19 Free (or Cheap) Ways to Make Winter Hibernation Fun

By Mikey Rox on 7 February 2018 0 comments

Wild winter weather keeping you cooped up inside? Cabin fever got you down? You're not alone. Send your stuck-in-the-house blues packin' with these cheap or free ways to have fun indoors while Mother Nature does her thing.

1. Challenge your partner to a cook-off

My boyfriend and I love cooking at home together, but we also love junk food, which is why our recent chicken wings and cookie cook-off was such a fun success. With our new air fryer, wings are easier than ever to make (seriously, this appliance has changed our lives!), and the cookies were a sweet juxtaposition to all that salt and spice.

2. Rent this year's Academy Award Best Picture nominees

Every year before the Academy Awards, I attend the Best Picture Showcase hosted by AMC theaters, which screens all the nominated films during two full-day Saturday screenings, or one marathon 24-hour screening that shows the nominees back-to-back.

But you don't even need to step outside in order to catch some of this year's nominated films. Check to see which films are available to rent on-demand and have your own movie marathon from your couch or bed. And don't forget the candy and popcorn! It's a relaxing way to catch up on award-worthy flicks without having to brave the elements.

3. Host a puppy party

My dog Jaxon loves his life at the beach, especially during the warmer months when we go to the outdoor doggy happy hour to hang out and roll around in the sand. He misses that in the wintertime, which makes right now the perfect time to invite some of his furry friends over for a play date. It's a win-win for both of us; he gets to roughhouse with his pals, and I get to day drink with my buddies.

4. Start bullet journaling

My lovely friend Brooke recently introduced me to bullet journaling, in which you jot down quick bullet point notes or tasks, rather than writing out full sentences, and use different symbols as a way to prioritize goals and tasks that need to be completed at different times. It's a concept that any busy person can get down with to make themselves more productive. (See also: This Simple Journal May be the Fix for Your Finances)

5. Snuggle up with a podcast

Pour yourself a cup of tea, wrap up in a cozy throw, and climb into your comfiest chair to spend a couple hours listening to an engaging podcast, like the murder-mystery serials that have been so popular over the past few years. There's a podcast for everyone, and on pretty much any subject you can think of, so your options are endless. (See also: 12 Podcasts Bookworms Will Love)

6. Create a vision board for the future

Fortify your New Year's resolutions with a vision board that helps you "see" your goals on a regular basis while you think about how to achieve them. Use your old magazines and newspapers as source material.

7. Prep your taxes

Tax prep isn't exactly fun, but it has to be done. Motivate yourself with the prospect of that helpful refund. And even if you don't get a refund, it'll give you peace of mind to know what you owe and give you plenty of time to get your finances in order before Tax Day. (See also: 12 Things You Should Know About the New Tax Law)

8. Plan a cheap, adventurous weekend getaway

You don't have to go far to experience something exciting and new. It doesn't have to be expensive, either. Hop online to plan a local getaway filled with low- or no-cost activities like hiking, biking, open-mic nights, bingo, and bar trivia.

9. Put on your cold-weather gear and play in the snow

During a blizzard a couple years ago, I ventured outside in all my snow gear and made my way to the downtown area for brunch and drinks. I ran into friends along the way, helped a few folks get their vehicles out of precarious positions, and got in a pretty good workout from all the treacherous ground I covered. It was honestly one of my best winter memories to date.

10. Try a new soup recipe to warm your soul

What's more satisfying than a hearty homemade bowl of soup on a chilly day? From-scratch soups are kinda my thing lately, but if you're imagining slaving over a pot for hours, think again. The ones I like go from pot to table in about 30 minutes. A quick search on Pinterest will get you started. (See also: 20 Cheap and Easy Soup Recipes)

11. Build a grown-up fort

Tuck the corners of your extra flat sheets from one drawer to another around your room and act like a kid again. Make the covered space cozier with pillows, blankets, your favorite person, snacks, and devices to keep you two entertained.

12. Feed the birds

Gather a few pinecones, slather them with peanut butter, and roll in birdseed before hanging from your porch or trees. Watch all the beautiful birds — like colorful cardinals and jays — stop by for lunch.

13. Clean out your closets and sell what you don't want

Organizing closets and drawers is my idea of fun when there's a payoff involved. Gather your unwanted, in-great-condition clothing and send to an online consignment shop like Swap.com. I've made over $300 on the site just by selling the clothing I no longer want. (See also: Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps)

14. Treat yourself to a DIY spa day

Exfoliate your body, make a DIY facial, and give yourself a mani/pedi before slipping into a warm, bubbly bath with a glass of wine (or two), and your favorite reading material. (See also: 9 DIY Beauty Masks Made From Food)

15. Turn snow into ice cream

You only need three ingredients besides fresh snow to make snow ice cream: sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. It's worth a try at least. (See also: 9 Ways to Put All That Snow to Good Use)

16. Crank up a few of your neglected appliances

I have several appliances that don't get as much use as they should, like my popcorn and waffle makers, which makes a hibernation day the perfect time for a popcorn and waffle party.

17. Rearrange your furniture

Repositioning your furniture can give your place a whole new look and feel. Switch things up while you have some time on your hands.

18. Use your holiday gift cards to shop online

Shopping is definitely one of my favorite pastimes. And there are lots of great sales this time of year, including post-Christmas and winter clearance, and President's Day (which is one of the best shopping weekends of the year, by the way).

19. Start a scrapbook of your recent adventures

My boyfriend and I just went on an incredible trip to Colorado Springs. So much nature and adventure at every turn (I recommend getting out there if you have the opportunity; you won't regret it), and we have lots of photos of the memories we made, which is the perfect starter material for a scrapbook.

Of course, you don't have to go anywhere to start a scrapbook of your own. You probably have photos and mementos of past vacations and special occasions lying around the house right now that you can use to start your own scrapbooking project. Plus, Valentine's Day is coming up, and this would make a thoughtful gift.

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Wild winter weather keeping you cooped up inside? Cabin fever got you down? You're not alone. Here are some cheap or free ways to have fun indoors during the winter. | #winter #winterseason #christmas

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