Christmas never seems as big and grand as it does when you’re a child. For weeks prior to the big day, their wide eyes see lights go up and they watch a thousand or so TV commercials advertising the latest and greatest “must have” toys. Anticipation grows and grows, and it’s really amazing their little bodies can contain it all!
Once the 26th arrives and all the presents have been opened and the relatives have gone home, there’s a natural feeling of a let down. “Is that all there is?”
Enter: after Christmas surprises!
I love having one last holiday surprise for my kids in the form of a fun Christmas outing that takes place a few days after Christmas. One year it was attending The Nutcracker. Once we drove up north to play in the snow and anther year, we drove over to Disneyland for a quick trip to catch their spectacular holiday displays. Whatever it is, it’s fun for the entire family to have one last “something” to look forward to, even a pre-planned family game and pizza night. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something special enough to look forward to.
After the flurry, focus on friends
If you can, grab your calendar right now and schedule 1 or 2 simple get-togethers with friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and any other group you’re a part of, post-Christmas. By “simple”, I mean, no stressing over the house looking “perfect”. If your friends come over to critique your home, you seriously need to get new friends. Don’t stress over the menu, either. It’s the conversations, the laughs, the shared memories and building of bonds that will be remembered, not that your party was catered by Chef Frou-Frou.
Very simple menu ideas?
- DIY sandwiches, burgers, or hot dogs
- Baked potato bar
- Soup or chili with salad and bread
- A big pot of spaghetti or baked rigatoni
- Pizza from the cheapest place in town
- Frozen lasagna (Don’t judge!)
For entertainment? How about…nothing! Nothing but talk with some music playing in the background. If the weather is cool, a fire in the fireplace cozies up the house and even a couple lighted candles add atmosphere. Your house is already decorated and is at its prettiest.
Have kids? Turn off the lights and let them play “Midnight” Hide and Seek. Adults can either sit in the dark or move to a lighted area somewhere else in the house. Card games and board games, allow for conversation — TV and video games do not! I recommend arranging an activity for the kids that won’t require a lot of supervision, or maybe pay a teenager to babysit the kids right there in your home as a way to diminish interruptions.
This year, my family fell in love with the dice game, Tenzi. It’s suitable for players of all levels and combines a very simple concept (tossing dice) with lots of competition and racing against time. I highly recommend it!
I probably don’t need to remind you, but banish all political talk for the night. Even if you’re among 100% likeminded people, you don’t need the stress or elevated blood pressure!
Whatever you plan for your post-Christmas event, don’t keep this a secret. Anticipation is part of the fun, and I always let my kids know ahead of time about our plans. How could you extend your Christmas just a wee bit longer this year?