Holiday activities to share with friends and family

Kelsey Roehrich

If you think that the weather in the winter limits the amount of activities that you can do, here is where you are wrong. The winter season offers more activities than every, you can never be bored.

Here are five things that you should take advantage of this winter:

Ice skating

Pull out your ice skates and gather up a few of your friends or a special someone and head over to the ice rink. Don’t settle for an indoor ice rink, to get the full effect, find an outdoor rink. You can also get two teams together and play a game of ice hockey. Even if you think you are the most uncoordinated person in the world, ice skating is always a great winter experience. Ames does have its very own indoor ice rink students can use year round. Make sure you look at a schedule to find out when public skate is.

Make a gingerbread house

You can try making gingerbread in the summer, but it just wouldn’t taste the same. This cookie is a signature winter food. Get your family together, split up into teams and have a gingerbread house making competition. Have one family member be the judge — a little friendly competition can make for a fun holiday activity.

Holiday movies

To truly get into the holiday spirit, watch some of your favorite holiday movies, such as “Elf,” “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “The Santa Clause,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Polar Express,” and of course, “A Christmas Story.” Snuggle up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy these movies with family and friends.

Go skiing or snowboarding

You may feel like the weather in the winter limits outdoor activities, but you may just have to try something new. If you have never gone skiing or snowboarding this is the year to give it a try. It is a good source of exercise and is much more exciting than going to the gym. It may take a while to get used to, but the more practice the better. It is also a great thing to round up some friends and go on a trip for.

Decorate the tree

Decorating your Christmas tree doesn’t have to be a chore or the thing you rolled your eyes at every year when your parents brought it up. This year students may be living away from home and have their very own Christmas tree. It’s time for you to get creative: Pick a theme to decorate your tree. This theme could be Iowa State, your favorite sports team, your fraternity or sorority, or your favorite color, etc. Have fun with your tree this year, maybe you will create a lasting tradition.

Build a snowman

Snowman-building was a childhood favorite activity for many children. Just because we’re “grown-ups” now doesn’t mean we can’t participate. Grab a couple friends on one of your days off from school and make a snowman. For an extra good time with your friends, have each person try to make a snowman clone of another friend. Try to guess which friend each snowman is supposed to be. 

Have a snowball fight 

Even as adults, we love a good competition. Get as big of a group together as you can and head out to an open field for your very own snowball fight. If you have some friends who are afraid of flying balls of snow, appoint them referees. Just make sure to play fair. Losing team takes the winners out for some hot chocolate to warm up after the fight.

Organize a Secret Santa exchange

On a college student’s budget, it might be difficult to afford fun gifts for all of your friends. Get everyone together and put your names in a hat. Pull out names and organize your own Secret Santa exchange. This way, everyone gets a gift, and no one has to feel left out. Set a price limit; even a $5 limit can get you a really thoughtful gift.

Go caroling

Around the holidays, radios and speakers everywhere will be blasting holiday music. It’s impossible to not know at least a few of these favorite Christmas tunes by heart. Get together with your family around Christmas and go caroling around your neighborhood. You might pick up some new carolers on the way and even make some new friends. At the very least, you’ll bring the Christmas spirit to someone else.

Adopt a family in need 

Spread the holiday spirit and the spirit of giving with a family in need. Places like Wal-Mart offer you families to “adopt.” You can buy the products the families want or need and help them out. Otherwise, other programs like Operation Christmas Child let you put together whatever you want in a shoe box to then send to them. The program will then send the box to kids or families who have signed up. Visit the Operation Christmas Child website for more information. Either way, you will be able to help a family and you can feel good about spreading the Christmas spirit beyond your own home.