Why not try a different celebration this Christmas?
This article looks at alternative ways of celebrating Christmas rather than sitting around the television at home. Why not play Lord/Lady of the Manor and host a house party?
For people without close family or friends and for those who don’t want to deck the halls with boughs of holly, a six foot tree and plastic reindeer Christmas is a great time to get away for a break.
Whether you are celebrating Christmas in Essex, Edinburgh or Eastbourne you’ll find plenty of hotels offering packages, with or without the festive trimmings.
Some people want to host a house party but away from their own home. Why not invite your nearest and nearest to join you at a thatched cottage, castle or stately home you’ve hired for the holiday?
You could even host several parties on successive days; one for family, one for friends and, perhaps, one for the children.
This sort of home from home party does require plenty of planning but can be great fun. How about a Dickensian themed party or a “decorate the Christmas tree” event?
Unless you opt to ask your guests to bring their own food and drink you’ll need to think long and hard about the menus, not to mention the costs.
It could be fun to give each guest responsibility for bringing one dish and then let everyone tuck in.
Don’t forget to ask someone to dress up as Santa Claus (the real Father Christmas will obviously be too busy to attend!).
Ban television and opt instead for traditional entertainments like party games and a good old sing-song; the Downton Abbey Christmas special can wait.
If you plan to make a noise check out any restrictions on amplified music when you hire the property. The same need to consider your neighbours applies if you plan to let off celebratory fireworks at your rural retreat; the farmer next door might not be too happy about you scaring his livestock.
Once all the festivities are over ask your guests to come back the next day (at a civilised hour) to help tidy your holiday home so you don’t have to do everything.
After you and your guests have gone to so much trouble to make your Christmas house party special why not spread the goodwill a little further?
Instead of giving each other expensive gifts invite donations to sponsor a well in an African country, collect blankets and cans of food for a charity for the homeless or fill shoeboxes with goodies for the Operation Christmas Child appeal.
If you do decide to link up with a charity instead of exchanging presents you will really get into the Christmas spirit. After all, do you really need another box of chocolates or a cd of party tunes as a gift?