Here it comes, the dry, cold, and boring month of January; cue the January Blues. Unless you have a birthday in January, what is there to look forward to? The yucky white film on the side of your car? The naked spaces where the whimsical decorations once sat? Surely you enjoy the endless coat-on-coat-off cycle of car seat loading or is that just me? This January, my family and I are determined to beat the January Blues, starting with a car seat poncho.
In order to arrive at a solution, we have to first look at the problem, really look. The time after the holidays can be relieving for lots of people, especially moms, but it may also bring a sense of longing and “now what?” Family has left, the feel-good magical movies are all watched up, and the sweet treats are long gone. For me, it has always been a month that I struggle through, counting the days until spring. So, how I am challenging this month that almost mocks the festive and lively December? With a jar. Yes, you read that right: jar.
The January Jar is simple and totally customizable.
You and your kids (depending on their age) write on popsicle sticks or small pieces of paper things that you want to do in the month of January. This is entirely tailored to your family and abilities. We have a kiddo really involved in sports and extracurriculars, so we have to have our activities be on the weekends. That means we can draw from the January Jar on Thursdays to plan accordingly for the weekend. If you are a SAHM, maybe your “draw day” is a few times a week to keep those kids excited. If you parent every other weekend, maybe you draw the weekend before, etc.
The January Jar can be expensive, inexpensive, or a mix! After the holidays, we tighten our grip on spending again, so ideas will be inspired by free/cheap activities! I, for one, have added “living room camp out with kids’ choice dinner,” and “write/illustrate a family story” (construction paper and crayons, Mama!). My kiddo wrote, “everyone jumps on the trampoline for 20 minutes,” which does not cost me anything but some sore knees the next day! Some other ideas could be visiting the Air Force Museum (free and heated), rearranging bedrooms or living rooms (this one is a game-changer for me – free and so refreshing!), or one-on-one dates with your kiddo, like reading books together at the library.
Maybe you and your partner throw a few date nights in there; we did!
One of our favorite things to do as a couple is to compete. So bowling, roller skating, and trivia games are our go-to’s. At the risk of sounding pretentious, the latter ranks among the top for me because that is the only thing I can actually beat my husband at! Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District hosts “The Best Trivia Ever” on Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m.; that’s claiming a popsicle stick in the January Jar! Added bonus: that is where my husband proposed to me, after our “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” karaoke duet no less.
This January, we are shifting the focus from gray, mundane days to creating surprises and cultivating a month bursting with adventures we are eager to unravel! Grab that pasta sauce jar (preferably empty), some paper, and sparkles; it is time to beat the January Blues! What will you put in your January Jar?