Top Ten Things to Do On Christmas Day after the presents are opened


Opening presents and eating breakfast only last a few hours at most and then you’re left with the whole rest of the day to find something productive to do for everyone in your family. The following are some ideas to help keep everyone in the family spirit and prevent some meltdowns by all members of your family.

  1. Make it a movie day- You can choose whether you want to splurge and see the movies at the theater or stay in and watch dvds/Netflix. Either way, you’ll keep the family fighting to a minimum and you’ll get to catch up on the newest movies or bring back childhood memories by watching your favorite Christmas classics.  Have plenty of snacks and hot cocoa to really add to the experience.

  2. Go for a family walk- Help the younger family members burn off all of that candy and energy by taking them outside for a little exercise.  Get everyone involved to help get everyone out of the house and to get some fresh air.  You don’t have to go far especially if you have people who have trouble walking long distances but it’s a healthy activity that mostly everyone can participate in.

  3. Go Ice Skating- Brenton Ice Skating rink is open from 4pm-9pm so if you’d like to try out ice skating as a family activity, this would be a great opportunity since it shouldn’t be too busy on Christmas day.  Even if you don’t end up skating, watching people try to learn it is well worth the price of admission.

  4. See the holiday light displays before they’re closed for the season-  Have everyone jump in the car and crank up the holiday music as you hit up the prettiest Christmas light displays in Des Moines.  Pack your own mug of hot chocolate since a lot of gas stations and coffee shops are closed for the holiday.  Click here for the best places to see the holiday lights displays in Des Moines.

  5. Tackle a home project you’ve been meaning to do- This is better if you’re not hosting family but even if you are, you could put them to work. Have you been meaning to organize your closet or paint a room? Why not spend the day knocking something off your to-do list so you’ll feel like you accomplished something worthwhile today.  If you’re cooped up, you might as well be productive.

  6. Give gifts to those who live in a retirement home in your community- Most people forget about those who live in retirement homes especially with the hubbub of the holidays.  Take today to spoil those who may not have any visitors on the holidays and bring them a small gift like a poinsettia, a throw blanket, crossword puzzles with a pack of pens to go with it to enjoy once you’ve left.  They’ll appreciate having someone visit them and you’ll feel good knowing you helped brighten their day.

  7. Get ready for the after Christmas sales- Take the time to go over what sales you want to hit up and what is worth spending those gift cards on that you got for presents.  Decide if any of your presents need to be taken back and read up on the store’s return policy so you won’t have any surprises when you get there.  The after Christmas sales often times are better than Black Friday so take this free time to plan out your plan of attack.

  8. Write your thank you notes- If you write them the same day you receive your gifts, you won’t have to worry about remembering to do them once life goes back to normal after the holidays are over.  Take the time to write a heartfelt note that expresses how you feel about the person and how grateful you are to have them in your life.  Drop them in the mailbox on your way out to whatever activity you have planned so you’re guaranteed a speedy delivery. They’ll be happy to get a note that’s more than just a quick thank you and they’ll appreciate receiving it so soon after the holiday.

  9. Have a baking contest with family and neighbors- If you’re famous for your holiday treats, have a healthy competition with family members or friends and have everyone bake 2 dozen (or less if your group is smaller) of their best cookies and decide to meet up in the afternoon to decide who made the top treat.  You’ll each be able to take home everyone’s contribution and if you win, you’ll get to hold the title until next year’s competition.

  10. Plan for next Christmas- Figure out what you could improve upon next year so you don’t run into the same problems. If you overspent on presents, decide on a budget for each person and start saving for it next month. If you would rather be out of town next year, look into the top places to travel for Christmas to find a deal now when rates are cheapest.  If this year didn’t go as planned, you’ll be ready by planning now for next year.

For the best winter events in and around Des Moines, click here.

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