Gifts and presents for every occasion

Naughty or nice: 5 ways to create Christmas cheer - and 5 to cause festive mischief

Whether it’s a self-appointed role or one we have inherited from family tradition, we all have our own unique approach to Christmas.

 

Are you “the music person” who makes sure Wizzard and Slade are on repeat? Are you the “booze master” who ensures drinking begins from the moment you’re awake? Maybe you’re “the cook” who gives ravenous (and half cut) family members the festive feast they’ve been looking forward to all year?

 

There are other roles. Secret roles. Clandestine roles. Roles behind roles. Some of us work undercover and behind the scenes to add mischief and mayhem to the merriment - from practical jokes and games to good banter.

 

Are you the person who hides things in people’s food? Are you the one with the practical joke kit distributing fake spiders? Or are you the one touting mistletoe?

 

Here are five different ways to create Christmas cheer and five to cause festive mischief to help make your 2017 Christmas one to remember.

 

5      ways to bring Christmas cheer

 

  1. Cooking

Eating together is the bedrock of family life. It’s why kitchens are the centre of the household. And so, cooking and preparing food for loved ones is as important for the chefs as it is the diners. Nothing warms the hearts of cooks like seeing smiling faces tuck into a delicious roast dinner or hearing noises of appreciation - and the odd “thank you”!

 

At Christmas, you don’t have to be head chef in charge of the turkey to play a part. The rise of baking has made creative bakers of millions of can’t-cook/won’t-cook people. So why not bake a tea-time treat? Cupcakes, buns or biscuits.

Failing that, you could always work up some mulled wine. Which is, technically cooking, isn’t it?

 

  1. Singing

They may not be the best songs ever written, but Christmas songs have a unique power to put us in a very specific mood. “It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaaaas”. So even though the odd cynic or skeptic will whinge about having to hear Wham/Mariah Carey again, everyone else will love joining in on choruses of “Do they know it’s christmas time at aaaa-lll?” It’s basically postmodern carol singing for people who don’t want to go outdoors.

 

If you are sick of the same Christmas CD (if it’s on cassette you might seriously think about updating your collection) why not hunt for some fun cover versions? There are dozens of albums that recreate Christmas classics from classic hymns to Jingle Bells and the Darkness in jazz, rock and even heavy metal styles. (Just watch your granny’s face when you play Lemmy and Dave Grohl’s version of Run Rudolph Run).  

 

  1. Creativity

This is where the fun really starts. Food’s good, songs are fun and a drink is only traditional. But we expect all these things. What we need is something new and exciting and unpredictable, we need to make sure we remember this year. And what better way than something random?

 

Many families do organised creativity: making paper chains or tree decorations. While this creates great cheer, it tends to happen before Christmas day. Christmas day tends to be more anarchic as all age groups descend on one house. And that’s when the best fun happens.

 

Why not get some Play Doh and make everyone - grandparents included - make something seasonal. It’s always hilarious. Drawing is always fun, and all you need is a pen and some paper. Get everyone to draw the person to their left. The worse the drawing, the better. And you never know, there might be a budding artist in the family.

 

Dressing up is another arena for creative fun. Why not dress super smart? Or super silly? For no reason other than it’s Christmas? Got a tuxedo? Wear it. Got a dinosaur onesie? Wear it? Maybe you and your family could make a costume out of old wrapping paper. Now that’s recycling!

 

  1. Games

The ability of games to bring the family together is as powerful now as it was in Victorian times and before. Board games can be fun, but space and including everyone can be an issue. Also, board games can be a little restrictive for the more anarchic amongst us - you feel more locked into a board game than a “party game”.

So why not get everyone involved in a game of charades or Pictionary?

 

Other games you can play for great family laughs include:

  • I know you! Everyone writes down three things they like, and three things they don’t, and puts them in a bag. Pull them out one at a time and see if you can guess whose they are.
  • The name game. Everyone writes down the name of a famous person on a small piece of paper and passes it to the person on their left (unseen). They then lick it and stick it to their forehead - before trying to guess who their person is, by asking questions about them.
  • The Mummy. Split into two teams and, using, a toilet roll, try to create a mummy quicker than the other team. Oh, and film it on your phone for immediate reminiscing and megalols.
  • Or try playing charades, only about moments from your family’s history. For example: act out the time when your dad fell into the river or accidentally set fire to the dog.

 

  1. Buying AWESOME presents

Some people pride themselves on buying the best presents for people. From elaborate Christmas gifts to simple stocking fillers, you’re sure to find something to make you laugh, cry or feel like you cannot wait to get the present home and start using it.

 

But what’s the secret to giving someone a meaningful, thoughtful, useful, and valuable present? It’s tough, because not all recipients were created equal. Sometimes the smallest of gifts can do it (a generalisation maybe, but dad’s love a new Phillips screwdriver, “why do they wear out so fast?!”). For others, money is a key factor - buying things for people that otherwise would be out of reach: holidays, skydives, cars etc.

 

One tip is to pay attention all year round. Put a note in your phone and add all of the things that someone says they like: from a pint of real ale to that funny flamingo lamp in the window of your neighbour’s house. Even if it’s not an ultimate gift, it really is the thought that counts.

 

“Homemade” is still a winning tactic for thoughtful presents. And you don’t need to build a treehouse or knit someone a jumper. Why not bake something? Western affluence and consumer culture has made people choosier and choosier. We’re therefore harder to buy for. You might not know your Xbox from your Playstation, but everyone loves a homemade foody present. Bake some festive biscuits or even a cake and decorate it with a personal message. Make some chutney or preserve. Some people even grow and mix their own herb blends while others even make their own wine, beer or cider.

 

Five ways to cause festive mischief

 

  1. Mistletoe

It might strike some as strange that mistletoe could play a role in a family gathering, but it’s range of responses always gets a laugh. Whether you’re embarrassing small kiddies about kisses, or whooping as your grandparents share a snog, there is fun to be had.

 

  1. Snowball fights

Obviously, this is reliant on the weather. (You’d think that with our weather, Brits would have worked out ways of not relying on the weather). But if it does snow, it is essential to enjoy it while it lasts. Just be careful that you’re not including sticks or stones in your snowballs.

 

For the very mischievous, bringing snow into the house and gingerly placing on a sleeping person’s head or inside a collar is always good for a laugh - if a little mean.

 

  1. Joke presents

Joke presents can be a true source of festive naughtiness. There is a universe of adult humour gifts from penis pasta and candy G-string to the ‘I heart dogging’ mug and the now perennial favourite - the Borat mankini.

But there are also family-safe joke presents that can bring mirth and merriment to your Christmas. What about a wine glass that can hold a whole bottle of wine, or perhaps the “Gift Of Nothing” (a packet with nothing in)? And who doesn’t love an inflatable zimmer frame? Awesomely pointless and always hilarious.

 

  1. Mischief gallery

Since the rise of social media, this has become a staple for many pranksters. Get one or more dolls or action toys (something that’s a person) and create various scenarios around the house. Take photos of each and post them to your social channels to share with anyone that can’t be there.

 

You only have to look on Pinterest to find other people’s inventive scenes with Christmas elf dolls - from elves riding caterpillars made out of apples to one being captured and pinned by Lego figures.  

 

  1.  Practical jokes

There are lots of classic practical jokes that just never seem to get old. Bubble wrap under the toilet seat is a classic, changing the clock times confuses to great effect and you’ll always know who’s in the toilet if you hide all the toilet paper.

 

And those are some you can do without specialist equipment (purchased jokes).

 

Buy some googly eyes and decorate your family portraits or shock and annoy them with plastics spiders, plastic poo and rubber biscuits. Fart powder is brilliant if you can slip it into someone’s drink, fake parking tickets are great, and fake broken window stickers always give a moment’s panic.

 

And Whoopee cushions will never stop being funny. Scientists have proven it (maybe).

For more Christmas chher ideas view our range of Christmas Ideas.