmas as many of us wouldn’t recognise an old-fashioned Christmas bonus from a line-up but think about your local butchers, bakers, greengrocers and fishmongers. Before flocking to the supermarkets, why not pick a couple of items from a local independent business to add do your Christmas dinner. You pocket won’t notice much of a difference, but your tastebuds certainly will. I recommend Wickenden Meats in Hove for great quality meats and excellent customer service!
3. Go to a carol concert
Another sure-fire way to get into the festive spirit is with a Carol concert, and what better way to hear them than with the smooth tones of former X-factor runners up, operatic quartet G4. After reforming in 2014 to mark their 10th anniversary, the group are pleased to announce a new Christmas album which was funded through PledgeMusic, and a string of 8 concerts for their ‘Christmas by Candlelight’ Tour in Cathedrals and Churches, finishing with a show at Brighton’s St. Georges Church in Kemp Town on Friday 18th December. As one of my favourite venues in Brighton, I think that it is the perfect place to hold what will surely be a spectacular and beautiful evening of Christmas songs. You can buy tickets and find out more about the album on www.g4official.com.
4. Buy thoughtful gifts
It’s all too easy to do your Christmas shopping online, led on by Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Winter Wednesdays and whatever else the large corporations come up with to sell poorly-performing stock in high quantities to clear the warehouses for the new year. This year, plan ahead and avoid the panic buying on Christmas Eve. Think what your friends and family would like, what they need, and what would end up gathering dust or in a drawer by the end of January. Think before you buy and you just might make somebody’s Christmas with that extra special gift.
5. Mince pies and Mulled Wine/Cider
An essential part of festive cheer comes from Mince Pies, Mulled Wine and Mulled Cider, all of which will be available to buy from pubs, bakeries and supermarkets across the country. Bakery mince pies will always beat shop-bought ones, but why not make your own with this simple recipe. Making your own mulled wine and cider is easy too. For a great mulled cider, mix any cheap own-brand cider with apple juice and a mulling kit/mixed spices and cinnamon and allow to simmer over heat until delicious. Alternatively, you can buy some sexy local cider at Middle Farm – don’t forget to check out the farm shop for local produce too and the newly born piglets in the main farm.
6. Help the homeless
It’s unavoidable in Brighton to not notice the homeless people who are living on the streets in the city. AS much as many of us would like to say that they need to shake themselves out of it, in reality it takes a lot more than that. If you have a little to spare, why not buy somebody a warm drink, a sandwich or a spare blanket that you have packed away in your overfilled wardrobe. If everybody did a small act of kindness like this, the lives of many would be very different this Christmas. Watch this feel-good video and do the right thing!
7. See a pantomime or a classical concert
Whether it’s Aladdin, Peter Pan, Snow White or Jack and the Beanstalk, Pantomime is a great part of British culture where everybody can let their hair down and have a nice time. Why no check out Aladdin at Brighton Emporium – Dec 2nd – Jan 9th – BUY TICKETS.
If that doesn’t take your fancy, there is plenty of opportunity for a spot of Classical music with TWO concerts from the Brighton Philharmonic this month – Sunday 6th December and Thursday 31st December. The first concert is featuring music from Dvorak, Bruckner and Strauss and the New Year’s Eve Gala Concert will be featuring as usual a collection of the finest Viennese dance music. With standard tickets from just £11.50 and concessions available, why not try an afternoon of culture this month and support your local orchestra in their 91st concert series. BUY TICKETS
8. Burning of the Clocks
Every year on the 21st December, people of Brighton take to the streets for this showcase of art, culture and fire. If you’ve never been before, then check out this video below created by my friend Jeb Harwick, a very talented local film-maker. You can find out more on www.samesky.co.uk/events/burning-the-clocks
9. Watch YouTube Christmas Dinner videos
Whether you’re cooking the dinner or eating it, watching TV chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson cooking a Christmas dinner will get your tastebud tingling and excited for the big day. WARNING: these can be addictive! Try not to watch more than 1 video per day. The affects can last long into the new year. Here’s one to get you started:
10. Finally, watch a load of old films, Christmas Specials and of course Christmas films
With more people opting for Netflix now – see 10 great Christmas films to watch on Netflix – many people will not be watching the Christmas specials (unless they’re on iPlayer and 4oD) and re-runs of old films so it’s best to see what you can find in your DVD collection. You can get some great bargains in Charity shops, with DVDs often priced at just £1 each so do something good for charity and fill your house with festive second-hand entertainment this year.