By Anna | December 28, 2012
I know for many people Boxing Day wouldn’t be Boxing Day without hitting the sales at 6am. It is completely rational to wish to bag a bargain.
But I tend to think that, during the ‘lull’ period between Christmas and new year – when you’re finished with familial obligations and parties, for the time being – we should avoid reverting back to the default position.
I try to do things other than shopping and spending, because a) I endured enough battling through crowds before Christmas, b) I’m usually skint and c) it’s good for the soul.
I apologise to those of you who don’t automatically get the time off (my husband is one of you). Thank you for keeping the country going while the rest of us wallow in an overeating-induced coma.
But for those for whom work shuts down the week-or-so can, at times, frankly, get a bit boring.
Here are some ideas for spending that time that will not hit your bank balance and help you keep the festive feel-good factor.
1. Take a walk or bike ride
I know this ‘tip’ isn’t exactly ground-breaking but it had to be included because going for walks around Christmas is practically law in our family. It helps you take time out to think, breathe deeply, appreciate your surroundings and, of course, burn off some of that Christmas pud.
Take the time to think about what you want from 2013. For me for example, I’m planning the changes I want to make to our new house and sourcing materials so that when we move in, hopefully in a few weeks, we can hit the ground running. You might want to redecorate a room that has always bugged you or just give it a new look by moving things around.
You might decide the new year means looking for a new job, so take this time to make sure your CV is up to date, or you may feel there are changes you want to make to your personal life or free time. Why not look into places you’d like to travel to or where you could take that art/language/yoga class you’ve always fancied?
3. Pamper yourself
If you’re anything like me, you have a cupboard full of beauty products you never get round to using, and the pile gets added to every Christmas. Turn off your phone, run a bath and start working through those face mask sachets.
5. See friends
Especially those you haven’t seen for a while, or those you think might need you the most. You could even combine a visit with your pamper day and give each other a facial or manicure.
4. Do a good deed
The inevitable cheesy and a bit preachy entry! Consider if you can find time for volunteering, start giving blood, add yourself to the organ donor register, fundraise or afford to make a donation to a charity important to you. But it doesn’t have to be so formal. Have a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, offer to look after a friend’s kids for an hour or, simply, just smile at people more.
5. Visit a local museum or gallery
Many are free to go in – Leeds art gallery, for example, which is home to works by Turner, Constable and Gormley. It’s hard to beat Yorkshire Sculpture Park on a crisp winter’s day, and with acres of historic woodland newly opened in 2012, combine this with taking your walk.
6. Read books
We all have books on our shelves we haven’t got round to reading and classic novels are often free to download onto your Kindle or iPad. I’ve just downloaded Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
7. Spring clean your house or wardrobe
I am not one for cleaning my house more than is necessary but I do have friends who I know find it therapeutic. For me, organising feels just as good. This is the perfect time to clear out your wardrobe and take things you haven’t worn all year to the charity shop. It is also a good time to sort through all your bank/insurance/pension documents and shred anything that is out of date.
8. Put your feet up and watch TV
There is absolutely nothing wrong with just enjoying a cup of tea in front of some classic Christmas telly. We all work hard and deserve to indulge in some pure relaxation.