2020 has been a year like no other, and Christmas is set to follow the same path.

With 'social distancing' and 'stay home' part of our everyday vocabulary since the pandemic began, we've had to go months without many things we once took for granted.

And with restrictions still in place in Wales, we still don't know exactly what Christmas will look like.

But while it's bound to be slightly different this time around, there are still a huge amount of things you can do in Newport to restore some festive cheer.

So put on your Christmas jumper, sip a mulled wine and check out what Newport has to offer this year.

1. Go Christmas shopping

After two lockdowns, our already-struggling high streets have been suffering even more.

It's been an incredibly tough year on the retail front, especially if you're a small business, and those businesses need your support more than ever.

Earlier this month, Newport Council announced its car parks in the city centre would be free on the weekends throughout December and January, emphasising that the city was "open for business" through the Christmas season.

Diverse Vinyl on Charles Street is just one of a host of independent businesses you can support this Christmas

With that in mind, there's really no more important time to support some of Newport's great local traders.

A list of some of the city's best independent businesses (though there are many more) is available here.

2. Visit the pop-up Christmas shop

Although there are plenty of regular traders in Newport, it wouldn't be Christmas without something a bit different, would it?

This year there will be a pop-up Christmas shop in Friars Walk shopping centre offering all things festive.

Newport's pop-up Christmas shop in Friars Walk is now open

Run by events company Green Top Events, the shop features market-style vendors selling local artisan food and drinks, along with some talented hand crafted gift stalls.

Featuring the likes of MINT & Feather, E-Designs jewellery and gifts, Tudor Brewery and P&P Possibilities, the shop opened last week and will run until Wednesday, December 23, from 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on a Sunday.

3. Enjoy the Christmas lights

There's something extra Christmassy about wandering about town with no particular plan, wrapped up warm with a hot drink in your hand, and checking out the twinkling Christmas lights.

Newport launched its Countdown to Christmas as a virtual event earlier this month, but there's nothing stopping you walking by and checking out the newly-put up tree in all its glory.

Fancy some Christmas treats? Watch our video on the festive McDonald's menu

4. Buy some hand-crafted gifts at the Christmas market

No Christmas would be complete without a market, and this year is no different.

Le Pub on the high street will be running its Christmas market on December 12, giving punters the chance to browse and pick up some cute Christmas gifts for their loved ones.

While precise details are yet to be confirmed, lots of hand made crafts, cards, chocolates and other gifts are promised.

Keep an eye on the Le Pub Facebook page for more information.

5. Have a cosy pint in the pub with family

While we're still waiting to find out exactly what the rules on mixing with other households will be this Christmas, at the moment the pubs are open for business.

The current rules state that up to four people from different households are permitted to meet in the pub, though the number of people can be larger if all people are from a single household.

Ye Olde Murenger is the perfect spot for a festive pint

While that may change, for now it is possible to enjoy a pint with your household or a small number of your friends in some of Newport's best pubs - however, anyone doing this is advised to maximise the distance between themselves and others from different households, and to stick to the current guidelines.

6. Drive around and see some of Newport's most Christmassy houses

Every year you see those households who have gone all-out on decorations - from real-life Santas and sleighs in the garden to towering, smartly dressed snowmen and lights bursting with colour lining the house.

Sometimes, it's fun to just drive around and admire them from afar.

We'll be hoping to see a few more houses like this one in Newport a few years back

From flashing Rudolphs to snow jets, there's something really heartwarming about seeing a house that's pulled out all the stops for their festive displays, especially if you've got youngsters in tow.

7. Pay a virtual visit to Santa's grotto

Any parent will know Christmas isn't Christmas without a visit to Santa.

Sadly, the pandemic means it'll be a little more difficult to meet the man himself this year.

But never fear - a children's charity has organised a virtual Santa's grotto this year, meaning you can meet him online and get that all-important wish list in.

Children in Wales will still get to meet Santa this year

The Virtual Santa's Grotto will be available from Friday, December 5 thanks to the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital Charity.

Pre-recorded messages from Santa or a live video call from him are £15, with the funds going towards the charity to fund equipment, facilities and services at Wales’ national children’s hospital.

Find out more or book a place here.

8. ... or get a real-life doorstep visit

If you're really desperate to meet Santa himself, you'll be able to get a real-life visit from the main man on your doorstep.

Priced at £20-£25, these safe doorstep visits will allow you and all the family to experience the magic of Christmas in person.

Santa will be making the trip through a number of areas in Newport, including Maesglas/the Gaer, Duffryn and other areas of Newport and the general Gwent area, so just check out which one works best for you.