Welcome to the first day of winter – a.k.a the Winter Solstice.
Today is the shortest day of the year. Whereas some people don’t like how short the days are leading up to the Winter Solstice, I have to say that I don’t mind the days being short for awhile. It kind of forces our lives to slow down a little bit, as we seem to settle in for the night a bit earlier. The good news for those who prefer more daylight: the sun will set a little later each day from here on out until around June 21st or so. (My anniversary!)
Many people up here in the north do not actually enjoy the snow that comes with winter. Even though I generally love snow, I am ready for it to be all gone by February. (I have never learned to appreciate a bitter cold wind, and never will.) However, the winter is a good time of year to take care of some things around the house, and spend more time with family.
So, here is my list of things to do in the winter. Even if you don’t live in a colder climate, there are still plenty of activities you can enjoy from the list (so don’t just hit the ‘back button’ if you are reading this in Florida). Some ideas are more fun than others of course, but you can’t have fun every moment of the day, right?
15 Cheap And Mostly Fun Things To Do In Winter
- Play board games. I love board games. I used to drive my family crazy asking them to play games with me everyday. Ironically, I am still the same way. The good thing is, my daughter is the same way so we get to play a lot of games. I do still try to have specific family game nights where the whole family plays. It is a good way to reconnect and eat snacks! (Try Apples to Apples, it is a fantastic family game.)
- Go sledding. I am lucky in that I have a sledding hill in my backyard. However, I am sure many people have access to hill within reasonable distance. Pack a big thermos of cocoa, put on your snow pants, and head toward the nearest hill.
- Build a bonfire. I know this is a carryover from my ‘things to do in fall‘ list, but I really love bonfires. Having a fire and sledding or building snowmen is a fun thing to do, especially at night. Again, equip yourself with some cocoa, and bring out some marshmallows. Plan this ahead of time though so you can ensure the firewood is dry. Grab all that leftover dryer lint to use as a fire-starter.
- Clean your house. What better time to attack the basement than winter? Get the kids involved too as I imagine a lot of the stuff is theirs, and they have to decide what they actually use anymore or not. (Or, if you have a child like my youngest son who won’t part with anything, it might be a better task to handle while the kids are at school. They can always handle the finishing touches when they come home, like vacuuming and such.)
- Donate to charity. This goes along with number 4. Collect all those things and head over to the Salvation army or charity of your choice. Of course, it is a great thing to do before December 31st if you can, but it’s ok if it waits until January. It is also a good time to review your charitable giving for the year and see if there are any areas that are underfunded.
- Start an exercise program. It is easy to get sedentary over the winter. However, there are so many easy options for indoor exercising, even if you don’t have an exercise machine. Look into different video programs like P90x or Pilates. You don’t need a ton of room and all you need is a TV and a DVR. Actually, some on demand cable providers have exercise programs and you can just get up and try out a free program on demand. Regardless of how you exercise, you need to do it regularly.
- Cook a big meal. Even if the holidays are over, roast another turkey or two over the winter. It’s cheap, delicious, and provides a ton of leftovers. Not to mention how great the house always smells when a turkey is in the oven.
- How a ‘nice’ snowball fight. Don’t go pelting people in the face, but make some snow forts and have a friendly battle.
- Go for a walk in the snow. There are few things I like more than when I see giant snowflakes falling from the sky. I love looking up at the streetlights when it is dark and snowing, it takes me right back to childhood.
- Shovel the snow for elderly neighbors. Provides great exercise, and is a great thing to do for a neighbor. Don’t wait to be asked, just go do it.
- Try skiing/snowboarding. (I will never heed this advice as I end up with injuries too easily. However, I know many enjoy snow sports.)
- Go for a drive (when it isn’t snowing). I love going for a nice drive to see Christmas lights. We always take some hot cocoal for the ride and have a great time. I love when I see Christmas lights that are shining under a blanket of snow.
- Plan your summer garden. Look up different flowers or vegetables you might want to experiment with and order the seeds. It is great to start your plants ahead of time indoors as it just makes you hopeful for nicer weather. Just don’t start too soon or you might end up with some weak, spindly plants.
- Have a winter barbecue. Keep an eye on the weather, pick a ’warmer’ day, and make some potato salad! I know I love cooking with my crockpot, but sometimes I just want some barbecue chicken! Mixing up the menu like this is especially good in February when you are really getting sick of winter.
- Organize your photos and get them in a scrapbook. This is one of those ‘do as I say and not as I do’ moments. I probably have 5,000 pictures saved on an external hard drive and organizing seems almost like an impossible task. Sounds like a New Year’s Resolution to me…
I could go on and on, but I will stop at 15. I would love to hear if there are any activities you especially like to do in winter, so please share!