The Childfree Guide to Enjoying the Winter Holidays
Most people argue that summer is the best season of all because of sunshine, beaches and maybe even girls in short shorts (can’t argue there!). Despite how delightful summer can be, winter is my favourite season of all–and for good reason, I promise. Not only is it highly fashionable–from all the heavenly fur and down that describes the Nobis parka; to Mulberry shearling wedge booties–winter is the time to bring out your fiercest styles. And winter isn’t just for snuggling under the covers and watching re-runs of Gossip Girl. Although, you can do that too. Here’s 10 things that will make your child-free holidays enjoyable!
1. The Decorations — Bring your camera along for this one. If you think the winter holidays is all gloom and doom, check out the best lights display in your city. Here in Toronto, you can expect to be bedazzled by mega wattage, festive decorations and a 40 ft lit tree in the Distillery District. The Distillery District has mulled wine markets, a reindeer zoo and a very small-town appeal. And of course, the gorgeous ice sculptures and high-end Christmas decorations in Yorkville is worth a walk. I promise you’ll go home feeling very sparkly and giddy.
2. Chestnuts–yes, the same ones in the song that we are supposed to roast on an open fire. Roasted chestnuts are simply divine and very delicious. The slightly sweet, nutty flavour and the creamy yet meaty texture of these warm, unique nuts are unlike anything you’ll experience this winter. Roasted chestnuts are best paired with a light white wine and eaten warm. If you get tired of just eating them like that, try a roasted chestnut soup or a nice vegan recipe–apple and chestnut stuffed acorn squash. I seriously go through a 2lb bag of chestnuts a week. And so you don’t feel guilty–it’s a high in fibre, low in fat snack that will make your house smell cozy and inviting!
3. Discounted Shopping – After everyone buys their Christmas presents, EVERYTHING goes on sale the next day for the famous Boxing Day sales (think Black Friday in the States). Yes, people line up outside malls and shops for the amazing discounts but since we don’t have little ones to buy plastic train set and Nintendo Wii’s for; there is no harm in browsing and treating yourself! If standing in long lines at a mall is not your thing, online stores often celebrate Boxing Day too with generous discounts. ‘Tis the season to be merry–and frugal!
4. Hot Chocolate and Tea
It seems every year cafes like Starbucks and Lettieri come out with creamy, creative hot lattes and chocolate drinks for the season. From the eggnog or the gingerbread latte, to the white hot chocolate–it makes going to cafes extra fun before a skating session or a trip to the book store. The pumpkin spice latte is my favourite–and it definitely makes the cold days feel a bit warmer.
Places like David’s Tea is packed during the cold months, and there is nothing better than a cup of hot tea with a touch of honey. The holidays is a time to take tea seriously. Try a new flavour or use tea to improve your health as well. I finished 2 boxes of fennel tea, stinging nettle tea and oolong tea last winter. If you visit a health food store or a tea house, you will find a wide array of delicious teas to tantalize you and keep you relaxed on snowy nights.
5. Snowboarding -Winter sports are highly underrated. You won’t even feel like you got a workout while you are skiing down the slopes, but winter sports burn serious calories and are so much fun. Put on your favourite scarf and your snowpants to toboggan at your local park or pack up your board to hit the hills in Aspen (or Blue Mountain, Ontario). I usually toboggan at night, when the snow is an untouched blanket on the ground and I don’t have to share the hills with tweens in UGGs. Winter sports vary in price, so save up for a weekend getaway and get out there. You won’t regret it!
6. Kiss under the Mistletoe..and then Some–My mother told me that I was conceived during the winter because there wasn’t much else to do on snowed in days. Despite the fact that I wanted to erase those words from my memory, she has a point. Even though you’ll be likely sterilized or using protection, the holidays is a great time to get freaky. Try a new position or lather up some body oil you got on sale from Boxing Day and give winter blue’s a run for it’s money. If you’re single and looking to mingle, winter is a good time to date! There is so many New Years bashes at this time that if you go out, you will indeed find hordes of happy people ringing in the New Year. A lot of people from out of town are visiting family–so chat up someone cute and find out where they are from. Chances are, next time they’ll be coming back to visit you.
7. Island Getaway-When the snow turns to slush and the icy winds get to be a little too much, it is time for that Caribbean vacation. If you have paid vacation time at work, try to accrue it so you can take off a week (0r two) and enjoy some R&R and a good mojito in Cuba or St. Kitts. A week of sunshine will give you all the Vitamin D you need to get through the rest of the winter. Working on your tan in a straw wide-brimmed hat while your peers are shoveling snow and driving their tykes to hockey practice is priceless..well actually, it’s around $600 a ticket on sale. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.
8. Be Silly – Winter is the only time you’ll get to make snow angels and snowmen with carrot noses. You don’t need kids to enjoy the silliness and fun of snow and winter. Dressing up your cats or dogs in winter sweaters in bright green and red, or antlers is well worth the laugh you’ll get when you view the pictures in the spring-time. The smell of a real pine tree in your living room is refreshing and even you know you secretly love listening to White Christmas twice. Have a spontaneous snowball fight (maybe even with a cute stranger walking by!) and taste the snowflakes. Actually, with all the pollution…disregard that last one.
9. Wrapped Presents-The only time to expect wrapped presents is your birthday and Christmas! It is almost as much fun wrapping up presents as it is receiving them. Even though I mostly give bottles of wine at this time of year, my closest friends and family get gift-wrapped presents. With big bows and mini Santa Claus icons, it is nice to exchange gifts. Even if it is just a box of chocolates, buy some gift wrap and wrap something up for someone!
10. Giving Back – As child-free individuals, we earn money that is not spent on young dependents. We have free time not allotted to caring for children, and this is the number one time of the year to give back to the needy. Donate presents to your local charity or the Salvation Army, pack up all your old summer clothes you don’t wear and give them to Goodwill or Value Village; and donate money to those charities standing on the corner on the street. You know you see them! We have enough and part of enjoying the holidays is knowing other people are having the opportunity to enjoy them too. Another way to donate is to buy some canned goods and take it to your local grocery store. Most of them have a food bank program that ensures the needy and vulnerable aren’t without this holiday season.
*Photos are compiled from Google.
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