Pamper yourself on a budget and get some true holiday relaxation

After shelling out for holiday presents, decorations and food, you may not have $200 left over to drop on a day at Bliss. But you and your kids can enjoy a relaxing afternoon together by creating a spa experience at home. Here’s how:

Set the stage. Simply moving a few personal hygiene activities from the bathroom to a wider space can make them feel less like chores and more like pampering. Kids who squirm when the nail clippers come out will sit still for a “manicure” or “pedicure.” Turn down the lights and play soft music. Gather your supplies. You don’t need an elaborate set of tools; just a clipper and file will work for a pedicure, as long as you make an occasion of it. Put a few drops of essential oil into a container of warm water for a foot soak and have towels within easy reach. For an added touch of luxury, warm them in the dryer first. Add some glam. Kids love color, so set out nail polishes, from candy pink to monster green and punk-rock purple. If toxicity is a concern, Piggy Paint offers a line of kid-friendly, water-based polishes, available at Take your time. Just like at a real spa, the key to a relaxing spa day at home is not to rush through it. With distractions minimized, kids have the opportunity to focus on subtle pleasures like the rich scent of cinnamon in a cup of cider, the swish of warm water around chilly toes or the light through the falling snow outside. Make sure mom (or dad) gets a turn. Once you’ve painted the last little piggy on your kids’ feet, let them play beautician while you relax as their client. If you don’t want them to glob sparkly fuchsia polish all over your nails, you can let them give you a hand massage or dab a honey-and-oatmeal skin mask on your face. You’ll get a much-needed break from household demands and they’ll learn that parents deserve pampering, too.

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