We’ve made it through January – which is easily the toughest month of winter in my opinion – but alas friends, many cold winter days still lay ahead. These first months of the New Year can seem gloomy and gray, especially as the temptation to hibernate is very real. But, before you browse for the cheapest flight south, I’ve got some simple ways to help you enjoy the season and keep your winter blues at bay.
Make Hot Chocolate To-Go
Somehow packing up provisions and trekking into the wilderness (ie. concrete jungle for us city dwellers), makes me feel like I’m embarking on an adventure. I recommend teaming up with a girlfriend or your sweetheart to double the fun! Fill a thermos to share or two smaller ones if you want separate cups. You can add milk to your favourite powdered blend, or try a velvety homemade rendition if you’re feeling fancy. And don’t forget marshmallows! Take that thermos for a walk in the woods, to a park, or simply downtown. Hold hands and catch up, then refresh with your warm and inviting bevy.
Tip: adding a little Baileys to your hot chocolate is sure to keep you extra toasty on the walk home!
Go Skating Outdoors
Let me tell you right now, you don’t have to be any good at skating to give it a go! The fun is in trying something new, or maybe something you haven’t done in a long time. My very first date with my (now) husband was a skate along Ottawa’s famous Rideau Canal. We were far from skilled, and that was part of the fun! Search for local outdoor rinks in your area; you’ll likely be surprised at how many there are. And sometimes the smaller rinks are the most romantic. If you’re in a touristy area keep your eyes open for sweet treats like Beaver Tails, Chimneys, and maple syrup served on ice!
Tip: No skates – no problem; many rinks have rentals for under $10. Just be sure to double check that rentals are available if you are in need.
Build an Unconventional Snowman
Remember when playing in the snow was an absolute thrill? When you could build forts, dig winding tracks, and throw snowballs for hours? As we grow up we tend to forget all the joy that snow can bring. All it takes is a good pair of boots and some warm mittens to be a modern-day Michelangelo! Building a snowman is easy and fun, and there are no limits to how creative you can be. Try building snow animals, or even a “portrait” of your partner (how flattering). Looking for the ultimate challenge? Build an upside-down snowman. You’ll demonstrate your snow-boulder balancing skills as well as your strength, since you’ll be lifting the largest boulder up to the top!
Tip: Accessories do, in fact, make the (snow)man. Find an impressive carrot for a nose, and try bottle caps or rocks in place of the traditional lumps of coal. Bonus points if you can find a top hat!
I hope these fun activities get you outside and enjoying all that winter has to offer. Happy snow days ahead!