We went off on one at the beginning of the month about how we kind of resent New Years resolutions and are choosing instead to make 2016 a Happy You Year. Of course, it’s very easy to spout inspirational pep talks like that, but it’s hard to imagine what a Happy You Year might really look like. Well, not any more, folks. Community Manager Nicola is here. In the last few weeks she’s given us examples of what a Happy You Spring, a Happy You Summer, and a Happy You Autumn might involve, and today she is imagining how a Happy You Winter might look:
- Waking up, remembering he has to go to work today, groaning, and going back to sleep.
- Snoozing the alarm seven times.
- Getting up and thinking ‘I can’t believe the rest of the world has to do this every day’.
- Realising his suit hasn’t been washed after the last time her wore it.
- Giving his suit a cursory sniff and a quick febreze.
- Trying on a million other outfits just in case this year’s the year he decides to mix it up a bit.
- Deciding against mixing it up a bit.
- Saying ‘hey, it’s Christmas’ as he contemplates a healthy breakfast and instead goes for a slice of cold pizza from last night.
- Telling himself throughout the morning that he’ll start work in ten minutes and never quite managing.
- Getting yelled at by Mrs Claus and all of his head elves for getting under their feet all day.
- Insisting on putting the bows on all of the presents.
- Insisting on checking every part of tomorrow’s Christmas dinner “isn’t poisoned”.
- Getting in trouble for eating all of tomorrow’s Christmas dinner at lunchtime on Christmas Eve.
- Being put to work crossing the bottoms of the sprouts to keep him out of the way.
- Remembering he never bought Mrs Claus a present.
- Panic shopping in the frozen North Pole tundra.
- Getting a red cup North Pole Starbucks.
- Finding nothing of any use, so visiting gift.wonderush.com and sorting it there.
- Wondering how to break it to Mrs Claus that she’s going to have to move to the UK so she can take advantage of her brand new Wonderush subscription.
- Planning all of the sweets he’s going to eat when Mrs Claus is away having fun and is no longer there to keep an eye on him.
- Apologising to the angry elf who’s had to hunt him down after he disappeared and went shopping on the most important day of the year.
- Being marched back across the tundra.
- Heading straight to the stables to find his reindeer shaking their heads in exasperation.
- Getting into his sleigh and performing his pre-flight checks.
- Wishing there was someone to listen to his safety announcements.
- Beginning to check that all of the presents have been packed, but losing the will to live halfway through and deciding just to hope for the best.
- Wondering why Will Ferrell never comes along for the ride any more.
- Putting on his ‘jolly Santa’ face and getting on with it.
2015 has been the year that Londoners did some really cool stuff with their free time, and we’re super-proud that we were able to help you to do that. We put together some of our favourite facts and figures for the year to prove to you all just how awesome you’ve been in 2015. Here’s to a Happy New You in 2016! (clinks invisible champagne glass. wishes it wasn’t invisible.)
Aaaaah, Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We wish it could be Christmas every day. It’s just that sometimes it can get a bit, well, stressful. It’s not always easy to admit that you suffer from festive freakouts, since there’s that Scrooge accusation that tends to quickly follow, but it’s finally time to come clean. Sometimes it can all get to be a bit much. Case in point: One member of team Wonderush has had (and talked about) nothing but Secret Santa present delivery drama this week. This is not what Santa and Cliff Richard envisaged when they invented Christmas. So, in honour of the occasion we’ve been thinking about ways we can switch our focus and make sure we enjoy the season. And we’re so nice we decided to share them. You know, because we are the human embodiment of Christmas spirit.
‘Tis the season, and ‘twould be a crying shame not to take full advantage of that Christmassiest of drinks. If mulled wine doesn’t tickle your fancy there’s always mulled cider, or good old prosecco with a price tag higher than the North pole. Or if that’s not your bag just have a gin and hold a piece of holly. Basically what we’re saying is that there are hundreds of Christmas-specific drinks out there, and alcohol might help solve your problems. Just remember we are not doctors giving actual medically-approved advice (shocker).
Going hand in hand with alcohol is obviously food. December is the one time of the year that you can graze for three weeks straight without anybody batting an eyelid. It’s also acceptable to eat a gigantic roast dinner, followed by seconds, followed by dessert, followed by a couple of chocolates, followed by a rogue pig in a blanket that ‘fell off the plate while I was washing up’, followed by a full-on cheese plate a couple of hours later. Embrace this time, for it is beautiful. And remember, we are still not doctors so this is all fine.
Nothing says ‘Christmas’ quite like getting suddenly and deeply obsessed with Eastenders, just in time for their epic, seven-hour, live, Christmas day episode featuring at least 4 deaths. Or maybe you’re more of a film type, in which case there are loads of bad ones on over the Christmas period. And now that Netflix has been invented, well. Our Christmas lives have been changed. Sometimes all you need is a distraction from festive freakouts and TV is there to be just that. We wouldn’t normally advocate spending all of your time sitting in front of the telly, but since it’s a time to take it easy we’re making an exception.
If you’re not the type of person who can just sit in front of the TV, or drink your feelings, that’s also fine. Meditation is a great way to take some time for yourself and unwind, and trying a meditation class is a perfect way to get started if you’re a first-timer. You’ll clear your mind, you’ll focus on your breathing, and you might finally being able to stop worrying about whether the carrot-to-sprout ratio of your Christmas dinner is going to be adequate.
It’s easier said than done, but you could just try promising yourself not to feel guilty this year. We worry about the gifts we’re getting people, the cards we have or haven’t sent, the charity donations we haven’t left ourselves room in the budget for, the allergies our guests might have that they may not have mentioned, whether everyone’s going to have something that they like to eat… Guess what? It’s too much. Everyone will have a lovely time with you and will accept the free stuff they are given with a grateful heart and if they don’t, they are not worth feeling guilty over. The Christmas elf has spoken.
See some lights
Festive freakouts make the whole of Christmas seem like a massive, overwhelming mess, and quite possibly one that smells a little bit like turkey. So go out. Go to a city centre, or just walk around the streets near home, and take in some lights. It’s quiet, and it’s dark, and things are pretty still. We guarantee that while you’re gone nothing disastrous will happen to your piles of unwrapped gifts and un-written cards (provided you lock the door to your house) and it’s a nice way to take a break. After all, people worked hard to put lights up, it’d be rude not to take time out and enjoy them.
Revel with the best of them
Sometimes we just have to let the crowds go and get into the spirit of things. Christmas markets look hellish from the outside but often end up being quite fun once you get into the swing of it. Work Christmas parties can seem like the last thing we want to go to (spend more time with these people? Really?!), but the same thing happens. Christmas celebrations are never quite as bad as we expect them to be, and at least this way you have a few memories of the festive season that aren’t just about panicking over whether to sign off a Christmas card to your in-laws with ‘love’ or not.
There’s always someone who you either forget, who’s just impossible to buy for, or who gets you a gift so much better than the one you got them that you immediately enter festive freakout territory. Not fun. But luckily there’s now a super-quick way to buy a really good gift and have it ready immediately, even if you’re on the fly. We’ve introduced a series of gift subscriptions so that you can give the gift of fun (cheesy but true) to your nearest and dearest. After all, homes in London are so tiny these days that nobody has the space for any more physical stuff. With a Wonderush gift subscription your loved ones can make the most of their free time any way they choose, without having to worry about extortionate prices for individual activities. That sounds like a fantastic idea to us. They’ll love it.*
*Yes. We are biased. But we’re still confident that we’re right.
It can be difficult to sort out gifts for everyone in our lives at Christmas. Whether you’re dealing with people who seem to have everything, people who don’t appear to have any interests, or even just people who keep smugly insisting they don’t need anything and you should just put the money to better use (but you know they’ll still get you something. Grr.), it can be difficult to find something suitable. We’ve trawled the internet for ‘Top Gifts of 2015’ lists and, quite frankly, they’re actually a bit rubbish. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to put together our own carefully-blended selection of classics, new stuff, and things you probably hadn’t thought of before, that might just change everything. You’re welcome.
One of the most disappointing misnomers of the year, since this does not hover in any way, but it’s still pretty cool. We’ve all seen kids whizzing around on them by now, haven’t we? There are two wheels, and it moves as you lean in any direction. You’ll find yourself feeling much lighter when you’re on it, as well, because you won’t have to worry about the weight of that pesky bank balance any more (i.e. They are expensive).
People love nothing more than to feel self-righteous, and that is never easier than when you’re carrying your little Nutribullet cup around with you while everybody else drinks their (gasp!) shop-bought juices and smoothies, or indeed (gasp! Shock horror!) drinks no smoothies whatsoever. This is the perfect gift for the vitamin-deprived person in your life.
3. Adele tickets
Something that would have taken a little bit of forward planning to achieve, since they seem to be well and truly sold out until the end of time, but if you managed to pull off an Adele ticket purchase as a Christmas present, you do now belong to an elite team of gift-givers who are knocking Christmas out of the park this year. We both salute you, and wish we were somehow related to you.
4. Obligatory socks and/or pyjamas
This is something that people always roll their eyes at and make jokes about. However, we all have to admit that if we do happen to end up buying PJs and socks in April because our final pairs have succumbed to the ravages of holes, and nobody gave us any for Christmas, we will feel a bit hard done by. It’s painful to publicly announce this, but there you have it.
5. Tracy Island
This is one for the kids… Ok, fine. It’s also one for the adults who remember spending hours of our precious time slaving over cardboard boxes and a videotape of Blue Peter when we were younger. Tracy Island is now an all-singing, all-dancing, fancy extravaganza. There’s interactivity, it’s made of sturdy materials, and it even does a 5,4,3,2,1 countdown for you. Honestly. Kids don’t know they’re born these days.
An essential for all of those who like to daydream about taking epic videos of big events, and are also happy to look at hours of aerial footage of their back garden or local park when that doesn’t happen. Lets face it, we buy these things with the best of intentions and they often don’t pan out. But should that mean we never buy ourselves nice things? Absolutely not.
7. Organiser and/or diary
Christmas is swiftly followed by New Years Resolution season. How close these two dates are, we do not know, because unfortunately we do not yet own a diary. New levels of organisation are quite often the resolution of choice for people, and it goes without saying that a diary and/or organiser is essential. Plus, when we fall out of the habit after two weeks it’ll make a great plant pot stand.
8. Urban Decay Naked Palette
This may just be me, but eyeshadows are the kind of thing it feels like we often don’t deliberately buy, and yet we always have them available. And if we’re going to have unsolicited eyeshadow floating around our makeup collections, it might as well be some of the best. So good, in fact, that every time they release a new version of this palette it sets the internet a tiny bit on fire. That’s definitely a promising start.
9. Alcohol and/or chocolate
The kind of thing that you’re either going to consume in a glorious ‘treats and tv’ binge somewhere between Christmas and January 1st, or hold onto until your resolutions start to unravel around February or March. Even if you have the willpower of a saint and don’tend up cracking them open yourself, there is boundless potential for regifting, so all is not lost. You’ve just been saved money further down the line.
There’s obviously a slight bias coming out here, but this is basically the perfect gift. Whether you worry that your friends and family aren’t getting out enough, or they’re just the type of people who own too much stuff and have no hobbies, this might be just the thing. Our gift subscriptions are available for three, six, or twelve months and are guaranteed to make you the most popular person in your group this festive season. Your friends might be fitness freaks, theatre fans, music lovers, foodies, crafty types… We could go on. There are a lot of kinds of person in the world. Whatever their interests, though, Wonderush is designed to appeal to them all. So, sign your friends up and bask in their gratitude for the length of their gift subscription.
The office party is a social minefield, and around Christmas there tends to be hundreds of them. We were going to put together a guide for how to handle them but it felt pretty hypocritical, because Team Wonderush are not exactly the model of social appropriateness a lot of the time. So we decided to list the thoughts many of us find ourselves having every year. Erm… We imagine.
- I am a professional, and I will not be drinking tonight.
- I will have one drink.
- It would be rude not to have at least a couple of drinks.
- I’m such a professional. Get me, talking to my boss’ boss like he’s a real person.
- I wonder who I should share my recently-gained wine-tasting expertise with next.
- I need to find a canape pretty sharpish.
- I wish I’d known everyone else was dressing so casually.
- I hope everyone gets drunk enough later that I can take these shoes off and they won’t notice.
- Oh god oh god oh god, that guy’s going to want to talk numbers. Avoid.
- I need a distraction so I can fix this wedgie situation.
- Seriously. Who makes canapes this small?
- I hope my recipient likes my handmade secret Santa gift (and I hope I get bought one from an actual shop in return).
- Prosecco’s made of grapes, so this drink is basically a healthy smoothie.
- I wish I had my life together like Janet from Accounts.
- I’m so glad I went to that private shopping event to get THE BEST OUTFIT HERE.
- If that dude says ‘banter’ one more time I swear to god I will leave.
- I wonder when it’s acceptable to ‘go on’ somewhere else.
- By which I do, of course, mean ‘go on’ home to my bed. Or to catch up with everyone else on that pub crawl.
- Seriously, would it kill them to pass around a tray of realistically-sized food at some point?
- I wish there was someone here who could match my awesome swing dance skills.
- I’m very proud that we’ve all managed to go this long without anybody photocopying their- Oh, never mind.
- Man, everyone is so jealous of my awesome Macarena skills.
- I wonder if it’s acceptable to supplement this lot with my desk wine.
- It’s so nice how I can continue to be so processional when I’ve had so many drinks.
- Processional. Protessional. Profressional. *hic* That word is hard.
- Maybe I can just have a little lie down under my desk now.
Guys it’s December. Somewhere in the North Pole Santa is engaged in an epic Rocky-style training montage to get ready for his upcoming travels, and somewhere in London I opened a bottle of sherry first thing in the morning on December first and will not be putting it down until 2016. It’s a very exciting time of year and London is bringing it in the ‘Things to do’ department. Here are some of our favourites for this month but, as ever, feel free to let us know if we’ve missed something.
How do you make ice skating less terrifying (personal feelings of the author slightly coming through here)? Add cheesy music and a bar. This is a monthly event, but Decembers is billed as a Christmas special which means – you guessed it – Christmas music. I imagine skating will add a whole new dimension to We’re Walking In The Air, at the very least.
An alternative pantomime with a cast of brilliant comedians who have basically no budget. This is actually the fourth panto produced by the Weirdos. Previous productions have included a live version of Hook and a KFC origins story. So if you’re bored of the traditional fairytales, or just don’t want to spend an evening in a room full of screaming children, this is the panto for you.
Christmas lights are pretty, and this is a whole new way to see them. The tour is slow, and takes mainly quiet streets, so that’s one less thing to worry about. You’ll be shown sights like Harrods, Winter Wonderland, and Oxford Street, which are all looking pretty flippin’ good right now.
This is billed as “the ultimate drinking, dining, and immersive theatre experience to help Londoners celebrate the dark side of Christmas”, so definitely one for the people who want to get away from the same old Christmassy activities. The cocktails sound great and the food looks really good, so it’s definitely worth a look.
Obviously, December isn’t just the season of flying reindeer and overeating. It also includes New Year’s Eve and its time-honoured combination of reminiscing, re-evaluating, and drinking seven too many proseccos. Resolution is a play that encompasses just that as it follows a couple through several New Year’s Eves, making people laugh and cry along the way.
This is essentially the best egg and spoon race ever, except that it’s in a relay format and has been given a festive twist. Participants (who are, naturally, raising money for charity) must keep their Christmas puddings on a plate while they take on an obstacle course including a foam slalom and running over an air mattress. Even if you’re not taking part, it’s worth going along to see people making festive fools of themselves.
7. Brick 2015
Not necessarily festive, but not everything is in December. This is the perfect event for the Lego-lover in your life. The show includes the chance to buy new or very rare lego sets, a display of amazing models built by diehard Lego fans and (saving the best until last) giant pits full of bricks which allow anyone to take a seat and set about building whatever catches their imagination. So much fun.
Hopefully this list will help you to get out and about and find something awesome to do this month – after all ’tis very much the season to make the most of everything. Ho ho ho, and all that. And for even more things to across London, don’t forget to have a browse of the Wonderush site to see what else is out there.