Skip To Content

    25 Things To Do During That Weird Week Between Christmas And New Year's

    You can have fun, be productive, plan a better year...or all three!

    The six days between Christmas and New Year's Eve are a weird time.

    It's a languid almost-week of non-holiday holidays where a lot of people still have to work, even though it feels almost unnatural. The time is so notably different from the rest of the year that Norway has a word for it — romjul, aka a time to spend with friends and family. And while that would indeed be a great way to pass those days, not all of us are fortunate enough to be able to do that.

    With that in mind, here's a list of things to do during that week that'll help you enjoy it more, be productive, and/or plan a better year ahead:

    1. Do a 1,000 piece puzzle.

    Aliaksandr Bahdanovich / Getty Images

    Thousand-piece puzzles are hard, y'all. They take up a lot of space and just turning over the pieces can take a long time! If you're going to have several days with not a lot of plans, now's the time to pick a really gorgeous puzzle with a ton of pieces, and get jigsawin'.

    2. Try doing something fun or different by yourself.

    There's a definite possibility that a lot of people you know will be out of time or otherwise occupied, so this is a great time to see if there's an activity you enjoy doing all on your own. Get some ideas here.

    3. If you do know of some people who will be in town, plan a recipe club, book club, or similar gathering with anyone who's around. / Via

    A gathering like a recipe club is a great thing to look forward to, especially when you're like "WTF do I do with all of this time?" And I'll tell ya, cooking, cleaning, and just hosting in general is a great way to fill that time. See more great ways to hang out with friends here.

    4. Hit up some after-Christmas sales.

    Jelena Danilovic / Getty Images

    Everything. Will. Be. On. Sale. That includes all of the holiday stuff, so you can stock up on things for next year and then feel all smug and accomplished when next Dec. 1 rolls around and everyone realizes they need to get holiday cards and decorations. Go you!

    5. Go to a restaurant that usually is all booked up.

    Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

    If where you live is the kind of place that totally clears out around the holidays, that means the usually-packed locations will be a lot more empty. Knocking that amazing restaurant you've been wanting to go to off of your bucket list? Yes, please.

    6. And check out a local museum or cultural institution.

    Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

    They might have their festive decorations still up!

    7. Binge-listen to a podcast.

    NPR, Slate

    There have been some excellent podcast episodes in the past few years, but picking a short-run series that you can listen to from beginning to end will definitely keep you entertained — and, in some cases, on the edge of your seat — for a whole week. Some suggestions:

    Serial season 3 (or season 1, if you never got around to it): The most recent season is a collection of stories out of an Ohio courthouse that paint a fascinating, and often disturbing, picture of the criminal justice system.

    Slow Burn season 2: The first season delved into Nixon and Watergate, and the second provides a detailed, gripping framework for the Monica Lewinsky scandal from the earliest days of the Clinton administration, and how we can contextualize it today.

    Caliphate: The New York Times' in-depth exploration of a reporter following stories on ISIL.

    Last Seen: For all of the art lovers out there, it tells the still-unsolved mystery of how art thieves stole 13 paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

    Dirty John: It's from last year, but this true-crime story is just as frightening and entertaining as it was a year ago — plus, now there's a TV show you can watch as a companion.

    S Town: Also not from 2018, but a timeless piece of slice-of-life storytelling from the deep south that's even more effective when digested in one sitting.

    8. Or do a Babyfoot treatment.

    Dry skin in the winter is one of the top three worst things about winter (static cling being number two, obviously), but a good food treatment like Babyfoot can keep your soles as baby soft as the name promises. It's an ideal thing to do over the course of several days, because it takes a few days for all of the dead skin to flake off after you put on the treatment.

    Get it from Amazon for $22.99.

    9. Hand wash all of your clothes that need it.

    Mukhina1 / Getty Images

    If I see that a clothing item's tag says "hand wash only," I take it as code for "wash occasionally." Don't be like me, though. Gather all of your hand wash-only clothing, and set aside time to wash it! You'll be so happy about starting the year with clean, properly-washed clothes when you're done.

    10. And clean anything else in your home that you don’t usually clean.

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    When was the last time you cleaned your hairbrushes? Your vacuum filter? Whatever the answer, it could probably use another another hit of Windex. Find out how to clean everything in your home here.

    11. Do an inventory of your phone notifications.

    Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

    One of the best things I learned in 2018 is that phone notifications are a scam. There are very, very few that you actually need and that aren't just ways for companies to get you to use their apps more. Doing an overhaul of your notifications and really cutting down on how many you get is a great way to ensure you'll be on your phone less in the future.

    12. Stock up your first-aid kit.

    Photka / Getty Images

    Do you have Band-Aids? Antacids? A working flashlight with batteries? Now's the time to go through all of your essentials and replace any that are running low or totally gone.

    13. Cook and freeze as many meals as your freezer can fit.

    Bravissimos / Getty Images

    In the dead of winter, you will be so grateful to open your freezer and see that, while you were whiling away the time between Christmas and New Year's, you cooked a lasagna or soup for future enjoyment. Get some delicious, freezer-friendly recipes here.

    14. Hang up any stuff on your walls that you've had sitting around.

    Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash

    If you bought a painting or poster or something of the sort recently, there's a chance you've said "I'll hang it once I get a frame. And nails. And a level." Even if you haven't bought all of those things yet, you can do it now and ring in the new year with a truly Instagrammable gallery wall.

    15. Finally set up a password manager.


    I know how hard it is to find a new way to incorporate numbers and question marks into that password you've been using for the past 15 years, but a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane will not only pick super-secure random strings of characters for you, but it'll also save them so you don't have to remember 4w8sbyl6969 every time you log into your bank account.

    16. Gather up and sell or donate items you don't want or need anymore.

    Sigoisette / Getty Images

    So many places will take your used items and even give you money for them. Give yourself less clutter and more pocket change this holiday season, why don't you?

    17. And get rid of all the those sample beauty products you’ve been saving for like three years.

    Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

    You probably keep telling yourself they "could be good for traveling," but if they haven't been opened or used in the past year, it's time to kiss them goodbye.

    18. Pick a topic to become an expert on.

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

    Knowing a lot about a random topic like presidential pets is a fantastic way to always have something to make small talk about and feel smarter. There are a ton of things you could spend time learning about, but here are some particularly good ones.

    19. Make a budget.

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    I mean, it's never a bad time to do this, but if you have some extra time, try actually planning a budget for the year ahead or, at the very least, doing some of these money-saving hacks.

    20. Start a habit a habit you can keep up, like jade rolling.

    Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

    Jade rolling is soothing, helps with lymphatic drainage, and might just make your skin look even better, so why not get into the habit of doing it now? If that's not your thing, maybe an acupressure mat or meditating is more your style.

    21. Or try finding a hobby that will provide you with enjoyment for months or years to come.

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    Hobbies like quilting and drawing are awesome if you're a creative type, but there are so many more out there that require zero skill. Think small, like hiking and gaming, or think of inexpensive hobbies, like listening to podcasts or becoming a Wikipedia editor. There are seriously so many hobbies out there to try.

    22. Stop following people on Instagram that don't bring you joy.

    Getty Images

    You can completely unfollow them, or simply mute them. Either way, Instagram is a great place to curate a stream of things you really like, even if it's just all pictures of puppies. Especially if it's all pictures of puppies!

    23. Dip your toe into meal prepping, if you've never done it before.

    Rachel Miller / BuzzFeed

    Meal prep can sound really daunting, but it doesn't have to be. It's a great way to save money, be mindful of what you eat, and ultimately, save time during the week. If you don't know where to start, try this chill, manageable meal prep club that uses sauces to elevate simple recipes and ingredients.

    24. Unsubscribe from any email list or newsletter that you don't read or need.

    Tzogia Kappatou / Getty Images

    Wouldn't it feel great to have a whole year without weekly emails about Benihana's drink specials? I think so.

    25. And start your indoor garden.

    Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

    Chances are, it's cold this time of year where you live, but an indoor garden is totally within reach, whether you're in Milwaukee or Miami. A countertop garden is a ridiculously easy (and cool!) way to start, but you can also try something a little more extensive, especially if the whole indoor jungle aesthetic really speaks to you. A new year with herbs and plants you grow all in the comfort of your own home? Yes, please.