Lockdown Christmas traditions we’re keeping

Zoe Lea 3 December 2021

In the midst of last year's lockdown, people were forced to come up with new ideas. We spoke to those opting to stick with them this year too

This Christmas is set to be everything it should be, but last Christmas was a little challenging. With Covid restrictions in force for much of the UK, it meant a lot of us had to re-think how to celebrate the festive season.

Not being able to take part in the usual Christmas traditions compelled some people to create new ones. Traditions that were so successful, that even though they don’t have to, they’re doing them again this year!

We Camped out under the Christmas Tree

When it became apparent that a lot of activities wouldn’t be allowed, Grace Olsen thought of ways she could bring the festive spirit to her two children, then aged five and seven.

"I was a bit sad that you only get a few years of magic Christmases when they are little, and I was gutted that we were missing out on lots of stuff on one of their best years. I just wanted to try and create as much extra magic as possible."

This came in the idea of camping out under the Christmas tree. As the family would normally go to enjoy a live pantomime in December, Grace got the idea of watching a pantomime on televisionbut with the added excitement of sleeping under the tree.

"We brought down the duvets with Christmas covers on, loads of pillows, made a bed on the floor and got into our pyjamas. We then watched the panto in the dark with just the lights from the tree. We always have a big, lovely real Christmas tree and with the lights flickering and glowing, with us all cosy and festive, it just felt really magical. The kids thought it was absolutely brilliant and both fell asleep curled up under the tree."

And will she be doing it again this year?

‘Yes. Absolutely doing it again! We will probably go and enjoy a live panto if we can, but we’ll definitely be doing the Christmas tree sleepover at some point.’

I Decorated the Front of my House

Dee Featherstone from Peterborough describes herself as someone who didn’t enjoy the festive season, but after having her son Alfie, that changed.

"I never actually liked Christmas before having my sonI was definitely more of a scrooge. But something changes when you have children, and you see just how magical it really is.

Alfie was twenty-nine-months last Christmas, and he was really excited about the lights and was beginning to understand the concept of Christmas and after last year and being stuck in so much, I really just wanted to bring that magic to life."

"I never actually liked Christmas before having my son—I was definitely more of a scrooge"

This came in the form of decorating the outside of her house for the whole neighborhood to enjoy.

"Seeing his face when I started to put more items outside really made it worth it and that to me is what it is all about, him seeing the magic. I had snow lights on the walls (so it looks like it's snowing), lights in the bushes, window lights and a giant inflatable Santa which all the kids would stop by and give a high five. I'm planning on adding a few more bits this year."

Dee also spread the Christmas cheer a little more by having the idea of creating something people could take away from her amazing display. This had the added benefit of showing her son the value of giving, as well as the magic of Christmas.

"I made up some Christmas packs for our local neighborhood children in which I put toys, chocolate, colouring books in etc. and left them near our giant Santa for families to collect."

It was so successful Dee received a lovely little card through her door full of gratitude and wishing her a lovely Christmas.

"It's such a weird feeling because I'm really excited for Christmas this year. I would normally dread it and I've already told my husband I'll be buying more for the garden!".

I Created an Activity Advent Calendar

When her five-year-old daughter, Sophie, had to isolate around the Christmas period, Amy Thompson had an innovative idea that would make sure both her, and her seven-year-old brother, Will, were entertained.

"I wanted to do something a bit different and special as it was going to be the first Christmas with no Santa visits or trips to Christmas markets, but I still wanted to give them a special December."

Amy, who is an event and wedding planner, wrote down activities on pieces of paper and put them into an advent calendar for the children to open. Each activity was different and a total surprise.

‘Movie night with treats,’ ‘game night,’ ‘zoom with their cousins’ and ‘baking’ were just some of the activities that they opened on those chilly December mornings that kept them excited for the day ahead.

"We did almost all of them together. Christmas is a time to spend with family but when we couldn't see our extended family, the kids were quite upset so we tried to make it as special as possible with the advent calendar. Some of the activities we would have done anyway, like watching Christmas movies, but they thought it was a special treat every time they opened an activity because we made a big deal out of it."

Amy plans to do the same again this year and is already thinking of new activities to add that won’t have to be within the lockdown restrictions.

I Started a ‘Corbetts at Christmas’

Jacob Brydon from Edinburgh had an idea to do something completely different when he learned that he’d have more time on the special day, he decided to go for a hike.

"Last year when I was trying to desperately work out how to get people together for Christmas, a lot of my family made the decision to downsize our get together and take the pressure off meeting up on Christmas Day, and instead try to arrange get togethers throughout the festive period. It’s something we’ll keep up for surefar less pressure on anyone and no stress with last minute lockdown restrictions or anything like that!"

When he learned he’d have more of the day to enjoy to himself, and that he’d also have to stay local, Jacob made the decision to do something that gave him a chance to explore the places near him.

"I took off in the car and headed to ‘The Merrick’ in the Galloway Forest for a walk. Hoped to take in the views, share photos with the family as we were all doing our own things, and then come together later in the day, virtually, to share our experiences. I met a few other people who had the same idea to go for a Christmas walk, and it was great to get out and about explore somewhere new."

And this Christmas, he’s repeating the tradition.

"This year, I’m hoping to find another hill to climb, and our family will be doing the same virtual get together to share how our day wentso hopefully plenty more stunning views to take in! Corbetts are mountains in Scotland between 2500-3000ftso usually a few hours walk to the top! Perfect to blow away the festive cobwebs".

I Made My Own Christmas Presents

Roxie Broun who runs the website Mum Days and Escapes, has always loved the outdoors but with the restrictions in place last year, it meant she spent more time in nature than ever. This led to making her own Christmas presents in the form of sloe gin and candles.

‘We have always spent a lot of time outside as a family, but Lockdown meant that myself in particular really started to appreciate nature even more. It led me to read about foraging and all the wonderful food you could make with the things you could find locally.  Sloe gin seemed an easy thing to try and I thought it would make a nice gift as it already has Christmas connotations. The candles came about because I wanted something I could make to go with it. I had a candle making kit when I was a kid and remembered it being quite easy! I made them cinnamon, and orange scented so they smelt lovely and Christmassy.’

There’s also the added bonus that a handmade gift holds so much more thought than a shop bought one and it’s something that Roxie loved about the whole thing.

Making gifts is cheaper than buying gifts and I think it’s really lovely creating something from scratch. I felt proud of myself! I think to receive something that has been made for you is lovely too. So much more thought and effort than buying store bought. They were made with love and that’s exactly why I want to do it again this year, and the years that follow.’

Read more: 5 books to pull you out of your reading slump

Read more: The ultimate 2021 Christmas guide

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