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18th December 2020

Saving Christmas 2020: Staying merry despite restrictions

Katie Bray shares her tips and recommendations for merry seasonal spirit and a happy holiday in the times of restrictions

Whether you’re spending the holidays at home or in an accommodation, you should certainly treat yourself to something festive this year. Reward all that hard studying with yule tide activities and something scrumptious to get you in the mood!

You may be wondering what you can do with the restrictions in lockdown or various tiers that are still in place; There is still plenty of things to lift your mood! There’s the traditional turkey with all the trimmings, but perhaps you’d like something different this year?

Here’s a list of some of the most festive treats and activities that you, your friends or family could enjoy this December!

 Stock up on your favourite Christmas food and drinks

Photo: PxHere

Christmas isn’t about food, but it certainly is a bonus. As festive treats like mince pies and fruit cakes reappear in shops, be indulgent! Additionally, your favourite alcohol, soft-drinks or hot chocolate are also a great way to get into the festive spirit.

Even better: try making your own treats this year! Release your inner child and go wild decorating festive cookies or cupcakes. If you’re stuck and have no idea what to make, check out Pinterest or BBC Food.


 Zoom or FaceTime loved ones

I would highly recommend utilising technology to your advantage. Make the distance between you and friends or family feel smaller: play a fun quiz or game over the internet or have a simple phone call. You could play Heads Up or Charades, Among Us, or anything else you can think of!


Put up decorations or make your own

If you have some decorations with you, put them up to feel festive. If not, perhaps use a few spare scraps of paper and make your own. We’ve all made paper snowflakes before, but try one of these tutorials to keep you in the creative Christmas spirit.


Listen to some Christmas Music

Enjoy the festive season and the records you can only crack out at this time of year! Tired of the usual festive songs? Why not check out our Music section for alternatives?


Watch a Christmas Movie

Photo: Stephen McKay @ Wikimedia Commons

I could rattle on for hours about the sheer quantity of Christmas movies available, from classics like A Christmas Carol and A Wonderful Life to more recent movies like Arthur Christmas, Fred Claus, The Polar Express, The Grinch… These are only a few of the movies available across streaming services. Keep an eye on the TV schedules over the next few weeks!


Wrap up in warm winter clothes

Nothing is cosier than wearing your woolly jumper and fluffy socks. Even if you aren’t going anywhere, I guarantee you will feel more relaxed if you wrap up. If you’re feeling especially festive, wear your ugly Christmas sweater and antlers or a comical hat and share your spirit with friends and family!


Compete in fun Christmas Quizzes

If you are not sick of online quizzing yet, lots of societies have been offering a variety of fun quizzes. If these aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps try one from YouTube, even if you don’t want a Christmas theme, there will be plenty of music, film, book, and science quizzes across the web.

Try 100 Christmas quiz questions for virtual pub quiz at home – Daily Record


Do something creative

Whether it’s creating a short movie, painting, or writing a short story, doing something you enjoy will help you feel better, besides creating skills and experience for your CV.


Do some Christmas shopping

Shopping doesn’t have to be a pre-COVID activity with most retailers owning a website and delivery services. It also doesn’t have to be expensive. You may be struggling with what to buy your friend, but before you check out the most expensive brands, why not check out gifting companies like Not On The High Street for ideas. Additionally, there are many student-led, a well as local businesses that would greatly appreciate your support by buying locally and ethically.


Go for safe walks with friends

Even though it’s getting colder, walking and exercise is known to have positive effects on your mental and physical wellbeing. You could go for a simple walk around a park or your neighbourhood. You could even take photographs of your walk, especially during the snowy season.


Carol in a zoom choir or write a Christmas song

Even if you are not an expert musician, you can still have fun making music. It could be Christmassy, reflective, emotional, energetic, or whatever you want. Try singing with a small group.


Watch a Theatre show.

Missing theatre this year? Look no further. Many theatre companies have released opportunities for free screenings of their shows. This Christmas, some of the most notable shows will include:

Sky Arts:

  • ‘National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night@ 9pm Monday 21st December 2020.
  • Phantom of the Opera at The Albert Hall’@ 9pm Thursday 24th December 2020. 
  • Les Misérables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary’@ 6:05pm Saturday 26th December 2020. 

& Much more! 

YouTube: Theatre Weekly‘s article contains links to different theatre reproductions, including Henry V, Richard II and Top Story.

Dinsey+: If you have access to Disney+ then be sure to check out their filming of Hamilton.


Listen to relaxing podcasts

Listen to something educational, festive or relaxing; anything that you can think of will keep you occupied this Christmas. A great historical podcast is BBC’s ‘In Our Time’ if you have a passion for history.


Join in on your society’s socials

Lots of the societies are offering activities, quizzes, and socials, with some really unique activities. Check their social pages or find more information here.


Watch Christmas specials of your favourite shows

No matter the show, it’s pretty likely that they will have or will be releasing a Christmas special. From Friends to Strictly Come Dancing and Coronation Street.


But most importantly, take the holidays to relax and recover after the first semester, reflect on positives, and reconnect with family and friends. Do what makes you happy.

Happy Holidays!


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