10 Fun & Unusual Winter Date Ideas
Winter can be a challenging time for people who like dating but don’t have a lot of money to spend. Dating staples like picnics, hiking, and going for long walks become more difficult when the weather is cold. But with a little creativity, even cold weather and rainy days aren’t a barrier to fun, unusual and inexpensive dates. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1) Buy presents for each other. This may sound expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. When my husband and I got married, we wanted to buy each other wedding presents, but we were broke. We decided to go to K-Mart together and enact a $5 limit on the gifts. We split up and spent 15 minutes combing the store for items that cost less than $5, which required a lot of creativity and symbolism! Although we didn’t spend much money, our gifts ended up being both funny and meaningful. You could also do something like this on a date, expressing friendship and affection in a lasting way.
2) Do something to benefit your community. Performing acts of service is a great way to get to know someone and appreciate their compassionate side. The community is full of organizations that need volunteers. Visit elderly people in a local rest home (you could even sing seasonal songs or take cards or mini-care packages with things like fruit, lotion and handkerchiefs). Volunteer at the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter. If you visit websites for organizations like United Way or Habitat for Humanity, you should be able to find a wealth of opportunities to get involved and make a difference.
3) Make dinner…with a twist. One idea is to make dinner without letting anyone touch the ground. You’ll need to move around chairs, stools and benches (and probably use the countertops) to get from one part of the kitchen to another. (To simplify this, you could make something a little more basic like cookies.) Another idea, which works especially well with group dates, is to assign each group a part of the dinner (e.g., appetizer, main course, salad, and dessert). Don’t provide anyone with recipes, and have each group make their best guess at how to prepare their portion of the dinner. You might want to have the phone number to your favorite pizza parlor on hand, just in case!
4) Use winter weather to your advantage with winter sports. Although skiing or snowboarding might be out of your price range, there are plenty of other ways to have fun in the snow. Get a sled or an inner tube and head to a tall hill to go sledding. Or try ice skating at your local ice skating rink. Some ice skating rinks offer hockey lessons or ice dancing sessions. If you live in an area where it’s possible, you could try snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Afterward, warm up with some hot chocolate or apple cider. (If it never gets very cold where you live, try ice-blocking for a near-sledding experience!)
5) Play board games. I know, you feel like you’ve done this a million times, but board games never get old! It is easy to find games that are appropriate for couples as well as groups. If you feel like you’re getting tired of the games you play most frequently, try getting back to the basics. Do you know how to play Scrabble? Life? Chess? Monopoly? You can put a spin on even the most traditional games (e.g., Speed Scrabble or Team Monopoly). Also, try updating your repertoire of card games. Playing games is always a great icebreaker, and you can make them unique with a little extra effort.
6) Go to a play or a concert. Although professional theater companies and musical groups can charge an arm and a leg for tickets, it is possible for you to take in some culture for a lot less money—and sometimes even for free. Keep your eyes open for productions at local high schools and universities. Also, many communities have amateur production companies that don’t charge too much money for admission. You can often find free concerts at churches, museums and community centers. Watch the newspapers and community billboards for announcements about cheap and free productions that make great dates.
7) Have a snowball fight. This can be a great group date for active people. Try splitting up into teams and giving some time before the snowball fight begins for each team to construct barricades to hide behind. If you’re with a group of people who don’t like the cold, you can stage a fake snowball fight indoors in a gym, using balled-up socks instead of snowballs. (Hint: If you’re really into planning ahead, put an armful of snowballs into your freezer and wait a few months. A snowball fight is even more creative in June!)
8) Host a murder mystery party. A fun group date, murder mystery parties work best if you invite your most dramatic or imaginative friends. To host one, you just need a murder mystery box set (which come in a wide variety of themes), plus dinner or some refreshments, and you are ready to go! The box sets include invitations and all the materials you need to host the party. Encourage your friends to come in costume for an especially entertaining event. The games can be expensive to purchase, but some game shops will rent out murder mysteries for a more reasonable fee.
9) Go out to dinner…with a twist. Although going out to dinner is a dating staple, there are ways to make it more interesting. One idea is to have a “dollar menu” night. Visit five fast food restaurants with dollar menus and purchase one dollar item at each location. Another idea is to sample a different type of ethnic cuisine for each portion of the meal; for example, egg drop soup for the appetizer, fettuccine alfredo for the meal, and flan and churros for dessert.
10) Visit a museum. Most communities have some kind of museum within driving distance. (If you’re not aware of any museums close to you, contact a nearby university or town visitors’ center.) It could be a museum that focuses on art, life sciences, history and culture, or science and technology. Try to find out in advance what your date’s interests are and tailor the excursion to them. Regardless of what type of museum you find, a visit to a museum is the perfect way to get a conversation rolling and learn new things together.
Remember that the key to planning a fun and unique date is to think outside the box. It’s easy to get stuck in a dating rut, but with these ideas to get you started, you should be able to plan an interesting and memorable date.
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