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2011 Bucket List: Nine Things to Do Before This Old Year is History

Ideas for reaching 2012 fresh and energized.

Next year is almost here. In 2012, we’re all going to eat better, exercise more, quit those nasty habits, crack down on our children and whip our household into shape, right?

Yawn. If you’re like me, the holiday festivities have you let you whooped on. The last thing you need is another action-packed to-do-list. So here, as my gift to you, are a few lazy, easy suggestions for winding down the old year, so you can start the new one fresh and refreshed.

1. Have a Pajama Playdate with Your Kids: Winter Break means no getting up for school, no rushing off to activities and no homework, so why not spend a whole day putzing around in your pajamas? Get on the floor and play with your kids. Believe it or not, they’ll enjoy your undivided attention even more than all their new toys. Bond over that brand new Wii, a board game or some crafts, and make up for all the time you haven’t had together since the school year started. You’ll feel less guilty on Jan. 2 when you’re ready to shove ‘em back out the door and drop them off early at school.

2. Eat Everything in Sight: You want to be healthier in 2012, right? Then you’ve got to get all that junk out of the house. Sure, you could just chuck it, but that would be wasteful. You’re better off having one last hurrah, indulging in your favorite forbidden foods before you swear ‘em off for good. A week of pigging out is fun, plus, after all that junk, you’ll be jonesing for salads by Jan. 1.

3. Take a Week Off of Working Out: With the kids home, it’s hard to find time to exercise anyway so why not give put your bootcamp on winter break? Serious body builders do this every few months, scheduling in a recovery week, where they avoid the gym. This lets their muscles rest so they can grow, and gives them a needed mental break from the daily rigors of intense training. Give yourself a little downtime too, and you’ll be ready to return in January in fighting form. Which is good, because this is the month gyms are most crowded, and you’ll need your strength to beat everyone out to a treadmill.

4. Do One Thing You’ve Been Dying to Get to: Nothing’s more stressful than the pressure we put on ourselves to do it all. Pick one thing on your list you’ve been putting off, whether it’s phoning an old friend, organizing your photos, or taking the kids to NYC, and make it happen this week. You’ll gain the satisfaction of checking it off your list, and it’s one less thing you’ll feel guilty about in 2012.

5. Write Lots of Checks. It’s the last 7 days you can write “2011”, so why not write it on all the checks you can? Pay off those x-mas bills, clean off your desk and start the year fresh, without debt. It’s the one little bit of household organizing you can actually do from the comfort of your couch. Preferably in pajamas. See above.

6. See Long Lost Friends. Pick two or three friends you didn’t see enough of this year and invite them over for a designated day of catch up. Keep it easy with take-out, and polish off the leftover holiday wine and treats. While you’re together you can sync up your calendars and make plans to see more of each other next year.

7. Stage a Movie Marathon. Pick a handful of films you missed this past year, rent from Red Box or your library, and watch one a night over the break. Or do a marathon of movies from morning ‘til night, only taking breaks to hit the bathroom and let the pizza delivery guy in.

8. Clean Out the Toy Box. You’ve got to make room for all the new crap, I mean stuff, anyway, so why not bag up all the old toys for donation? Your kids will be so busy playing with this year’s gifts, they won’t even notice their Tickle-Me-Elmo or other forgotten faves have gone missing. Bring everything to the Salvation Army, or even better, schedule a Lupus pick-up. You can put the bags out on your doorstep after the kids go to bed and they’ll be none the wiser.

9. Resolve to Have More Fun as a Family. Resolutions don’t just have to be about deprivation and discipline. Gather your family and brainstorm positive changes everyone wants to see in the New Year. Designate a family game night or vow to go biking more often. Let everyone offer up ideas, vote on the winners, and vow to make it happen in 2012. Resolutions are easier to keep if they’re a group effort, and making them fun is the world’s best incentive. 

Happy Winter Break to All! See you Next Year!

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