Winter break is the perfect time to rest and relax from the stress of everyday life. Cuddling up on the couch with hot cocoa watching holiday movies may get boring after a while. There are plenty of family activities that can keep you from getting bored to make the most of your winter break. Use the winter break to take advantage of everything life has to offer. Here are the top things for you to add to your family’s winter break checklist.
Improve Your Home
One of the main things you may want to include on your winter break checklist is finishing the much needed repairs around your home. Weather strip windows and doors and have an audit performed to look for energy leaks. Insulate the attic and exterior walls. Change the filter on your heating system. Update cabinet and door hardware in your kitchen and bathroom.
You may want to hire professional home improvement services to take care of some of the bigger jobs. Most people typically have their roofs inspected in the spring and fall. If you haven’t done so already, you may want to have your roof inspected during winter break if the weather is clear. Check your home for water leaks and hire a plumber to make the repairs. Have a landscaping service remove any dead trees and get your lawn ready for spring.
Deep Clean Your Home
Another thing you may want to add to your winter break checklist is deep cleaning your home. Tackle the tasks you normally don’t get to such as wiping down ceiling fans and cleaning vents. Have the kids handle easier tasks such as dusting and vacuuming. Clean and disinfect all commonly touched surfaces, including electronics. Scrub down bathtubs and showers and clean behind your fridge and stove.
You may also want to tackle carpet cleaning before the holiday dinners and parties. Wash the walls, baseboards, and ceilings first to get rid of any grime before the carpet cleaners arrive. You may want to have your upholstery cleaned at the same time as well. Clean your mattresses thoroughly to get rid of dust mites and prevent the need for bed bug removal. Go through your closets and donate or sell things you no longer need or want.
Check Your Family’s Health
Checking your health insurance coverage is another item you may want to add to your winter break checklist. Make sure you have all the coverage your family needs, including vision and dental coverage. You may want to consider enrolling in a different plan before the new year arrives. If your children go away to college and they are under your insurance, you may want to double-check that there are network providers in that area. You may also want to look into short term disability and life insurance to cover your family during unexpected circumstances.
The winter break is also an excellent time for all your family members to get an annual checkup. If you don’t have a doctor, you can look for a family medical practice online. Speak with a nutritionist about how you can prepare healthier meals. Find ways to stay physically active during the winter with outdoor activities the whole family can enjoy. Try fun things like sledding, ice skating, and skiing.
Clean Your Vehicles
Another task you may want to add to your winter break checklist is getting your vehicles cleaned. You can either wash and wax them by hand as a family or drive through the local car wash. Ideally, you should wash your car about every 10 days when the temperature is above 40 degrees. You can add baking soda to the soap and water to help dissolve dried road salt that can rust your vehicle. Clean the undercarriage and get into every crack and crevice.
Clear out any debris from inside your car and wipe down all surfaces. You may want to spot clean the upholstery, especially if you have kids. Place thick towels under the rubber mats to help soak up moisture that can ruin the floor of your car. Make sure you dry your car completely after washing. Finish by re-waxing and sealing all surfaces.
Check Your Animal’s Health
Your winter break checklist should also include checking your animal’s health just like you and your family members do. Your pets should have an annual checkup through professional veterinary services. The veterinarian can check your pet for potential problems that can flare up during winter, such as arthritis and immune disorders. During your appointment, you can ask for recommendations on how to keep your pet healthy all winter long.
The cold weather can pose serious health risks to your pets. Limit outdoor exposure as much as possible and consider having your pet wear a sweater to keep them warm. Check your pet’s paws on a regular basis for cracking or bleeding. Wipe their paws, legs, and belly off completely after being outdoors to get rid of any harmful chemicals they may have been exposed to. Make sure they have plenty of access to fresh clean water and avoid overfeeding.
Get Ahead on Holiday Shopping
What winter break checklist would be complete without a little holiday shopping? The winter break is the perfect time to stock up on any last minute gifts. Whether you decide to head to the jewelry store for a diamond necklace or to the local candy shop for some sweet treats, you can find something each family member will love. If you hate the crowds, you can find plenty of great deals online. Keep in mind that you may have to opt for expedited shipping to make sure your gifts arrive on time.
Last minute holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a stressful event. You can make holiday shopping fun for the whole family by making a day of it. Spend the day exploring the shops and then go for a nice family dinner to your favorite local restaurant. Go shopping in a big city and explore the sights along the way. Finish the day off by cruising the area at night gazing at all the Christmas lights while sipping on hot cocoa.
Try New Foods
One fun item you can add to your winter break checklist is trying new foods. You can experiment making your favorite comfort foods more nutritious by adding healthier ingredients. For example, you can swap out your carb loaded pizza crust for a broccoli pizza crust instead. Trying new foods can be hard if you have a picky eater. You can try sneaking in kale to salads and smoothies without anyone being able to notice.
Involve the kids in planning and making family meals with you. They can learn valuable skills and may be more willing to try new foods they made themselves. Keep it simple and experiment with one new food item each week to add variety. The winter break is also an excellent time to catch up on some baking. The sweet treats you bake can be an enticing reward for trying out a healthy new food item for your picky eater.
Keep Up with Educational Learning
Even though they are away from their school for academics, it’s important for your kids to keep up on their studies during winter break. It is also an excellent time to start getting ready for the spring semester. Many teachers often post their syllabus or required textbooks so you can have an idea of what to get a head start on. You may even want to take some winter classes at a local community center as part of your winter break checklist to learn a few new skills. The winter break is also a good time to get an internship so it won’t interfere with future studies.
Education for your family doesn’t have to be restricted to book learning. Look for ways to help keep their minds engaged by participating in educational activities. Spend time at local museums or attend concerts in your area. Find new hobbies you can engage in together such as learning how to play an instrument or starting an indoor garden. Download some online learning apps and games that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Go on a Road Trip
A getaway is another fantastic item to add to your family’s winter break checklist. Going on a road trip can open everyone up to new cultural experiences and see the world while staving off boredom. You don’t have to travel far to have a great time. You can explore nearby cities in your state or book night at a themed lodge that offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Make it an opportunity to go see other family members you haven’t seen in a while and spend quality time together.
While you are on the road, make sure to take plenty of pictures and make a family scrapbook of your time together. Ask family members to pick one special thing they would like to see or do and then make it happen. This can make everyone feel included and spark some creative ideas you may have never thought of before. Instead of giving gifts to each for Christmas, you can choose to spend the money on taking a family vacation to somewhere nice instead. Your family can create lasting memories that can be better than some quickly forgotten items from the store.
Have a Family Games Tournament
Make your winter break checklist fun and games by having a competitive tournament or two. You can make your family game tournament anything you want it to be. You can compete against each other with card or board games or go head to head with a challenging video game. Compete against one another in singing or dancing competitions. If you need help with some family game night ideas, you can find plenty of fun activities online.
To make things fair, have everyone vote on the activities to be included in the tournament. Make sure to have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand to make it feel like a party. You can expand the fun by including neighbors or friends in on the action. Create a family scoreboard with a whiteboard or poster board to help you keep a visual track of wins and losses. You can even make your family games tournament more fun by creating a crown for the winner to wear at the end of the night.
Spend Time Volunteering
You may want part of your winter break checklist to include ways to give to those who are less fortunate than your family. With the kids out of school, you can spend some time volunteering in your community. There are many organizations that need help, especially around the holidays. You can volunteer at a food bank or serve holiday dinners to those in homeless shelters. You can research charity organizations in your local area online to see who needs volunteers.
Kids can donate old clothes or toys they no longer play with local shelters to share with kids who may not receive a Christmas gift this year. You can also create Christmas cards to send to sick children in hospitals or the elderly in nursing homes who may not be able to spend time with friends and family. Your family can adopt a soldier and send a care package to them overseas. Visit an animal shelter and help take care of the animals. You can even host parties where guests can bring an item for your family to donate to someone in need.
Your family’s winter break checklist is a perfect way for you to find ways to spend more time productively together during the winter season. You’ll not only be productive, but you’ll also be able to create memories you can cherish forever. Use these ideas as a jumpstart and add more items as you see fit. Your checklist is only limited by your imagination. Make the most of your winter break by getting started on your checklist today!