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XMas Bucket List
A bucket list of holiday activities that we would try to punch out from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
11. Roast Chestnuts
I remember back at Christmas time when I was just a small boy, e and my family would always visit the local German marketplace and it was fantastic. Brockwurst sausages, all the different cheeses and of course the roasted chestnuts. Now I realise that it isnt a German specific custom to have roast chestnuts, but its the place I remember having them from, and they were delicious. If you have ever walked past them and thought yuck you do not know what you are missing, then again if you are allergic to nuts its probably best to stay from these. If there is a German market around your area, or even close by, at this time of year then I would say go, go and enjoy the festivities and whilst you are there look out for those roast chestnuts. There is also the option of buying your own fresh chestnuts from the local supermarket in which case you can cook them yourself, needless to say an open fire actually IS the best way to cook them in my honest opinion, I have also cooked them in a traditional oven and they tasted just fine. Another Christmas tradition and one you should try out for sure, maybe you could even introduce it in with number 9 on this list and kill two birds with one stone! (three birds if you include the turkey).
12. Make Your Own Christmas Cards
Not contempt with buying and sending out generic Christmas cards, my dear old mother has been creating her own for as long as I can remember, in fact she has gotten so good at tit over the years that she now even does wedding invitations and the like for friends and family. Anyway the point is that Christmas cards dont always have to be flimsy pieces of lightweight card, folded in the middle with an image of some classic scenery with snow on top of the trees. You see if you create your own cards they can pretty much be anything you want them to be. The best thing about making your own is that they are personal, as well as a much higher quality, you can add peoples names to them, you can use a million and one different methods, materials and sizes, the skys the limit in all honesty and as long you are able to use a glue gun, a pair of scissors and you have some fancy bits and bobs you can add to the card then you are off on the right foot. So if you want to stop sending generic cards, you know what to do, make your own.
13. Give To A Childrens Charity
This is becoming a lot more widely accepted everywhere nowadays, there was a time when this would have been unheard of, but you can literally walk into any supermarket and the chances are they have a trolley, box or basket waiting for you to buy something and add to it. I think this is a great idea, and would be even better if most of these charitable trolleys and boxes were visible at the front of the store (most Ive seen were only noticeable AFTER paying for my groceries). That being said you dont have to rely on the supermarkets to help you out, if you are really interested in doing something for a childrens charity you could start up your very own Christmas fundraiser around your local area, or maybe just go out buy a couple of things and then head over to your local childrens charity and offer them your gifts. This is the season for giving and I honestly cannot think of any persons that deserve a few nice presents this time of year more than the children these charities represent. So get your woolly hats on, grab your gloves and scarf and do something great today.
14. Go To Midnight Mass
If to you, Christmas is more about Christianity than giving presents and cards then maybe this will be your cup of tea; I am personally not all that religious, well, if I am being honest I would have to say I am not in the slightest bit religious, but thats my choice and thats fine. If however you and your family are religious then you will no doubt want to attend the Christmas Mass celebrations, for a family or group of friends that are all religious I think this is great; honestly, you all get together, sing carols, hymns and help one another, it is a good social event to be part of (if you are religious). Ive always been a little confused about the whole midnight mass celebrations though, I mean, I get that it is on midnight because it is the first second, minute and hour of Christmas Day (Jesus birthday) but it just seems odd that everyone goes out and has mass at such a late hour of the night. Im sure its all very traditional feeling and cosy though and if you are religious in anyway, shape or form then I hope your festive celebrations are very enjoyable.
15. Go Ice Skating
You remember those old movies on the television which had ice skaters casually skating around a frozen lake or outdoor ice rink? I always used to think Yeah, right, like anyone is going to actually skate on a frozen lake, what if the ice breaks! a lovely notion Im sure youll agree. That aside though, I have always enjoyed ice skating, and doing it on an outdoor rink is great, you can go with friends or family, maybe take the children with you? Its becoming somewhat of a tradition with me and my family now and I love going ice skating and seeing how much everyone is enjoying themselves. I think it brings a sense of Christmas spirit with it too, I mean come on, if skating outdoors next to the traditional German Christmas market, with a hugely decorated Christmas tree in full view and Christmas lighting everywhere, doesnt get you into the Christmas mood then I dont think anything will. Try it out just once, I am sure you will love it, plus if there is a German market nearby your rink, maybe you can get yourself some roast chesnuts.
16. Bake Some Mince Pies
The proof is in the pudding they say, well once youve cooked up these little gems along with making your own mulled wine (number 19 on this list) then you should be well on your way to feeling all Christmassy. I remember many, many moons ago when I would bake cookies, mince pies and flour dough ornaments for the Christmas tree with my dear grandma, I loved it, it was such an exciting time for myself and my siblings, its strange that so much time has passed and now I see my own little boy is doing the exact same things with his grandma (my mother). I love seeing the excitement on his face as he helps make a complete mess throughout the entire kitchen, and the rest of the house when he decides to go to the bathroom covered in flour (oops). So back to the point of this item, baking mince pies is a great way to spend time with others, as well as make something really tasty to eat, and of course you cant get much more festive than a mince pie right? If you havent made mince pies before then it is definitely something to try and if you have a family (and a big enough kitchen) then I highly recommend doing it as a family, it will get you all together and get you spending quality time with one another.
17. Visit The Harrods Christmas Grotto In London
Now I have already mentioned that you should go and take the kids to see santa, but this is a little different, and although I have never been to the Harrods Christmas Grotto I have heard it is great fun for everyone who attends. Harrods is one of Londons most famous stores, owned by the very well known and highly respected Muhammed Al Fayed. Harrods has been a very high end store for the past 40 years or more now and shows no signs of slowing. Whats interesting about Harrods Christmas Grotto is that they actually have their very own Harrods Christmas Parade too, which is quite unheard of elsewhere in the UK, I guess you could say that Harrods is the UK equivalent of Macys in the US. Back to the subject of Harrods Christmas Grotto, the fee is
18. Christmas Lights Being Turned On
Im sure that many of you will already attend the annual lighting of the city for Christmas in your own home towns, its nothing new as you know; it is worth mentioning though because many people forget the date, or even that is happening . The lighting of the citys Christmas lights is great because it brings hundreds if not thousands of people together in celebration, and uite often you will find there is some sort of fayre, market or other parade. Here in my own hometown, we usually have the honor of some minor celebrity to open up the celebrations, the past two years have seen former XFactor (a UK telvision show) contestants open up the festivities, not an amazing sight Im sure you will agree but its all in good spirit and of course it is free to attend. So if you have never been before, or if you had forgotten it was happening then get yourself mingling with the other Christmassy people of your home town.
19. Kiss Someone Underneath The Mistletoe
A time honored tradition that gets the single men itching to get their crush under the mistletoe and the women in constant stealth mode trying to avoid it like the plague; okay well maybe its not THAT bad but I have certainly seen a few funny and awkward moments when the mistletoe tradition isnt as mutually appreciated by one person as it is by the other (and it is usually the women that have dislike it). I can understand why though, who would want to be kissed by someone that repulses you right? On the other hand, it is great for getting up close and personal with that certain someone you havent yet had the guts to talk to about your feelings, I think this is such a good tradition, and it really does bring me a lot of fun, even if it is through watching others miserably fail at getting that kiss they are desperate for! I will give you one tip when putting up mistletoe; be careful where you put it and remember where it is! The last thing you want is to receive a big sloppy kiss from your InLaws.
20. Give Your Unwanted Clothes
Weve all got old clothes from time to time right? Either we have just decided we no longer like them, or maybe you have lost a lot of weight (or put some on) the point is that these unwanted clothes often get put straight into the bin, which is a big no no really. Just think of those that are less fortunate than you are, and believe me there are people less fortunate than you, regardsless of how bad ou may think things are at the moment. I like to bag up a load of clothes around a week before Christmas, making sure that they are all clean and in good enough condition; I know you are giving them away but there is no point in giving away something that is unwearable right? I love doing this every year because it really does give me a sense that I have done something good, and I have, those people in the shelter would have had to stay in the clothes they have been wearing for weeks or months on end, and with this time of year being so cold over here I think its important to help as much as you can. Trust me do this and you will not only feel great about yourself, you will be really helping people and thats what Christmas is supposed to be about isnt it.
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