You’ve had a wonderful Christmas and have eaten, drunk and had lots of merry times.
Then 27 December arrives and people’s ‘best behaviour’ starts to wear off.
Bad habits, moodiness and tensions creep back in as the festive excitement wanes and boredom sets in.
As a result, it can be a difficult time for some families.
So if you’re not at work, what can you do during the weird ‘lull’ time between Christmas and New Year to stop everyone falling out – and it feeling like a waste of your precious time off?
I find it’s best to have some activities planned, otherwise the chances of people getting on each others’ nerves will quickly increase.
As well as enjoying some quality family time, these days are also a great opportunity to get ahead and cross some tasks off January’s to do list.
Here are some of the things I‘m planning for the days between Christmas and New Year:
It’s surprising how much better you feel if you get outside for some fresh air, even if it is a bit rainy and cold.
Some gentle exercise will help lift everyone’s spirits and it’s a good way to work off at least some of the million calories consumed over the festive period!
Ask friends and family where they go walking and plan to visit a new park or footpath to give yourself a proper change of scene, have a kick around with a football, or give children a chance to try out their new bikes and scooters.
One activity I’m going to try with younger members of the family this year is planning an imaginary visit to another country (quite the novelty after so many travel plans had to be cancelled in 2020).
Each family member researches a destination they’re interested in or would like to visit and presents their new-found knowledge to the group.
Once everyone has presented, each participant chooses the place they would like to visit based on what they’ve learned – either the country they researched or someone else’s!
Of course, there’s also the old favourites like playing board games, watching Christmas films on TV together, or – if Covid-19 restrictions allow – going to the cinema or attending a football match or other live sports event.
Cook, bake and freeze
Use leftovers and tins and jars at the back of your cupboard to make as many meals and treats as you can fit in your freezer.
If making Christmas biscuits was one thing you didn’t have time to do before the big day, you could make them now! It might even become your family’s after-Christmas festive tradition.
Once life re-starts in January you’ll be so grateful for some instant quick, easy and cheap meals you can bung in the oven or microwave – plus it helps reduce food waste.
Organise your photos/start a scrapbook
Sorting out the hundreds of photos I take on my phone never seems to make it to the top of my to do list.
So the quiet days between Christmas and New Year is the perfect time to finally get this worthwhile job done.
I’ll delete the inevitable failed or repeat images, sort photos into albums and decide which ones I want to print.
It’s also a good idea to transfer photos to a memory stick or external hard drive to free up space on your phone and/or computer – and, of course, it’s always worth having a back-up!
Another lovely way to celebrate memories from the previous year is to create a scrapbook of ticket stubs, programmes and other memorabilia.
You don’t need a fancy scrapbook; a binder filled with recycled paper will do the job perfectly.
Learn a new skill or start a new hobby
I bet there’s a skill or hobby you kept meaning to have a go at this year, but never got around to. Well, now’s your chance!
There are loads of free or cheap online tutorials you can follow, or maybe one of your family members has a skill they’d love to share with you!
Ideas include learning a musical instrument, learning to knit and finally figuring out what the buttons do on your digital SLR camera.
If anything makes me feel a bit grumpy at this time of year, it’s a messy and cluttered home.
With all the new gifts in the house, it’s a great time to have a clear out and get rid of old stuff you don’t want.
Try not to send your unwanted items to landfill, though – lots of things can be recycled, donated to charity or sold via online marketplaces.
Have tech audit
Even though I make a conscious effort not to, I’m still guilty of wasting time checking my phone.
One of the tricks that has helped me reduce this time wasting is switching off as many unnecessary app notifications as possible
You’ll find there are actually very few that you really need, so the rest of them are merely time wasting distractions.
It’s also an opportunity to delete any apps you don’t use regularly.
Give it a go – it’s so satisfying!
Do housework you don’t normally have time for
I never seem to manage to empty the washing basket completely.
More often than not this is because there’s a few items left with ‘hand wash only’ labels and I can’t just throw them into the washing machine with everything else.
It’s annoying because they’re usually garments I really like – and because they spend so long in the washing basket, I don’t get to wear them much.
So I’ll be spending an hour carefully washing and drying all my hand wash only clothes and I’ll look forward to wearing them once again come January.
Other commonly neglected housework jobs you may wish to tackle include:
- Cleaning the inside of your windows
- Washing makeup and hair brushes
- Cleaning the vacuum cleaner filter
- Dusting behind beds and sofas.
Doing housework might sound boring, but you’ll feel so much better for having got it done – especially when January arrives and normal life resumes. Give it a go!
I hope you have a brilliant – and productive – time!