meet me under the mistletoe: 5 holiday date ideas

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about LJ’s and my relationship. We both keep incredibly busy between wrestling, softball, Junior League, and being on advisory boards for our respective Greek organizations – so while we live together and spend our evenings together, sometimes it can feel like we’re lacking on quality time. So, a few months ago, we decided to really focus on setting aside some special time each week to spend time together for a “date night.” (Spoiler: It’s a great idea.)

I’ll be completely frank, with our busy schedules, our idea of a ‘date night’ is probably less extravagant than you might think. Most weeks it is catching up on a new episode of our current show (The Americans), or ordering a pizza and watching an NCAA wrestling match. And let me tell you… I LOVE it. Those few hours a week where we’re able to unwind is some of my favorite time during the week.

So needless to say, I’m a huge proponent of making time, even if it is just for a few hours on a week night. Don’t get me wrong, we still go out on ‘real’ dates – but with crazy schedules it can be a little hectic! Do you find yourself in the same boat? Or maybe just stuck in a rut of having the same date night over and over? Luckily, this time of year, there are plenty of seasonal date night ideas (that won’t break the bank!) to pencil in with your significant other. And I’m sharing FIVE of my personal favorites with y’all today!

1. Two words: Christmas lights!
Is there anything more festive than Christmas lights? We got our fix over Thanksgiving while we were in Delaware, and continued the Watts family tradition of seeing the lights in Ocean City. I know around here in the Upstate we have a few different options – everything from Hollywild Animal Park, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and even the whole town of McAdenville! Chances are, there are great, inexpensive options somewhere near you as well. Just make sure to bundle up well!

2. Volunteer at a local non-profit or soup kitchen
The holidays are for giving, so this holiday season why not give back? Check into local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and even churches to see where you can lend a helping hand this year. When I was younger, I spent a few blustery winter days ringing the bell for our local Salvation Army, and what a blast it was. You may even find an organization that you’re passionate about to volunteer with long after the Christmas lights have been taken down for the year.

3. Go ice-skating
It may not be Rockefeller Center, and you may not be Michelle Kwan, but it is all about the laughs and memories…. Right? Here in Spartanburg, they freeze over the fountain in the town square to open an ice skating rink. And I know they do something similar on Fourth Street Live back in Louisville! Even if your town doesn’t have an outdoor ice rink, heading to the local indoor ice rink is a great option.

4. Attend The Nutcracker, another Christmas play (or Trans-Siberian Orchestra) 
Spending 15 of my first 18 years in the ballet studio may have left me a little biased on this one – but I adore The Nutcracker. Our Cultural Center is performing it this year, and I’m itching to go. I love the music, the costumes, the story line. However, some years, local high schools would do less well-known holiday performances, and they were always phenomenal as well! I did include Trans-Siberian Orchestra on the list, mainly because it is amazing, but tickets can get a little pricey, so I would definitely recommend supporting local artists performing at a community theatre!

5. The ultimate ‘Elf’ date night (You already know the drill.)

This is the ultimate date night. Obviously, you can include whatever festivities you’d like – maybe it’s holiday baking, decorating the tree, braving the Hell that is the mall to get a picture taken with Santa Clause, or (my personal favorite) building a blanket fort and watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate (or mulled wine.) I’m not sure how eating a whole roll of Tollhouse cookie dough would go in real life, but I’m more than willing to volunteer as tribute and let y’all know. Please hold.

No matter what you choose to do on your date night, even if it is as simple as curling up on the couch to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas for the 17th time again – just remember that it’s your time. Put down your phone, leave work at the office, and just enjoy spending time with your significant other. Even if he won’t stop tickling you or putting his cold feet on you. Actually, especially if he’s doing those things.

When we look back on our lives, we don’t remember days, we remember moments. Make them count.

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