Holiday season excitement starts at the beginning of November and only builds in intensity until the crescendo of Christmas Day, when friends and family gather from all corners of the country to celebrate love and intimacy. However, after the clock strikes midnight on December 25 and the holiday festivities definitively end, most out-of-town guests hang around for a day or more — with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs.
The come-down from Christmas is swift, and most holiday hosts lack the energy to continue accommodating guests for much longer. Fortunately, many of the easiest post-Christmas activities lack serious preparation, and some even encourage overstaying guests to start heading home.
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Ask for Help Cleaning Up
It takes effort to deck your halls in preparation for the holidays, and it takes just as much time and energy to take those decorations down when the season finishes. Just imagining all the work it takes to disassemble Christmas is a chore in itself: Not only must you wash towels and sheets used by departed house guests, but you must take down every hint of the holidays, from the lights and ornaments on the tree to every red and green candlestick in your home. Your remaining guests can help break down the bits and baubles of Christmas, which will also signal to them that the festivities are over.
Explore the Shops
While the promotional events before the holidays are unendingly useful for gathering Christmas presents, the seasonal sales after festivities end can be even more lucrative for avid shoppers. You and your guests can head to the stores to accrue outstandingly reduced Christmas decorations for next year — or even just make your favorite purchases at premium prices. Your guests could love or loathe venturing into the swarm of post-Christmas shops, but either way, you win.
Take Long Walks
Christmas requires quite a bit of feasting, which can be taxing on any tummy. Satiety often inspires lethargy, which may be why your guests are so loath to leave. To resolve lazy lingering, you can encourage your friends and family to go for walks around the neighborhood, through nearby parks, and even amidst shopping centers.
The New York Times reports that brief walks following feasts aids with digestion and helps regulate blood sugar levels, which allows holiday guests to feel both comfortable and vigorous during the end of the season.
Bake More Desserts
Even after you baked 100 batches of chocolate thumbprint cookies and 10 varieties of holiday pie, you probably have pounds of sugar, flour, and butter left over — plus the helping hands of your leftover holiday guests.
Fortunately, most desserts freeze exceedingly well, so devoting your post-Christmas week to more baking could keep you well-stocked in sweets until the next holiday season. Plus, when your guests finally head out, they can take extra desserts home to continue celebrating Christmas by themselves.
Ask for Feedback
From early November to Christmas Day, you are likely so busy straightening the house, preparing holiday menus, and planning visitor itineraries that you have hardly a minute to question your strategy.
Now that the stress of the biggest celebration is over, you can ask your guests what elements of your festivities they most enjoyed and which they could live without. With this information, you can make next year the best holiday season yet.
Get Back to a Regular Routine
The holidays are important because they allow everyone a much-needed end-of-year vacation from daily life, but the holidays aren’t special if you allow this vacation to extend farther than necessary. By getting back to your regular routine — going to work, going to the gym, going on errands — you will feel more fulfilled after Christmas, and your guests will have little choice but to follow your lead.
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Break Out the Board Games
If your house is spotless, your post-Christmas shopping is done, your cupboards are bursting with baked goods, and you are preparing to head back to work — if all of this is true, and your holiday house guests are still sticking around, it might be time to bring out the board games.
While some tabletop games encourage filial love and cooperation, many more do not, and after a few high-stress games of Monopoly or Risk, you’ll either have loads of lasting holiday memories or a happily empty house, finally.