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Here are a few things you can do to have fun during the holiday season!

Sometimes, all it takes is the thought of wintertime to make us shiver. And sure. Even though we’re in Santa Barbara where the weather is almost always amazing, we know that for some, winter is filled with memories of shoveling snow, scraping ice off their windshields and having one too few blankets to stay warm. Still, though, it can be a special time of the year if you know how to make the most of the season, the free time and the beauty that comes with the holidays. Here are some of the best winter activities that can help you stay busy and entertained until spring and summer are finally back!

  1. Make the Best of the Weather

While we might not get much winter weather in Santa Barbara, those who are itching for some time in the snow can still find it right here in our very own state. Los Padres National Forest is just a quick drive away, or you can go inland toward Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear. If you decide to make the trip, you’ll be treated to some of the best ski resorts our entire country has to offer. For those who aren’t into frozen sports, you can build a snowman, have a snowball fight and make snow angels. You might even be able to find a great outdoor place to go ice skating or to play a pickup game of ice hockey. Still want to get that snowy experience without having to travel? No worries! You can go indoor ice skating and get into the holiday spirit right here in town.

  1. Bake and Make Tasty Treats

One of the best parts of winter is the wintertime treats and flavors! From gingerbread to peppermint to eggnog, there’s a flavor for everyone, and you can get creative with what you make. Maybe you’re a big coffee drinker. That’s perfect! It’s peppermint mocha season. Maybe you enjoy baking. The entire family will go crazy for peppermint brownies. Going to a party? Frosted gingerbread cookies are always a big hit, and they get everyone in the holiday spirit. You also can’t beat the feeling of biting into something warm during the holiday season, and watching it bake in the oven before serving it up to all of your loved ones is just as satisfying.

  1. Try a New Restaurant

There’s never a bad time to try a new restaurant, but during the holiday season it just feels special. Grab some friends and some family members, throw on your best holiday sweaters, and get out to that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for a while! It’s a great excuse to spend time with those who are most important to you while also tapping into that passion for food that seems to be shared by everyone. Additionally, some restaurants might have extended hours, so there’s even more time to try a new, tasty spot that might just become one of your new favorites.

  1. Sit by the Fire

Sure, it’s cold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be warm. That’s why we recommend doing as our caveman ancestors did and hanging out by the warmth of the fire. It’s quick, simple and easy enough to set up in your own backyard. It’s also a great opportunity to invite over some friends, both new and old, or you can invite your neighbors and either build those relationships or get to know someone new. Better yet, have a warm, full dispenser of hot chocolate with some marshmallows and whipped cream to top it off. Then, your job as a host is over! Great conversation just seems to naturally occur when you’re around the fire, making this one of the warmest and most comforting ways to spend the winter.

  1. Curl Up with a Good Book

Whether you’re into fantasy, romance, adventure, coming-of-age stories or non-fiction, there’s nothing like getting under a blanket with a good snack and a warm drink and reading a great story that takes you away to another place. It somehow gets even better if you look out the window and see rain and clouds that you don’t have to face. It’s just you, your book and the fireplace, and you don’t have to move for the entire day. Just make sure you have one, or a few, picked out in case you wake up and don’t feel like leaving the house or waiting for an online order on a chilly winter morning.

  1. Go to a Show

The holidays are the perfect time of the year to get out and see a show in your local community. And there’s a pretty good reason for it, too. The holidays are magical. Movies, music and theatre are all magical. It just seems to line up, and it makes sense why so many families and friends get dressed up and pile into venues during the winter. There’s also something so special about getting to experience movies and live shows with others, creating a communal experience where everyone loves and appreciates one thing for a short time. Shows are a great way to spread warmth during the colder months of the year.

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