Most of us love a bit of Christmas cheer, but when it's all over and the guilt of eating fourteen too many mince pies sets in...we could do with somewhere, some place, where we only hear the sweet sound of chirping birds and the slow trickle of water. Where exercise means sauntering along a frosty towpath, not chasing the little ones around the tree.
In the next few weeks most of us will unavoidably have the return of the chaos that is Christmas. Cooking the perfect turkey, entertaining the guests, finding the tree decorations and last minute dashes to the supermarket and shopping centres. With everything going on, we somewhat struggle to find a moment to take a breather. Here's our guide to how and why you should leave the house and make the most of our canals this Christmas.
We have an escape plan and it involves some time, your walking shoes and a jacket. It's that easy.
Too much food
Christmas brings goose fat, mince pies, boxes and boxes of chocolates, sherry (apparently you love the stuff), a whole ginger bread house - and what ever else you thought was a good idea at the supermarket.
As you rest your bag of chocolate-coated Brazil nuts on your over-inflated stomach, you wonder if you'll ever move again.
It's time to put the nuts down, and get some fresh air! It's ok to over-indulge, it is Christmas - but going for a walk will definitely make you feel better. Our canals have miles and miles of path just waiting for you.
It matters not that Christmas Day falls on a week night, a little tipple here and there through the day is pretty normal for a festive celebration - but when the tipples turn into tumbles - you may need some help the following day!
Fresh air along our canals will help that foggy feeling go away. Walking will help make your body work harder to rid the toxins in your system.
Avoid the big clean up
We get it! You've worked hard all Christmas to get everything ready, endless tidying, shopping, wrapping and planning - and when the big day is over - there's no way you want to do any more clearing up. Why not offer to take the dog out for an extra long walk, or take the kids out?...leaving whoever is left behind to clean up!
Escape the TV
Don't be bored silly with TV shows and specials. Just because it's Christmas, doesn't mean you should sit down and watch rubbish repeats or films. If there is a serious threat of someone finding the Monopoly you've hidden, or Grandpa's snoring on the sofa is now scaring the kids - get out! This is a must for the whole Christmas period. A walk or run outside will reinvigorate you. Why not go feed the ducks? Go wildlife-spotting? or visit a historical part of our waterways.
Excited for more-or-less, the whole of December, your kids, and everyone else's kids could be packed full of sugar, E numbers and fizzy pop - just bursting with energy. Put that buzz to good use and instead of letting them free to run the house a-muck, let them run free outside. Burn off some of those calories. Even better if it snows, a snowman or two later the children will be tired and ready for a quiet evening (or at least quieter).
We've decided it's ok to just want an hour or two when you don't hear another Christmas song. It's such a joyful time of year, and you're happy to see everyone and join in...but for a few hours (you can return to it all later), it's ok to not want to do or hear any of it.
Listen to your iPod and take a walk, cycle a few miles in the peace and quiet of the canal waters. When you go back, you'll be ready for more festivities.
To feel free
It's lovely to dress up over the Christmas period, but you don't have to make an effort to walk on our canals, it's not going to judge what you're wearing, or if you're not wearing any make-up or whether you're donning that Christmas jumper Nanna gave you.
It doesn't matter - spend some time with your loved ones, not worrying about how you look or what others think. If you want to play hide and seek, you should play hide and seek.
Our waterways are a haven for peace and wildlife, so when you need to get away for a few hours, or you want to take the kids out, or you are in dire need of some fresh-air after 10 helpings of sprouts - this is the place to be. Don't procrastinate inside.
Merry Christmas everyone, we hope to see you over the holidays.
Last date edited: 9 December 2015