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How to save Christmas 2020

Christmas cancelled? Not on our watch! It might look a little different this year, but here's how to make the most of the festive season in 2020.

There’s no question that Christmas 2020 is going to need a little planning – after all, many of the things we take for granted just aren’t going to be possible this year. But instead of lamenting what could be, here at Muddy we’re embracing the change and looking on the bright side. No more rubbish office parties, trying to accommodate 5,000 different dietary requirements for Christmas lunch and running yourself so ragged that you start the new year in need of a holiday. Instead, this is the year of starting new traditions, focusing on just the important things, and looking forward to a bright, shiny new 2021. Onward!

Buy early and local

Christmas gifts

If you haven’t started ticking off your Christmas list yet, now’s the time! Getting ahead of your shopping will a) make you feel like some kind of super-organised genius, and b) ensure that you have plenty of time to post presents to friends or relatives you might not be able to see over the festive period.

Instead of getting sucked in by the lure of Amazon Prime, this year (of all years) is the best time to support all your lovely local indies and small makers, who sorely need a boost after the retail nightmare of 2020. We’ve made it mega easy for you with our Muddy-curated round-up The Indie Store – check it out and start ordering, ASAP!

Try a new dish

With the rule of six likely to be in place for Christmas Day, you might want to give the massive turkey a swerve this year (the perfect excuse if you’ve never been a huge fan but wanted to avoid rocking the boat of tradition up until now). Your local farm shop or butcher will be able to advise you – for example, Davey’s Butchers in Meldreth, Herts sells Christmas meat hampers for 2-4 people or an incredible lockdown hamper for up to six people that’ll keep you fed for four days (including breakfast).

Stock your wine cellar

Christmas wine

Once you’ve ordered in all your delicious Christmas food, it stands to reason that you’ll need something nice to wash it down with! As we’re less likely to be playing taxi service/designated driver this year (praise be), make the most of staying in and splash out on some excellent wine to keep all to yourself. LEVIN Wines has put together an specially curated Muddy six-pack to see you through the season – just use code FESTIVE for a £40 discount and free shipping.

Prefer to buy local? We love The Wee Vinoteca in Hitchin, who have some fantastic variety boxes on sale this season (I’ll be picking up their Christmas essentials case – an absolute steal at £102 for 12 bottles). Tring Winery also has some amazing sets, and it’s not just wine either – you can pick up everything from malt whiskies to gins.

Book a panto

The classic panto is one of those traditions that some people would rather eat a kilo of Brussel sprouts than miss (‘oh no it isn’t!’ etc), so we’re glad to hear that performances are still happening around the counties.

Hertford Theatre have postponed their main panto The Curious Adventures of Alice in Wonderland until next year, but instead they’re holding live, socially distanced performances of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Christmas Show from 12 Dec to 3 Jan – perfect for littlies.

For camp Christmas fun, visit Watford Palace Theatre for their performance of Dame Terry’s Very Merry Christmas, running from 23-27 Dec. Socially-distanced seats will be sold in blocks of up to six.

The Maltings Theatre and OVO are holding performances of Peter Pan at The Alban Arena from 11 Dec to 3 Jan – be quick to pick up your tickets as the theatre will be running at 40% capacity.

See the Christmas lights

Waddesdon Christmas lights

Indoor attractions might be a mixed bag this year, but there are plenty of excellent light shows to keep the spirits lifted and the little ones entertained. Hatfield Park are holding Weekend Winter Walks on 5-6, 12-13 and 19-20 Dec, where the Stable Yard will be dressed with lights and The Coach House Kitchen can keep you stocked up on mince pies and hot drinks. Just over the Beds/Bucks border, Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury is bringing back its fabulous Winter Light Trail and Manor Illuminations (above) from 3 Dec to 3 Jan (pre-booking essential). If you fancy a jaunt down to Richmond, Kew Gardens are also holding their incredible light trail from 4 Dec to 17 Jan, 4-10pm.

Give back

If 2020 has proven anything, it’s the importance of being kind, so a little extra charity contribution this year is sure to be appreciated more than ever. There are plenty of local charities with projects and events to contribute to – I’ll be tuning in to The Hospice of St Francis’s virtual event Light Up a Life on Sun 6 Dec.

DIY your decor

You’ve got time in lockdown, so why not add a handmade touch to your decs this year? These socially-distanced Christmas wreath workshops are a great way to spend a festive weekend (it beats getting crushed at the local shopping centre or getting stuck in an online queue), or you can turn your hand to one of the activities on Kirstie Allsopp’s brand new Channel 4 show, Kirstie’s Christmas: Quick and Easy Craft.

Dress up

Christmas outfit

After a year spent in pyjamas and elasticated waists (jeans? What are those again?), we’re taking any opportunity to don sequins – even if it’s for a Zoom call with the extended fam. Treat yourself to some new threads for the big day and you’ll feel at least 50% more festive – we promise.

Keep calm and carry on!

Let’s face it, Christmas can be stressful enough without the anxiety of a global pandemic factored in, so this year you absolutely have permission to write the whole thing off. Strip back anything you don’t deem essential, limit family visits if it’ll keep you sane, try and get some vitamin D where possible, and remember that in years to come, this will all be a distant memory. We’ll cheers to that!

Find more ideas here

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