If you’re staring at your calendar wondering just what on earth you’ll do during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I’m here to help you take full advantage of that precious time off. Whether you want to check some things off your to-do list or kick back and take it easy, I’ve rounded up seven activities that I always try to do during this period away from work. Don’t let your hard-earned free time go to waste! Here are some of the best things you can do to make the most of the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
1. Catch up with faraway friends and loved ones
Given that many people are off work the week between Christmas and New Year’s, this can be a great time to schedule those long overdue coffee dates, happy hours, and everything else you wish you had time for during the rest of the year. I love using this period as a chance to catch up with long-distance loved ones, too. Text your college crew and get some FaceTime dates on the calendar, or take some time to finally call your grandma as you take a leisurely afternoon stroll. As a bonus: If you’ll be spending this period of time alone, chatting with loved ones will help you feel a bit more connected to those who care about you.
2. Tackle an organizing project
New year, new ultra-organized me, am I right? Maybe not, but I do find that taking on an organizing project during my time off (even if it’s a small one) always makes me feel productive and ready to start the new year on the right foot. My hall closet, for example, always reverts to a danger zone no matter how much I try to stay on top of things, so I like to give it a big clean-out once a quarter. Determine one way that you can streamline your life before January rolls around. Maybe that means finally sorting through your expansive collection of beauty products or taking unwanted clothing to a donation center. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after setting aside an hour or two to get organized ahead of the new year!
3. Shop post-holiday sales
Are those holiday gift cards burning a hole in your wallet already? I’m with you. I love shopping post-Christmas sales to stock up on items I’ve had my eye on all season long. The day after Christmas, for example, is a great time to head to Target and grab heavily discounted holiday decor to tuck away for next year (for years, my mom, sister, and I would do this all together, which was always a blast). Maybe online shopping is more your speed, which makes things even easier. Change into your comfiest clothes and spend a cozy morning scouring the internet for the best deals of the year. Keep an eye out for sales on items you’ll rely upon throughout the year: makeup and skincare products, bedding, travel gear, and more.
4. Get closer to that yearly reading goal
Whether you aimed to finish 10 different books or you’re well on your way to 100, there’s no time like the week between Christmas and New Year’s to finish your TBR list with a bang. Once you’re done with that last novel, make a list of your top titles of 2023 and share them with fellow book-loving friends. Then pre-order a few reads that you’re excited about for 2024! I love checking my mail to find a novel that I ordered months back; it’s the perfect mini-surprise.
5. Whip up a new (healthy) recipe
After weeks of holiday treats, you might be craving something a little more nutritious. Why not use your free time to try out a new healthy recipe that you’ll be able to replicate throughout the year? I’m always looking for new workday lunches, and by perfecting a recipe now, I’ll be less likely to run to Sweetgreen every time I’m craving kale. One of my favorite places to source new recipes is Pinterest—I like to save a few meal ideas that look good and then pull them up while at the grocery store to ensure I gather all the necessary ingredients.
6. Play tourist in your own city
How often do you get to stroll around your city on a weekday? Take advantage of your time off work and book tickets to a theater matinee, check out that new museum, or simply admire all the holiday lights one more time before they come down. Even if traveling is off the table during your break from work, pretend to be a tourist in your own city by indulging in activities that you wouldn’t normally do on a weekday. Living in New York City, for example, I would love to spend a slow December morning at the Met followed by a delicious weekday brunch and a brisk stroll through Central Park.
7. Binge-watch a show
Who says that every moment of your time off needs to be productive? It certainly doesn’t—maybe all you want to do after a stressful year at work is simply lay back and veg out. So many amazing movies have hit the big screen this year, and if you haven’t gotten a chance to stream Barbie and Oppenheimer yet… well, now you know what you’re doing for the rest of the week! If the weather outside is particularly dreary, even better! You officially have plenty to do while cooped up indoors.