5 Best Winter Hobbies Anyone Can Do
As the days get shorter and temperatures drop to all-year lows, it’s easy to get caught up in seasonal blues. The stress of coordinating a feast, decorating and shopping for the holidays can also leave you feeling drained. While it’s always a good time to drink hot chocolate, wear a pair of woolly socks and turn on a movie, winter can be a great time to check items off your bucket list and start the new year with a bang. Picking up a hobby (or three) is a great way to ward off cabin fever as well as round out the year with a few more skills to show off to family and friends. Here, we’ll share some of our favorite outdoor and indoor hobbies for winter that is beginner-friendly and to do by yourself or with a group.
1. Learn Recreational Snow Sports
Who said that there’s nothing to do outdoors in the winter? From fat biking to skate skiing to snowkiting to snowshoeing, there are more forms of recreational snow sports than you can possibly learn in a single season. And while downslope skiing and snowboarding are all-time favorites, you can still get a great workout with alternative snow activities, and save a bit of money while you’re at it. If you love walking and are up for a low-impact aerobic exercise, take up snowshoeing, the fastest-growing winter sport in the world — all you’ll need are snowshoes and (optional) poles, along with warm winter attire. If you live in an area without access to nearby slopes, consider investing in a fat bike, which looks kind of like a cross between a moped and a bicycle. You can use your fat bike all year round to navigate tricky terrain, but riding it through powder can give you an intense cardio workout. At the end of the day, even just getting out and walking or running through the snow is better than lounging around at home all day.
2. Make Your Own Rugs and Textiles
Who doesn’t love cozying up on a warm rug when it’s cold? This year, you can try your hand at making your own. It takes some practice to get the hang of it, but the payoffs are well worth it. Not only is a DIY rug cheaper than what you’d find at your favorite home or bedding store, but you can customize your textile to the exact color, shape, and design to fit your home style. If you end up loving this indoor winter hobby, you can even make custom rugs or wall pieces as holiday gifts for your friends and family. To make smaller pieces that you can hang on the wall or use as accents throughout your home, check out the punch needle technique. All you’ll need is a punch needle, monk’s cloth, yarn, and a hoop (or frame). For larger pieces, consider investing in a tufting gun, which uses a mechanical shuttle to hook the yarn through the cloth to help make your designs come to life in less time, with less effort.
3. Add to Your Party Game Collection
You’ve probably heard of or played games like Cards Against Humanity, Monopoly, and Life, but there’s a whole world of tabletop fun that you can explore. As far as indoor hobbies for winter go, party games are relatively inexpensive and can last forever. Whether you’re playing with one other partner or entertaining a small dinner party, it’s never a bad idea to have several party games on hand. If you’re looking to play with a partner or a roommate who loves the outdoors, check out Parks, a New York Magazine-featured game where players take on the role of hikers who navigate different trails and collect memories of the places they visit. For a three-person-plus gathering, try your hand at Quickwits, a fast-paced card game where players name items within certain categories and descriptions as quickly as they can. Note: Quickwits is meant for ages 16 and up. It’s best played with friends you’re comfortable with — one product tester said it “truly delivers on its promise to make you think faster and yell louder than your friends.”
4. Create Room for Planned (and Random) Acts of Kindness
The holiday spirit is about kindness and joy, but the people you pass at the grocery store or on your way to grab a gift may actually be going through a difficult time. Giving back to strangers and peers, even in the smallest ways, can feel especially rewarding this time of year. This season show your healthcare workers some love by sending a card (a digital one works just fine). You can also add a Starbucks gift card — or a gift card of your choice — to bring them a little more cheer. Working remotely? Take the time to send an email, Slack message, or other thoughtful note to your coworkers, expressing how much you appreciate them. Zoom call a friend or coordinate a Houseparty meet-up to catch up! It’ll brighten their day to know you thought of them. For more ideas and inspiration, you can check out this list.
5. Take an Online Cooking or Baking Class
Quarantine may have already made you a better cook, but you can step up your game with nourishing soups, stews, and sweets by watching an online cooking tutorial. (If you have a roommate or partner to feed, even better!) There are plenty of free videos available on YouTube to start with — check out channels like Tasty, New York Times Cooking, and Tipsy Bartender to follow along with Samin Nosrat as she makes the perfect lasagna, learn a 100-year-old tamale recipe from the oldest Mexican restaurant in L.A., and top it all off with a Blue Moon mango margarita. If you want to plan a date night and take a cooking class from a seasoned pro, look into Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street, where Milk Street teachers and recipe developers run 60-90-minute classes on Zoom. Want access to lessons from multiple world-renowned chefs? Sign up for Masterclass — the “Netflix” of learning — and get tips on everything from knife skills to recipe preparation from the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, and Alice Waters.
Find Storage for Your Winter Hobbies
Picking up winter hobbies doesn’t have to take up space. If you want to store your snowshoes, skis, or holiday decor once the season ends, consider keeping them safe in a storage unit. Instead of cluttering valuable space, you can put any unneeded items in a SmartStop Self-Storage unit, which is secure, clean, and climate-controlled to protect your belongings. We have affordable storage options around the U.S. and Canada to meet your storage needs, without fine print or strings attached. Visit our blog to learn more about tiny house ideas and the smarter way to store your household items!