Mini Christmas?
November 11, 2010 3:46 PM   Subscribe

How to have a smaller-than-average Christmas?

My fiancé and I are spending Christmas eve and Christmas day alone, then seeing various family members from Boxing Day onwards. How can we make it feel special and Christmassy, I'm a bit worried we'll open our presents and end up watching TV all day! Bonus points for tips for a 2 person Christmas dinner.
posted by ellieBOA to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Start a new tradition. Like, go for a Christmas hike. Or, if the weather is appropriate, build a snowman. Or if you want to stay toasty indoors, board game competitions. Or bake something ridiculously fancy. Or paint something. Or play hide and seek.

You can also choose to open gifts at the end of the day, too, to stretch the Christmassyness out a few more hours.

For dinner: ducks are small and delicious, and leftover duck sandwiches are waaaaay better than leftover turkey sandwiches.
posted by phunniemee at 3:56 PM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]

We either go for a hike or volunteer
posted by bottlebrushtree at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2010

You could volunteer to serve lunch at a food kitchen, then come home and make your own dinner.
posted by CathyG at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: we regularly have Christmas with just the two of us. It's cozy and relaxing - at least one full day where you don't have to do anything useful.

My big trick is to give him a computer game every year - that gives him something to do all day. I usually get books, so I can curl up and read all day (not that I have any shortage of books to read even without new ones. ) We may also play board games or watch movies.

For dinner, our tradition is to buy a honey baked ham and make Martha Stewart's mac and cheese. We'll do a salad or fresh green beans topped with freshly made bacon bits (and bacon grease!) for a green. The mac and cheese is just enough work to feel like a special occasion without being ridiculously too much work for just the two of us. (I think we usually make a half-sized recipe. )
posted by ansate at 4:11 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite holiday in recent memory involved an extremely low-key brunch with friends (after which they left to cook Christmas dinner for their family), a meandering hike through the woods, old-timey Christmas movies, Skyping with family, hot chocolate, a fire in the woodstove and favorite foods (pre-made or purchased--I hate cooking!) available throughout the day. It was easily the coziest and most relaxing holiday my husband and I have spent together.
posted by kayzie at 4:27 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

My family used to have a tradition on Thanksgiving weekend that the television was NOT to be turned on. We'd play board games, enjoy lots of yummy food and wine, go for long walks, listen to music, and actually talk to each other. It was fantastic.
posted by Sara C. at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2010

I like the food kitchen idea, but please call ahead -- some organizations have a glut of volunteers on holidays like this and nobody the rest of the time.
posted by tantivy at 5:41 PM on November 11, 2010

Best answer: Big breakfast, presents from family/away/Santa, then go out somewhere, then nap/sex then cocktails, dinner, open your presents to each other. And champagne and repeat afternoon delight.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:55 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Fondue is our new Christmas eve tradition! Festive, social, delicious and really easy-you feel like you've celebrated without trashing the whole kitchen.

Open some really fabulous wine.

Fire in the fireplace.
posted by purenitrous at 6:13 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sleep in, big over-the-top breakfast. Then put on some music and open presents.

In early afternoon, get some clothes on and get outdoors. The hike suggestion is spot-on, as is volunteering. It's really special to be with strangers on Christmas, people who are really eager to connect.

Nap/sex is a great suggestion upon returning home. Afternoon is also a good time for phoning/emailing friends and family who you want to talk with in person on this day.

Evening, consider inviting people over. A lot of people are booked for Christmas morning and/or Christmas dinner midday, but might be free by evening time; you may have friends (particularly elderly/childfree/pre-child friends) for whom the evening is kind of unbooked. Having a late-day get together, with some food and wine and music, maybe watch a new gift DVD together, can be great.
posted by Miko at 7:17 PM on November 11, 2010

Best answer: - Christmas brunch made together - raisin bread French toast is very festive
- Clean up from brunch with music playing, fire on (if you've got a fireplace, yule log on the TV if you don't). Soma FM does a great non-traditional Christmas playlist during the season
- Bake gingerbread cookie pieces together
- Go on a walk/hike/looking at lights stroll
- Come back and put a small roast/turkey breast/long cooking thing in the oven
- Turn off the TV, assemble the gingerbread house together (or just frost cookies if you're not structurally inclined). This can be eaten by Boxing Day visitors
- String popcorn/cranberries/similar for a garland for the tree, making a game of it (every piece you have to tell a joke, tell a story, name animal, say something you like/love)
- Cook sides (small thing of smashed potatoes, side dish of green beans, bag o' salad)
- Set the table super formal -- with candles, a centerpiece (you can make the centerpiece together earlier), open a bottle of wine or champagne
- Take your time with dinner
- Open presents. Make each other guess before each is opened. Wrap the presents as to fool the other as to what they are.
- Playing/trying on/goofing with presents
- Dessert (if you didn't snack on all the cookies beforehand)
- Watch IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, SCROOGED or your choice of traditional movie together with eggnog. Caramel corn is rather Christmasy
- Do the dishes, throw away wrapping and straighten up together with dim lighting, Christmas music
- Card game, board game or cuddling/making out, depending on you
posted by Gucky at 8:48 PM on November 11, 2010

Oh, my family's tradition is to go to a movie Christmas evening -- after dinner, before the cleaning up. I've maintained that with my husband even on the Christmases it's just us. It's normally the time the "Serious Oscar Contenders" are all in the theaters so it kills a good 3 hours. It's not Christmas without it to me, but you may not be the same.
posted by Gucky at 8:58 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: These are all great answers, feeling a lot better about a small Christmas! Thanks everyone :)
posted by ellieBOA at 10:32 AM on November 12, 2010

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