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Alternative Christmas

Do you usually spend Christmas bickering over the last mince pie or cracking the same old dad jokes before dinner? This year, why not enjoy an alternative Christmas and complete these unique things to do on Christmas Day?

While we are already counting down the days to Christmas and pulling out our favourite festive jumpers, there may be a few UK Christmas traditions that we will miss out on this year.

But there are still plenty of ways that you can enjoy yourself; from volunteering to braving an icy swim, from movie marathons with a twist to gazing at the stars, we have plenty of alternative Christmas ideas to keep you entertained.

Wondering what to do on Christmas Day? Discover our recommendations of 10 alternative Christmas ideas…

1. Gift an alternative Christmas present

Volunteering at Christmas 

One of the best gifts you can give on Christmas day is your time, and you may even change someone’s life.

It is so easy to get lost in the excitement of presents, great food and seeing loved ones. So make a change this year to support those who are in need of your help.

Crisis requires the efforts and skills of volunteers to make an impact that can change the lives of homeless people. You can make a difference by donating, fundraising, campaigning and volunteering. The charity needs a range of volunteers over the festive period, including kitchen staff, drivers, entertainers and key service providers.

Other ways you can give something back this Christmas includes donating to Refuge, volunteering at a food bank with The Trussell Trust, or sign up to the Royal Voluntary Service to support older people staying active in their communities.

2. Host a Christmas movie marathon in the garden

christmas movie marathon

Who doesn’t love snuggling up on the sofa with a cheesy Christmas film on Christmas Day? This year, if you’re looking for alternative ways to spend Christmas, why not switch it up and take the magic of film outdoors?

Transform your garden into a cinema this Christmas and get wrapped up in your winter woollies with your popcorn in hand.

Grab your comfiest chairs, cosy blankets, fairy lights and an outdoor projector to enjoy your favourite Christmas classic.

For the ultimate Christmas movie marathon, we recommend you include Elf, The Grinch, Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol, Love Actually and The Holiday on your watch list!

3. Go Stargazing


When darkness falls on Christmas, lace up your winter boots and head outside to sit underneath the canopy of stars.

We already know that the UK is blessed with some of the darkest skies in Europe, making some great stargazing breaks in the UK.

From the dazzling beauty of the Lake District’s dark skies, to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s map of Dark Sky Discovery Sites, to the twinkling lights seen from your own back garden, there is plenty of opportunity for this alternative Christmas activity.

Who knows… You might even catch a glimpse of Santa!

4. Alternative Christmas decorations

Christmas wreath weaving

Another alternative way to spend Christmas is to have a go at making your own Christmas decorations.

This Christmas, look to replace the shop-bought ornaments with DIY decorations, made simpler by following our easy Christmas crafts guide.

This is such a fun way to inject your own personality and style into your home, as well as being very affordable.

5. Host a Great British Christmas Bake Off

Dad and daughter baking at home

Baking is another typical thing to do on Christmas day, but this year, why not turn it into a competition?

Be inspired by the Great British Bake Off and have your loved ones concoct some tasty Christmas bakes. From gingerbread men to Christmas puddings, to mince pies, there are plenty of sweet treats that will put you in a festive mood.

Who will be your Star Baker?

6. Challenge your loved ones to a Christmas quiz

Christmas quiz

Nothing says 2020 more than a virtual quiz, right?

With so many of us not being able to see loved ones this year, a virtual quiz is a great way to get everyone together! Festive fun is needed more than ever this year!

You will be able to find plenty of online Christmas quizzes, with something to suit all the family as you enjoy a virtual get together on this alternative Christmas Day.

7. Go for a swim

Christmas swim

If the kids have woken you up too early and you need a sudden burst of energy, how about a cold-water swim?

Across the UK, you will find various locations for a Christmas Day swim, including the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, which hosts the Peter Pan Cup, a 110-yard race. But if you don’t live near London, we know of a few wild swimming spots for that alfresco dip.

From the River Trent in Derbyshire to the Lower Ddwli Falls in the Brecon Beacons, you are sure to find a spot for a swim on Christmas morning. Just one of the many fun alternative things to do on Christmas day.

8. Serve an alternative Christmas dinner

alternative Christmas dinner ideas

Are you willing to ditch the traditional Christmas dinner this year? Cooking an alternative Christmas dinner could be a fun way to spend the day at home.

You could merely skip the turkey and whip up an Italian favourite Porchetta, or if you are feeling adventurous, light up the barbecue Aussie style!

Alternatively, go vegetarian or vegan this Christmas and try your hand at cooking a Christmas nut roast or a tasty vegan wellington.

9. Find a four-legged friend

christmas dog

If you are planning on spending Christmas outdoors this year, don’t do it alone! Take your beloved dog out with you, or offer to walk a neighbour’s dog.

All usual routines are out the window on Christmas Day. But we can bet that the dog will be keen to head outdoors to escape the wrath of Christmas.

Another thing to do on Christmas Day is to help serve up doggy dinners at a local rescue centre, for those who are waiting to find their forever home. Who knows, you may meet your own trusty companion to spend all future Christmases with.

10. Make your own Mulled Wine

homemade mulled wine

Mulled wine is brimming with Christmas spice and is the perfect beverage to enjoy on Christmas Day. But have you ever made your own?

Because we are missing out on boozy Christmas markets this Christmas, it is the perfect time to get creative!

All you will need is 1 x bottle of red wine, demerara sugar, 1 x cinnamon stick, nutmeg, half an orange, a dried bay leaf and 60ml of sloe or damson gin.

You can find the easy-to-make recipe on BBC food or

Enjoy the taste of alternative Christmas in a glass!

Found an alternative Christmas idea that’s right for you? Take a look at our 12 best Christmas towns or discover our top 10 places to visit in Winter for even more things to do on Christmas Day. Thought you knew everything there is to know about Christmas? Be sure to take a look at our 12 fun facts about Christmas

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