The turkey has been eaten, and only a few squished chocolate coins are lurking among the sofa cushions.
It’s a time for pausing, reflecting, looking forward and – best of all – planning this year’s holiday.
It’s no surprise that the airwaves are full of adverts for sunny holidays and cruises. January can be a very cruel month, and I like to get through it by thinking about sunshine. Last year’s main holiday was to a Centreparcs. I’ve nothing against them usually, but we chose the Easter holidays when temperatures were still frozen. And we decided to drive half way across Europe to a park near Strasbourg. Too far, too chilly, too… well a bit German. Lots of mullets (hair, rather than red-scaled fish), sausages and hearty types cycling for miles in circles around the park.
One of my top tips is Tots to Travel. I’ve loved watching this company evolve, from its beginnings as a provider of really well vetted villas in France to properties – equally well vetted – across Europe. They’ve just overhauled their website and have a glitzy new look, and easy to use holiday planner feature. Enter a month, location, property size and number of nights you’d like to stay, and you’re off.
Tots Too is another favourite. This one gives the lowdown on luxury hotels that are genuinely child-friendly, and ensure all the other details are spot on too. They make sure transfer cars have age-appropriate seats, have bags of advice on kids’ clubs (sometimes you want to make sure the children are looked after all morning, every morning. Other times you might just want to dip and out for an hour or so a day) and have all the answers, whether you want to know if the children’s menu is healthy and delicious, or how long the airport transfer genuinely takes. You can even pre-book a nanny to be waiting at your resort. I took my youngest son, aged three, to the Abama in Tenerife with them last autumn and it was a massive success.
Tots Too will even pre-book a holiday nanny
Original Travel Family Holidays is another winner. Especially since they teamed up with kids entertainers Sharky & George. Innovative kits containing fun games help keep kids happy at the airport and on the plane. The team genuinely know their resorts inside out, from the kids clubs to the best spots on the beach to surf or spot turtles. And if your budget stretches to it you can book a Sharky & George team member to help look after your crew on the plane and at the resort.
My more budget top tip is Long Travel. This specialist to southern Italy is packed with family-run hotels and self-catering accommodation, all of it atmospheric and popular with Italians – which, of course, means excellent food guaranteed.