This weekend is a three day holiday weekend for most people in America. For those that wish to stay home for a staycation style holiday this Labor Day or those that live in Texas where there is a panic driven gas shortage, making travel difficult and/or expensive, here is a list of things you can do to keep yourself busy without spending a lot of money or leaving your home town.
1. Sit and Color
Swing by a dollar store or discount mega-store and stock up on crayons or colored pencils and printer paper or coloring books. The printer paper can be used blank, as-is, or can be used to print off any pattern or picture to color. Why do I suggest coloring? Well, for one, it is a relatively cheap hobby, and secondly, it is a known stress reliever for almost everyone, adults included. This is something the entire family can do, too! When was the last time you actually sat down and scribbled between (or outside, I won’t judge) the lines? It is a refreshing break in pace and allows your mind to just stop thinking about anything except what color to pick up next. As an added bonus, you can spend a moment bonding with your children and end up with awesome artwork to hang on the fridge! Double bonus: this offers an opportunity to unplug from the digital world and allows you to unwind and decompress from the stresses of the outside world.
2. Host / Go To a Barbecue or Dinner Party
Gather the squad and enjoy a meal. Labor Day usually involves one person standing over a grill, but why not shake up the status quo? Maybe instead of grilling hamburgers, invite everyone to bring their own steak or favorite bratwurst? If you live along the coast, consider a crawfish boil. Or, do what my husband and I did recently: host a kebab party! We purchased the vegetables and invited our friends to bring their favorite cut and type of meat – this way, we cut down on our hosting costs and our guest enjoyed what they really wanted. We lit the fire pit and, on the counter inside, spread out our spices for our guests to rub their meat however they desired, set up a kebab station with the cut vegetables, and served up iced tea and lemonade with an array of chips and dips. Everyone was in charge of cooking their own food, which resulted in crowds huddled together talking either by the fire pit or in the kitchen. No television, just the radio. A perfect summer gathering.
3. Pamper Yourself
Draw a bath and enjoy a long, hot soak. Light some candles. Grab a book or set some soothing music while you let the bath salts or bubble bath work through your muscles. Sweet talk your significant other into a massage. Or invite friends over and have an old-fashioned spa party with nail polish, facials, pedicures, and mimosas. If you’d rather spend a little cash, make an appointment at the nail salon or your at favorite spa or with a local masseuse; make it a little getaway in town, if you need to. The point is to treat yourself to something nice. Doing the at-home approach allows for the pajamas to stay on all day (Hey! Pajama party!) and gives you the opportunity to get messy with some nail polish with the kids and make funny faces with a facial mask. Going out to a professional can sometimes be a little more quiet, though, giving you a much needed break from the stresses of life. It doesn’t matter which route you take, as long as you have a moment of zen.
4. Bake Something
Bring a little warmth to your home with fresh baked goodies! Bake a loaf of bread to enjoy with dinner, make a batch of cookies or two, or even bake up some cupcakes! If you live alone, consider baking and bagging the treats for your friends or to take with you to someone else’s barbecue. If you have kids, let them pick shaped cutters for some sugar cookies and give them free reign with colored icings. Once the cookies are decorated (and the children sufficiently riding a sugar high), send them to grandma’s house with a basket of the treats! To kick off the holiday, consider a batch of home made cinnamon rolls or popovers or even baked pancake muffins!
5. Try a New Recipe
Speaking of the kitchen…why not try that recipe you have bookmarked? I have an entire board on Pinterest and a whole bookshelf of recipes that I want to try. The hardest part is deciding what to make, honestly. New Recipe Night (or day) can be a good family gathering experience – each person is in charge of preparing one or two ingredients while one person oversees and supervises, making sure the recipe isn’t botched. This also makes a good excuse to have friends over (how else do you gauge if it was a successful dish or not if you don’t have guinea pigs to try the food?).
6. Go to a Museum
Depending on the size of your town or city, a museum may not be that far off. There may even be more than one type of museum in your area. Let the kids loose in the Children’s Museum, take a trip to a local history museum, or scout out a specialty museum. Many places offer holiday events and incentives, and, if you bank with Bank of America, they have their Museums on Us program, which gets you into partner museums FOR FREE on the first full weekend of the month – which just so happens to be this Labor Day weekend!
7. Go Shopping
When was the last time you wandered the mall aimlessly? Or passed by a new store and told yourself that you’d check them out “one day”? If you don’t mind the crowds gathered for those Labor Day sales, this weekend may be a good time to check out those places you keep meaning to get to. Or, just relive your teenage years and spend the day in and out of the shops at the mall, remembering to take a break in the food court for a pretzel and a soda.
8. Walk to the Park
Any park will do for this! Pack a small picnic basket and eat sandwiches on a blanket or at a picnic table. This “old-fashioned” past time needs to come back. If you have kids, after eating, let them loose on the little jungle gym play area or bring a ball to throw/kick/toss/bounce/roll/whatever. Send everyone off on a nature-based scavenger hunt (create a list of things that might be found at a park) or play hide-and-seek. If you have dogs, why not take a special trip to the dog park for an extended play session? Some parks and gardens partner with local symphonic orchestras and do late night music synced with laser shows, which can be an awesome date night experience.
9. Enjoy Local Music and Arts
Take the time to find a club with a local band, visit a small art gallery, or attend a play at a community theater. Spend some time getting to know your town and its inhabitants and the culture that exists within. While it is true that you may find a dud, chances are you may strike gold. Listen to friends’ suggestions, even ask for ideas from friends of friends; this is how my husband and I ended up at a play put on by a local theater troupe for our first date way back when and how we acquired a new traditional Christmas concert outing! One experience or location will likely lead to another since the community events usually cross promote. Also, if you have friends or family in a local band playing this weekend, show up and help their crowd numbers so they get booked again!
10. Relax by the Pool
If you don’t have a pool, look for a local community pool or see if a friend will let you crash at their place for a few hours. Lay out in your swimsuit or just don a pair of shorts and dangle your feet in. Do a little sunning, read a book, enjoy a cocktail or just some refreshing lemonade. It’s all up to you. A trip to the lake or ocean, if either is convenient to you, just to relax on the beach is also acceptable. When relaxing by the water, there is no wrong answer!
If All Else Fails: NETFLIX!
If nothing else, just curl up on the couch with a bag of popcorn. There are plenty of options for family friendly viewing, date night cuddling, and just plain old binge watching. Check out the list of what is coming to Netflix TODAY and this month if you need any suggestions!
There are other ways to enjoy a holiday weekend at home, but we wanted to keep our list short and sweet. If you have any additional suggestions, please let us know!