Kristina is a parent of two, writer, remote worker, and volunteer. In her spare time, she enjoys nature, trying new things, and lots of DIY.
It's the middle of winter, and you're dreaming of the warm and breezy days of summer. The ground is crunchy and the days are short. It's easy to hunker down during this frigid part of winter, but sometimes it can also be nice to find ways to liven things up. Planning a date night (or day) with your partner can help break up the monotony of winter. And it doesn't have to be expensive! There are a multitude of ways that you can spend time together without forking over fistfuls of cash. Even the best connections can be inexpensive, simple, and engaging.
If you're looking for creative wintertime date ideas that don't break the bank (or set fire to the credit card), check out my list of cheap (or even free) ideas!
Take a Class
Check your local library, museum, or nature center, to see if they are offering any free classes. Chances are, you'll find something interesting and new to learn together. If you don't prefer an in-person class, look online for virtual options. Perhaps an online cooking class, a virtual wine tasting class, or a tour through The Louvre? There are so many more virtual options than there have ever been before.
Go Stargazing and Light a Bonfire
If the weather is decent and the skies are clear, grab a blanket and head outside to look up at the stars. Download an app on your phone that shows all the constellations, and see which ones you can locate. While you're at it, light a bonfire and roast marshmallows together, while staying warm and toasty in your blankets. Or, take it up a notch and cook a peach cobbler in a Dutch oven right over the fire. It is so good!
Listen to Old Music
Dig out your old cd's or records, and share the music that you listened to a decade (or so!) ago. As a child of the 80's and 90's, you'd find a lot of Green Day and N'Sync in my CD case. Listening to your old music can be a blast as you remember songs you haven't heard in ages. Trust me, you'll remember the lyrics. Break out the karaoke mic if you feel the urge. Look up the old music videos. To really make it nostalgic, you could each choose your favorite old songs and make a mixtape. Pair this with your favorite beverage and have fun singing along!
Play Virtual or Video Games
Challenge each other to some competitive fun! Go online and look up free trivia games, or virtual escape rooms. Or, break out the old-school Nintendo system, and see how well you remember playing "Super Mario Bros" or "Mario Kart." Take bets on who can defeat Bowser first. While you're at it, throw together some easy snacks to munch on, like dried fruit and nuts, cheese and crackers, or veggies and hummus. If you want to spend a little, you can even buy an escape room in a box (there are lots of date night games available) and have it delivered. Then follow the directions online to solve the mystery!
Get Active (Outdoors)
Take it outside for some winter sports! Find the nearest hill and go sledding together. Rent snowshoes and take a snowy hike. If your town has an established ice skating area that is frozen enough, lace up your ice skates and go for a spin. One of my favorite outdoor winter dates was when my husband and I went snowshoeing through a vineyard. It was a a unique experience
Make fancy hot cocoa when you're back at home. You could add colorful marshmallows, whip cream, mix in caramel sauce, or add crushed peppermint. Yum!
Bonus idea: Get get really creative and design your own snowy mini golf-course (for the tees, try hula hoops, plastic buckets, sand buckets, etc.)
Get Active (Indoors)
If the weather is too cold, or you just prefer to be indoors, you can still boost your endorphins while staying inside. Browse YouTube and find a fun, simple workout video to try out. Or, look up dance tutorials, learn, and then show off your new dance steps. Even better, if you already have a dancing game (think Dance, Dance Revolution), set that up and get ready for a lot of laughs.
Replenish with lots of water and fresh, homemade fruit smoothies and snacks.
Explore Your Communtity
Visit a local area that you've never been before. Check out a nearby town, or stroll through a new neighborhood or park. Be a tourist in your own backyard and see if you can learn something new about where you live. Pack a picnic lunch and nosh on snacks as you go. Or, take it up a notch and play active games along the way, like Pokemon Go. Or try geocaching, to see what hidden things you can find (it's like a treasure hunt!)
Go Hiking and Watch the Sunset
Take an afternoon hike together on some non-cement trails and appreciate the beauty of nature. Prep beforehand by making a batch of no bake energy bars, and pack some sports drinks to keep you fueled. After all that movement, find a great viewing spot and watch the sunset. Take a rest, and watch the vivid colors together!
Have a Fondue Night
Have a unique food experience by making fondue. Try a cheese fondue for dinner, or chocolate fondue for dessert (or why not both?) Use a fondue pot if you have it, otherwise small bowls and something to melt the cheese (or chocolate) in would work just fine. Fondue is a great way to have an interactive dinner. For a cheese fondue, pair it with cut up vegetables, chunks of bread, small pieces of cooked meat, and even apples or pears. For a chocolate fondue, pair it with strawberries, pineapples, potato chips, or cookies. This is a fun dining experience that you can create in your own home!
Try an Online Art Tutorial
If you aren't an artist, you will be amazed at what you can create if you follow a step-by-step tutorial. Browse YouTube and pick your favorite design to try. Sharpen your pencils, or get out your paintbrushes. Follow the video directions, as you paint a sunset or draw a butterfly. The content creators are great at going one step at a time! If you end up with beautiful works of art (or even if you don't!), frame your pictures and hang them up. It'll be a fun reminder of your date!
Solve Puzzles and Drink Wine
This is my personal favorite, as it was one way my husband and I spent time together before we were married. As I remember, we binge watched the entire series of "The Tudors," and completed a 1000 piece puzzle while we were at it! You can find super cheap puzzles on consignment or at a secondhand shop. Pour a couple glasses of your favorite wine (or any beverage) and work on the puzzle together. You'll feel a sense of accomplishment when the puzzle is complete!
Revisit the Past
Remind one another of the happy times in your relationship. Perhaps you could revisit sentimental spots; like a first date location, where you met, or the spot you got engaged. You could look at old pictures, or watch your wedding video. This should spur lots of memories and conversation about things you haven't thought of in awhile. Reflect back on the happy times. Have a little extra fun and try to recreate one of your first photos together! Follow it up with a home-cooked meal and enjoy time spent together.
If nothing else, you can always stick with the classic date night idea - and rent or stream a movie at home. Don't forget to run out and buy a tub of movie theater popcorn before you start!
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Kristina Bouxsein-Hearn