Monday, December 22, 2014

10 Awesome Christmas Dates

Christmas is quickly approaching. Most of us are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season: shopping, baking, cleaning and wrapping. I think it's important however, to slow down and take a minute to really spend some time with your honey. Just take a deep breath, let a few things go and go on a holiday date together. Here are my favorite ideas to get you going.

It's one of my favorite things to do and is very inexpensive to free, depending on how you do it. We have approached this in a variety of ways in the past. 
  • Hop in the car and just drive around: this gets you some distance and you are able to see more beautiful houses. 
  • Find a neighborhood that is completely decked out, park the car and take a walk around the neighborhood. I love this slower approach. There's something about bundling up and walking hand in hand enjoying the beautiful lights.
  • In the spirit of slowing down and holding hands, there are a lot of parks and businesses that will deck out for the holiday's. There are several of the Lakes in our area that put on quite a show, and let you walk around for free. We also have several of our theme parks and zoos that deck out their whole parks. It's really quite something to explore the zoo at night with the entire thing decked out in lights. This of course will cost a little bit of money, but it's worth it every couple of years to me.
This can be expensive, if you head out to the big theaters, but you will get an amazing show. However, if you don't want to break the bank, many of the local theaters and schools are putting on more simple shows, but worth the money - and you can feel good about supporting the local talent. We have seen anything from "A Christmas Carol" to "A Christmas Story". I love the theater, and Christmas time is one of my more favorite times to go.

One of the things on my top favorite Christmas dates of all time was going to the "Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Extravaganza" Christmas concert. If they are coming your way, this concert is SO worth every penny. But, if you want something a little more simple and less expensive, there are a ton of local concerts at the schools and churches. I know several churches that put on Handel's "Messiah", and the school concerts are always entertaining. Most of the time these are free as well.

Sometimes just staying in is what the doctor ordered. Send the kids off to Grandma's for the evening, or put them to bed, and curl up with your favorite Christmas movie. Not sure what to watch? Here are my Top 5 Christmas Movies of all Time!

If you gotta make them, why not make them together. We love to spend time in the kitchen together, and getting creative decorating sugar cookies, or pigging out on cookie dough together is rather fun. Heat up the kitchen by doing your baking together.

Now that you have all of those wonderful cookies made, put together plates and deliver them to your friends. Not into cookies? Here are some other ideas that we have delivered to friends in the past:
  • Homemade bread with jelly
  • A variety of muffins - to save them a bit of time by having breakfast already made for them.
  • Soup Mix and bread sticks
  • Hot cocoa and mugs
Okay, we don't all live in a winter wonderland at Christmas time. There are some of you that have snow all winter long and a favorite lake you can skate on. For the rest of us, find a local rink and go ice skating. A lot of times bigger cities will put in temporary ice rink for the season. Here in Seattle, The Seattle Center puts in such a rink during the holidays. It's fun to lace up and do a few laps around the ice.

I love to go to Christmas bizarres! I love all of the decorations, the fun little trinkets that the venders have and all of the fun foods that are offered. Most bizarres have entertainment as well, so you can get music and Santa to go along with it. And remember, you are never too old to get your picture taken with Santa! Walk around, grab some lunch and maybe get a decoration or two.

The quickest way to get into the true spirit of Christmas is to help those less fortunate. There are so many options, and it really puts things into perspective for you. Here are some ideas to look into:
  • Help out at your local soup kitchen
  • Hand out food at the food bank
  • Wrap gifts for the "Secret Santa" programs
  • Have a toy drive and take all of the toys to the nearest fire station. They are always gathering toys this time of year.
  • Organize a coat drive to donate to the homeless shelters
Living in Seattle, we don't get snow very often, but when we do this is one of my most favorite things to do. Bundle up and head out to enjoy the beauty of winter. A lot of times we will take our cameras out with us too and take pictures. It's amazing how much more beautiful things are when you really look at them, and focus in on the details. And, there is somethings so peaceful about taking a walk in the snow. Everything just seems to be so still and quiet. I love that!!
Take some time this season to slow down and enjoy being with your significant other. It's so important to spend time together. Even with our kids gone, the hubby and I still have a date night once a week because we feel it is so important. It doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive, just simple and time together is all that matters.

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