Welcome back from the Holiday weekend, everyone!
We hope that those who celebrate had a lovely Christmas Eve and Day spent with family and friends. For those of you who simply relished in time off, we hope that it was well spent and brought both relaxation and rejuvenation. The truth is… many of you are actually off until the New Year! So, if you work in an industry that cools off between Christmas and the New Year, or have otherwise compiled your PTO to take a week for yourself, then this article is for YOU! Keep reading to find out our favorite ways to capitalize on PTO, downtime, and unplugging from the corporate world.
Capitalizing on End of Year PTO…
For our Chicago Followers
- Zoo Lights: Tickets to ZooLights are $7 nightly from Tuesday through Sunday. Explore one of the most iconic holiday spots in the city’s history at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Lincoln Park, Chicago. With a minimal payment, you’ll have access to the entire zoo light track in the park and can stroll for as long as you please. This is an awesome activity for those with young children, our post-grads looking for an inexpensive way to spend a night, or even a first date. Make sure to dress warm and indulge in some hot cocoa as you make your way through!
- Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon: Another awesome activity for those with children, looking to spend an afternoon with friends, or navigating a large group; Maggie Daley Park offers a low-cost walk-up fee to enjoy skating. We recommend doing so on a sunny day and with some friends… it’s a blast! Especially for those of you who live on the North side of Chicago, the park is an awesome way to make a trip downtown and enjoy the holiday lights and high rises that surround it.
- Walk along Michigan Avenue: A free activity! Michigan Avenue is home to dozens of beautiful shopping stores, holiday lights, Christmas Trees, and the infamous Starbucks Reserve. Make sure to take a trip down and spend an afternoon walking along the streets of ‘Streeterville’ to enjoy all it has to offer. Not only is Michigan Ave. a great place to shop, but it also offers an enormous variety of delicious lunch and drink stops along the way.
- Christkindl Market: Finally, another iconic staple of Chicago’s holiday season is the Christkindl Market. With a relatively new location in Wrigleyville and a historic site in the Loop, Chicago’s own Christmas market displays several trinket shops, drinks, and German treats. We highly encourage you to find a time to stop by this market… you’re sure to feel like you’ve been transported to Europe!
Relaxing During Time Off
- Gather for a Christmas Movie: It’s all too easy to fall into the comfort of isolation during time off. If this sounds like you, and if you find yourself sneaky off into the comfort of your bedroom, we encourage you to challenge yourself and coordinate a family activity. If taking advantage of being ‘lazy’ is a key component of your PTO, then watching a Christmas movie is a great place to start. Almost every streaming platform offers a plethora of old and classic Christmas movies that can round up any family and guarantee smiles and laughs. Especially for younger siblings who haven’t yet been introduced, the holiday season is a perfect time to round out some classics.
- Engage in Home Games: Once your movie binge is complete, try out a new family game! My personal favorites include “Blank Slate”, “Rummikub”, or a card game! These are low-cost, and often low-effort activities that still force those younger siblings off their phones and facilitate quality time as a group. If you’re scrambling to find a new activity, take a quick scan on any website (including Amazon) and you’ll be guaranteed to tap into a whole new slew of games that debuted this year.
- Take a Walk Outside or Sit by the Fireplace: If you have extra downtime on your hands this week, coordinate a firewood delivery and relish in the pleasure of a real fire! How often are you afforded a chance to wind down in front of a real, wood-burning fire? And better yet, how often do you have the time to maintain it and keep that flame burning? This week is a perfect time to capitalize on colder weather, cozy dark nights, and a cozy fireplace.
- Make your own Hot Cocoa Bar: Keeping children and siblings in mind, a sweet treat is a guaranteed ‘win’ to gather the family around a shared interest! A simple run to any local grocery store is guaranteed to help you track down sprinkles, whipped cream, milk, heavy cream, MnMs, and any other makings of a perfect cup of hot cocoa. This is a fun, low-energy, and low-stakes activity to bring smiles to your home.
- Try out a New recipe, Puzzle, or Craft: Especially in the midst of free time, engaging in otherwise tedious tasks is a great way to keep your mind moving and your brain at peak speed for the New Year. Tackling a new recipe and skill in the kitchen, diving into a puzzle that’s been collecting dust in a closet corner, or taking on a new art project that you’ve been dreaming of for months is a fabulous way to round out the year with a memory Sur to never be forgotten! Even better, each of these activities can incorporate multiple participants for varying lengths of time.
We hope you’re all enjoying this special time of year together and soaking up every moment of rejuvenation for the New Year!
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