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Things to do inside this winter

by Terra Thorne 2 years ago in advice
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With the family, with the kids, with your partner; here's a bunch of fun activities to do with everyone you love while you're stuck inside for the holidays

Things to do inside this winter
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I have two daughters, four and two (almost three), and they are two the the most hilarious people I know. We got our first snowfall about a week ago, and my kids couldn't wait to get outside and play in the snow. We got them all bundled up in their snow gear and sent them into the backyard while Mommy got hot chocolate ready and watched from inside. My four year old waddled out there (I can't put my arms down!) and stood for a few minutes. She tried to roll one snow ball before coming back to the door shivering.

"I'm never going in the snow again." She said over and over again as I took her gear off and got her bundled up on the couch with her hot chocolate. Guess she takes after me in the regard that she loves the Winter but loves it from the comfort of her own home.

I really do love the winter! I spent the better part of my childhood in the desert of southern California so the winter holds something really magical to it. Now that I live somewhere with snow and cold and real season changes I don't think I'll ever go back. I am also open to living somewhere even colder if the opportunity ever came up, like Alaska or Montana.

My favorite part of winter is a snowy sunrise. I'm up earlier than the rest of my family because I have an internal clock that never reset after my kids stopped breast feeding. I have always taken advantage of that by making myself a cup of coffee and taking a few minutes of peace and quiet before the chaos of my day starts up. The morning where the sun is peaking over the mountains and you can start to clearly see the soft snow falling into perfectly even lines along the fence is my favorite morning in the whole world. I love to see the steam from my coffee as I get closer to the window to watch.

But that's how I like my snow - outside. I'll stay inside and enjoy my coffee than you very much. It's why I don't live in Alaska (yet). Once a few of my books are published and turned into Hallmark Channel movies (because it could happen) and I've made a zillion dollars, no less, then I can stay home and write and live in Alaska.

Let's not even bring the pandemic into this article because that's just a bummer point of reminding everyone that we shouldn't be out and about doing winter things this year. Personally, I will miss the parade of lights that my town always throws the first week of December. Maybe we will make our own parade of lights with our kids this year.

If you're feeling stuck and blue, here's some ideas of fun things to do while indoors this winter.

By Amin Hasani on Unsplash

Have a Movie Night

And I'm not talking about just putting a movie on and calling it done. Make it a big deal. I have small children, so to make our movie nights special we make fake ticket, "sell" popcorn with hugs, and sometimes make a blanket fort over the couch.

One of my favorite family traditions (and I think the one my husband liked the best) is what we call "Christmas Bed." Every year just after Thanksgiving my dad would pull out the mattress from the king size bed in our camper and lay it on the floor in the living room. We would get every pillow and blankets we could find and make the bed in the middle of our living room as cozy as we good. We watched a different movie every night during December and the bed on the floor made things extra special. For a room full of teenagers, it was a great way to ensure we would all stay comfy for a whole movie and not feel so compelled to retreat into our rooms to play on our phones.

If it's just you and your loved one, I say pulling a mattress into the living room would really change the feel of watching a movie there all together, but I won't go into the details there.

Cookie Decorating

Cookie Decorating is one of my favorite go-to activities for any kind of occasion. My two little girls have so much fun doing this, as well as a party room with a hundred people. It's easy to set up and can last night after night if you plan it properly.

Make your favorite sugar cookies and cut them into a bunch of different shapes. When they are done baking and cooled, save them somewhere and don't touch them until they are ready for a little decorating. With our little girls, we like to make them for someone else. For example, my four year old might make a cookie that her dad would like and makes an orange Christmas tree with chocolate chips.

Older kids might have a competition. I would print a picture of a cookie that everyone has to try to emulate (think like the show on Netflix "Nailed It"). Or give them a shape and tell them to decorate it as anything but that shape. A Christmas tree can't be a tree, maybe it's a series of arrows pointing left. That would be fun and get everyone's creative juices flowing.

The best part about the cookie decorating is you can do this nightly for the duration of the holidays. Have a day where you go baking crazy and make all you cookies, then just take out a few a night to decorate.

By freestocks on Unsplash

Twelve Days of Christmas Exchange

I used to work at a place that did this every year and it was so much fun to exchange gifts. They mostly played it one way, and then switched it up another year so I will give you both methods and you can pick what works best for your family. This is especially fun for grown families. I have two sisters and at this point we are all married (or practically married) so we have a lot of people who can play (kids included on this one!).

The idea is that you pick out 12 days worth of gifts for the person on your list. We played this secret Santa style at my last job. We would write our name on a popsicle stick and put it in the cup, you then pulled one name and bought twelve gifts for that person. Each of the gifts should be something very small, like a dollar or so, except for day 12. Day twelve is the big one, but usually no more than 20 bucks.

One year we played by writing our names on 12 sticks and we drew one for each day of the exchange. This was fun because I got to buy for just about everyone I worked with. This would be fun for a big family with more than 12 people in town for the holidays. You can exchange one or two a day, or do 12 presents all at once and try to guess who purchased what for you.

Homemade Crafts as Gifts

Another one that's fun to take up your time while stuck inside during the holidays is to make a list of crafts to complete and give them out as gifts to your family and friends. My favorite holiday tradition from my husbands side of the family is that once you are an adult you no longer get a present from a store. He and his siblings, and now his oldest nephew, all make presents for the others during the holidays.

My kids love to participate and make something for their Aunties and Uncles during the holidays. We make a list of crafts that they can do and put things together on the weekends. They don't have to be Christmas things, but can be anything that makes a keepsake. In the past we have made water color pictures and stuff like that with the kids. My husband and I have made Christmas wreaths and lights.

We recently purchased a 3D resin printer, so you can guess what our gifts might be like this year.

Have you always wanted to learn a new crafting skill? Take this opportunity to pick it up. I taught myself how to knit using YouTube videos one year and it only took a few days and one practice wash cloth. Sewing is another great skill to pick up and make some amazing home made gifts for your family.

By Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

No Technology Nights

Honestly, this idea has been on my mind for a while and not just for a winter activity. My family is addicted to technology. My kids have tablets that they plan on all the time (mind you, they are educational shows and learning games curated by yours truly), my husband always has some kind of controller in his hand and even I would rather have the TV on than a book in my hand.

I was thinking of calling this time "Little House on the Prairie Hour" to encourage everyone in my house to shut off for a while and do something that doesn't involve a screen. We can read aloud with the girls, play a board game or card game, light a fire and just simply enjoy each others company.

I would imaging for us, the first few nights would be very hard to get through. We will be bored, the kids will be crying, it would be a long hour or two to survive. Once this becomes a habit, I could imagine adding additional time on the end will feel easier and easier. If you start this in the winter, you might be doing no technology from 4 to 8 pm and can use this time to walk the block or go outside.

Deep Cleaning

This might make me very unpopular, but this is absolutely an option to keep you busy when you can't go outside. My sister in law and I try to use days like this to go through a spot in our homes that doesn't often get a lot of love, like the linen clothes or the craft desk, and do what we call "the great purge." We donate the things that are in perfect condition that haven't been touched in a while, and we toss the rest so we are left with a clean space that's not over flooded with things and only holds the things our families use regularly.

I hate cleaning. There, I said it! When I'm bored around the house, I always hear my mother's voice in the back of my head saying "I'm sure I could find some chores for you to do" and as an adult I've lived by these words. If I ever think to myself "I'm so bored" or "Wow, I've been on Tiktok for over an hour" that means it's time to clean.

Go through your pantry for expired spices and cans. Go into that back corner of your closet that hasn't been touched in a while. Pick a spot a day and break it up to take the better part of the cold months. Before you'll realize it, you're house will look like Marie Kondo's!

30 Days of Goal Setting

Remember that guy that ate McDonalds for 30 days. That was a bad idea, but from it sprung an interesting one. He had a TV show for a while where he tried something new for 30 days and normally they were also bad ideas. I remember an episode where he went to jail, and another where he was Amish for 30 days.

If you're a little extra, you can try something as dramatic as those, or you can start a little slower and a little more up your own personal alley. Maybe cook for your favorite kind of cuisine for 30 days. You could try to write every night for 30 days. Play a different board game. Solve 30 puzzles. Read a book a week for 30 days. Paint 30 pictures.

Whatever it is you like to do, commit to doing it for a whole month. It really changes the way you look at your favorite activities.

By Matthew Henry on Unsplash

In Conclusion

I am such a home body, and you can take it from this homebody that staying warm inside during the winter isn't the worst thing you can do. It doesn't have to feel mundane and repetitive with the to on and the same casserole night after night.

Think about the things you love most, and do them. Don't hesitate!


About the author

Terra Thorne

Wife. Mother. Employee. Author. Hufflepuff.

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