Written by: Jude Bokovoy
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – try a few of these activities to create some cheer. Whether one is religious, nonreligious, a homebody or adventurous, there is always a way to celebrate the holidays.
Ice skating — Very similar to roller skating, ice skating can be a great way to spend time with family, friends or even a date. Portland’s Lloyd Center is a great skate spot. Best of all, they have a beautiful gigantic Christmas tree right in the middle of the rink. For events, hours and pricing visit their website at lloydice.com.
Decorate a gingerbread house — What better way to spend an evening with loved ones than by creating an intricate treat to display? There are many different themes, structures and candy selections that can be used to customize one’s house.
Secret Santa — This is a great activity and reason for new and old friends to get together. Secret Santa’s are easy to arrange if one sets a budget, sends out the results via the app Santa’s Secret Keeper and has everyone name some gift ideas they would enjoy. Turn it into a longer celebration by having a meal together and watching a festive movie.
Christmas lights in Keizer — Each year the Keizer Police Department hosts a food drive in an extremely lit up neighborhood. Nearly every house in each cul-de-sac is decorated with lights, inflatable decorations, music, nativity scenes and so much more. This neighborhood is marked with a street sign that reads “Holiday Lights” and is guided by lit up police snowmen signs.
Shop for decorations — It is very easy to get overwhelmed with all the decorations and stores to choose from when looking to make one’s home jolly. Hobby Lobby in Salem and Albany is full of amazing decorations, trees, pillows and much more for 20-60% off. But once the Thanksgiving feast is devoured, so are their shelves.
Holiday movies — One of the easiest ways to unwind and get into the holiday spirit is by watching a nostalgic holiday movie. Some festive options include “Elf,” “Home Alone,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “A Christmas Story.”
Find a Christmas tree — Whether it’s in the forest, at a tree farm or in a store, the perfect Christmas tree is waiting to be picked. To ensure the best outcome, measure the height and width of the place a tree will be placed in one’s home before buying.
Make snowflakes — Paper snowflakes are just the thing to spruce up any environment. Since they’re easy to create, require minimal supplies and look like real snowflakes, this craft is truly one of a kind.
Deck the halls — The time has finally come to completely remodel one’s home into a winter wonderland. Some key elements to keep in mind are planning a consistent color scheme so decorations don’t clash, making sure everyone in the household likes the decor and most importantly, having fun while decorating.
Christmas Eve service —- For some, Jesus is the reason for the season. A good way to celebrate and feel more connected to a church community is by attending a Christmas Eve service.
Make a winter dessert — Sweet treats fill one’s home with great smells, allow one to share with others and create something to look forward to until they’re all eaten up. Follow this recipe for Winter Forest Cupcakes — they won’t disappoint.
WINTER FOREST CUPCAKES
Start to finish:
Yields: 24 cupcakes
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 ¼ cups water
½ cup vegetable oil
30 mini waffle cone ends (amount may vary depending on decorative preference. These can be found at Trader Joes or Grocery Outlet)
1 cup white frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
10 drops green food coloring
Start by preheating the oven to 325℉. Combine cupcake mix, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, then fill with mixture till ⅔ full. Bake for 15–20 minutes, then leave out to cool. Using a piping bag and a round tip, create a swirl with white frosting leaving an empty border. Place the desired amount of cone ends with the point facing up. Divide the remaining white frosting into as many different bowls as one would like shades of green. Add drops of green and blue food coloring to each bowl until desired shades are acquired. Frost each cone using a small star tip tool, creating spikes that represent a douglas fur tree. If only using one piping bag for each shade of green, start by completing the trees in the lightest shade then transition to the darkest. To finish, dust each cupcake with powdered sugar to create a tasty, snowy scene.
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