The 2020 winter fun list

I love my lists. Several years ago I began making summer fun lists and holiday fun lists to make sure I did whatever activities made these seasons feel special to me.

At some point in all this, a reader noted that the post-holiday winter season was really crying out for a fun activity list. It’s easy to go into hibernation mode, or to feel a little blue* about the cold weather and still-short days. And while the holiday season suggests obvious festivities, you have to work harder to come up with fun stuff for January/February/March.

But the nature of this bleakness makes a list even more useful!

So, last year I posted a list. I had some big stuff already scheduled (the San Diego trip with the 12-year-old; our family Disney trip over President’s Day weekend). This year, not so much, and with a newborn I need to limit my ambitions. But here are a few I think I could pull off.

Go to the Orchid Show at Longwood Gardens. I love flowers, and it’s quite nice to wander around a greenhouse when there’s snow on the ground outside.

Go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Same as above. The kids love the butterfly exhibit and I like seeing the floral displays. I am debating which children to bring, though, as some of them (most of them) don’t really like to linger in front of giant floral arrangements and I would like to spend more than 15 minutes in the main hall this year.

Go outside for 20 minutes a day. This is my Q1 goal in the “self” category. So far, so good! Mostly it’s my runs/walks but some days I wrap the baby up well and go sit on the porch to get us both a little sunlight. Sadly, this past Friday my 20 minutes involved retrieving my recyclables that had blown into the neighbors’ yards when the gusty wind knocked over my trash cans and scattered everything.

Run the Frostbite 5-miler. I’m hoping the weather is good. Cold is fine. Precipitation, not so much. Jane has said she is running again in penguin attire.

Go down the indoor water slide at the YMCA. Post childbirth, I’m not supposed to go in pools for a few more weeks. But I’ll probably do this as a big kid activity in late February/March.

Visit an art museum. Always a good indoor activity. As with the flower show, I may be judicious about which children come with me.

Watch a basketball game on TV. I don’t have much of a TV habit. Frankly, there are enough remote controls associated with the TV/stereo system my husband has set up that I don’t really know how to find a show on television.** But I can get my kids to help and then some night this winter I am going to watch a basketball game. The end of the college season always sneaks up on me, and I would like to watch a game before it does. Plus the 76ers are pretty decent this year. I’ve put “go to a basketball game” on this list two years in a row and it hasn’t happened so I know better than thinking it will this year with the baby.

Do a date night somewhere cozy. Possibly with a fireplace. Or we just hit Talula’s Daily again.

Take a sleigh ride. OK, this is the one on the list that may not happen. This is on my bucket list, and I found a place about 30-40 minutes from here that does them. BUT it is entirely weather dependent (requires > 3 inches of snow cover; we don’t have constant snow cover in this part of PA). You have to call to make a reservation in the window that they’ve opened for reservations, which means you have to be willing to do it last minute. That doesn’t work all that well with my current life, but we shall see. If not this year, maybe next year!

*Feeling really blue about them is a different matter, and beyond the scope of a winter fun list.

**To be honest, I don’t actually know for sure how to turn the thing on.

13 thoughts on “The 2020 winter fun list

  1. I always love your fun lists, and have incorporated the practice into my summer planning. Here in Florida, my least favorite season is summer (sadly, it often lasts from May through December, and it was 85 degrees here last week) and the fun list helps me make it through.

    I’m laughing with you at the sound system quandary. When we moved into our new house 20-some years ago, my husband had a home theater system installed. After the installer left and I tried to use the new remote control to turn on the TV, I couldn’t do it–and I cried with frustration–“I am a college graduate, and I can’t even turn on my TV!”

    Now I’d be more likely to hurl the remote across the room.

    1. @Kathy – I’d hurl the remotes but I’m pretty sure my children have already done that (not out of frustration, just for sport) and they’re already in a fragile state.

  2. So glad to find out it is not just me with this TV problem. Our TV requires juggling 3 remotes (the tv itself, the cable box, and something else) and it is just too much! Consequently, I watch only when my husband is watching something I want to watch.

    1. @Cathy – yes! Why 3 remotes? From what I understand it’s the main device, the cable box, and the sound…but why???

  3. I hate our TV too! Last time I tried it I got picture but no sound. Have basically given up and will only watch when husband is home.
    I love your list! Good luck with it:)
    I live in Norway but we are having very little snow. So not too many fun outdoor activities, it is just damp and cold. We can go ice skating outside though, and I have a goal to learn to skate backwards.

    1. @Sarah K – good luck skating backwards! We’ve done some ice skating but not too much. I’ll have to see if my kids want to try again this year.

  4. I love your fun lists, they always inspire me to make one too. I’m pretty sure Boston has a Flower Show too, and I’ve never gone, so I’ll be putting that on my fun list as well.

    1. @Lori C – you should go! Flowers are always fun to look at, and especially non-seasonally (Philly’s show is late Feb/early March, so several weeks before the actual blooms).

  5. Your fun lists have really encouraged me to make some fun lists of my own. I live in WI and winters are so long and cold. That is why I like the idea of making a list and getting it on the schedule as soon as I can, then I have something to look forward to. So far I have taken my kids sledding, we are going to go watch a Dino light show in Madison, I am thinking about Disney on Ice. We have a mini winter vacation planned in early March as well. Now I feel like I have some sprinkles of fun and have something to look forward to during the long winter months. 🙂

  6. Reading your seasonal lists encouraged me to make my own! It has been a great tool to use when planning out weekends and incentive to buy tickets to events. Some things on my winter list include playing Scrabble with some hot cocoa, completing a puzzle, and baking some fun treats. We’ve done most of the things I wanted to do, now I need to come up with more. We have a beach trip in a few weeks and I’m very much looking forward to it (have been since I booked it last July haha).

  7. We recently switched our primary residence to Jacksonville Beach, FL, and one of the first things I did was look up free activities, such as free days at museums, town festivals, parks and trails, etc. It’s so helpful to have a ready list so that when a free block of time arises, you use it for something wondrous and don’t fritter away the time figuring out what to do. My husband and I are empty nesters as of last fall so we found ourselves with a slow Thursday and popped into a new garden on the list — it was amazing. Good call on having the Fun List!

    1. @Caroline – I am a big fan of having a ready list! So good to know what is available so you don’t waste time hunting.

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