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How can we avoid that post-holiday letdown?

Staying merryChristmas tree campout

Taking down the Christmas tree is a sure sign the holiday hoopla is over. Make this less-than-pleasant task a lot more fun by having a family sleepover in front of the tree the night before you bring it to the mulcher. Every family member can reminisce about his favorite holiday memory under the twinkling lights. Then in the morning, you can start another new tradition: Making sure everyone helps pack and put away the ornaments for next year!

Potluck recipe swap

Don’t let all your great holiday food go to waste—even if your own family is a little sick of eating it. Invite friends and neighbors to bring their leftovers for a casual holiday “after party.” You can even turn it into a recipe swap: Guests can bring a few copies of the instructions for their dishes, or you can collect and distribute the recipes by e-mail afterward.

One more gift!

Some families have everyone open one present early, to kick off the holiday festivities. So why not turn that around? Save one present and open it on the last day of holiday vacation. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy: Just a little something (art supplies, coupon for a trip to the aquarium) to banish the Sunday-night blues before school starts again. (This is also a good lesson in delaying gratification!)

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