Make The Most Out Of Winter Break

I’ll be the first to say I am looking forward to the up-coming month long break from school. I love the holidays, and actually having some free time for something fun is the best gift anyone could give me for Christmas!  As busy college students, free time is not something we’re used to though. And if you’re not careful, the absence of the stress and demands of college during break can create quite a time void in your schedule, which can easily lead to spending the entire winter break plopped down on ma and pa’s couch and not doing anything fun! To ward off cabin fever and give you a jump-start on planning some fun activities for the break, here’s a few simple winter stay-cation ideas to keep you from wasting break hibernating in your parent’s basement. 

1. Visit a Local Ski Resort
Ski Discovery -or for many of us, “Snowboard” Discovery – is just an hour’s drive away and offers a wide variety of terrain and runs for every skill level. Tickets are reasonably priced, and even more so on special “Tech Days” scattered throughout the year. Skiing not your thing? Tubing is just as fun and requires basically zero skill. Okay, so it does require enough skill to stay on the thing, but laughing at your friend’s “skill” is almost as fun as tubing itself. 

2. Plan a Spa Day
I’m not talking about your high-end boutique here — although now is the best time of year to get lucky at those since many luxury spas offer steep discounts at this time of year — but rather an outing to a reasonably priced salon for a new hair-do with your girlfriends, or manicures in a fun holiday color. Here in Butte, Planet Beach offers great package deals for everything from massages to tanning to facials. Make it a group outing, and after just a couple hours, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated without breaking the bank. 

3. Schedule a Movie Marathon with Friends
If you absolutely must spend break watching TV instead of getting out of the house, this is the only way to do it. Have you missed all the new releases in the last 3 months because of weekend studying? Raid the Redbox in your neighborhood and catch up on all the must-sees. Or perhaps a marathon of the Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or every movie that’s ever had Johnny Depp in it is more your speed, whatever you prefer, a great way to share the fun with others is to invite your friends and have each person choose a movie to bring. It’s a great way to ensure that there’s at least one flick in the bunch that everyone wants to see, and it’s also a great way to find out something you might not have known about your friends before and enjoy a movie that you may never have heard of.

4. Embark on a Food and Beverage Tour
This sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be if you plan ahead, especially if you check websites like Groupon.com and Restaurant.com before you go. Identify a few restaurants you’ve been dying to try or Google “restaurants” in your hometown and go somewhere you’ve never heard of. I would recommend going to during lunch hours, since many places have specials and the prices are generally lower midday anyway. Of course, inviting friends on your excursion will make it much more enjoyable!

5. Challenge Yourself With New Recipes
Here’s an option for the Rachel Rays at heart. I for one cannot get enough of shows like Cake Boss, Chopped, Cupcake Wars, and anything to do with building ridiculous things out of cake. I love to cook, but most of the time I am far too busy to experiment in the kitchen or bake desserts like cakes and cookies. But now is the time! This winter, fill your house with the aromas of Christmas cheer by baking holiday cookies, building a gingerbread house with family, or maybe just having a “cupcake war.” Don’t tell your mom I suggested that! 

6. Hit the After-Holiday Sales
Many people are all shopped out by the time the after-holiday sales hit because they started way back at the craziness of Black Friday. I never have time to shop until the last minute, so after the holidays I am still itching with the shopping bug and ready to take advantage of the deep discounts on overstocked merchandise. Right after New Year’s you can score up to 90% off the holiday’s gift-worthy goodies. Say hello to a new Gingerbread scented bubble bath gift set! To: Me, From: Santa. 

7. Invite Other Staycationers Over for a Sleepover
Who doesn’t love a good sleepover? Ladies, can I get an amen? Winter is the best time to invite friends over for a night of movies, games, food, and drinks because who doesn’t want to cozy up inside when it’s freezing cold outside? Even if you’re far from your friends, this can be a fun family bonding time by “camping” in the living room together and getting some quality time in. Pile up on blankets and pillows and talk the night away, you’ll be surprised what you learn about your family and friends. 
8. Give and Get at the Thrift Store
What’s great about thrift shopping right after the holidays is that a lot of people have cleaned out their closets and donated their old clothes and accessories to make room for the new items they received as gifts. I recommend you do this to: clear out all your old clothes you haven’t worn all year and make room for a new wardrobe. Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Make a run to the local thrift or vintage shop and browse the aisles for the perfect pieces you never knew you wanted, or at least the most terribly awesome ugly sweater for Christmas Eve! 

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