How will you fill the period betwixt Christmas and New Year -- Twixmas, as it’s often called? The days can easily blend together. But the break from school and work (for many) is a golden opportunity to do something as a family. With lockdowns and Tier restrictions limiting the options, here are seven ideas for spending Twixmas with your family.
Travel might be restricted for many of us, but not even a full lockdown would prevent a family walk. Have you totally explored the local area? Can you say you’ve ventured down every street? Here’s a fun thing to try. Get a map and mark a circle of roughly one mile radius around your home. Look for places within that circle that you’ve never visited before, then go see what’s there. You could even shade in areas of the map after each adventure. All done? Increase the circle to two miles!
We’ve got a well-trodden archive of interesting walks in most areas of the country if you’re looking for further inspiration.
Craft Away All That Packaging
Christmas brings mountains of discarded packaging as we unwrap all those presents. And I dare say that spent toilet roll tubes increase in abundance, as an indelicate consequence of over-dining! So what are you going to do with all that card, ribbon and gift-wrap?
Crafting, of course! If you haven’t discovered it already, we’ve got an almost inexhaustible list of craft activities for families, all filed and indexed by theme.
Have A Big Declutter
The problem with doing so many craft projects is that your home ends up cluttered with craft projects. Right after Christmas is an excellent time to clear out the old to make way for the new. Most of us have a bit more time on our hands, and plenty of rich food that needs burning off. Read our guide to decluttering your home one room at a time, with the help of the kids.
Cuddle Up For A Film
Christmas over? Pah! Not in this household. We’re still making merry through to the new year, and that means we’re not slacking off on the Christmas movies. The streaming services have no shortage of festive films to keep the mood going. We’ve listed out the new films alongside the old classics available this year.
Play (Or Make) A Board Game
Ah, the traditional family activity for the twixmas period. You probably don’t need us to tell you which of the many classic games to play. But you might want to brush up on these seven things that happen every time a family plays Monopoly. And here’s a thought… If you're bored of the old boards, why not try making your own?
Spot Some Wildlife
Winter can feel like an unpromising time to explore the natural world. Few flowers bloom, while many insects and mammals hunker down. Yet the season does come with opportunities. This is a great time to spot rarer birds. With most of the trees bare of leaves, they’re a lot easier to see. Plus, cooler weather = fewer people about to startle them. Many nature reserves and wetland centres are still open, even in Tier 3, if you’re lucky enough to live close by.
At the very least, you could see what you can attract to your garden by leaving out bird food. Finches, tits and robins are more common than you might think, and will visit most gardens who offer food (so long as you don’t have a cat). You might even consider building a bird box, ready for nesting pairs.
Put on a few grams over the festive period? The post-Christmas fitness binge is itself an annual tradition, often folded optimistically into a New Year’s Resolution. Why not get started in the Twixmas period, and involve the whole family? You can do so without leaving the house using these top tips aimed at parents with under-5s. For those with older children, take a look at these fitness trackers aimed at helping teens and older kids keep fit.
However you spend Twixmas, we hope you stay safe and warm and merry.
Although originally from the Midlands, and trained as a biochemist, Matt has somehow found himself writing about London for a living. He's a former editor and long-time contributor to Londonist.com and has written several books about the capital. He's also the father of two preschoolers.