For those of us who live in a stretch of the country that is prone to freezing temperatures and snowy conditions, the winter season means plenty of time, holed up inside—and it can feel nearly impossible to come up with winter date ideas. It also means less time under the sun, receiving those all-essential Vitamin D rays. Lack of fresh air and endorphins from the sunshine can leave some of us feeling ‘meh’, and in some extreme cases, others will suffer from the symptoms of Seasonal Depressive Disorder (SAD). That’s why date night is always important, but perhaps, especially essential in the coldest times. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with the one you love when it’s far too chilly to do anything else.
But if you grow a little weary of the Netflix binge, consider these romantic winter date ideas that won’t blow your budget – or kill your mood.
Watch the sunset.
Though you’ll likely have to reserve this winter date idea to the weekend, since hey, the sun goes down between 4 and 5 p.m., depending on your location — it’s still a mega romantic move. If you don’t have a balcony or patio of your own, love and relationships psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz suggests piling on the layers and finding a remote location to enjoy the view. You can bring folding chairs, and a picnic of wine and cheese to make it even more swoon-worthy. If you don’t want to be bothered with all of the leg work, Dr. Schewitz says it can be just as romantic to hit up a rooftop bar with a view (and hopefully, heaters!)
Make s’mores in your PJ’s.
You may think you need a fireplace to create s’mores, but celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert Bonnie Winston disagrees. All you need for this winter date idea is a stove — which most duos have in their shared apartment or home. Much like you did when you were at summer camp or away for a lake getaway, pull out the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows for a sweet date indoors. “Get cozy, snuggle up and after you toast marshmallows over the stove, assemble them on the coffee table, with a cute plaid wool blanket placed underneath,” Winston recommends.
Some of the most beautiful seasons to enjoy the splendor of the skies is during the winter. With clear, gorgeous nights that allow you to see constellations and a tapestry of beautiful stars, Dr. Schewitz suggests taking the opportunity to savor the view, together. “Blow up an inflatable kiddie pool, lay down pillows and blankets inside of it and lay down bundled up together under the stars. You can also do this in the back of a pickup truck bed,” she continues. “Use a free app to see which constellations and planets you’re looking at in the night sky. This is an especially great idea whenever there’s a meteor shower to watch.”
Have a game night for two (or more).
Even though your smartphone has endless game options, most don’t exactly lend themselves to interaction. Two player apps might be fun — but you’re still stuck looking at your screen for hours instead of smiling at one another. That’s why Winston suggests dusting off those old school board games and bringing a little friendly competition into your relationship. If you’re up for it, invite another couple over for a winter date night. “Monopoly is a favorite, and everyone pretty much has learned that, but try a new one or a fast paced one like Tenzies,” Winston continues. “Make it more exciting by betting a small amount of money, and then whoever wins has to take the other out for dinner or drinks, that night or in the future.”
Go on a ‘vacation’ at home.
If this year’s budget doesn’t quite allow for a flight to Southeast Asia or Cancun, consider treating yourself to a vacation… at home! All you need is a little creativity. First, choose where you’re ‘going’ — whether it’s Thailand, Italy, or somewhere else in the big world. Then, pick a meal you can cook together, and find a playlist to match. Then, Dr. Schewitz suggests dressing for the part and perhaps finishing the evening with a movie about the destination.
Take a dog out for a winter walk.
If you have a pup that usually loves to go for long walks, the winter is probably equally as gray for your four-legged pal. That’s why Winston suggests making it a family affair by bundling up, holding hands and going for a stroll in the snow or the cold. Not only is walking great exercise, but it gives you time to catch up, have long talks and enjoy the happiness of your pet. If you don’t own a dog (yet, anyway), consider asking your friends if you can give them a night off and enjoy having a dog for an evening. Once the pup has had his or her fun, Winston suggests dropping him or off at home, and heading to a local bar for a hot toddy — or three!
Create your own spa night in.
While it would be wonderful to spend a full day at a spa — most of them don’t come cheap. And for two people, it’s that much more expensive. Rather than shelling out hundreds, Dr. Schewitz suggests recreating the ambiance, calmness and warmth of a spa with a self-care night inside for a fun winter date idea. “Light some candles, put on some spa music, take a bath together, then grab some massage or coconut oil and give each other massages,” she continues. “Feathers make for a great add on to a massage. Just rub them over your partner before, during, or after the massage.”