The Do Whatever You Want Day tradition on the day after Christmas started on a year when we were particularly stressed after pulling off the magical feat of Christmas Day with little kids and extended family. I don’t know about you but one of my best night’s of sleep all year is on the night of December 25th when my brain isn’t obsessed with finding that last present I hid, whether my deviled eggs will turn out or whether so-and-so liked their gift.
I thought, “We all just need a day off to stay home, relax, eat leftovers, read our new books and be obligation FREE.” Thus the tradition was born.
We told the kids, “It’s Do Whatever You Want Day! For EVERYone!” By way of explanation, here are the rules:
Rule One: Sleep in or get up early, it’s your choice.
The kids know to not disturb our long winter’s nap on the 26th. They can stay in bed until noon or get up at 7:00 to get a jump start on their new video game–they get to decide. Some years I get up early to enjoy the quiet, some years I sleep in.
Rule Two: Staying home and in pajamas all day is highly encouraged.
Part of our day off is not driving anyone anywhere and we usually have new pajamas, robes, socks, etc. so why not wear them…all day?? And fighting the day-after-Christmas sale people is strictly avoided. Some years we’ll walk to the park or my folks’ house but that’s about it.
Rule Three: No one cooks or cleans.
The kids get a break from chores and Mom and Dad don’t cook (unless, of course, they want to). We say, “Eat the treats you were given or scavenge the fridge for leftovers. You’re on your own.” Paper plates and plastic utensils are readily available.
They love it because they’ll heat up a couple pieces of bacon, grab a piece of banana bread a neighbor gave us and finish off with some candy from their stocking along with a mug of cocoa. Mom and Dad eat breakfast casserole leftovers and drink the fancy coffee. Lunch is usually ham sandwiches and chips. Dinner is probably popcorn.
As tempting as it is, I don’t clean up except maybe to clear the contents of a stocking off my favorite chair. I’ll admit, I often do a clean-up late on the 25th–just enough so we’re not wading through wrapping paper or tripping on toys. The rest of the mess can wait until the 27th.
Rule Four: Play with your new toys.
Part of the beauty of the day after Christmas is everyone should have new toys to keep them occupied and happy. Of course there are also new books, journals, candles, bath salts, lotions, etc. so besides playing, why not…
- have a bath (and perhaps a facial)
- fill in your new day planner
- dive into that book
- watch a movie
- make a craft
- play a board game
- play with your new gadgets
- make a pot of tea
- put out your new pillows or decor people gave you
It’s a great day for puttering! Read more here.
Rule Five: Breathe.
We all need a long exhale after the holiday craziness. Maybe you need to take a long walk or do a brain dump. Whatever it is, take time to let your shoulders drop and celebrate the wins. It’s so much work…I try to hold in my mind that moment when I said, “It was all worth it,” whether it was the “Wow!” from a kid or the “How did you remember I wanted this??” from a family member or the delight of a nephew from a homemade treat you know they love.
What would you do with your day after Christmas? I’d love to add to the list!
Feel free to share!
Aja Currey says
Great article! Thank you!