Miami-Dade County

Christmas is over and you have some time off. Now what?

Aventura Mall, pictured above, will open at 8 a.m. Dec. 26, 2018, for after Christmas shopping and returns.
Aventura Mall, pictured above, will open at 8 a.m. Dec. 26, 2018, for after Christmas shopping and returns. EL Nuevo Herald

It’s the day after Christmas. You’re off from work and the kids are out of school.

So what should you do?

There’s plenty.

Here’s a guide to filling up your day.

Shopping/returns: If Santa didn’t get you exactly what you wanted for Christmas, malls will reopen Wednesday — some of which have longer hours than normal. The extended hours include Aventura Mall and Dadeland Mall, which will both open at 8 a.m. instead of the usual 10 a.m. on weekdays.

But be warned: The day after Christmas is often the busiest return day of the year. So you will have to pack your patience. Also, note each store’s return policy. Many give customers at least 30 days, so it may be worth waiting.

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Dadeland Mall will open at 8 a.m. Dec. 26, 2018, for after Christmas shopping. C.M. GUERRERO. cmguerrero@miamiherald.com

Do a good deed: Keep the giving spirit going by giving back. You can teach your kids to take care of the environment by doing an impromptu beach or park cleanup. Round up unwanted new presents and donate them to a charity or children’s hospital including Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital near South Miami.

Make handmade New Year’s cards and drop them off at a retirement home or assisted living facility.

You can also use the day to start a can food drive to donate to local churches, synagogues and food banks including Feeding South Florida.

Stay home: If you want to avoid the crowds and keep the kids entertained, here’s a few ideas to keep yourself from going crazy. Make a new recipe and plan a special meal. You can search sites including Pinterest for fun craft ideas.

If your creative juices are flowing, come up with a scavenger hunt to do with the family that will encourage some exercise and brainpower.

You could also use the time to do some post-holiday cleaning. If you are trying to make room for all your new gifts, organizations including Goodwill and the Salvation Army will take your old stuff.

Go to an event: If you want to get out of the house, consider the Miami City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” starting at $29 a ticket. Matinee and evening performances will run at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach through Sunday. If you’re looking for something outside, the last weekend of Zoo Lights at Zoo Miami is Friday and Saturday night at $15.95 per person. Check Miami.com for more South Florida happening.

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A day at the beach is always an option in South Florida -- providing the weather cooperates. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

Find fun outside or at the museum: There are a lot of options to have fun without breaking the bank. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go find a park. Spend the day doing a picnic and some sports, or head to the beach for sand castles and take a detour for ice cream after.

Despite the government shutdown, you can also take the kids to Everglades National Park to learn about alligators and South Florida’s ecosystem. The park confirmed visitors will be able to enter, but the visitor center will not be staffed, and the public restrooms will be closed. The parks’ vendors (private tours, restaurants, bathrooms) will be open. Some trails and campgrounds might be closed on a case-by-case basis.

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The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science will have extended hours through Jan. 5, 2019. PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com

In light of winter break, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science has extended its hours and will be open until 7:30 p.m. from Wednesday through Jan. 5. Or take a trip down to Homestead and visit Knaus Berry Farm, which is serving its seasonal cinnamon rolls (cash only).

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.

Caitlin Ostroff is a data reporter for McClatchy’s DC Bureau, based at the Miami Herald. She uses data analysis and coding to present and report information as part of the investigative team.

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