Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you are surviving this wet grey weather. When I first moved to the Midwest from Texas, the dark fall and winter days were a complete shock to me. Waking up in the dark and then coming home to darkness was something I needed to get use to. So over the years I started doing little things here and there to make the dark days more exciting and less dreaded. And even these are small changes, they truly make a big difference! No need to fork up a ton of money or time, just have fun and get creative. Plus just keep reminding yourself there are only a few more months left before spring! You can do it!
13 Tips and activities to help you stay chipper and cheerful during these long dark winter days:
1.Try to go for walks at work. Whether you have access to the skyway downtown, in your building or even outside. Going for walks will help you stay sane during this time of year.
2. Add some brightness to your cube, desk and computer. I love adding a sunny photo to my desktop background either from past trips or a destination on my bucket list. Many of my friends also post sunny bright photos on their cube walls to brighten their day! And of course don’t forget family and pet photos.3. Bake something sweet. I love this time of year because there is an ever-present cozy feeling. I feel like I always have a cup of tea or coffee in hand. That means you will need a cookie or dessert to go with it! Try a new recipe, make a crazy sugary mess in your kitchen and share your sweet creation with family, friends and coworkers. This is a great way to brighten everyone’s day!
4. Happy Hour. Oh yes, this is the perfect time of year for happy hours. Share a drink and some laughs with your friends and you will forget that it’s dark out.
5. Finally tackle a Pinterest project. For those of you that are crafty or just want to finally try a Pinterest project, this is the time to do it! Whether it is a recipe or a fun craft, take one of these dark nights to start a project and see it all the way thru! Who cares if it takes you a few weeks. No rush, enjoy it… you have all winter to finish it.6. Movie night. Darkness outside is perfect for a movie night! Whip up some fun snacks like popcorn with peanuts and M&Ms, caramel corn, finger food or even some take out and watch a fun flick. We love checking out Redbox or even our old stash of movies during the week to change it up. This is also a fun activity to do with the little ones on a Friday night. For example, last winter we went thru the Harry Potter movies! It was so fun to watch 1 movie a week along with fun finger foods and popcorn. It actually made me excited for the dark evenings after work!
7. Friends night. Although week nights are always hectic, it is still possible to be social. Invite a friend, a couple or a group of friends over for dinner and games or just food and conversation. If you don’t feel like cooking much, make something simple like my Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sticks or a big batch of Ina’s Mac and Cheese. These are crowd pleasing, plentiful and affordable recipes that you can make ahead in order to enjoy the evening with your peeps.
8. Midtown Global Market (Minneapolis). This is a fun family friendly place to go to on dark cold week nights. Here you will be able to do it all! Walk around the large market, check out the fun global shops and have a yummy affordable dinner from pretty much any world cuisine that your heart desires. There is often music playing in the evenings and even a brewery East Lake Craft Brewery.
9. Indoor picnic. This is a really fun activity with your partner, roomy, kiddos or even on your own with a good book! First prep some open space in your place maybe near a window and set up a blanket or a big table-cloth. Next prepare your favorite picnic foods (like sandwiches, hot dogs, cold salads, meat and cheese board, fruit or cookies) and snatch pillows for sitting. Lastly queue up some tunes and enjoy your indoor picnic with a good book, games or even toys for the little people in your life. Best part about it is that your indoor picnic allows beer or wine 🙂10. Breakfast for dinner (Br-inner?). Who doesn’t get excited for a breakfast food? I mean fluffy pancakes, soft waffle, mapley french toast, silky eggs and crispy bacon will definitely brighten anyone’s day. Make your favorite decadent breakfast food and enjoy it for dinner! If you are looking for something other than orange juice and coffee, try a mimosa or a bloody Mary. Happy Br-inner!
11. Night walk. If the cold weather is bearable to walk in, bundle up, make some hot cocoa or coffee and go for a night walk. We love doing this at my house. We basically bundle up like Michelin men grab some to-go coffee cups with hot cocoa and bring a headlamp or flashlight for a winter walk. It is a fun way to get moving, breathe some fresh air and catch up with your loved ones while checking out your neighborhood at night.
12. Romantic dinner at home. On a dark dreary night, plan a cozy dinner with your sweetie. NO need to go out and spend a bunch of money. Instead stay in, make a romantic easy recipe (like my Ahi Love You Tuna) together while you sip on some wine. And if you have kids you may want to drop them off at the grandparents or hope they go to bed early 😉
13. Themed night. Italian night, Mexican night, French night… the possibilities are endless. This is another one of my favorite things to do when the weeks seem boring and blah. Pick a country or region of the world, a recipe from there and perhaps a desert or a drink to go with it! If you want to get extra crazy even get a movie to match the theme.Here are some of our past themed nights
- Italian Night – Pasta or homemade pizza, Italian wine and affogatos (Italian dessert of espresso and ice cream). We have watched The Italian Job and the Godfather movies.
- French Night – Croque Monsieur (fancy french grilled cheese), french wine and Midnight in Paris
- Greek Night – Chicken gyros with tzatziki sauce, store-bought baklava and my big fat Greek wedding.
- Mexican Night – Amazing quesadillas or cheesy enchiladas with homemade Margaritas. This is hard to resist!
So this winter, don’t let the darkness get you down. Try out some of these fun tips/activities to help you get through the long dark months and before you know it, it will be spring the sun will shine again 🙂
Winter is coming…
I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below and let me know what fun things you do on dark fall and winter days. And if you try any of the above let me know what you think!