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Festive Ways to Relax at Christmas

Christmas will be looking very different for a lot of us this year and after the ongoing drama of the last twelve months, we all deserve some time to sit back and unwind. Today we’re looking at festive ways to relax over the Christmas break. Slip on your cosiest Christmas jumper and pour yourself a hot chocolate because we’re about to get festive.

Even if you don’t see yourself as a good cook, baking can still be great fun and really relaxing. Firstly, pick a realistic recipe; anything too complicated can turn something fun into something stressful far too quickly. We recommend Christmas cookies, cupcakes or even a simple tray bake. Don’t rush yourself, put on some of your favourite festive music and get mixing. Not only will you have been creative, you’ll have made something delicious to eat and make your home smell amazing.

There are so many reasons why you should be reading over Christmas it’s hard to know where to start. Reading improves your own writing skills, increases your cultural knowledge, reduces stress and even improves your mental wellbeing.
If you fancy some festive fiction you could try books such as The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale or something classic like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie.
If reading for pleasure is a whole new world for you, you’re in luck. In December, outlets begin to publish yearly roundups of the best books of the year. Check out The Guardian for recommendations from booksellers and top authors.

Host a virtual Christmas party
A lot of us would normally blow off steam and release stress by going out with family and friends. No matter where you are in the UK, there are going to be limitations to that this year. A lot of us will probably be feeling ‘Zoom fatigue’ at this point, especially if you’re using it for work every day. However; using it with a group of friends can feel entirely different so it’s well worth doing. Choose a good time, circulate the link, dig out your favourite Christmas jumper and get some food and drinks in for great catch-up.
There’s also plenty of games you can all play together online. Heads Up is a great one that is easily played online. Just hold your phone up above your head and lets your friends explain the name on the screen. Reverse Charades flips the classic game you know on its head. Instead of one person acting out a subject, all your friends act out the subject while you guess. It can be really funny to see how a group of people all acting out the same thing.

Make your own Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations have dramatically diversified over the last few years and you can find designs on everything from robots and dinosaurs to Santa and his sleigh. However; there’s nothing like making your own decorations. One of the simplest ways is with salt dough. To make one ball use:
1 cupful of plain flour (about 250g)
Half a cupful of table salt (about 125g)
Half a cupful of water (about 125ml)
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, add the water and stir until it comes together. Roll it out on some flour and shape it into whatever or whoever you fancy. After that, place it on some baking paper and bake for 3 hrs or until solid. Once they’ve cooled you can decorate it with paint, glitter, gems or whatever you have available.

Watch some Christmas movies
First, let’s get this out of the way. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie and it’s one of the best. No matter your favourite movie genre, there are festive versions out there. Whether you’re a sucker for classics like The Snowman or It’s a Wonderful Life, rom-coms like The Holiday or horrors like Krampus, there’s something for everyone. If you’re used to watching them with friends, then get a group chat together and watch at the same time. If you watch Netflix on your laptop you can also use the Chrome extension Netflix Party to chat online with friends during the movie in real time. If half the battel is choosing the film, you can let fate decide with this random Christmas movie generator. Just put in how many movies you want to watch and it’ll make the tough choice for you.

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