Thursday, December 5, 2013

30 Holiday Date Ideas

The holiday season can be overwhelming. There is so much fun and activity, lots of time spent with family and friends -- but don't forget to spend quality time together as a couple! Here are some fun date ideas for the holiday season. 


1. Go ice skating. - bundle up and hold hands!

2. Get coffee/hot chocolate at Starbucks. - Yeah, it's expensive. But get red cups and have good conversation. :)

3. Window shop downtown. - Check out cute shops that you normally wouldn't go to. 

4. Look at Christmas lights. - You can search online and see if there are any known elaborately decorated houses near you. 

5. Bake cookies. - Go all out and make them from scratch, or get some slice and bake ones and decorate them. Don't forget the milk! 

6. See a matinee movie. - Less expensive and a fun change to do during the daytime. Or search for a $1-$2 theater near you.

7. Go to the dollar store or Five Below and pick out some gag gifts for friends or family. - You know your brother-in-law would love that Justin Bieber light-up pen.

8. Make an Operation Christmas Child box or two. Fun for you and for the kids who get the boxes - win/win!

9. Serve at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. - Find one you can help year-round, not just during the holidays!

10. Have movie night at home. - Redbox, Netflix, or ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas would give you some great options. Make a fort or pallet with lots of blankets and pillows and try to actually watch the movie without falling asleep. :) Or go through movies you already have. It's easy to forget ones you'd love to re-watch!

11. Go underwear shopping for each other. (This is for married couples, obviously, haha.) - How long has it been since you got lingerie? It doesn't have to be expensive, places like Kohl's or TJ Maxx have good stuff! And American Eagle has some great holiday guy underwear. :)

12. Go bowling. - Such a classic date night. Who cares if you're any good? Be silly. Have fun. 

13. Have a reminiscing night. - Watch your wedding video. Look through old pictures. Bust out the yearbooks. Watch home movies.

14. Deliver candy or cookies in your neighborhood. - Complete with Santa hats!

15. Have a board games/card night. - A few board games we love that can be played with two people: Monopoly Deal, Ticket to RideFlash Point.

16. Make a Top Ten of 2013 list. - Take time to remember all of the amazing things you did together this year. Is there anything you loved that you could recreate before the year is over?

17. Make a music video. - Pick a song. Maybe a Christmas song. Either plan out the dancing or freestyle. Hilarity is sure to ensue. 

18. Have a Minute to Win It night. - Have minute challenges with household items. Raise the stakes and make bets with each other to increase the competition!

19. Make a fire and s'mores. - Either make a fire in a fire pit in your backyard and cozy up together, or make a fire inside and toast the marshmallows in the oven. :) 

20. Recreate your first date.

21. Read a fun book together. - This may sound boring, but we love to do this and my husband isn't even an avid reader like myself. We've liked revisiting childhood favorites together (like The Great Brain) and now we've been reading Jim Gaffigan's book Dad is Fat which is hilarious (and we don't even have kids yet). 

22. Go dancing. - I don't mean in a club. I mean go salsa dancing. Or shagging. (Side note - apparently shag dancing is a North Carolina thing? I thought it was everywhere, but alas, it is not. Please look up videos and go shag dancing or try it at home. Do it.)

23. Make Christmas ornaments. - Get as crafty as you want or go old school with popsicle sticks or paper plates. I'm sure Pinterest has approximately 4722 ideas for this.

24. Go on a scavenger hunt. - You could set up a special holiday themed one for your spouse that includes a favorite dinner spot and dessert!

25. Visit a nursing home together. - Read the Christmas story in Luke to residents, or be bold and sing some Christmas carols to them. :)

26. Make a gingerbread house. - Start from scratch or buy a kit from somewhere like Michael's.

27. Go thrifting. - Everyone knows I love thrift finds on the daily, but this could be a fun date idea. You can find cute vintage Christmas decorations at thrift store or pick out hilarious outfits for each other.

28. Attend a play or ballet. - Obviously A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker would be good choices this time of year!

29. Make your ultimate Christmas wish lists. - Go all out. I mean if you could have anything in the WORLD. For instance, mine would say a pet fox. A real life R2-D2. A dish washing fairy. You get the idea.

30. Have a video game night. - This is the most fun in my opinion when you have old school gaming systems such as Super Nintendo, Playstation, or N64. Just don't fight too much about who gets to be Mario and who has to be Luigi...



Hopefully those ideas get your wheels turning about what you can do with your significant other this holiday season. For ideas of what to do at your Christmas party, click here!

Ashley

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3 Wise Words for the Holiday Season

I was reminded of something yesterday through Lara Casey's Instagram that I had read before, but had completely forgotten about and NEEDED to read. It was a quote from Shauna Niequist's blog that is perfect for the holiday season.

Three Words:

Present Over Perfect.

With so many plans, distractions, and good intentions for Christmas we can become a little crazy. As in running around the house throwing dirty laundry into closets begging your husband to vacuum the pine needles on the floor and wrap his parents' gifts oh wait where are the the presents probably in the closet under the laundry well crap I accidentally bought a large oh there's the doorbell people are here I forgot to preheat the oven the lights on the tree just went out we forgot to do the last couple days of advent what are the visitors going to think and ceramic baby Jesus fell on the floor and broke and now I'm crying crazy. Sound a little familiar?

I was already stressing out before Christmas season even started about when we were going to decorate and get our tree. But Thanksgiving is so late this year! I said. It will be December 2nd when we're back from the Thanksgiving beach trip! I complained. Whatever shall we do! I cried.

Well, guess what? We got our Christmas tree December 2nd and it was magical and everything is just fine. Nothing happened because we didn't decorate early. If our Christmas party was tomorrow and the tree was still naked it would be just fine. 

 

I tend to get a little (okay a LOT) stressed and overwhelmed when lots of plans and parties and traditions and obligations are happening all at once (a.k.a. the holiday season for everyone). Just ask Jordan. Well, if you ask Jordan he'll probably just chuckle and not say anything bad about me because he's really sweet but in his head (and to me when we're alone) he'll be like yeah Ashley can be a crazy person.

And it's not like it's just with worldly things -- I can be like this with the good things. The "Jesus is the reason for the season" things. We can be so tired from having people over that our eyes are barely open and I'm like JORDAN WE HAVE TO DO THE JESSE TREE (our daily advent devotional) because I'm worried that we're not talking about Jesus' birth enough. Which defeats the purpose because then it's about me and not about Jesus anyway. So now that you know how ridiculous I can be and why these words from Shauna help me so much I will share them with you. :) You can read her whole blog post here, and please do, but I'll provide some quotes.

"You can show up with your perfectly wrapped grab bag gift & your perfectly baked cookies...and your perfectly resentful and frazzled self, ready to snap at the first family member you see. 
Or you can choose to rest your body & nourish your spirit, knowing that bringing a grounded, present self to each holiday gathering is more important than the gifts you bring."

"I co-hosted a party the next night, and one of the things I brought was...frozen meatballs. You know I love to cook, and I was planning, of course, to make them from scratch. But it was too much -- time and energy I don't have in this season. 
And, of course, no one cared. That's the lesson in this for people like me who sometimes get wound up about doing things perfectly...90% of the people in your life won't know the difference between, say, fresh and frozen, or handmade and storebought, and the 10% who do notice are just as stressed out as you are, and your willingness to choose simplicity just might set them free to do the same."

Wow. What a perfect example. It reminds me of when Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and Matthew is like YES and then has a feast for Jesus at his house with a bunch of other tax collectors. I bet Matthew didn't have time to make all of the food from scratch or fully clean his house! He just DID it - present over perfect - because he loved Jesus. 

Shauna then goes on to present her "guiding thoughts for this season":

"Present over perfect.

Quality over quantity.

Relationship over rushing.

People over pressure.

Meaning over mania."

This is going to be my mantra for the holiday season. For the glory of God. For the love of friends and family and anyone God wants to be in our home. Present over perfect. I'm so thankful the Lord sent me that reminder. I want to put it up on my wall somehow so I won't forget. I know I will forget in stressful moments, but I pray that I will quickly remember. 

With that said, tomorrow I'll be sharing some Holiday Season Date Ideas with you! Because one thing that should NEVER take a backseat during this season is marriage. :) 

Ashley

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