15 December 2009

What's your ultimate staycation? Enter the Xbox Staycation Sweepstakes!

Xbox 360Like for so many, this is our year of the staycation. We're great lovers of travel, but for a number of reasons, big trips just aren't in the cards right now. For Winter break, I'm busy compiling lists of local (preferably cheap) activities about town, dusting off our museum and zoo memberships, and keeping an eye out for easy half-day trips from Portland.  

I admit I'm a little nervous about it. It's one thing to explore our fair city during the (mostly) sunny summertime, but two weeks with no specific plans in cold, rainy Portland can start feeling a bit claustrophobic. My ideal stay-at-home vacation involves lots of hiking and wandering and adventuring and spontaneous "Let's go!"'s...but the weather may motivate me to take a second look at our board game and DVD collection. Neighbors over for cocoa, fort-building, baking, lots of holiday lights-ogling, that sort of thing.

What about you? What's your ideal staycation? (I need all the help I can get in the idea department.)

By a stroke of luck, this conversation -- which I was planning to have anyway -- fits perfectly into a fantastic giveaway sponsored by Federated Media and the Xbox 360 team. To enter, share your ultimate staycation ideas in the comments of this post. One lucky winner (chosen at random) gets the Ultimate Xbox Bundle: An Xbox 360, a Gold Live subscription and three family-friendly Xbox games.

So how about it? How do you turn "not going anywhere this year" into "we had an amazing local vacation!"?

Fine print: Comments will be open until December 16, 2009, 11:59pm EST/8:59pm PST. The winner will be announced later this week. You must be at least 18 to enter, and a legal resident of the U. S. You are permitted one entry per day.

Your comments

Feed Follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I live in Salem, so while I sympathize, I'm not the ultimate Portland expert. If you want some fun places to go a little south: Gilbert House Museum. Riverfront Park and Carousel. Capitol Building (especially at Christmas time, Feb 14th, or in the Summer). Oregon Garden. Come visit!

We're thinking about this for January (this is in MN). We have a two-year-old. We'd go to the Children's Museum one day and probably the Como Flower Garden another day (warmth! flowers!). Then, because her grandfather has everything and goes ice fishing, we'd go with him. Yes. We are planning on sitting around a hole in the ice. :) If not that, then sledding. Then we'd lounge and watch movies the rest of the time (which is really what we all wanted to do in the first place, since it's winter and currently -4F).

(also - Preview doesn't work in the Chrome browser).

How perfect is this giveaway? One of my favorite low-budget holidays is staying home, ordering takeout, and playing video games with my husband while my three year old watches enthusiastically. (We're all gamers here.) And of course there's always the classic stand-bys like museums and zoos and such, and living in Las Vegas gives us a fair bit of free sight-seeing and cheaper-for-locals things to do as well.

jibssa at gmail dot com

What a great give-away for this year! Yeah, travel is not really in the cards...

We, too, will be checking out zoos and museums, and living in far-too-hot-and-icky South Florida, we also have the option of going to the beach between thunderstorms.

I like the idea of spending some extra time on Christmas-light-viewing - I'm going to appropriate that one!

My teenage son, of course, says "Staying home playing XBox"! :)

We live in the DC area. My kids' favorite thing to do when they have a day off from school is to have a "pajama day" where no one gets dressed and we stay home. That is fun for awhile, but it drives me a little crazy. So usually, I come up with a list of things we could do, and we pick one each day. They include - seeing a movie, going ice skating, going to a museum (free in DC!), making breakfast for each meal of the day, and going swimming at a local rec center. At the holiday time, it's easy to throw in a few others like go see some Christmas lights or go into DC to see the national Christmas tree. Inviting friends over for a meal and to play is always a good one, too.

With several inches of snow, below zero temperatures and a healthy layer of ice on everything, a staycation is all we're able to do these days. (one day it will be warm, one day it will be warm, one day it will be warm) I have a two year old and we like to bake things together. I will load up the measuring spoons and he'll dump them. Counting as we go. We'll also try new things (playing with shaving cream, making playdough, building forts and any other ideas I can find on Parent Hacks. When it's not quite so cold, we will visit the zoo. Indoor jungle, Desert Dome, aquarium. Plenty of indoor things to do at the zoo.

I'm new to my city, so my ultimate staycation would be to check out all of the great bike trails and maybe canoe down the river!

Our perfect staycation would involve lots of snow falling Christmas Eve so we could have fun playing in it on Christmas day. At least if my daughter got her way! :-) Afterwards we would all sit around the fireplace playing games and sipping hot cocoa with peppermint ice cream from our favorite local ice cream joint, Handels. We also love the Indianapolis Children's Museum's Yule Slide. It's a "can't miss" every year!

I've made a list of some fun places we don't often visit in Atlanta. I use it in the summer to ease the stay-cation doldrums, but could pull it out as easily in the winter. Ideally, I'd do lots outdoors too. Interestingly, my list for summer is mostly indoors b/c our weather is worse then than it is now!

We live in the Washington DC metro area and there is a ton of stuff to do here. I'd love for us to go into DC and act like tourists. We'd take one of the trolley tours and visit all of the museums (which are FREE!). I'd have my camera in tow and snap away the whole time. We could even bring a picnic lunch to eat on the mall in front of the Capital. We really want to see everything before we move away one day.

With all the hassle of planning our visits to family this Christmas with our 6.5 month old, we've already decided that next year we will stay home! Enjoy our tree, cuddle up and watch some movies, and our favorite- play games! My husband has been pining for the XBox 360, so that would be great!

We're planning on spending our "staycation" looking for a new house in Northern Virginia! Lots of time for hoping, dreaming, and planning as a family while we visit every place we can find for sale in our area!

my family just joined two museums and now have access (via reciprocal memberships) to about ten within an hour or so drive.

I think it can feel like a vacation, staying home, if you permit yourself to ignore the niggling little tasks that normally occupy you there. Of course, you still need to eat, have clean clothes, etc... but shake it up, have fun and take time to relax. We like to play lots of games with our sons (who are big into video games) and do lots of day trips, geocaching or just hiking and exploring new areas.

Staycation. Hot chocolate, White Christmas, a trip to their grandparents house, a walk downtown where we also catch a ride on the trolley. The kids love it.

My daughters' favorite Staycation is to go to a city playground that we've never been too before. (we live in LA) We pack a picnic lunch - there's new things to explore and new friends to meet. Seems to work for both my 6 year old and my 2 year old. My 6 year old keeps a running tab on which playgrounds have which equipment and which is her "favorite".

As a working parent in a two working parent home, a staycation would be evenly split between spending some quality time with my hubby while the kids are at daycare, and keeping one or the other kid home to do special one-on-one adventures. My oldest daughter (4) is just learning to like cooking, so I think we would bake cookies and decorate them as gifts for family. My youngest is only 18 months, but I think a day of playing with Mommy and Daddy would be good for her. She's not really used to ever getting full attention for any period of time.

Don't forget the library! Also, a fun thing our family does is "Get Lost!" We pack some food and just start driving around town. The kids yell "Turn Left!" "Turn Right!" Add a round or two of I Spy and you've got a few hours of family fun!

Thank you for the great give-away!

I recently learned that I can redeem my airmiles for attractions! So I've redeemed passes for the CN Tower, Black Creek Pioneer Village and have plans for the Science Centre.

It's also a great time to set up playdates with friends that we don't see very often.

I'm also thinking that we'll do a photo scavenger hunt. I'll make a list of things I know we can find in our neighbourhood, then we'll head out with our cameras. I'll also continue with something I started when in Seattle. I took my kid's little Eeyore toy and posed him in various places on my travels.

The local conservatory is free and a great place to strip down to t-shirts and jeans. Same goes for the butterfly conservatory. My daughter refers to both of these places as 'the jungle'.

And my city has a program for Museum and Art Passes, allowing you to get a family pass for certain attractions for FREE at local libraries: http://programs.torontopubliclibrary.ca/listings/map/

The ideal staycation for me would mean taking a fresh look at my city (Philadelphia) and viewing it like a tourist would. There are wonderful things to do here that most residents ignore. I've worked within a few blocks of the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall for three years, and never visited either one, for example. So that's how I'd spend a staycation.

We have the same program here at the libraries in Phoenix(I know don't hate me!) It is a great way to visit the local attractions without spending a lot of cash.I love the "Get Lost" Idea too! Sounds like a fun time!

Some things I'd do in winter: have an indoor snowball fight, crumple up pieces of paper and throw them at each other; make forts like you said; visit the children's museum; make a try at the art museum and have the kids tell you what they think of the paintings and sculptures.
Research small local attractions, one of the suburbs of Austin has a little welcome center/museum that is fun to look through and is almost free.
Buy some of the little cereal boxes and pretend you're in a hotel. Put mints on the pillow.

We've discovered many of our neighbors are opting to stay at home over the holidays, as we are. Staying home means taking a walk around the neighborhood looking at the lights, inviting the neighbors over for a potluck, and revisit all the board games that have collected a year of dust.

Taking time off to just hang out, fix up house projects that need some care, and begin planting our massive garden (seed starting time is coming up!)

Our great staycation this year, was taking a little time off work and visiting all the places in our town that we only go to on special occasions all in a week or so - the waterpark, "big" zoo, all of our favorite museums. Doing all together in a shorter time made the kids feel like we were on a vacation.

I live in Rochester, NY, so playing in the snow with the kids is pretty good.

I did that during my day off last Thursday and it was awesome!

I would say my ideal staycation would be to tourist up the town I live in, San Francisco. I never take advantage of the sights here although I do with other cities when I travel!

Oh and a spa day somewhere in the latter part, just to relax a little! Oh and have a maid service come in while I am out on the last day, to have the place spotless and the laundry/dishes done when I get back! :D

OK - don't think my last one posted... I've always wanted to do an indoor campout - fire in fireplace for roasting marshmellows, entire family sleeping in living room in play tents..

We are planning on staying home for the holidays. Before Christmas we will be making Christmas cookies, watching Christmas movies and playing games. (Mostly while mommy wraps and gets things ready ;) ) But then after Christmas, we will be heading to the local Children's Museum, the VA Art Museum for a special kids class and we bought tickets to watch a local play. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get some snow too. But I doubt it.

We're around DFW so we have a good variety of things from which to choose. One plan I have is to hit the newly remodeled Fort Worth Museum of Science and Natural History. It was pretty good before, but has now expanded to include more exhibits and has a CSI exhibit that I think my kid will appreciate. The weather is fickle, but if the days are a reasonable temperature, we'll bike around a bit. We'll probably also hit the library and pick up some reading material and enjoy a lot of story time. We'll also play games - video and board. I personally like the idea of staying home and not having to travel - just wish it happened like that a little more often. :)

My husband works swing shift and there are many days when I see him for 15 minutes in the morning and then not again til the next morning...or for an hour in the evening and then not again til the next evening. My ultimate staycation would be any extended amount of time I could spend with him and our 5 month old baby girl. If there could also be good food, a walk in the woods or our city's historic downtown, and an evening spent curled up by a fire with s'mores...perfection!(Apologies if this comment appears more than once, the preview function acted funky and I had to hit my back button!)

This year we decided to really do the 25 days of Christmas. Every night we do something wintery. Their dad and the kids Wii challenge, hot chocolate 1 night, Xmas movies marathon, decorating the outside, decorating the inside and then the tree another night. We also did a craft that took two nights. Mine are 9, and 11 so they are able to really take part, remember the moments and give us ideas as to what they want to do. Of course, then they end with so when I get (blank) we can do this and I really hope Santa brings me this and this. Thanks for an awesome blog!
sillyblissX4 at gmail dot com

I live in NYC so it's more of a challenge for me to go away. Museums, the theater...it's very easy to have a staycation here!

My husband has some time off between New Year's and Christmas, and we're planning on wearing pajamas and playing video games while our 10-month-old naps. It's hard to travel with a baby so we're looking forward to relaxing at home!

Here in the Philadelphia suburbs, a good staycation would include taking advantage of some of the city's cultural attractions (e.g., museums). In the summer, when outdoor activities are more enjoyable, we visit local gardens, arboretums, and farms, bringing picnic lunches with us and making a day of it. During the winter, I'd say that at least one staycation day MUST be an "all-jammie" day--with popcorn and hot cocoa and movies and just lounging around the house together. Cooking together (especially cookies, with are easy for kids to help with and fun for everyone to eat!) is also a must.

I love staying home as a family. There are always a ton of things to do around the house, for one thing, and i'd love to make Christmas cookies as a family this year. And go out to eat food that I have not had a hand in preparing. That one is important. :)

My ideal staycation is cleaning the apartment at the start of the vacation/before the vacation, cooking up a mess of food, and then enjoying the clean home and available food for a few days--relaxing, reading, doing yoga, walking my dogs with my husband, going bowling, and taking photos of a local nature trail.

We take advantage of all of the local free events. In the summertime there are some great local parks and farms, where there are animals to feed. We visit a local state park where there is a free sprayground. We also like to head to the library for the free summer events. As a special treat, we like to go to Great Wolf Lodge for 1 night. It isn't free or a long vacation, but the kids love it and always remember it as the best part of the summer (or winter)!

My staycation this year will involve having our 15 year old daughter come stay with us for 2 weeks. (My hubby "adopted her" when her own father decided to be a jerk -- so we get to have her for breaks and such) Saturday night we are going to get Chik-fil-a sandwiches and drive through a "locally famous" subdivision who decorate like crazy. We do this yearly. We might also head over to an Amish town near us to ride the huge carousel while I'm on vacation. Oh, and I've heard rumors that we'll be test driving some ice skates (the 4 year old is convinced he knows how to skate).

A staycation is all about the little things. Not having to do anything huge, but getting out of the house often enough you do not suffer cabin fever.

I'm going to have a staycation the first week in January because our day care is closed. I have no idea what I'll do to keep our 18 month old busy and keep myself sane. Maybe some day trips to see friends if the weather holds...

our staycation will be over the christmas holidays. we would have liked to go skiing, but it is too expensive. we will be visiting local museums and looking at holiday lights.

I'm stuck at home with my two kids a lot because my family only has one car. Crafts are a lifesaver for me! Any time my son gets antsy, I print off a coloring page. He runs to the printer to grab it and starts coloring. Or I cut out shapes from construction paper and give him a glue stick to stick them onto another piece of paper.

Not really "staycation" material, but it does entertain.

My ultimate Staycation is hitting any of the numerous ski resorts in the area and snowboarding all day and then picking up pizza on the way home. And hiring someone to clean my house while I am gone.

We live North of Orlando but South of Daytona. We started to just drive around and stop anywhere that looked interesting. We found a little mom and pop ice cream shop that has the most delicious homemade ice cream, a very nice and affordable bistro, tucked away parks, etc. It's just like going to a new city right in our backyard!!

our ultimate stacation would be to drive to a local vineyard and have a picnic. i hope i win the XBox.

in chicago, i would like to get a hotel room downtown and go to museums, theater, and restaurants that are normally hard to go to.

We live close to Chicago and there are a ton of things to do that are just a train ride away. But, really, sometimes my ultimate staycation, is finding a ton of things to do in which we don't even have to leave the house or change out of our PJs. Movie marathons. Cookie backing. Gingerbread house making. Game night. Camping in the basement. Planning one cool thing a day/for a week, to do at home, for almost free sounds great to me.

We are having a staycation this year and I am thrilled. I hope we can hang out, watch our 4 kids play nicely, take naps and just relax. Maybe get to the city once...

For my family it would simply be ignoring the daily grind and focusing on each other. Maybe each family member could plan an activity...

How about some volunteer work? If my kids were old enough, I'd dig making them do some manual labor in the name of helping others or just serving in a food kitchen line. Anything to get us out of our charmed little bubble would be a fantastic use of time.

We enjoy taking a map and having the kids pick places within a certain radius... say 20 miles. That radius includes the nearest large city, with botanical gardens and the Children's Museum, and also many rural areas which include national and state parks.

We also enjoy showing the kids some "classic" movies, ones they have never seen before, playing video games, and reading books aloud.

Our perfect staycation would be going to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the Genghis Khan exhibit (again), doing public skate on the ice at DU, and then hitting the Zoo for Zoo Lights.

I like to go out for day, take a picnic and my camera and pretend I'm a professional photographer. It makes whatever I see seem more important and gives me a new way to relate to my artistic side... A pad of paper and a pencil (dressed in black - of course! ;-)) does something similar but you get the added benefit of having other people relate to you differently too.

My husbands ideal is a movie-marathon. Like watching all of the Lord of the Ring movies, extended edition, back to back, followed by a videao-game marathon!

We live in South Jersey, so we also have a ton of options with A.C., Phily, Rehoboth Beach DE, New York and even Baltimore's not that far away... Longwood garden south of Philly is a super favorite.

Definitely hit up the tourism websites for your city. It will give you some ideas of places that you frequently overlook. Also, go to restaurant.com and buy some gift certificates to restaurants you have never tried. You could also purchase an entertainment book if they are made for your city. You absolutely must plan one fun thing to do each and every day. That will give you a good mix of down time and fun time. Go to the movies, play indoor goofy golf, find a weird thrift store and check it out. Also, if your budget allows for it, hire a cleaning service for your home! Woo hoo!

A homemade cup of hot chocolate along with a round of ODST Halo.... i'm on a PS3 now, but would LOVE the chance to join the real gaming world and have some time away from classes! :-)

what wonderful ideas!

Our circle of friends have begun a $10 "supper club." Every week, those available/interested pay $10 that goes into a kitty. One chef is selected/elected and they use said funds to make a dynamite meal for everyone at week's end. The challenge is that the chef makes a deliciously filling meal AND tries to save as much of the kitty as possible. At the end of the year, we donate that extra money to our local food bank. It is great to hear about all the little cost-saving cheats everyone comes up with and of course, spending time with friend-family is always a win.

My teenage daughter and I like to have a whole bunch of snacks and stay in to watch either a movie marathon or a series ofLifetime movies. We make a day of it.

Our perfect staycation is at home in front of the fire, enjoying seeing Christmas through the eyes of our children, while we clear our thoughts of the stresses of everyday life. With a 10-month old and a two year old, the magic comes alive every morning as they rush to the tree hoping for some signs that Santa may have been there. We look forward to our staycation next week so that we can hang around in our jammies, while we watch the baby open and shut the same cabinet (just to make sure it's still the same each time), as the 2 year old rolls around under the tree singing carols to the blinking lights. We'll eat cookies for breakfast and watch Rudolph instead of napping. Seeing Christmas through their eyes puts the magic back into it for all of us, and we look forward to a week together at home this year!

My favorite staycation is going to Six Flags!

We will be taking the kids to a local National park and unplugging ourselves from the computer for awhile. Its nice to get back to nature and breathe some fresh air every once in awhile.

My ultimate staycation would include a trip to the KC zoo, a stop for frozen custard, filming our own puppet show and watching a great pixar movie with hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace.

For us a great staycation is definitely having a good movie in the DVD. Also pulling out toys my sons haven't played with in awhile and really investing the time to get involved in their imaginary world is always satisfying. We have a great local art studio for small children that keeps them occupied for a good 4 hours. This time of year baking and making cookies is always great fun too.

We're actually taking a real vacation during Winter break this year traveling to Williamsburg, Va. for a few days with my wife's mom and step-dad. But, for the handful of days we'll also be home, I am planning to help our two kids weed through their toy collection to make room for their Christmas gifts. It will also be nice to spend a bit more time at our local library, which, incidentally, also offers free family passes to a couple of local museums that might be worth checking out, even if their exhibits aren't really geared toward the preschool set. I think the kids might also enjoy having their neighborhood friends over for some play time, and I wouldn't mind taking in a movie, perhaps Princess and the Frog or Planet 51.

We're hoping to do this between Christmas and New Years. I'm hoping that maybe we'll get to SF to see the lights before they're taken down with a few days of sleeping in mornings, snuggly warm afternoons of movies and general lazing about.

I would love a stay-cation where we stay at home and play board games, watch movies, bake cookies etc. but my energetic 3 year old gets crazy being housebound after a while. If we stayed home for the holidays we'd probably do some half day trips to the aquarium, the zoo, the children's museum, the jumping place etc. It's also fun to split up and do stuff one-on-one with each kid sometimes (something I rarely get to do during the year).

You can have Mommy/daughter time and Daddy/son time (or vise versa) even at home. Just specifying this time together as such makes the kids feel special. Make a craft, paint nails, cook, play games, build something, explore in a closet, look at old photos or videos with just ONE child. It's fun for all.

As the mother of a toddler and a 4 month old, I'd love to sleep 8 uninterrupted hours and then catch up on some reading. And then play with the kids, of course!

My husband and I both have to work on and off during our vacation, so we can't go on any long trips. We decided to stay home and invite people over as much as possible. I love to cook and it's rare to have time to sit down and talk these days, so I'm hoping they'll bring some vacation to us!

Happy holidays, everyone!

Work gave me a 2 month paid-leave (aka sabbatical), to which I added 3 weeks vacation time. I had heard of co-workers who had used the time to do missionary work or travel. I took a slightly different approach. About 3 months after I went back to work my wife took a 2-week leave from work and did a bunch of work around the house. She later commented that she accomplished more in the first week then I did in my nearly 3 months off. So I said "yep, that was the plan".


My perfect staycation...well we do these all the time and we love them. I think we are so successful in them because we live in San Diego and, let's face it, it's a PERFECT tourist place and there is a plethora of things to do!

We like to sleep in as much as possible then I get up and make a hearty breakfast; usually if we are staycationing for a week we'll go out for breakfast maybe once or twice.

One of the days is typically a "do nothing" day which we just stay home, locked in our house, phones turned off, and just enjoy each other's company. The other days we have picnics at a nearby lake, and we always plan one real "touristy" day like Sea World or the Zoo (we have the best ones around you know!).

I LOVE staycations! No packing, no tiring travel the first and last days, and just pure enjoyment of each others!

Its funny that the giveaway for the staycation involves an Xbox. I've been a gamer myself since I was a kid. Now, my twins are finally getting to the age where they can start playing games with me. My son will sit on map and help work the keyboard when I'm playing D&D online. He helped make the characters and gets to choose which one to play. Both he, and my daughter, have been practicing with the xbox controller. We like to play Castle Crashers together.

Problem is, I work late. By the time I get home and we eat, there isn't much time to play before its off to bath and bed for them.

So for me, part of my ideal staycation would be having extra time to spend with the kids. Playing the xbox, the pc, board games, etc. We're always on the run on weekends, and it would be just nice to spend some time with them doing the things I normally only have time for after they go to sleep.

I live in MN. I love to go to the zoo, which has a conservatory. It's so warm in there I forget it's winter. Also there's Mall of America for just walking around and people watching. I also like to stay in and watch a movie with my family or bake some cookies together and play some board games.

We like to hang around the house mostly. But, over Thanksgiving weekend, we went on a family adventure and took the bus downtown (Seattle) and took the new streetcar, then the lightrail to the airport and the bus to Southcenter Mall and had lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Did a little shopping and went home the way we came. It was quite an adventure for my 5 & 2 year olds.

I live near DC, so a staycation for us would involve day trips to see some of the museums, monuments, and other notable sites that we take for granted because we live so close to them.

Staycation for me involves being warm. If I have to stay home, then I guess that means turning up the heat and snuggling up in bed with some movies about warm places!

Invite neighborhood kids over, make puppets, and put on a puppet show!

Bake bake bake.

Cardboard box/blanket/sofa cushion forts.

Cut out pictures from magazines and glue them to paper to make our own picture books.

Invent new board games from old ones.

Play outside as much as possible!

I live in northern Colorado, which isn't as cold and snowy as you'd think. At least we get breaks where the weather warms up. I'm looking forward to ice skating, driving around and looking at Christmas lights, tubing, the children's museum and lots of other fun things we don't normally get to do with the hustle and bustle of school and work.

My ultimate staycation involves lots of sleep, premade meals, movies and a visit to the local museums. Another thing would be making cookies or some craft and stopping by friends' houses for a short visit to drop off the gift. Maybe add some caroling?

My ideal staycation would include lots of cuddling and watching movies with the husband and baby.

I get just as much thrill out of staying in town with the girl child as I do traveling. Some days it's a mellow day of board games, movies and video games, others it's a walk to a local hill for some sledding and snowball fights.

If she starts getting antsy, we'll go roller skating or ice skating (plenty of outdoor places here for that) and I've finally picked her up a snowboard, so that's on the books as well.

I think I really would have been better off just listing activities kids do and you'd have gotten the picture.

I do love the Portland area, though (can't wait to go back!)

The perfect staycation with kids...I think the best thing to do is to be a local tourist. Here in SF, there are so many things that tourists come to see that I have never seen - museums, historical spots and landmarks, local parks, etc. A staycation would be a great opportunity to do the touristy things - especially because home is nearby for resting!

My kids would probably love it if we stayed home all day in pjs and played Monopoly or some other boardgame that never ends!

Go to a hotel or other attraction and find the standee holding local tourist attractions. You know the ones that locals never get around to visiting and pick a couple to hit. There are always attractions that I have never heard of or just not gotten around to visiting.

Here in Portland take a look at the max route and find interesting things to do at stops you have never visited. For example The 153rd stop in Beaverton drops you at a trail head for the Tualatin valley nature park. Paved and dirt trails and a very nice interpretive center. Or take the Max to the airport and have lunch and watch the planes or people watch.

But mostly take time from the daily grind to enjoy time with friends and family.

My family and I are focusing more on serving others this Christmas and beyond the New Year. We are one of the lucky families that has not been severely impacted by the economy and are working with other families to gather clothing, bedding, and other necessities for our local Family Crisis Center.
All the kids involved have found clothes of their own to donate, washed and folded all the items, and have contacted others to add to the bags upon bags we've received thus far. It's brought out not only the Christmas spirit, but the spirit of service in all those who have participated!

We recently moved and can finally have a dog. So during our staycation we will be researching the different dog breeds that best match our lifestyle and then go around to different animal shelters and rescues. Everyone in our family is really excited about this, and there isn't anything else we'd rather be doing.

Ultimate staycation? Chinese takeout, paper plates and a brand new X-Box!!!

I'm lucky that we live in Florida so it doesn't get too cold at all. For us, we like to visit the beach. Library's have a lot of great youth programs once a week that are free and those are always nice! Visiting relatives is fun, and if your kids are older you can do family volunteer work!

A great staycation idea is go to a local hotel and see if they over "one day passes" to play at their indoor pool and other kid-friendly activities. If you have a really nice one that has resort like qualities, you might be able to get the vacation feel without having to actually book a room and pay for a vacation in your hometown.

Or you can be like a tourist and takes some bus tours. I hear Oregon has lovely bus tours and I would assume this goes on year-round and they have contingencies for rain/weather.

Staycation is where it's at!! We definitely have to make it a no work day, so that means no computer time. Just like we'd plan a trip, we'd have a number of set days for our staycation. Each child and adult would have a day and pick an activity for the day. My favorite is pulling out the home made videos and watching it while we sip hot chocolate, eat popcorn, and see how much our children have grown! Stay tuned for more ideas tomorrow:)

Well, my hubby and I are on our staycation right now (2 days of vacation). We live 3k miles away from family and don't have anyone to really watch our son to go out to date night. So we are spending some quality time cuddling, eating out and enjoying adult TV without interruptions. It may not seem exciting to anyone else, but it is PURE HEAVEN to us. We also get the time off between Christmas and New Years. We will spend our time with our son, some friends and go to the children's museum in Providence, RI, go to the Aquarium in Boston and Santa's Village in New Hampshire to experience the Polar Express.

Realistically? If my 5 year old and 2 year old would just sleep past 6:30, it would be a pretty good holiday season. Here's to hoping.

Just having my husband at home to help take care of the kiddo is like a vacation. Perhaps a babysitter to take advantage of a few dinners out, too!

With two 2.5-year-olds, it involves anyplace where they can run off some energy! So we will check out the indoor playspaces around town. Thanks for the giveaway!

I live in Philly, so the weather outside is starting to get frightful. For us it will be board games, DVDs, baking, arts and crafts, and music playing in the house. Out of the house - the children's museum, bundled up at the zoo and Ikea for lunch (their favorite place to eat!)Your kids may be too old for this but my 4 year olds love taking a bus ride in the city. We may even try to get them on a train to NYC. Good luck!

Don't forget your local library! We can spend hours there. Between the books, puzzles and computer games there is a ton to do. It's a nice place to spend a cold afternoon.

We also like to veg during our staycations. My son cuddles up with us and we watch movies or play video games.

Winter is a good time for staycations, since just hanging around inside next to a roaring fire seems sort of decadent. Add a big pot of beef stew, a couple of beers, and internet access, and I'm a very happy little staycationer.

My kids (3 and 6) and I get really stir-crazy if we don't do something active or get out of the house daily. I plan to take them to an indoor pool, climbing gym and skiing. Taking the kids up to Mt Hood can be exhausting, but getting them nice and tired so that they go to bed at a reasonable hour is worth it!

Sleeping in, visiting some of the cool local museums, watching DVDs - just unwinding and relaxing. The hard part is forgetting that we're at home and the constant list of errands and chores that run through my head when I'm home.

I'm liking the idea of a staycation during the winter. If we think of it like an actual vacation my husband would take off work for it and it would be even more relaxing than the hassle of traveling.

One day we'd go swimming at an indoor pool during the day and then watch a movie and eat snacks. Another day we'd go to the Children's Discovery Museum that's nearby and go out to dinner after. If we had snow we'd go sledding one day and have hot chocolate and games later (and probably another movie- gotta love Netflix). Other ideas depending on our budget/time: Chuckee Cheeses, building forts together, shopping, bowling, etc.

I like to do a major clean house - toys, clothes, anything we are not using now. I try to explain to my kids that it is great to be able to give to others what we may not need anymore.

We close comments after a month to guard against spam. Want to talk about this hack? Join us on Twitter and Facebook!


Free updates

  • Subscribers are my VIPs. My weekly newsletter includes a personal update, the latest from Parent Hacks, interesting links and news.

    Subscribers also get priority event invitations and occasional surprises via snail mail.

Asha's Book

  • At Amazon: Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less

    Find out why doing less is the key to resourceful, thriving kids, and a calmer, happier YOU.

    Minimalist Parenting is an encouraging roadmap for decluttering your schedule, your home, and your vision for family life. Reviewers call it "a much welcome alternative to the usual parenting advice."

    Learn More at Amazon

    Also available at Barnes & Noble or your favorite local bookstore.

New Book Coming Soon!

  • Coming soon: Parent Hacks Book

Start Amazon shopping here