February 18, 2014

{Almost} Free Ways to Enjoy Winter

It's easy for this southern girl to come down with a bad case of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder - not a misnomer) during the winter months in Seattle. I know, I know... the grey is haunting and beautiful and full of life. 

Still, it is as if my brain refuses to acknowledge what my makes my heart swell. No matter how many comforting mugs of tea I drink, no matter how many pauses I take to gaze onto the beautiful blue lakes in our neighborhood, my brain is screaming for the sun. I plead silently - "Do you not see the white capped volcano in the distance? Or the jagged peaks of the Olympics to the west? How are you not happy with all this jaw-dropping beauty around you?"  But alas - I still feel blue.

What's a girl on a budget to do? It isn't as if I can afford to drink all day long every single day. Just kidding. Still, my point remains.  It's tough to find things to do that 1) won't break the bank and 2) will actually lift my spirit.  

Over the holidays, I carefully poured my heart into decorating for Winter Solstice during my time off. Our trusty tree ($40 at Target) is holding up nicely, as are the fake snow and random collection of ornaments. One stop at Ross Dress for Less resulted in two Yankee holiday candles at $10 each, which is less than half of their retail price.

Voila! A cozy and festive home that helps me remember all of the things that inspire me this time of year.  Evergreens, snow, warm fire, and mementos from years past. Throw in a bottle of whiskey and some delightful holiday tunes, and even my brain has a hard time hating life.

Other festivities included a two hour twinkle light and holiday carols filled sailing on the lake with some of our dearest friends.  Many of the large companies in Seattle charge insane ticket prices for cruises during the holidays, but the Fremont Avenue sails at a fraction of the price: less than $20 per ticket. Light refreshments are included and there is no corkage fee for booze brought from home. Perfect! Going for a sail on this little boat is one of my very favorite things to do in Seattle, with unparalleled views from the water and a delightfully non-corporate atmosphere. It feels good to support small, local businesses with character! Fortunately, the boat sails year round with a famous Sunday Ice Cream Cruise that is heavenly.

There are always fun and frugal things to do if you are willing to talk to the locals in your town!

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