Originally posted Dec 6, 2013 on LadyLux
The holiday season makes budgeting a bit tight, so it’s the best time of the year to opt for inexpensive date nights with your honey. Better yet, there are a multitude of holiday-related events to enjoy, from going Christmas caroling to sledding or touring holiday light display.
Here are 20 creative ways to have a great date without spending a fortune:
Wine and Cheese
Nibbling on cheese and sipping wine at home can be just as romantic as a fancy dinner out – and it’s more intimate and it doesn’t come with the hefty price tag. The fruity, nutty taste of Le Gruyère, such as Emmi's Kaltbach Cave-Aged Le Gruyère AOP, works wonderfully with a bold red wine, such as Syrah.
Most cities, big or small, have a local ice skating rink where novice and expert skaters alike can partake in this winter activity. It's the perfect opportunity to bond with your love and fit a little exercise into your date night, according to Lori Bizzoco, founder of CupidsPulse.com.
To really get in the holiday spirit, buy tickets for a local production of "The Nutcracker" or "A Christmas Carol." Since you're both most likely familiar with the story, buy the cheap seats, sit back, and enjoy the show, Bizzoco said.
Enjoy your neighborhood light displays. It's time to take advantage of the beautifully-decorated homes in your area. Fill two travel mugs with hot chocolate and make sure you have your favorite holiday music handy for your drive, Bizzoco said.
Make s'mores at home. Why not enjoy the winter wonderland in your own backyard? Stock your kitchen with graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows and light a fire in your chiminea. Roast your marshmallows as you share your favorite childhood memories from this special time of year, Bizzoco said.
Enjoy a night of board games with your sweetheart. Pull out the old classics, from Monopoly and Life to Scrabble and Clue. Add in a few newer favorites, such as Scattergories or Cranium, to mix it up. And if you’re feeling naughty, adult board games such as Embrace or the Kama Sutra will definitely get his attention. Some relationship experts say that fun is one of the best aphrodisiacs.
The holiday season is full of stress, so slow down, relax, and find some inner peace in a couple’s yoga class. Most studios are $15-$20 per person, depending on the city, so that’s an affordable night out.
Learn more about each other by playing the songs you loved when you were a kid or a teenager. Take turns sharing stories about what memories they bring up, from your eighth-grade dance to the first concert you attended. It's a great way to get to know someone better in a low-key way.
Entertain at Home
Host a gathering of your favorite people. Invite a few couples over, make a festive pasta dinner or fondue and play holiday games or opt for your annual viewing of “Elf.”
Have your sweetie help you make Christmas cookies. You roll out the cookies, and he decorates. Or if he’s the chef, let him do the hard work! Afterward, make a cup of spiked coffee and sample the treats.
Everyone can go sledding – not just kids. Find the biggest hill in your city’s park, and enjoy! Don’t have a sled? No problem. Do what the kids used to do – take a trash can lid and go old school.
A Day at the Museum or Zoo
Visit a zoo or museum in your town, or science center, or somewhere you haven’t been to since you were a kid. Enjoy it anew with your honey by your side.
Go out for Ice Cream
It's never too cold for ice cream. An ice cream date is a great departure from the standard drink meet up. And the alcohol-free zone gives you a chance to remember every detail your date offers up, suggested Suzanne Casamento, founder of Fantasy Dating.
Walk in a Winter Wonderland
What's better than a walk and talk? Add a snowy atmosphere and you'll have a fairy tale like date, Casamento said.
The beach is not just for summer. Grab a coat and head to the coast. Waves crashing, salty air and cold sand in your toes will invigorate you and your date, Casamento said.
Act Like Kids
Enjoy a day in the great outdoors. Build a snowman, go tubing or snowshoeing, or throw snowballs. Play like a kid again, Casamento said.
Yes, visit Santa. Together. Sit on his lap, get a photo made, and tell Santa what you want most for Christmas. And hopefully your sweetie will be paying attention.
Attend a Winter Festival
There aren't as many festivals in the winter, but the ones that exist are magical. A lot of zoos and parks have a festival of lights, where you can walk through in a romantic wonderland. Lights go up before Thanksgiving and usually stay up just past New Year's. Some are drive-through and some are walk-through. Enjoy them all.
Christmas caroling is always fun. Even when it’s nippy outdoors, it’s fun to join others and sing the holiday classics. Take cups of hot chocolate and you’ll be set.
Go to the fanciest bar or restaurant in town, in the tallest building, and order a cocktail and enjoy the view. You can linger and enjoy the romantic setting without ordering a pricey meal.