How to make the best of your staycation
* This article appears in our Holiday edition of the Home Improver digital magazine
So this is the year you’re not going skiing in Austria or seeing the lights in London’s Regent Street. You’re not even going to be at the switch-on concert of the festive lights in Cape Town’s Adderley Street, as the city has cancelled the ceremony this year.
Plus, many families are finding money a bit tight after the roller-coaster of Covid-19 and the effects of the lockdown, so that even though we’re now officially allowed to travel, we don’t have the means. This calls for a staycation.
“The idea of a staycation is to do all the things you would do if you were to travel somewhere, but finding ways to incorporate those experiences within your own home,” says Catherine Sanderson, author of The Positive Shift and chair of the psychology department at Amherst College in Massachusetts.
So, imagine you’re on holiday in your home town. Decide on how long your staycation is going to be and make different plans for different days.
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Remember, this is a holiday – so no working and as few chores as possible. Some of the things you can do might cost a bit of money but seeing you’re saving on the flights, petrol and accommodation you’d be paying for on a real holiday, there may be a bit extra for treats at home. •
You could start with a virtual holiday somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Get the family’s buy-in and persuade everyone to do some research about the place. Watch a film about it, get members of the family to choose which sights they would like to see, and cook food for which the country is famous.
• On a beautiful day, have a picnic in the garden. Put a rug down, put up a sun brolly, scatter some pretty cushions and buy in some delectable food: think pates, French loaves, special cheeses, a chicken salad, strawberries and even a bottle of sparkling wine.
• A summer holiday calls for watery fun, a day or two at the beach, or beside a river or a dam. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, organise a swimming gala for the family. Who can swim furthest under water? Can you cross the pool swimming with only your arms or just by kicking? Fill balloons with water and have a (gentle) balloon fight. If you don’ t have a pool, buy a (cheapish) plastic children’ s pool to splash about in. Or splurge on an inflatable Jacuzzi for lazy evenings in the water .
• You might not be able to go to the theatre, but you could organise a themed movie night. Choose a film everyone is likely to enjoy, and then go all out with decor, food and even costumes. Don’t forget the popcorn.
• Go camping in the garden. Put up your tent, get out the sleeping bags, light a fire for a braai, and then hold a family sleepover as the stars come out. Or you could make it glamping, with a rug on the floor, drapes and throws on the campbeds, and fairy lights for a romantic night.
• There are sporty things you can do at home. A table tennis tournament can be lots of fun, and while a proper table is best – you can buy folding ones – you can play around an ordinary dining table. Get bats, balls and a net and you’re good to go.
• And, finally, holidays are about spending time with your loved ones and you can certainly do that at home.