How to avoid boxing day madness

You find a small spot of open sand between a large gazebo and a carpet of towels. It’s boxing day and you’re finally allowed to smell the ocean and soak in the sun. But the state of the beach is certainly not what you expected.

Behind you five pre-teen girls continuously giggle at the parade of half-naked men who unknowingly kick sand onto your blanket. To your right an extended family wades towards their towels, bickering about the latest episode of some drama-series. And as you lay down to make peace with the noise, an excited, wet dog runs up beside you and shakes his scent all over your face.

It’s a crazy day. With everyone capitalising on the extra holiday after Christmas, it’s the ideal time for family outings. But what if you were hoping for calm, ocean waves and the occasional singing bird? Where should you go if you want to avoid the “outdoors-city”? Moneybags journalist, Isabelle Coetzee, suggests the following do’s and don’ts for boxing day madness.

DON’T…

  • Go to the beach: On this day, everyone who lives inland decides to treat their family to a day at the beach. If you’re a large group looking to mingle, this might be a lot of fun, but if you’re a small group looking for some quiet, turn around immediately. You won’t find space to sit and you won’t find space to swim, but you’ll definitely find every arm, shoulder, and knee to bump into.
  • Go to the mall: In some countries boxing day is considered the second Black Friday – and South Africa is no different. This means you can expect queues piling on outside popular stores, and a flood of faces streaming down every passageway and aisle. Similar to Black Friday, several post-Christmas specials will be available in-stores. But if bargain hunting doesn’t deeply excite you, it may not be worth the trouble.
  • Drive, anywhere: If it’s not an absolute necessity, consider leaving your car at home. But if you need to be somewhere, consider carpooling or making use of public transport. Finding parking on boxing day can be extremely challenging, and traffic is often horrendous. So why waste your precious holiday-time in a steaming car?

DO

  • Call beforehand: Most establishments will adjust their hours for boxing day, and some may even close completely. So before dragging your whole crew to your favourite pizza joint, be sure to ring them up and make sure they will be open. The same applies to public transport, municipal facilities, and your local supermarket – rather be sure than disappointed.
  • Stock up on essentials: This is the wrong day to quickly pop-in to your nearest store and grab an extra cooldrink or another carton of milk. You’ll get stuck in traffic, struggle to find parking, and wait in long queues – all for one, small item! And boxing day often announces itself just as you manage to claw your way to the centre of this madness; at which point it’s too late. So keep an eye on your calendar and plan ahead!
  • Consider a day at home: With delicious leftovers from Christmas lunch, and exciting gifts to unbox, perhaps it’s the perfect day to kick-back in your living room, or enjoy your own backyard. Instead of an environment that divides your attention, consider staying home where you can focus on your loved ones.