February 6, 2013

10 Warm Dates for Cold Winter Nights


























With Valentine's Day just around the corner it seemed fitting to write this post now. There are certainly more than 15 great date night ideas out there, but these are some of my favourites. As my husband and I are still trying to watch our wallets, I am particularly fond of these date night ideas as they are relatively cheap, and in some instances they are virtually free!

1. Have a Movie Night
I don't know about you, but there is an extensive movie collection in my house. My husband is a movie collector, and I won't lie - we both enjoy scrounging through the $5 bin movie bin with the hopes of finding a "good" one for cheap. Over the years we have amassed a massive movie collection that just begs to be watched. So rather than splurging to go to the theater, why not stay in {and stay warm} at home with an old favourite.

2. Make Hot Chocolate
Despite my chocolate obsession, I am not the biggest fan of coffee shop hot chocolate. I find it to be too sweet or too tart  or too sticky, or lumpy; it's just never right. However, making homemade hot chocolate is a fun date night activity, and it allows picky hot chocolate connoisseurs like me the ability to control the sweetness or the amount of lumps in the drink. Or, try a variation on the original, such as a vanilla hot chocolate!

3. Play a Board Game
Nothing like a little friendly competition, right? This is also a great date night when hosting other couples, because it is such a versatile idea {in that you can play individuals, teams, etc} and most everyone loves board games. This idea can also be great fun when combined with #6 below!

4. Make a Charcuterie Plate
You have to eat dinner, so why not make it a little unusual and interesting with a charcuterie plate for two. The price of this 'date' will be dependent on how much of a gourmand you are, as in if you only eat the most high-end meats and cheeses then this could very easily become a pricey date night very quickly. But checking out the deli section of your grocery store as well as store-brand cheeses can make a charcuterie quite affordable, and delicious! If you need some inspiration, check out my Fig and Brie Appetizer recipe for an easy go-to for getting your plate started.

5. Skip Dinner, Have Dessert
Not the most healthy of dates, this one is certainly one of my favourites, in moderation of course. How many times have you sat in a restaurant and taken a sneak peek at the dessert menu before you even considered your entree? Maybe it's just me, but I do this all the time. So as something out of the ordinary {and much cheaper than having a full course dinner and dessert} why not skip dinner and go straight for the good stuff!

6. Play a Drinking Game
Though not the most healthy or cheap {not to mention socially responsible} idea, playing a drinking game with your date can be a fun date idea to bring out your competitive sides. When my husband and I were in university we chose to play a round of beer pong just the two of us, and it was great fun to change the game based on the setting and the number of participants. This idea can also be added into other date night ideas, such as having a movie night {#1 above} in order to spice things up.

7. Have Dinner in a "Hole-in-the-Wall" Restaurant
When my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we made a point of walking about the city in order to find the restaurants that were not frequented by tourists. There is a saying, that you should eat where the locals eat, and we did just that. We ended up finding some amazing little restaurants that we would have otherwise missed, and had some of the best food of our lives as a result. So why not try taking a walk or drive through a part of your city that is known for it's diverse restaurants and pick one you have never been to before. Also keep in mind that some of the best restaurants are often the ones that look the worst from the outside!

8. Snuggle Up by the Fire
Not a glamorous date by any means, but one of the most comfortable! Put on a warm sweater, grab a blanket, and perhaps make a hot chocolate or hot vanilla {as suggested in #2} and enjoy the warm of the fire and the pleasure of each other's company.

9. Take a Cooking Class
Another great idea for getting out of the house while staying warm, taking a cooking class is a perfect winter date night activity. Not only are you and your date able to spend some great time together, but you will likely learn how to make a great dinner that you can make at home {which is another great date idea}.

10. Get to Know Your Neighbours
Perhaps by now you are getting a little bored of hanging out just the two of you? Why not invite your neighbours over for a drink {and perhaps a second rendition of the charcuterie plate mentioned in #4}. You and your date will get to enjoy each other's company, but you will also {hopefully!} make friends and find another couple that you will be able to "double date" with in the future.

Photo Credit: Green Wedding Shoes

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