By Lia White, Arts Editor
Winter is upon us, and with it comes the much anticipated two week break where teachers and students alike are able to spend some quality time unwinding from an otherwise stressful schedule. However some of these free days can become boring or static from the lack of daily assignments and responsibilities. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to spend winter break besides lying around on the couch, although that can be just as nice too.
One of Lamorinda’s favorite winter hangout spots is the Walnut Creek ice skating rink, located at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. The cute and intimate rink is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening with friends, family, or someone a bit more romantic. In need of a cute winter themed picture of you and the group? Ice skating is a great opportunity for that. Want to get cutesy with the bae? Ice skating is a fantastic way to achieve that. Whatever the purpose of the skating experience may be, it’s also important to remember to bundle up in warm clothes, as the rink can get a bit nippy as the night goes on. However, Walnut Creek on Ice offers a large variety of warm snacks and beverages for skaters to purchase.
Visiting Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is by far one of the most popular places to visit in the winter. There are plenty of snow resorts for those who like to spend their breaks skiing and/or snowboarding. However, Tahoe offers plenty of other options for those who don’t feel like hitting the slopes this year. There’s ice skating, snowball fights, sledding, snowman building, and snowshoeing; the list is truly endless. In addition, lots of resorts host some sort of New Year’s Eve party, which can be a great way to get out and meet new people.
Making Hot Chocolate
With wintertime comes the inevitable cold season as well, and there’s nothing quite like curling up next to the fire with a warm cup of hot chocolate to get in the winter mood. While shops like Starbucks and Peet’s offer delicious variations of the original hot chocolate, often times homemade hot chocolate is the best way to go about it. There are a lot of different ways to spice it up as well, with peppermint, coffee, cinnamon, marshmallows, and of course, the all time favorite, whipped cream.
Make a Blanket/Pillow Fort
Some childhood pastimes never quite go out of style, and building pillow forts is something that people of all ages find thrilling. Most people have fond memories of crawling into a tent-like structure built out of blankets, pillows, towels, and whatever else they found around the house. As we grow older, the time used to make this cozy dens is now filled up with homework, sports, or other activities, but winter break is the perfect opportunity to bring it back. Building forts is a timeless activity to enjoy with friends or by yourself for some well-deserved alone time.
One of the best things about winter break is how much free time students are able to enjoy. With no homework to do, entire days are left open to be used at student’s leisure. There’s rarely a better way to spend a rainy day than curled up in front of the television on a hardcore movie/Netflix marathon. There are countless movie series suitable for this, such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Netflix also offers a wide variety of TV shows that are so enticing it’s almost too easy to keep pressing the “Next Episode” button. It’s also a great way to connect with friends over the break. So grab the popcorn and hop on the couch for a surefire way to relax over break.
Going to San Francisco
Another fun social activity is to go visit San Francisco, where the possibilities are endless. From Union Square to the Westfield Mall, the city has so much to offer in terms of great stores to shop at, either for some last minute holiday shopping, or for a post-holiday gift card spree. Union Square also has an ice skating rink for people to enjoy. BART is a convenient and cheap transportation option for those who don’t want to try to park in San Francisco.
For many people, giving gifts is one of their favorite things about the holiday season. Many high school students don’t have the means to spend $20 on every friend, but homemade gifts are the perfect way to make sure that everyone gets a little something special this year. The variety of these gifts includes personalized picture frames, cookie boxes, and little jars of hot chocolate mix. Stores like Michael’s and Target also carry a lot of small and relatively cheap gifts.
There’s nothing better than standing in a kitchen surrounded by hundreds of homemade cookies. The long holiday break is a great time to spend the entire day baking batch after batch of delicious treats. Some cookies require a lot of time to make, but others take no longer than 10 minutes, such as the popular turtle cookie. This tiny treats only require square pretzels, Rolos, and pecans. Place the unwrapped Rolos on the pretzels, and then put them into an oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. After taking them out, squish the pecans on top of the Rolos, let them set for a few minutes, and enjoy! Holiday baking parties with friends bring people together and elicit holiday spirits.