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  • Writer's pictureHannah Bartlett, Jolly Festive

Have a Jolly Festive Christmas!

Hannah & Jo of Jolly Festive are two sisters who are both completely and utterly obsessed with Christmas. Ten years apart in age and living on either side of the Atlantic, they are on a year-round treasure hunt for fabulous festive ideas to make your Christmas less stressful and more fun.

We chatted with Hannah for our Jolly Festive episode about how adult kids still really want to be kids again when they come home for Christmas and she gives some tips and advice on how to enjoy those precious days when everyone is together again.

What to do when at Christmas when the kids are older
Hannah & Jof Jolly Festive

Christmas with older kids and young adults

With 11.5 months of the year spent navigating the adult world, you may find your returning children more eager than ever for home comforts and childhood traditions. Are you ever too old for a little stocking of treats and ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve? That being said, the days of 5am wake-ups and a day spent building toys and hunting for batteries can be happily waved goodbye!

So what to do instead?

We share a few ideas below. Tempting as it is to cram everything in during these precious days, don’t forget it’s the laughter and time together that’s most important.

  • With more patience for time at the dinner table, crackers can start to come into their own. Make your own with personalised treats for each person. Or enjoy a set of activity crackers – from a shared escape room challenge to balloon modelling and quizzes, there’s something for every group.

  • Cocktail Taskmaster! Use up the leftovers of spirit bottles rather than buying new and try your hand at creating a new signature drink.

  • Play games! Quizzes, Taskmaster challenges, Movie Bingo and Would You Rather conundrums all work brilliantly. Get more inspiration and download free printable copies from the Jolly Festive website.

  • Winter walks with a stop at the local pub are so much easier with an older group than young ones desperate to return to their toys.

  • As the children get older, it becomes easier to help out in your local community at Christmas time too. Deliver meals, invite others over or simply go and support events run by local groups.

Gift ideas for young adults

In need of a little inspiration for what to put under the tree this year?

  • Let’s face it -cash, gift card and subscriptions are where it’s at for most of our older kids. But these generous gifts get the least kudos under the tree. Make them more enticing by hiding them in a recycled jam jar of their favourite sweets. Or spread out a handful of smaller value gift cards or bank notes as slices in a pizza box. Anything that creates a physical present to open and raise a smile does the trick perfectly.

  • As we all look to combat the higher energy costs this year, anything snuggly will be appreciated! Cosy slippers, chunky knits, wool socks and soft blankets are all bound to be winners.

  • Those looking to live more sustainably will appreciate the Charity Shop Gift Card, vouchers for clothing rental services, reusable storage containers and beautiful plant holders.

  • With borders finally reopening, clever travel products will go down well. Beautifully patterned travel towels, thoughtfully designed bags, air tags, power banks, scarves with concealed pockets, and so on.

  • With wellbeing rightly front and centre of daily life for this newly emerging adult generation, anything that supports a little me-time is perfect. We particularly want to highlight The Positive Planner’s Positive Student Planner which has been created in conjunction with The Samaritans – a fabulous gift to encourage all university students to take a breath and re-centre.

  • And how can we forget the tech! From the latest Meta Quest 2 VR set to portable speakers and coffee machines (with coffee pod subscriptions), there’s sure to be a gadget for everyone.

A few money-saving ideas for Christmas

We all know Christmas can be an expensive time. And this year more than most, many of us are watching the spend very closely. So here’s 10 ideas for managing Christmas costs without compromising the fun.

  • Pot Luck Parties – spread the workload and the cost by asking guests to bring a contribution with them. No one likes to turn up empty-handed this way you’ll end up with a table full of signature dishes!

  • Rent Glassware – make use of rental services for extra supplies over Christmas to minimise cost or need for single-use products. Places like Majestic offer a free glassware rental (you just pay for any breakages).

  • Shrink The Turkey – cook a chicken on the side. Controversial we know but we hazard a guess that with all those sides and sauces, few people will be able to tell the difference!

  • Ditch The Crackers – ask everyone to bring a silly (makeshift!) hat with a handwritten joke and a couple of charades inside instead.

  • Meet-up Outdoors – switch restaurant meet-ups for walks in the park with flasks of hot chocolate and mulled wine. Get some fresh air and exercise whilst you catch up!

  • Switch Cards For Digital Comms – pose a daily joke or festive riddle, do a recipe swap or simply record a short video to share online with friends and family and encourage them to reply in kind. It’s all about staying in touch after all.

  • Give Family Gifts – rather than gifting to individuals, gift hampers for the family. Fill a crate of your choice with a mixture of homemade treats and carefully selected preloved treasures. Then top up with just a few purchases if you’d like. It’s far easier to give unpackaged items when they are part of a hamper collection.

  • Get Creative With Wrapping – use paper shopping bags, newspapers, magazines and even old sheets as gift wrap. Use free online tutorials to learn furoshiki wrapping techniques.

  • Dress Your Cushions For Christmas. Put old Christmas jumpers to use! With just three pins and no sewing you can dress a cushion for Christmas. Then come January, put the jumper away and there’s no Christmas cushion to store!

  • Make Your Décor Work Harder For You – re-purpose your existing décor for Christmas rather than buying new. A string of fairy lights makes almost anything festive. And simply replacing photos in frames with offcuts of Christmas wrapping paper can be amazingly effective. Or fill bowls and vases with leftover baubles, foraged pinecones or seasonal fruits. We could go on forever!

Head to Jolly Festive for our complete list of 101 ideas. And just remember – a perfect Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect! It just has to be yours.

And please do help yourself to the Jolly Festive free Spotify List Christmas playlists – from carols to classical, the No.1s to Motown and much more … there’s a playlist for every occasion!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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