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Make end of holidays climactic

Say your goodbyes to Christmas with a final hurrah; post photos

SHARE Make end of holidays climactic

David LaRochelle

There's nothing quite as anticlimactic as eating the last of the holiday leftovers, taking down the Christmas tree and hauling tattered boxes overflowing with decorations up to the attic. Swedes put a positive spin on the duty and call the occasion "Julgransplundring," which basically means "saying goodbye to Christmas until next year." Traditionally, Swedish families sing and dance around the tree for a final hurrah, then throw it out the door! The grand finale is taking time to eat cookies and drink hot chocolate together.

Here are some activities your family can do this week as you sort through holiday memories:

While the December holidays might be past, winter is still blowing through. I like to add some sparks of happiness to the inside of the house, since it can look so bare and dreary when the Christmas tree is gone. Keep white minilights strung around windows to brighten the kitchen and family room on dark afternoons and evenings. Tape handmade paper snowflakes in your children's windows and line up snowman figures on a bookcase.

Before putting away the Nativity scene, use the pieces to retell the Christmas story together.

Recycle holiday cards and take a "field trip" to the post office: Cut off the front of a card that depicts a wintry scene. On the plain backside of the scene, help your kids write a thank-you note. Tuck the notes into envelopes and go to the post office to mail the letters the old-fashioned way. Ask to see the commemorative stamps and let your kids pick their favorites to buy. They'll love sticking the illustrative stamps on their letters and dropping them in the mail slot.

Slide several holiday photo cards of far-flung relatives and special friends into inexpensive flat, acrylic frames with magnets on the back. Arrange at child height on your fridge and refer to them often throughout the new year to keep your kids familiar with the important people in their life.

Don't pack away holiday ornaments, glassware and linens with a heart motif. Put them aside, along with bright-red serving trays and dishes, to use in February for Valentine's Day.

Next week: Recycle holiday candles and pine cones into toasty fire starters.

Write Donna with your questions and ideas at www.donnasday.com. Donna's latest book, "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families," is available in bookstores nationwide.

© Donna Erickson; Dist. by King Features Syndicate