In association with Coca-Cola Great Britain
Here’s a quick quiz for you – answer yes or no to the following questions and then check your score.
In the past month, have you:
- Eaten a mince pie?
- Had a glass of sherry?
- Hummed a Christmas tune to yourself?
- Pondered a Christmas wrapping scheme (everyone does this yes?)
- Bought a Christmas-scented candle
If you answered YES to any of those questions then CONGRATULATIONS, you are ready to start the festive season! If you answered YES to all five then CONGRATULATIONS, you are me!
I absolutely love the run up to Christmas – the twinkly lights, shopping for presents, the smell of my winter-scented candles – I love it all. The trouble with Christmas though, and wanting to do all of the Christmas things, is that it can cost A LOT – both in financial terms and environmentally. The joy is sapped out of Christmas a little bit if afterwards all you have is a massive credit card bill and a mountain of plastic packaging.
As regular readers will know, I’ve been working with Coca-Cola GB over the last few months to help raise awareness of their sustainability initiatives. With Christmas fast approaching, they’ve challenged me to create a festive family-on-a-budget guide so that you can enjoy the Christmas season without it costing the earth. And, with Coca-Cola known for helping to bring the holidays to you, I’ve included a little suggestion from them at the end.
Visit a Christmas market
This is one of my favourite things to do to get myself feeling festive, and if you manage to resist the smell of mulling cider (good luck) then you don’t need to spend any money at all – just soak up the festive atmosphere. Town centre Christmas markets are normally outside, so you get to wrap up in hats and scarves and have a full-on winter experience, but if you’re less keen on the whole ‘cold cheeks for Christmas’ vibe then there are indoor options too.
You can find loads of round-ups of the best Christmas markets online to get you started – there are so many, you definitely won’t be short of options! Look out for local events in church or community halls, school Christmas fairs or events at things like National Trust properties and stately homes – there is so much going on, you’ll definitely find something nearby.
Go foraging for festive decorations
This one is a bit of a ‘two birds/one stone’ scenario, as you get to have a fun afternoon out in the woods and save money on your Christmas decorations. Get everyone bundled up in hats and gloves and set off somewhere foresty, ideally with a thermos of hot tea and some gingerbread in your rucksack.
Take some time to explore the woods and pick up things that could be upcycled into Christmas treasures – fir cones, twigs, anything at all. It’s incredibly easy to turn a few twigs into a festive star ornament – you could even do it on a picnic bench while you eat your gingerbread. If you’re feeling more adventurous you could have a go at your own Christmas wreath.
Choose a natural, eco-friendly glue for your decorations and don’t forget to recycle them after Christmas in your garden waste bin.
Gaze at some Christmas lights
Christmas lights are one of my favourite ever bits of Christmas – they’re just so damn magical, I can’t get enough. Do some research and you could take in a veritable feast of Christmas lights, from switch-ons in town centres to more permanent displays at special locations.
One easy way to entertain the family for the evening for free is simply to drive (or walk if you want to wrap up warm again!) around your local area and spot the decorations outside people’s houses. You’ll often find that there are hotspots within a town where people really go for it – ‘Deck the Halls’ style – where it’s worth a park up and explore.
Hold a winter bonfire party
Just imagine! Hot mulled wine, toasted marshmallows, everyone gathered around the fire, sharing their favourite Christmas traditions. More mulled wine, turkey sausages on the barbecue… yes, yes, I know it’s cold, but is it really that much colder than bonfire night? Also, we need to man up about being outside in the cold because it’s FUN. Plus, there is the mulled wine, did I mention that?
You could even try barbecued mince pies for the ultimate festive aroma.
Visit the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour
Remember that I mentioned a suggestion from Coca-Cola? Well, the iconic Cola-Cola Truck – the sign that the holidays really are coming – is at 24 locations throughout the UK this year, so Belle and I went along to see it when it was in Taunton. I’ve never been before, so wasn’t really sure what to expect, but every year thousands of people visit the Coca-Cola Truck Tour and there was a definite festive buzz in the air.
We popped along early afternoon for chance to look around while it was quiet, and I was so glad we did! When I went back at teatime there were hundreds of people there – families of all ages thronging around the Truck, queuing for pictures, looking for that perfect Christmas photo. The Truck was lit up and looked amazing – it took me ages to take a picture of it as so many families were snapping selfies with the Truck in the background.
Diet Coke, Coca-Cola zero sugar as well Coca-Cola original taste were on offer, as well as plenty of Christmas lights and festive selfie opportunities and, most importantly, lots of recycling bins. Coca-Cola’s aluminium cans are already made from around 42% recycled materials, and one of its global ambitions is to create a #WorldWithoutWaste, so working closely with local councils on the Truck Tour and recovering all of the packaging from each stop is hugely important.
Find out when the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour is coming to you here.
Those are a few festive ideas to get the ball rolling, but I’d love to hear about what you get up to in the run up to Christmas. Do you have any fun family traditions or favourite Christmas outings that always make you feel like the #HolidaysAreComing?
Leave a comment and let me know!
Part of a paid partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain