Staying in Manila and need a list of in-between Christmas break activities? We gotchu
It’s kind of funny, but there are always a lot of activities happening in the weeks and days leading up to Christmas itself—and then there seems to be a kind of halt before the New Year rings around. There’s a break that happens, usually because people are going back home to their provinces, utilizing the last leaves of the year or catching up on that much needed R&R.
But in case you want to use that downtime for something a little more productive than staring at the ceiling—because you just aren’t the type—here’s a list of Christmas break activities you can do to take advantage of the slow down.
Clean up your house/apartment/bedroom
There’s a superstition that says you should have a literal cleanup of your living space before the next year rolls around. They say it’s like getting rid of all the negative energy that accumulated over the last twelve months. So if you haven’t Marie Kondo-ed your life, this is the time to do so.
And even if you don’t believe in superstitions, at least you’ll still feel like you’re starting fresh.
Get a haircut
This is, again, one of those sayings that parents often say: Get a haircut before the year ends because it will help get rid of the bad luck. I, for one, never thought this was relevant (and I especially hate getting haircuts anyway), but it has some logical bearing, too. It’s the time to experiment, because no one’s in town—by the time anyone sees you, you would have already found ways to make it work (hopefully).
Learn a new skill
Always wanted to learn how to cook? With the reunions I’m sure you have lined up, now is the time to get in that kitchen and learn how to make your family’s signature dish. Don’t know how to drive? The roads will never be as clear as they are now, so it might be time to turn on that ignition. Not one to get in the water without a life vest? I’m going to sound like a hypocrite here, but at least not a lot of people will see you fumble about the water this time of year as you try to learn a survival skill.
If we’re being honest, most charities nowadays as for monetary support as opposed to time—but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. If you’re a little averse to shelling out cash, there are still places you can visit to give back this time of year.
The Virlanie Foundation, for example, makes it easy for groups to spend time with the orphans that are under their care. If that means just spending an afternoon in play or throwing a Christmas party with mascots and spaghetti, then go for it. You can also check out Kythe, Greenpeace Philippines or any of the groups in your own local government.
Catch up on your “New Year’s” Resolutions
Whatever your vowed to get done this year, it isn’t too late. Get to the gym, call that friend from high school and practice the art of meal prepping. Remember: just because the world is experiencing some sort of slow down doesn’t mean you’re excused.
Those were, after all, promises you made to yourself. What reason would you have not to fulfill them?
Reconnect or disconnect
Okay, time for something a little more serious that might not necessarily fall under Christmas break activities—but it’s still worth a go.
You can use this time to figure out who you want to keep in your life and who has just been a negative force. Ask yourself: Have they been good for my mental health? Have they been there for me the way I have been there for them? How did they react when I reached out? Is this relationship one-sided?
If you don’t like any of these answers, then maybe it’s time to cut your ties. It doesn’t have to be a whole thing, you’re likely not to need a breakup conversation. Instead, it can just be you closing the figurative door and letting yourself free. On the other hand, if you find that you still want these people in your life, then why not check if they’re in town, catch up and make sure they know you appreciate them?
Rest, reflect, plan
Here’s a little something for yourself: take a breather, use this time to think and consider your options. Allow yourself the headspace to really slow down. Don’t succumb to boredom and try not to get lost in the menial things. Most of us don’t get the time to slow down very often, so maybe you should do just that—while asking yourself a few key questions:
What about 2019 made me happy?
What would I change about the last year, given the chance?
What are my priorities?
Am I heading in the right direction?
Have I been good to myself? To the people around me?
What do I want? (What you really, really want)
Art Alexandra Lara