Especially during a time when so many people have been spending more time than ever with their partner due to the pandemic, love and relationship expert Lauren Frances says that making space for your romantic relationship is "the secret to keeping your love light lit." However, she says that more time spent together doesn't necessarily mean that it's all "romantic quality time," and you might have to step it up to keep things fun and playful with your partner.
To do this, Frances says the first step is to carve out time in your schedule. According to her, "If you don't, it’s going to be easy to just fill in that time with bill paying, sock sorting, and TV binging." Instead, she suggests planning your date nights (or date days) in advance and thinking of winter date activities that require you to do something different (you know, other than sitting around and watching TV instead of each other). Then, she says to try and keep outside stresses to a minimum while on the date itself by focusing on having fun and spending quality time together.
If you're looking for some fun, romantic, and creative winter date ideas, we rounded up some cold-weather friendly activities that you can try. Whether you're married, coupled up, or dating someone new, these ideas will stoke the love fire.
Fun winter date ideas:
1. Take a virtual museum tour.
Hitting up a museum is always a great winter date idea, especially since they're indoors and you can spend the whole day wandering different exhibits. Although some museums across the country have opened up for in-person visits as long as you make a reservation, we totally get it if you just want to hang at home. Check out one of these 12 virtual museum tours from famous places all around the world to create a special memory with your partner—all without ever having to leave your couch.
2. Put your moves to the test with an online dance class.
Move the coffee table aside and turn your living room into your very own dance studio by queuing up an online dance class. According to Frances, "Moving your bodies through shared activities is a great way of quite literally reconnecting. And learning something new together keeps couples bonded and growing together," she says. A simple YouTube search will garner tons of free online dance class results, or you can book a private session with an instructor online for a more personalized experience.
3. Have an at-home cooking competition or bake-off.
While you're staying in, why not engage in a little friendly competition with your partner by challenging them to a cook- or bake-off? Start with the same basic ingredients, then set a timer and see who can come up with something tasty and creative. In the end, have a taste test to determine which dish you'll be adding to the weekly menu.
4. Go ice skating.
Ice skating is a fun outdoor activity that can still be done while remaining socially distant from others. Layer on the warm winter clothing (don't forget a cute winter hat!) and take to the ice with your boo. You definitely don't need to be a pro; just figuring it out and enjoying the process of slipping and sliding on the ice is part of the fun.
5. Have a board game night.
Take a break from screens, light a few candles, and bring out a few of your favorite board games for a simple winter date night idea. To raise the stakes, you can wager different rewards for who wins each game (like a free pass from doing the dishes for a week, an excuse to receive a back massage, etc.).
6. Build a fort.
Awaken your inner child by setting up blankets and pillows to build a fort that's made for snuggling. Add sweet string lights for a dose of romance, then cue up your favorite wintertime movie on a laptop inside.
7. Make your own paint-and-sip.
Paint and sip nights are a ton of fun, but there's no reason you can't recreate the magic by DIYing one at home. Stock up on a few canvases and paint supplies, then choose a picture you want to paint together (maybe it's of your favorite place or an object that has particular meaning to you as a couple). Then, pour yourselves a glass of wine and get to creating.
8. Go for a scenic drive.
If you have access to a car, going for a drive can be a great way to clear your mind and spend some uninterrupted quality time with your partner. Even if you don't have a specific destination in mind, it gives you a reason to get out of the house and explore together.
9. Put together a photo album of your favorite memories.
It's likely that you have hundreds—if not thousands—of photos on your phone that have never been printed, so make it a winter date activity to go through them and choose some to turn into a tangible photo album. You can use apps like FreePrints to have them delivered right to your door. Then, you can spend your evening putting it all together while reliving and reminiscing about your most favorite memories.
10. Make a mini bucket list.
A lot of life has been put on hold for 2020, but that doesn't mean you and your partner can't or shouldn't be hopeful about your future. Spend the evening writing down the things you want to do together—whether it's in one year, five years, or ten years. This can include places you want to travel and trips you want to take when it's safe to do so again, activities you want to do, and important moments you're looking forward to sharing. Planning for future travel has been proven to boost happiness, so this is a good thing to do if you're feeling the winter blues.
11. Have an indoor picnic.
Get cozy and creative by putting a blanket and a few comfy pillows on the floor and hosting your very own picnic for two. You can order takeout or cook up some yummy finger foods to snack on while you cuddle up.
12. Take a hotel staycation.
If you feel comfortable staying in a hotel, indulge in a staycation nearby just to get out of the house and do something new. It's a great way to limit the distractions at home and allow you and your partner to really focus on each other.
13 . Bundle up and go for a hike.
Fresh air can do wonders for your health and mood, so get outside together by taking a hike and soaking up some winter scenery. Or, if you're not into the challenge of a hike, just go for a brisk walk to get your heart rates up and allow you both to engage in some healthy exercise.
14. Learn a new skill together.
As Frances said, learning a new skill with your partner is a great way to foster a deeper bond and a greater sense of connection. To learn something totally new, check out the courses on a site like Coursehorse, which offers both virtual and in-person classes for pretty much everything under the sun: calligraphy, cooking, photography. mixology, and more.
15. Have a festive happy hour.
Make seasonal cocktails, pull out all the stops for an Instagramable cheeseboard spread, and dig in! Frances tells us that even if you're eating at home, "lighting candles, setting the table, and making it a date night experience will make you feel like you're actually on a date, so bring it!"
16. Create a couples playlist.
The modern version of a mixtape is a couples playlist, so choose your music streaming service and spend an evening compiling a list of all your favorite, most meaningful, and most memorable songs to look back on and replay when one of you needs a little added affirmation.
17. Roast indoor s'mores.There's something inherently cozy about ooey, gooey s'mores, so roast up some marshmallows over the fireplace or even pop them in the microwave for a sweet date night treat.
And remember: "Date nights were how you fell in love in the first place!" says Frances. According to her, "romance is an elevated experience, just like putting on an irresistible magic perfume. You need to put in the effort, and just a dab can create magic."