When the Weather Outside Is Frightful

6 ideas to fight off the winter doldrums.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where I live, summer is upon us. That means cookouts, trips to the beach, long walks through verdant botanical gardens and basking in the sunshine. However, for most of you in the frozen North, the icy grip of winter has driven you indoors this holiday season, and you sit huddled in your house trying to stave off the inevitable madness brought on by cabin fever. Anyone who's found themselves in this terrifying situation will tell you: You have to keep busy, or your Christmas celebration will end up exactly like The Shining. So, if the snow and ice has made you a shut-in this Christmas, here are a few ideas to keep the creeping insanity of claustrophobia from finally overtaking you.

Invent a Board Game

Board games always seem to come out when you're stuck in the house, but are you tired of the same old worn out copies of Monopoly and Sorry? Drag all your games out of the closet, mix the pieces together and create an entirely new game. Imagine the excitement of the cavalry units from Risk blowing up hotels on Boardwalk or quartering troops in the houses on Marvin Gardens. Or the thrill you'll have using Scrabble tiles to spell words in Connect Four (please don't blame us if they get stuck). The possibilities are limitless, and you may just get a patent out of it.

Christmas Story Marathon Games

Every year, some cable channel inevitably plays a 24-hour marathon of everyone's favorite classic yuletide tale, A Christmas Story. While watching the movie ad nauseam may not seem like a great idea, you can make it into a competition. Now, this is a Christian website, so we're not going to encourage drinking games. No matter what your stance on alcohol, we can all agree that binge drinking does not a merry Christmas make.

However, we're not above challenging you to chug egg nog until you throw up.

Take a swig of egg nog every time the phrase "Red Rider" is uttered, and the last to toss their nog wins. Alternatively, you can have an endurance contest. See how many times in a row you can watch the movie without falling asleep. If you really want to go for the gold, you can turn the viewing into a themed costume party. Oh, and don't shoot your eye out.

Christmas Craft Time

Back in elementary school, the entire month of December seemed to be filled with making ornaments, collages and various knickknacks for Christmas. No actual learning took place during this month, and it's probably responsible for some huge gaps in our knowledge base. Regardless, those craft days were always a blast. Relive your childhood by making some paper chains, cotton ball Santas or tin ornaments. Just don't get carried away. There's nothing more terrifying than an army of those clothespin reindeer staring at you with their accusing googly eyes.

Make a Christmas Mixtape

By the end of the holiday season, most of us want to travel back in time, hunt down Bing Crosby and mercilessly beat him. Not all Christmas music is bad, though. Every year, a bevy of indie bands put out kitschy Christmas tunes, doing interesting and artistic takes on old classics. You can use an online streaming service like FineTune to put together a playlist of unique Christmas songs and send the link to all your friends. It's a gift that costs nothing but your time, and if the music is good enough, they may not even notice you're a cheapskate. (Or—shameless promotion alert—you can just use ours).

Put On a Pageant

Why not share the spirit of Christmas with your friends and family in a tangible way by re-enacting the events of the Nativity, possibly with mismatched puppets? You can kill several hours writing the script and rehearsing, and provide a bit of entertainment for everyone else stuck in the house with you. Remember that delightful book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, where a bunch of ragtag, motley kids somehow pull together a moving and powerful Christmas performance? Yeah, that doesn't happen in real life. So practice hard, or you'll let everyone down and ruin Christmas.

Start On Your Taxes

This is obviously a last resort, only to be undertaken when you've been stuck inside for so long that you're reduced to sitting in a corner, rocking back and forth and muttering to yourself. While it's not exactly a thrill a minute, finishing your taxes early means you can alleviate stress come April. You can also get your refund quicker and start buying gifts for next year. Or buy a plane ticket to somewhere warm.

17 Comments

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jamescoley commented…

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nielmaccanzie commented…

A very productive alternative. I can't imagine watching the Christmas Story .
Good Thought i like it

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brigregor commented…

Ahh yes, get an early start on the taxes. A very productive alternative. I can't imagine watching the Christmas Story more than once (or even once after seeing it almost every year for the past 20 or so years). Thanks for the ideas! Keep em coming.
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