25 ways to get excited about Christmas
Here's our guide to Good Food's favourite festive moments, including ideas for homemade gifts, our finest Christmas drinks and cooking with kids
Christmas is more than just the big day, it's all the little things that make it extra special. We love it all: hosting Christmas drinks, mulling wine, decorating the house, wrapping pressies and gift-giving. We've put together our favourite festive activities to give you inspiration.
Cook with the kids
Get everyone in the festive mood with a family baking (and bonding) session. Peruse our Stir-up Sunday recipes, including a gorgeous golden amaretti Christmas cake.
Gather your gang together
Buying meaningful gifts for friends can be tricky on a budget, so switch the present swap for a cook-in. If you're looking for some never-fail recipes, our 'what dishes should you bring to a party' guide is ready and waiting. If you want to keep it simple, try making pizzas from scratch.
Reward the drivers
If your house is a trek from a bus stop or train tation, put some effort into the soft option for designated drivers. Try our mulled apple juice or drivers' punch.
Bake a breakfast for your postie
December means longer hours for your postman or postwoman, so leave a breakfast surprise on the doorstep in the week leading up to Christmas. A stollen muffin or bacon & egg pie will go down well.
Jolly up a wrapping session
If you're embarking on present wrapping after a long day at work, smooth over the sticky tape snarl-ups with a festive glass or two. Our Christmas tipples are a perfect place to start.
Create homemade chocolate gifts
Younger children will love to help with this! Make two or three different kinds of chocolate bark - melted chocolate scattered with fruit, seeds or sweets, chilled until firm. Break into small shards, then wrap in cellophane with a little note. This is a lovely gift for nephews, nieces or cousins you won't see over Christmas. Try our white chocolate unicorn bark for a special homemade treat.
Get in the mood with a market
Pal up with friends or family and enjoy the vibe at a Christmas market or fair - discover our top three cities for festive shopping in our Christmas market guide.
Keep the kids calm
Great value and bags of fun, these polar bear peppermint creams require no cooking, but result in half an hour of peace and quiet while the kids concentrate on decorating their treats.
Sweets with a twist
From chorizo jam to funky fudge, many recipes take very little time and make lovely presents for siblings or colleagues. Pack them in traditional sweet shop bags or little boxes.
Hold a bake sale for Children in Need
Guaranteed to go down well with work colleagues on a Friday afternoon, we've got lots of great bakes in our cake sale collection. Children in Need is on BBC One and Two - for a fundaraising pack, visit bbc.co.uk/pudsey.
Fill your trolley for charity
Many supermarkets, as well as food banks, ask for donations for local causes. Print out a list of accepted items, then ask the kids to find one or more of each with their own trolley. This frees you up to get your own shop done, and encourages them to think about helping others.
Invite your neighbours
Mark the start of the season with your neighbours before things get too hectic, and you’ll be repaid with friendly hellos and compliments for the rest of the month. Keep it simple with a two-hour window to drop in for a mince pie or sausage roll, and a glass of something festive. Treat guests to unbelievably easy mince pies, one of our top-rated bakes.
Bring a different bottle
Homemade cinnamon-spiced mulling syrup is a fantastic festive gift for your host. Handwrite some ‘how to use’ notes on a label: drizzled over ice cream, in a punch, hot chocolate or red wine, or stirred through cookie dough.
If you're heading to the capital for shopping or a show, check out our guide to the best afternoon teas in London, and the best places to eat in London.
Visit a BBC Good Food Show
We’re holding five brilliant live events from now until Christmas. Do some shopping, enjoy impromptu wine & spirit tasting, take a seat in a theatre for top chefs’ demos and have lunch with friends. To book tickets, visit our site.
A winter warmer for carol singers
Do a bit of prep the day before and you’ll come home to hot chocolate that makes it a night to remember! Our hot chocolate stirrers will blow your standard powdered cocoa out of the water.
Host an at-home wine tasting
With nibbles on hand to prevent alcohol overload, get everyone to guess where the wines come from, with a prize for the winner. To get started, order a case of specially selected bottles from our new Good Food Wine Club.
Donate a dozen mince pies
It takes little extra effort to double your mince pie batch – pack up the extras and take them to a healthcare centre, charity shop or food bank, as a treat for staff who will be busier before Christmas.
Make it special for everyone
Gluten-free, veggie and vegan party nibbles go down a treat at a work do – just make sure they’re clearly labelled. They’ll be more gratefully received than you’d ever anticipate! Check out our vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free Christmas collections.
Support your local wine shop
Many independent shops have tasting evenings in the run-up to Christmas. Even if you only buy one bottle, you can turn it into a fun evening out supporting a local business and adding to your wine know-how. The same goes for cheese, chocolate and charcuterie.
Bake edible tree decorations
On a dark weekend afternoon, making these gives you a warm glow, and their homespun look is so on-trend. They’re also pretty hung as a garland across a window. Make our orange & ginger stained glass biscuits and string them together with ribbon.
Cook our cover
Look out for our #cookthechristmascover live cookalong – follow BBC Good Food on Facebook to find out more.
Saturday night is Strictly night
Dress up for the final few weeks of BBC One’s dancing extravaganza, pop open a bottle of fizz, and make one of our Prosecco cocktails.
Lights and bites
Enjoy the high-street Christmas lights, then head for a meal to spend time with a friend before the family descends. Discover our cheap eats collection for some budget-friendly options.
Step into the magic on Christmas morning
Leave some tell-tale 'snowy' footprints in the kitchen or hallway, to prove that Santa has visited. Wearing wellies, sieve icing sugar over your feet, one step at a time. It's true - he's been!
Share your favourite Christmas moments with us in the comments section below...
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