Christmas is that special time of year, where we embrace long-standing traditions that have been carried over through countless generations. However, much like our generation has challenged so many other parts of the status quo, a millennial Christmas might look very different to what we’ve grown accustomed to.
The war on Christmas is nothing new. For years, incoming and more liberal generations strive towards making the festive season as inclusive as possible, where we substitute phrases like “Merry Christmas” with “Happy holidays”, in recognition of the fact that Christmas is typically just a few weeks apart from other religious celebrations like Hannukah for Jews and the Diwali Festival of Lights for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs and some Buddhists.
And there’s no doubt that you will have read articles, such as this one, which shows that countless Christmas traditions are falling by the wayside as the millennial generation has reached the age where we are now raising our own families.
Only 6% of millennials in the UK will be going carol singing, just 9% will be roasting chestnuts and 19% will be making a Christmas cake. Political correctness (or the quarrel with it) aside, millennials just aren’t that into Christmas.
I, for one, just don’t care for it. It’s too busy, there are too many things to buy, events to attend, you put on weight… you see family that you specifically only see once a year FOR A REASON. And really, to me, Christmas time is just for kids. However, there is really no escaping Christmas. Sorry, haters, but you’re gonna have to deal with it. Or perhaps you actually love Christmas! Whether you’re planning on a big Christmas dinner (which we do not advise in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic), or just doing something small, we’ve got a great compilation of ideas to get you into the Christmas spirit and to add that extra gloss to your festivities.
1. Snow-covered Christmas trees
The centrepiece for every home’s Christmas decorations should always be, of course, your Christmas tree. But that big green monolith that graced your childhood home for years is now out of date and all the rage is about white Christmas trees.
Christmas trees should be a long term investment, so rather spend big now than have to replace the tree you bought on the cheap two years from now. Also rather go for the trees with green branches and frosted tips. It’s supposed to look like the tree is snow-covered. In my opinion, the all-white is a bit kitsch, and you want your fake tree (because who can deal with the mess?) to look as real as possible. And if you have an old-school, green tree and aren’t willing to make the big investment, there are ways to apply your own frosting with spray paint or using tinsel and artificial snow to get the same effects.
2. A Vegan twist on Christmas recipes
You knew it had to be part of this list. As millennials, we are the first generation to truly embrace veganism. And the sad reality is that pretty much the entire range of decadent Christmas food is either meat or dairy based. So it only makes sense that we have to add some vegan recipes to our repertoires. If not, the vegans will just be eating roast potatoes all day.
Fortunately, BBC has compiled a list of 62 vegan Christmas recipes, including Vegan Christmas pudding, Vegan mince pies, Vegan gingerbread cookies, Vegan Yorkshire pudding and other plant-based alternative to the traditional recipes we’re all used to.
3. All of the lights
Yes. That’s what Kanye was singing about…
As different as millennials are from older generations, there’s one Christmas tradition that will probably never die – the decorations. Perhaps nothing can quite get you into the Christmas spirit as easily as trees, wreaths and elaborate Christmas lights.
There are some notable differences in the way our homes are being lit up these days, however – that is, if you live in a part of the world like the United States where they take lighting up their homes very seriously.
We’ve moved away from the traditional outdoor tree, line your gutters with flashy, durable lights, wrap tree trunks in green and red style of outdoor Christmas decor into something that has become a little more rustic, simple and… critically… that you may even be tempted into keeping up all year round.
If you’re a millennial and decorating for the first time, try following the rule of thumb which has slowly become, the simpler, the better. If we’re losing that nostalgic, traditional feeling that Christmas is supposed to bring about, bring out old everyday household items and transform them into something special that gives your home a “modern Christmas” look.
Gifts are always tricky, personal and differ from person to person. Christmas, we all know deep down, is an ode to consumerism and we are all starting to reconsider how we do gifting. A recent survey by The Sun on over 2000 US adults found that millennials are, surprisingly, spending more on gifts than any other generation – an average of $33.451 on six people. Gen Z, by contrast, will be spending $219.75. Even Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are spending $12 less than millennials, on average. This year, gift cards and clothing are the most popular gifts, both in terms of what people are buying (51% gift cards, 43% clothing)) and what they want (52% gift cards, 40% clothing).
Given that shopping will be very difficult to navigate in the COVID era… maybe just opt for the gift cards this year.
5. The pandemic Christmas
To wrap up our list, we want to point out the obvious. The Essential Millennial team cannot stress enough that your number one priority for Christmas in 2020 should be your safety and that of your family, particularly your parents and grandparents who likely fall into vulnerable categories. Try not to travel over long distances and do everything you can to avoid crowded malls. Do your shopping online and cut down on the size of your table this year. And while we can all hope that Christmas 2021 will be a safe one, there’s no telling when the next communicable disease comes along. So set-up your safety protocols this year in anticipation of the very real possibility that it may have to become a permanent fixture in our Christmas traditions.
From all of us at The Essential Millennial, stay safe and have a Merry Christmas! (And happy holidays to those who don’t celebrate).