Winter is Here

Winter is Here: 3 In-Person & 3 Virtual Ways to Celebrate the Season Responsibly This Year

Though winter this year may feel a bit unique, there are many ways you can still gather safely with friends to enjoy this chilly season. Read on for a few ideas on how to celebrate winter this year!

In-Person Ideas

Ice Skating

Bundling up and going ice skating is a romantic and exciting way to stay active during the winter months. There are plenty of outdoor rinks you can visit that offer all of the equipment you will need, just ensure that you wear warm gear so you don’t get too chilly – we recommend mittens, a hat, ear muffs and pants that can safely be tucked into your ice skates. Make sure to do some research into the ice rink you are going to, as some require you to reserve tickets. Sometimes these places have events as well, like live DJs or cafes serving warm drinks!

Ice Skating

Volunteer

This is the season for giving, which means that volunteering is a great way to gather with others while also contributing to your community. There are many places you can go to provide aid, if your group has a particular passion try to find something related to that! Otherwise, some popular options include going and cleaning your favorite paths or parks, contributing your time at outdoor soup kitchens or grocery distribution sites, or walking dogs from an animal shelter!

Volunteer

Snowshoeing

Many friends and couples have taken to walking to socialize. With the winter months coming, you can mix this up by renting some snowshoes to traverse your favorite trails! Usually, wherever you rent your shoes from, you can get great advice on the most scenic local trails. Plot out a path with your friends or partner, and then get out and chat on the way to your destination! Wherever you end up, we recommend choosing a location with warm drinks to serve as a reward for getting out and active during the cold months! To add to the romance, try a shorter trail at night under the stars!

Snowshoeing

Virtual Ideas

The holidays are around the corner, and while you may be celebrating differently this year, there are many ways to still spend time with those you love. It is important to stay social during these times to keep from feeling isolated, and to do so safely. Whether on a double-date or socially-distancing with family, here are some ideas to help you stay connected over the holidays.

Paint & Warm Drinks on Zoom

Everyone loves paint & wine activities, try this twist on the classic to warm up during these chilly months! First order the painting supplies or pick them up from your local craft store – you can also try another artistic medium if you would prefer! Then, grab your drinks and find a video on Youtube to paint along with as a group on a video chat platform like Zoom! This can be an alcoholic activity or not depending on your preferences, just switch up the warm drink ideas. Some of our favorites include hot chocolate, hot toddies, hot apple cider, or mulled wine. This activity is bound to not only keep you warm but will be a fun misadventure as you try to follow the paint lesson with your loved ones.

Drinks

Build Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses are commonly made together as a family, why not make it a competition amongst your friends? Together, put together a budget and rules for your gingerbread houses. Then, set a time to show them all off via video chat and spend the night rating them based on different categories like Most Creative and Most Silly. This is a great way for couples to compete against their friends, and brings some traditional holiday activities into a time where many traditions are having to be skipped!

Gingerbread Houses

Relax & Think Ahead

Does this holiday season have you feeling a bit down? There is nothing wrong with being aware of your feelings during this hard time. A great way to bond with your partner and with friends is to find ways to relax together. There are many online resources for group guided meditations – it is a great idea to set aside time to sit and reflect with others to make it a weekly or monthly tradition. You also can start looking forward to what you want to do once things are back to normal. Plan a trip together, or talk about the dates you want to go on in the future! This gives you something to look forward to and will help lighten your mood.

Relax

While enjoying the holiday season with loved ones, ensure you stay safe. To stay updated on the latest and most accurate information related to COVID-19, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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Double couple competition: How to put on a cooking challenge evening

Double Trouble: Why Engaging with Other Couples is Important

Engaging with Other Couples

If you’re like most long-term couples, you are probably well past the honeymoon phase of your relationship and thus have experienced the unavoidable “married life” rut. The good news is there are many ways to keep it alive and thriving, with one of them being…you guessed it! Double Dating.

According to a study in Science Daily, double dating can be a great way to reignite passion for your significant other. Having another couple to share personal details with has been proven to help make you feel closer to your partner. 

Let’s face it, passion is one of the first things to go in a long-term relationship. It takes a lot of work to keep the passion train going and not surprisingly, the antidote to breaking that “dry spell” is introducing new options. 

So how exactly can you strengthen the bond with your partner via double dating? Glad you asked. See below for two expert tips.

Play the question game

This tactic has the power to solidify a couple’s unity and increase partners attraction to one another. In your next date night ask everyone in your group questions like… “Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?” or “If you could go back in your life and change any one experience, what would it be and why?” If you would rather stick to small talk you can try questions like “When was the last time you walked for more than an hour?”.

Get Out

The typical couple spends their free time “staying in” which can get pretty boring. Setting the commitment and feeling the pressure to make a “night out” worthwhile pushes you to try things outside your comfort zone which most of the time ends in you having a genuinely good time. Not only will you get to reconnect with old friends or make new ones, but it may be good for your relationship!

Introducing new experiences with another couple not only breaks the every-day mold, but such interactions have been proven to help us perceive our relationship in a whole new light.

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Bulls game

Fun, free, and frigid: Double date ideas for the upcoming brutal winter months

Winter is a tricky time. It’s typically frigid cold, isolating, and largely gloomy. It can be hard to find some fun. Here are some double date ideas for the brutal winter!

Grab another couple or two and head over to the ice skating rink at Millennium Park! Along with ice skating, you can sing-along to the holiday music and take in the view of the beautiful Chicago Christmas Tree. Don’t feel comfortable showing off your amateur ice skating skills? Worry not–they offer free skating lessons on Fridays at 11am and both weekend days at 9am! We bet there are others like you out there!

Chicago Christmas Tree

Chicago Christmas Tree 2019-2020
Chicago Christmas Tree 2019-2020 | Shot on iPhone

Holiday lighting decorations at a zoo

Who doesn’t like a great mix of animals and holiday lights?! Grab some friends and head over to see the Lincoln Park Zoolights Festival! You can take in a perfect array of lights dancing to holiday music while sipping on some delicious hot cocoa. (lpzoo.org)

Couple activities
Holiday lighting decorations at a zoo | Courtesy of pixabay

Snowball fights

If we’ve got snow, and you’ve got kids (or not), grab some sleds (or trash can lids, we won’t judge) and head over to a hilly neighborhood park with another couple and their kids (or not) to have some fun in the snow! You never know when it can turn into a snowball fight, though, so make sure you’re bundled up! 

Double date ideas for the brutal winter: Couple snowball fights
Snowball fights are more fun with other people! | Courtesy of pixabay

Christkindle Markets

What’s better than an absolutely adorable little market filled with holiday spirit?! If you haven’t checked out the Christkindle Markets yet (yes, there are two!), it’s time to grab some friends and have yourself some hot spiced apple cider, booze, or hot cocoa in their very own branded cups! They make for great souvenirs as well as annual traditions. Here’s a photo of us enjoying the tradition this year!

Christkindle Market 2019-2020
Christkindle Market 2019-2020 | Shot on Pixel 3

Bulls game

If you’re not into the holiday spirit this year (or ever, really), we’re grateful to the Windy City’s never-ending love for its sports teams. Grab some friends and catch a holiday game to cheer on the Bulls or the Bears (depending on how cold you want to be!). They also make the perfect presents!

Bulls game
We prefer to stay warmer, so here’s a shot from a Bulls game we went to this season! | Shot on iPhone

Heated Igloos

Missing those summer spots by the river?! Us too. Heated igloos are scattered across the city, and perfect for double dates (or even quadruple dates) as most seat 6-10 people! It’s the perfect way to feel like you’re outside but not be freezing! Reservations are required at most locations.

Double date ideas for the brutal winter: Heated Igloos for couples

Heated Igloos at City Winery on the Chicago Riverwalk | © 2017 Paul Crisanti

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