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A couple of weeks ago when a big snowstorm swept through the area, some friends of mine lost power, so my husband and I welcomed them into our home for the night. Shortly after our friends arrived, our internet and cable connection went out. Later that night, we lost power! Despite losing our modern conveniences, we still had a good time together, and it reminded me of this Waitrose ad I saw earlier this season.
The folks in the ad were trapped in an inn due to a storm, and despite the inconvenient situation, they managed to enjoy the time together. I imagine it was uncomfortable at first, seeing as most of them were strangers to each other, but then they made the best of the moment and connected with each other. Isn’t funny how at the end of the video when they finally have the chance to leave, they choose to stay? (I’m sure all the food had something to do with it!) In the same way, when we lost power at my house a fortnight ago, it forced us all to get off our phones, tablets, and computers and really be present.
This Christmas, I invite you to take a “tech sabbath.” Resist the urge to pull out your phone and instead engage with those around you. Whether you’re spending time with loved ones you see daily or only once a year, make this Christmas one where you unplug. Afraid you’ll be bored? Here are some ideas to help you get ready ahead of time.
Activities & Games:
Pull a few board games out of the closet so they’re nearby whenever someone wants to play. My favorites right now are Sequence, 7 Wonders, and Quirkle.
Create a reading nook. Put books and magazines in a basket and set it in a corner with pillows and blankets.
Set out a few extra blankets on the sofa for folks to snuggle up.
Round up crossword puzzle books, word search books, Sudoku books, etc. If you have a lot of family, you may want to have several books on hand. I like to scoop them up at the dollar store.
Play “I Spy.” This game usually entertains my nieces and nephews for 30 minutes.
Play Tic-Tac-Toe. If 3×3 games are too easy for you, play a 4×4 or a 5×5 game instead! Put a stack of white copy paper in a basket or bin with pencils so you’re ready to play.
Tell knock-knock jokes.
For creative folks, keep a couple skeins of yarn in a basket under a coffee table. When inspiration strikes, you can make festive pompoms with just yarn and scissors.
If the kids are getting restless, head outside to play a game of tag or hide and seek.
If the kids are getting too loud or rowdy, try playing Sleeping Alligators. To play, the kids must lay on the floor without talking or moving. The goal is to be the one who “sleeps” the longest. If a player moves or make a noise, they’re out of the game. Note: I find that this game doesn’t last very long, as kids are quite squirmy, but it does provide a brief quiet moment!
Ask basic questions such as: How’s life? Your job? Your family?
Do you any upcoming travel plans?
What was your favorite part of this past year?
What are looking forward to in the new year?
What’s your favorite thing to do?
What are your hobbies?
What’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
If you could be an animal, what would you be?
How are you planning to unplug this Christmas? What fun games or activities does your family like to do together? Let me know in the comments below!
Despite having a fear of heights, I strangely enough really enjoy going on rooftops, as they offer amazing views of the city below. So imagine my excitement when I found out that some buildings have ice skating rinks on their roofs! Festive fun + up high skyline views = a fantastic way to spend an afternoon or evening during the holiday season. Read on to find out more about some of these sky high rinks.
Perched on Ponce, The Roof at Ponce City Market boasts of breathtaking views of Atlanta’s skyline. I can absolutely attest to this, as I was married on the PCM rooftop 10 stories up. [What? You didn’t think an elf would have a destination wedding away from the North Pole?] Enjoy skating in this winter wonderland that includes seasonal treats, warming drinks such as hot toddies, and festive decor. After you’re finished skating, you could walk over to Skyline Park for skee ball and other games or 9 Mile Station, PCM’s rooftop beer garden with fire pits and fabulous food.
Skate the Sky
Ponce City Market
675 Ponce de Leon Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
Admission: $25 adults, $15 kids [includes admission to Skyline Park]
Skate Rental: Included!
Hours: Varies by day. Click here for details. 21+ after 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The first rooftop ice skating surface in London, Skylight sits atop of a 200-year-old building from which you can see The Shard and The Gherkin. This would be a great spot for a date, as they offer wintery drinks, such as spice espresso martinis, mulled wine, and mulled cider. If that weren’t enough, they also have cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, mince pies, and Greek fusion food, including a Christmas burger and halloumi fries. Since admission is free, you could go to Skylight to simply enjoy the views and the food before they close for the season on 13 January 2018.
Tobacco Dock – Pennington Street Entrance
St. Katharine’s & Wapping
London E1W 2SF
+44 20 7680 4001
Skate Rental: £10
Hours: Open Thursday–Sunday. Hours vary by day. Click here for details.
Head to Whole Food Market’s flagship store in downtown Austin to skate on the roof between now and 15 January 2018. An Austin holiday tradition for the last 13 years, more than 16,000 folks visit the ice rink each year. If you get hungry or thirsty while skating, grab a drink or snack at the rink-side concession stand. Or you could pop into Whole Foods to do some shopping after getting in some wintery exercise.
Whole Foods Market Lamar
525 N Lamar Boulevard
Austin, TX 78703
With 360-degree views of the Potomac River, the Key and Arlington bridges, the Washington Monument, and the D.C. skyline, the roof of the Watergate Hotel is a sought-after destination for post-work drinks and date nights. For winter they have added a ice rink, along with warm cocktails like spiked hot chocolate and mulled wine, as well as toasty snacks such as soft pretzels and s’mores. If you want even more of a festive experience, book one of the Watergate’s cozy winter igloos.
Top of the Skate
The Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20037
Skate Rental: $20 adults, $10 kids
Hours: Open Wednesday–Sunday. Hours vary by day. Click here for details.
High above the Las Vegas Strip, The Ice Rink at The Cosmopolitan has everything: 4,200 square feet of real ice, s’mores, fire pits, twinkling lights, festive drinks, hearty food, and light snow showers. What’s more, on Mondays, they play holiday movies on their 65-foot digital marquee. Upcoming films include The Santa Clause and The Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause on the 18th, Mickey’s Magical Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Christmas Day, and Frozen and The Polar Express on New Year’s Day.
The Ice Rink
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Skate Rental: $20 [$10 for local residents and hotel guests Tuesday–Thursday]
Hours: Varies by day. Click here for details.
Probably because I don’t speak Russian, I was unable to find much information about BMW Rink 354, but I just had to share some photos and a video of this rink, as it’s on the 86th floor of Moscow City OKO Tower. That’s 354 meters up! Offering an unobstructed panorama of Moscow, I’m sure the highest rink in Europe is really neat, but personally, I don’t think I could ever skate there because I’m so scared of heights. Check it out!