Stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the holiday season can be a stressful time. There’s present-buying, cookie-baking, party-attending, house-decorating–you get the picture. It’s easy to forget that the season is one for spending with family and friends while you’re busily preparing to… spend time with family and friends. Now that we’ve moved away from the chaos of the holidays into the New Year; take a break from the busy and spend some one-on-one time actually enjoying the winter season.
Grab a cup of coffee.
Visit the local coffee shop and share conversation over a hot drink and cookies (that you didn’t make and don’t have to clean up after baking them).
Take a trip to a museum (or a library).
With more than 35,000 museums and thousands of libraries across the United States, chances are there’s one close to you. Check out this map for every single museum in the entire country. Zoom in and click on the dots for the name of the museum or library and its address.
Break out a bottle of bubbly, add a few raspberries or strawberries, and enjoy a quiet evening remembering the best moments of last year. If you don’t have a fireplace, hook your computer up to your TV and turn on Netflix’s hour-long fireplace video.
Get warm and bubbly.
Find a local bar, winery, or distillery that offers tastings. Spend an evening or afternoon drinking the good stuff and learning more about your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) drink of choice.
Set aside time for family movie night.
Invite the kids along for the date. Make homemade pizza, eat a few treats, and watch your family’s favorite movies together. The catch? No cell phones, tablets, laptops, or other electronic distractions are allowed.
Set up a s’mores tasting bar in your kitchen and experiment with different combinations. Don’t forget the old standbys– graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate bars. Be creative and prepare other add-ons like sliced strawberries, crushed peppermint sticks, caramel squares, bananas, and dark chocolate. Place your creations on a cookie sheet or broiler and bake them at 325 F for until the marshmallow’s browned (about 3-5 minutes). Be careful—they can burn quickly, so keep an eye out.
Play in the snow.
If you live near the mountains, take an evening or Saturday and hit the slopes for skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. Many ski resorts offer substantial military discounts. Check out these for the West Coast and these across the US.
Watch a fight… er… game.
Take in a hockey game. (Bonus points if you can make it to an NHL game!) If hockey’s not your thing, find a basketball or indoor volleyball game. And if those options aren’t available either, make some wings, grab a few beers, and watch ESPN together.
Make a plan of attack.
Maybe it’s running a marathon. Or taking a hot-air balloon ride. Or reading a particular book you’ve never gotten around to. No matter what it is, the winter is a great time for some reflection and action. Spend the evening talking about your dreams and goals, and make a plan for how the two of you are going to accomplish one of them in the spring.
Lick some stamps.
That’s not a euphemism for anything. Seriously. Turn on some music, sit by the fire, and send New Year’s Greetings if you missed writing Christmas cards. Make it a traditional relaxed event rather than a hurry-up-we-need-to-mail-these-by-tomorrow race to the finish line.
No matter what you do this winter season, make sure that you spend time with the people you love, away from the chaos that can consume this time of year. And if you can eat a cookie or s’mores while you’re at it, then all the better!
Jo is the author of Jo, My Gosh! a blog about her journey as a newlywed military wife. When she’s not working from home, she’s writing, reading, trying new recipes, watching sports or cross stitching. Catch her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and say hi!