Monday, 12 December 2011

40 things to do this winter

It is now officially and completely winter. The air is biting and frigid, there's a hyperborean stillness to the night and everything outside your bed feels like Siberia. It's the season for cinnamon and poinsettas, for fairy lights and carols and mistletoe kisses. But despite all that cosy yummyness, often we find we get a bit glum in the winter months - its cold, we probably have exams coming up, we've gone home for Christmas and our family is driving us mad. So I came up with a few ideas for things to do this winter to make yourself smile, to create a little festive glow inside you, or maybe just be productive. Wonderful!

1 - Crack out the knitwear. Festive? Or just very bright and ugly? Either way, a big snuggly jumper is the way forward.

2 - Go iceskating, preferably outside. Double points if you take someone to hold your hand and buy you hot chocolate afterwards.

3 - Make your own wrapping paper, with a potato stamp and some brown parcel paper. Or paint your hand and hi five every gift you give.

4 - Have a winter romance, talk for too long, share too many secrets, kiss in the snow and hold hands on the bus.

5 - Do this quiz, then adopt an animal with the WWF.

6 - Bake! Bake a ginger bread city, a mountain of mince pies or a rich and sticky yule log. Fill your house with the smell of it. Then give your baking to friends, strangers and the homeless.

7 - Hang out with some kids. No-one does Christmas like kids. Don't be scared to be a kid yourself.

8 - Make a date with your bed and a book. If you can do it with someone, there are few things more delicious and intimate than just lying in bed with someone, reading and being together.

9 - Go to a Carol Service, and sing like no-one's listening.

10 - Invest in a Onesie. It's time.

11 - Moisturise. This isn't so much an idea as just great advice, no-one wants winter lizard skin.

12 - Make a fort!

13 - Buy fabulous underwear, stockings are compulsory. Turn up the heating, and wear only fabulous underwear.

14 - See the people you havn't seen in too long.

15 - Listen to music your grandparents liked when they were your age.

16 - Perfect a crazily extravagant hot chocolate recipe. Squirty cream, flakes, chocolate chips, marshmallows, bits of leftover christmas pudding...

17 - Attempt to cook a full christmas dinner for your friends. Hint: Roast potatoes take freaking forever to cook!

18 - Sit in a coffee shop, pretend to read a book and people watch to your heart's content. Make up stories about the people you see.

19 - Make a collage of pictures from your summer.

20 - Watch festive films from your childhood - The Snowman, Home Alone, Father Christmas etc...

21 - Volunteer. A soup kitchen, a charity shop, an animal sanctuary. There a lot of people and animals who could use some care at this time of year.

22 - Write a letter. A love letter, a thankyou letter, an apology letter, even if its to someone who lives near-by. Get a festive stamp.

23 - Have a board games night. Cranium and backgammon are my favourites.

24 - Go sledging. No sledge? A tray or bin lid will do. No hill? Grab some string, a friend and pull each other.

25 - Help an elderly neighbour by offering to clear their drive-way of snow. Serious karma points.

26 - Learn the winter constellations. Wrap up at night, go outside and spot them.

27 - A stuck record, I know... but excercise. Its just good for you. Make it wintery if you like; indoor skiing?

28 - Find an animal, preferably furry. Pet it.

29 - Go away for the weekend. Edinburgh is great in the winter, so is Paris, so is York, so are the dales...

30  - Build a snow man. BUILD A SNOW LION. Have a snowball fight, get soaking wet, have a hot bath.

31 - Go the the ballet. For me, nothing beats The Nutcracker at this time of year.

32 - Go see a panto if that's more your thing.

33 - Read up on and learn some quotations from someone amazing. My favourites include Oscar Wilde, Salvador Dali, Lewis Carroll and Bob Dylan. Who are yours?

34 - Take the time to write. A story, a poem, a letter (wait, didn't we already do that one?), a blog. It is good for your mind and for your heart. Especially if you do it with pen and paper, and not on a computer.

35 - Take vitamins. Again, just standard, good advice.

36 - Write a list of 10 great things that happened to you this year. Then write 10 great things you want to do in 2012.

37 - Learn to play a christmas song. Even if you don't already play an instrument, I defy anyone to not be able to learn Jingle Bells on the Recorder!

38 - Learn to knit, and do something worthwhile with the results!

39 - Actually write thankyou cards this year. I know you always mean to, now actually do it!

40 - Give someone a big fat cuddle. It doesn't matter who, never under estimate the power of physical contact!

Any other ideas for great stuff to do?

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