We all know the feeling — like everyone else is going away on a luxe, exotic, amazing vacation except you. You are stuck at home with your kids and nothing to do. Fear not! The “stay-cation” can be a great time to relax, refresh yourself, bond with your kids and rediscover everything you love about Hong Kong. Making the most out of not going any where takes a wee bit of planning and a slight attitude shift, but it can be a lot of fun.
Don’t Over-Schedule: Your kids may need a break from the frenetic pace of the daily life of school, schedules, homework, extracurriculars and the like. And you may be frazzled from keeping them in those busy routines. Plan on ONE big outing or activity — whether it be the AIA Carnival, the Observation Wheel, Disneyland, a KidsFest show — per day. If your children (or you) need structure, sign them up for a camp, but only if the logistics are easy and the kids actually want to do it.
Don’t Skip YOUR Workouts: Make sure you think of yourself and stay on track with your exercise routine. It is essential for sanity! Arrange your kids’ schedules around your early morning jog, hike, yoga or regular tennis session.
Relish in the Downtime: Sleep in, have a long, lazy breakfast. Let the kids take a leisurely, relaxing bath. Who cares if we all stay in our jammies until noon? Or call it an early night. Watch a classic movie — like The Black Stallion, The Sound of Music, or The Secret Garden — together. Or maybe just double up the usual reading-before-bed time allotment. Enjoy not rushing around and be okay with staying in.
Get Stuff Done: Take advantage of the quiet period in the city and run errands — but be sure to add on something fun to the chore. Get the dental appointment checked off the list, but have lunch out after. Book haircuts followed by a playground and ice cream trip. For example, hit up Spur Salon in Stanley Plaza, where there also are shops, restaurants, a playground and a few good ice cream options!
Get a Family Game Night On: Pull out Monopoly, Rummikub, Scrabble, a huge puzzle or any other kid-friendly games and get the competition going. Pop some popcorn and enjoy some old-school family fun.
Go Outside: Head to the beach for a scavenger hunt, shell collecting, picnic or simply running around. South Bay, Middle Island and Chung Hom Kok beaches are ideal for this. Take a walk on the promenade, go for a leisurely hike or maybe even attempt a family camp out.
Play Tourist in Your Own Town: Head up to the Peak, take the Star Ferry, check out the local museums, have dim sum, go to Man Mo Temple. There are so many fun and interesting things to do around this city — but living here, you often don’t have time to see the sights! Check out this Hong Kong bucket list for some inspiration.
Seek Out Fellow Staycationers: Invite a like-minded mom and her kids over. Get the kids engaged in a project (or movie) while you gab (and have a glass of wine?). Plan a few activities together.
Go Out (Without Your Kids): Schedule some special activities for yourself. You don’t have to be a camp counselor 24/7. Have a massage, try that aerial yoga class, go to dinner with friends, sneak out for an adult movie. It is your holiday too!
Read-a-thon: Get your kids to make a list of a few books to read over the holiday and carve out time every day to knock some chapters out. For the grown-ups, dig into the Hong Kong Moms Book Club selection — Lucky Boy. You won’t regret it!
Get into the Kitchen: With a little more time and flexibility, you can try that cooking project you’ve always thought about. Pull out some old cookbooks and whip up something new.
Cook with Your Kids: Get the children in on the action and help them plan and execute a meal. (Don’t worry about the mess!)
Fake it: Spend the day at a fancy hotel. Book a spa treatment, have drinks at the bar and dinner with a view. Maybe indulge in a big brunch spread, complete with many mimosas. Better yet, check in for the night!
When in Doubt: Fire up the AppleTV and pour the chardonnay! No one needs to know. And remember, whatever you do, avoid checking social media and crying over your friends’ holiday photos!