I love Christmas but I hate the excess that goes with it. My mum texted me recently to ask what I’d like under the tree but the truth is, there is nothing I really want (not the most helpful answer when you’re gift buying). It’s not that I’m particularly well-off or even have a wardrobe full of designer clothes – the truth is I really want for nothing and a few more trinkets won’t add anything of value to my life.
I should point out that I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I do believe I was the inspiration for Madonna’s tune Material Girl back in the day (maybe). I was certainly the original Material Girl when I first starting earning my own cash. My wardrobes were filled with clothes with the label often still attached and I thought nothing of walking into a store and buying a bag/sweater/jeans/shoes in every colour. I cringe now at the utter waste of cash.
So if like me you’re tired of the frenzied festive shopping and the endless gift guides, here’s a few ideas of how to spend quality time (and not just cash) with loved ones this Christmas.
Have a themed stay-at-home cocktail night
Myself and Mr TBI actually do this every Christmas – and ‘the night’ usually lasts two weeks. Last year, it was ‘A Margarita Christmas’. The year before it was ‘A Dirty Martini Christmas’. And the year before that it was ‘A Pina Colada Christmas’. You get the picture! Pick a recipe, buy in the ingredients and enjoy when the kids are tucked up in bed.
If booze isn’t your thing, there are plenty of delicious mocktails or alcohol-free festive drinks like this delicious lot to try. The point is, it’s about creating a little holiday custom with a loved one. It doesn’t have to cost the earth and you can kick back and sip cocktails in your pyjamas in front of Netflix. Perfect!
Break away from the crowds and get out into nature
One of my favourite Christmas Eves ever was the one before we got married. As everyone was rushing around getting their last-minute gifts, we headed for the beach. It was freezing cold but we had the entire place to ourselves. After a walk in which we talked about our upcoming wedding and our future, Mr TBI took an old receipt from his pocket and fashioned it into a mini boat. Together we launched ‘The Good Ship Barker’ and looked forward to our life together. It beat any Christmas Eve I’ve ever had and that memory is worth more to me than a gift under the tree.
Have a Bill Murray-style Christmas
Who doesn’t love Bill Murray? The actor is a Christmas legend around Chez Barker for his critically-acclaimed (!) festive movie Scrooged – an Eighties take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. We watch it every year but why not go one further and enjoy all of Bill’s classics this Christmas? Our faves include What About Bob?, Groundhog Day, Caddyshack and Lost in Translation. That’s your Christmas viewing sorted. (You’re welcome!)
Create your own cheesy Christmas photoshoot
I love taking photos so this one is a no-brainer. You don’t need a fancy camera (smartphones are superb these days) and the pictures will last a lifetime, unlike that selection box you will scoff on Christmas morning.
I own an iPhone 6 (brilliant) but for these photos I used my Canon 760D which gives beautiful, clear shots. Myself and Eve had such a laugh setting the pictures up and as you can see, my little cheeky monkey spent the whole time gurning at the camera. The best part? She’ll be completely mortified by the photos in years to come! So don the festive jumpers and start creating some cheesy memories.
I hope I have inspired you to do something special with your loved ones this Christmas instead of the usual present-dash. Let me know in the comments below if you have any family traditions that don’t cost a fortune.