For children the appeal of Christmas often focuses squarely on the 25th but for many of us parents the true joy of the season comes a little later. Take, for example, the short window between Christmas and New Year where there are often fewer expectations – dubbed as “Twixmas” by many (from the word “betwixt” meaning “between”).
While we know the whole point of this period is to switch off and relax we also know that it might be a little hard to turn off our need to plan – and children might not let us anyway – so here are some suggestions for how you make the most of this welcome winter window of rest.
With workplaces, shopping centres and leisure activities often closed this is the perfect time to return to nature. It’s also a great way to catch up with family if guidance allows or – and we didn’t tell you this – avoid them if you’ve seen a bit too much of them over the Christmas period. It’s also a great way to work off some of those rich foods and drinks we might have enjoyed the previous week. We explore a number of ways to make a trip outdoors engaging for adults and children alike in this blog and in our free #MakeTheirsMagic Christmas calendar pack.
Start those new years resolutions early
Although self-improvement can be seen as a chore it can also be empowering to set in motion changes that will make us healthier and happier in the long run. Some changes just work better when you’re liberated from worrying about work or the school run and can change your daily habits (such as quitting smoking) but some also benefit from the extra time you have – for example cooking more healthily. Our FOOD club produces some great recipes designed to make sure you eat a balanced diet, which can be found on its recipe page.
That all sounds like a lot of work doesn’t it? And it’s not even time for New Year’s resolutions yet, so you don’t HAVE to exercise or eat well! Instead, you can just veg out, worry about all that later, and aim to make the most of your time together at home. Again, our Christmas calendar pack has plenty of suggestions for how to do so, including movie nights, board games, jigsaw puzzles and more.
Switch off (literally)
While the computers most of us hold in our pockets are simply amazing, and allow us to keep in touch with distant relatives, share treasured memories and (probably) read this article(!) they can also be a source of distraction and anxiety, with sources showing that we’re more distracted, enjoy social interactions less and, oddly, are more bored when we have access to our phones. Twixmas is the perfect time to indulge in a short detox and a long book!
As we mentioned in our blog introducing our Christmas #MakeTheirsMagic campaign play is vitally important for both children and adults alike, helping our youngsters develop socialisation skills and literacy. Playing also provides a safe space for children to make mistakes and teaches them that sometimes learning new skills takes time, so don’t be afraid to strap on your kneepads and show them how not to use the skateboard they got for Christmas! Most importantly of all playing with our children allows us to get our hands on that LEGO their uncle bought them that we’ve secretly been wanting to build since they opened it…
Twixmas is uniquely placed during the year: all of our calendar milestones are behind us, and it’s not yet time to engage with the year that will follow. This is a great time to set some time aside to consider what we’re taking away from the year – what we enjoyed and want to do more of and, perhaps, what we’d change. For many people this is a chance to improve their own lives through looking into doing things for others through such as volunteering or work in the community, but it doesn’t have to be. In our Christmas calendar pack one mum told us how she takes the time to be grateful for what she has at the tail end of each year.
She said: “Every year we put a note in our decoration box saying what we wish for in the following year. It’s something my parents did, and that my grandma did with my mum before that. It really shows how much things can change in a year, such as when my mum wasn’t very well one year and was struggling with depression. She wrote a note wishing to be happier and when she read the note the following year she was so much better, which was wonderful. I’ve done it since I was a child and at the beginning I used to wish for silly stuff, like bigger toys, but as I got older it became more personal – like when I was pregnant and I asked for a healthy baby. Instead, it became about my hopes and dreams”
We hope you enjoy the Christmas break and start the new year feeling relaxed and happy, but if you’re struggling with family life for any reason you can contact our FamilyLine service for free support, practical information and guidance.