Phew. Christmas, New Year, family, friends, parties, dinners, drinks and more. December is a crazy time of year. Now all that's settled down, it's time to take stock and seek some more relaxing fun times to bring in the New Year. Here are ten suggestions of things to do this month - thank goodness one of them is to take a nap.
1. Donate Blood. In the US January is National Blood Donor month. Here in Australia, we don't have a special time of year, but the banks do need stocking all year round. Find out whether you're eligible at the Red Cross website and if you are, make an appointment while you're there.
2. Have a nap. I don't know who decided that January 3rd should be 'The Festival of Sleep Day', but I don't think it matters. In the aftermath of the silly season, a mid-afternoon siesta sounds like just what we need.
3. Experiment with science. Physicist Sir Isaac Newton was born on 4th January 1643. Best known for gravity, we also owe Newton a bunch of other stuff, including the first practical reflecting telescope. There are lots of easy physics experiments you can do at home, some of which have some really exciting results. Check out this 'motorized' paper fish – propelled along by surface tension.
4. Watch Gilligan's Island. You remember the quirky old TV comedy? Bob Denver (who played Gilligan) was born on January 9th. What's more, he was a really nice guy. In 1992 he played along with a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which included stranding him (yet again) on a desert island so he could be 'rescued' by a bunch of Make-A-Wish kids with a cruise ship.
5. Play Frisbee. The first commercial frisbees were called Pluto Platters, and went into production on 13th Jan, 1957. The invention took advantage of the then already-popular pastime of people flinging pie trays to each other (seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried). In fact, the name Pluto Platters was quickly replaced, as people were so used to calling them 'frisbees' after the Frisbie Baking Company. So, get out to your local beach or park and have a blast.
6. Play Poohsticks. The 18th January is Winnie the Pooh Day and poohsticks is his favourite game. It's very easy. All you need is a bridge over running water, a stick, and a friend. You each drop your stick into the water on one side of the bridge, then cross over to watch them reappear on the other side. Whoever's stick is spotted first wins. If you're going any distance, I'm sure Pooh would recommend you take backup picnic supplies, especially honey.
7.Celebrate World Religion Day, held on the third Sunday of January (this year that's the 22nd). This religious holiday was established by the Baha'i Faith, to encourage people to embrace interfaith understanding and harmony. Take the opportunity to learn about a religion other than your own.
8. Have a laugh. January 24th is global belly laugh day. Rent a comedy. Get tickets to see a local stand-up act. Embrace anything that makes you chuckle, giggle, chortle or guffaw. Just make sure you don't end up cackling.
9. Hold a Burns Supper. Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who lived in the late 18th century. His work inspired such a following that on 25th January – the anniversary of his birthday – people across the world still hold suppers in his honour. Traditionally, the suppers involve haggis, Scotch whiskey and the recitation of Burns' poetry.
10. See a play. Romeo and Juliet – possibly the most famous play of all time – was first performed on January 29th, 1595. Let that inspire you to go along and see a classic. If Shakespeare doesn't float your boat, maybe Tennessee Williams or Samuel Beckett are more your scene. You could take this as an opportunity to support a local amateur group, or treat yourself to something bigger.
That's my ten suggestions of fun things to do in January, but I'm sure readers have many more. If you've got a great idea, share it in the comments so we can all join in the fun.