4 Ways for an Office Worker to Take Back Winter Break

Gone are the days of being a student, when I had weeks to a month off around Christmas. I miss being in college and having a crazy week of finals, but knowing that once they ended I could relax until January.

Now, like many, I’m an office worker, and Christmas break is just the day or two off around the holiday–unless I choose to cash in PTO. It can be easy to let the whole holiday season pass you by with big intentions for festivity and celebration, but then realize your regular day-to-day tasks took over and you never did anything merry.

When I had my daughter, I decided to intentionally slow down around the holidays to take time for family and cheer. It can be hard, but here are some ways for an office worker to take back Christmas break!

4 Ways for an Office Worker to Take Back Winter Break

1. Decide on a specific tradition that you know you can stick to.

Incorporate a new family tradition into your December weekdays and put it on the schedule. It doesn’t need to be a big production; it’s more important that it’s something your family can reasonably stick to. It can be as simple as working through a list of Christmas movies before bed, picking an evening to drive around and see holiday light displays in your pajamas, or writing letters to Santa together while drinking cocoa.

2. Take advantage of your PTO.

You don’t have to cash it all in for the week between Christmas and New Years’–especially if it’s a competitive time to get off. One of the best parts of Christmas break as a student was being free on weekdays. You can try to replicate that feeling by using PTO for days or afternoons off during the week.

Some ideas for festive weekday activities in the area include Downtown Hunt for the Elves, Photos with Santa at Coral Ridge Mall, Tannenbaum Forest, or a Thursday at 3:30 PM showing of The Picture Show at Filmscene. This years’ shows include Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, The Grinch (2018), and It’s a Wonderful Life.    

3. Work ahead as much as possible before the holidays.

Make your work schedule as light as possible during the holiday season so that you can make sure to spend any extra time at home instead of in the office. Think through any optional work commitments or projects and move any flexible deadlines to January.  

4. Bring cheer into the office.

If you don’t have an official office holiday party, you can try to introduce a potluck, ugly sweater day, gift exchange, or just some decorations to the cubicle. You can also organize a holiday lunch or happy hour with a few coworkers.

With a little thoughtfulness, we office workers can take back holiday break and enjoy some down time with friends and family!


Brigette lives in North Liberty with her husband Brian, energetic daughter Kate (October 2014) and their two cats, Penny and Olive. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Brigette came to Iowa City to attend the journalism school at the University of Iowa, fell in love with the area, and decided she couldn’t leave. After meeting Brian while working at the same Iowa City restaurant in college, they got married in August 2015 in the heart of downtown. She works full time in project management and as an employee of the Core Fitness Kids Club while finishing her MBA at Upper Iowa University. In her free time, she drags Kate out garage sale-ing, tries to keep up with her reading list and runs, lives for Hawkeye football season, enjoys a good meal on a patio, runs her Bachelor/Bachelorette bracket with her family and friends, and of course, chases her daughter around the pool and the park.


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