Thursday, December 20

7 winter break dates and outings for couples or groups

When we were kids, it was perfectly acceptable to spend the two weeks of winter break in our pajamas, playing Super Mario Brothers and watching Christmas movies on cable.  Now you are a grown-up, and spending your winter break on the couch is not so rewarding (although a few days of hibernation can be a great way to recharge).  Your days off are an opportunity to have fun and stay out late - take advantage of them!  Here are a few of my favorite fun things to do with my husband, family and friends during my time off.

1.  Community holiday celebrations/parades
  • Local Christmas celebrations can be cheesy in the best kind of way, and going with a group of friends makes even the simplest of festivals or the shortest of parades a lot more fun.  This Friday, Mr. Q and I are planning a trip to Dickens of a Christmas with my best work friend and her husband.  Who can resist chestnut roasting, carriage rides, jugglers, face painters, and high school theater students giving A Christmas Carol their best shot?  Um, probably Scrooge is the answer to that question.
2.  Choral and dramatic performances
  • When I was in college, one of my favorite holiday traditions was going to see the Baptist choir's traditional candlelight Lessons and Carols performance in our school's Gothic chapel.  Those of you who live in college towns probably have a wealth of holiday entertainment options to choose from!  City dwellers can catch a local performance of Scrooge or The Nutcracker, and even those of us who live in rural areas can usually find a friend's church play or dance studio recital to attend.  I think I like those small, homespun productions the best - I can really appreciate the time and effort that goes into putting together a performance on top of everyday responsibilities!
3.  Ice skating
  • I've always dreamed of visiting New York at Christmas time and going ice skating in Rockefeller Center, but until then, there's ice skating at the loal Civic Center.  You can pretend you're in an episode of Glee.
4.  Cooking class
  • Enrollment in a cooking class is a Christmas gift I'd love to receive - as a young wife I've been trying to hone my cooking chops, but I end up falling back on a few favorite recipes most weeknights.  I'd love to learn how to make something really exciting, like sushi, but I think taking Mr. Q or a group of friends along would really make a cooking class more fun - then we could combine our skills to prepare a feast!  Groupon and other local deal services offer discounted rates on cooking classes fairly regularly, or for a more budget-friendly option, choose an appetizer, main course, side dish, and dessert from a brand-new (or library-borrowed brand-new-to-you) cookbook.
5.  Museum/Gallery visit
  • One thing I do not make enough time for in my everyday life is visiting all of the cool museums and art galleries in the area - why let tourists have all the fun?  Most museums and galleries list their current exhibits on their websites, and museum/gallery stores are full of neat last-minute holiday gifts.
6.  Movie date
  • While I'm sad that The Great Gatsby didn't make it's originally-announced Christmas debut (we'll have to wait until May), Skyfall, The Hobbit, and Silver Linings Playbook all look good to me, as do This is 40 and On the Road.  For more serious fare, the Impossible, about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, looks amazing.
7.  Christmas shopping/DIY-ing
  • Christmas shopping can feel like a chore, but I have found that making a list of all the people you need to buy or make gifts for and knocking it out in one day can be really rewarding.  Grab your significant other, BFF, or mom, and make it your shared mission to find fun gifts for everyone on your list.  Some of my favorite places to find unique gifts are Pier 1, World Market, and Books-A-Million; Mr. Q and I also try to shop local small businesses as often as possible.  If DIY gifts are more your style, get all of your supplies together and start an assembly line!

What are your favorite things to do with your days off from work?


  1. What about Les Mis?!?!? I'm so excited to see it in the theaters, and in some ways am more excited about that on Christmas day instead of actually celebrating the holiday.

    1. Oh man, can't believe I forgot that one - my sister in law have been planning on going to see it since the first preview came out, and I think we may even be able to drag Mr. Q along since I got him to watch the concert version (with Nick Jonas) that aired on PBS last weekend.