blog, Fun 4 Girlz

Three Surefire Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

It’s January.

It’s cold.

It’s raining.

(At least it is here at Girlz 4 Christ headquarters in the beautiful PNW.)

Let’s face it–for many of us, January is the month where we find ourselves in a bit of a mood slump. We say goodbye to the beauty and magic of the holiday season, and welcome in a month of…nothingness. If you’re like me, January seems to stretch on endlessly, with NOTHING fun on the horizon.

But I’m here to say…let’s change that! Let’s plan something fun for the weekend that will give us something to look forward to and help us beat the winter blues.

 

1.) Spa Day In!

Who doesn’t love a good manicure, pedicure, or facial? Even if you’re on a budget, you can easily recreate a relaxing spa experience in the comfort of your own home. Invite a few of your best girlfriends or make the day all about you! Either way, you’ll find yourself feeling recharged and refreshed.

Find a soothing, spa-like instrumental playlist online, and light a candle or two before giving yourself–and maybe a friend or two–the works. Trying to save money? There are plenty of recipes online for inventive and inexpensive face masks that you can make with a few basic ingredients found in your kitchen. Even the simplest brand of lotion can feel positively luxurious if you spread it on while giving your hands a mini-massage.

If you’re feeling really fancy, break out a robe and slippers and read a new book or magazine while you let your mask set or your polish dry. Make a day of it by brewing a pot of herbal tea or making a jug of fruit-flavored spa water. You could even buy a few healthy snacks (think fresh fruits, trail mix, or veggie sticks and hummus) to munch on in between treatments.

Most of all, focus on relaxing and recharging–it’s important for your inner beauty as well as for your outside appearance.

 

2.) Cooking Competition

It’s tough to shy away from a challenge…especially one that promises to yield delicious results! Grab a friend or two and set a timer–may the best dish win! There are several different challenges you can participate in, or you could come up with one of your own!

  • Grocery Store Showdown: If you’re looking for a good reason to get out of the house, then this one is for you! Head to the closest grocery store and give yourself a set amount of time in which you can shop for ingredients for your meal, then throw in a twist. Maybe you can only buy ingredients that start with a certain letter. Maybe you can only shop in the even-numbered aisles (or vice versa). Or set a budget: no more than $10–or $20 if you’re feeling generous! Then race back home and set another timer before you start cooking. Ready, set, GO!
  • Pantry Powwow: This time, there’s no trip to the grocery store to help you out. Everything in your pantry is fair game…but that’s it. Missing a key ingredient? You’ll have to improvise! Make sure to set a tight time limit to heighten the tension.
  • Mystery Ingredients: Invite your friends and ask each of them to each bring a “secret ingredient” (make sure you have one too!) then put them all together and unveil them, like on a TV cooking show. Divide into teams, work together, or go mono e mono. May the best chef win.

 

3.) Make it Bookish

Gather a group of friends who enjoy reading and read the same book. When you’re done,  meet together and discuss the story. Sound too much like a book club? Add an element of the extraordinary by challenging everyone to come dressed as their favorite character. When you meet, prepare a meal or snack mentioned in the book–or get creative and come up with your own menu! You could even try your hand at an activity described in the story. If there’s a movie version of the book, turn it into a movie night complete with PJ’s and popcorn. Below are a few books that Girlz 4 Christ suggests:

  • Porch Swing Girl, by Taylor Bennett (Contemporary Christian YA with a summery setting on the beach in Hawaii!)
  • Roomsby James L. Rubart (A breakout speculative Christian fiction novel with a BIG twist at the end.)
  • The Tethered World by Heather L. L. Fitzgerald (A book–the first in a series–filled with fantasy and flights of fancy, all written from a Christian worldview.)

 

We hope one of these ideas sparked something in you…here’s to surviving the rest of the winter with NO MORE boring weekends! Have any more ideas to add to this list? Drop them in the comments.

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12 Christmas Gifts You Won’t Find in a Department Store

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree?!

What a gift! Obviously, after spending all of their money on leaping lords, swimming swans, and golden rings, the singer’s true love ran out of ideas. Or money. Or both. After all, how hard is it to catch a bird and stick it in a tree?

All joking aside, it’s hard to find that special something for that special someone during the holidays. Somehow, even four-story department stores seem to be bereft of that perfect gift. Which is why we’re here with twelve of our OWN gift ideas–there’s sure to be something that will spark your gift-giving creativity. (And we can guarantee that there aren’t any birds, milkmaids, or leaping lords involved)

 

1. Date Night in a Box

Treat your parents or another couple you know to a ready-made date-night, complete with tickets to a show or a restaurant gift card, a sheet of fun couples’ conversations starters, a box of chocolates, and a coupon for free babysitting while they’re out on the town!

2. Recycled, Upcycled, or Vintage

Sometimes a trip to the thrift store can be even more fruitful than a trip to the North Pole itself. If you’re searching for a unique piece of home decor or a quirky, one-of-a-kind fashion accessory, antique or thrift stores might be your answer. Be creative and see everything for what it could be–maybe that cracked teacup won’t ever hold a drop of water again, but it could make a great planter for a succulent plant!

3. Gifts That Keep Giving

Purchase a magazine subscription, or splurge on a “subscription box” that suits the recipient’s tastes. Maybe they’re a foodie and would appreciate new inspiration from either a cooking mag or “foodie box” filled with unique snacks and treats from around the world. Maybe they want to grow in their faith and would appreciate a subscription to a faith-based magazine (G4C might fit the bill!) or a box filled with items that would inspire them in their walk with God.

4. Coupon Book

It’s one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give…and it’s free! Create a booklet of coupons–give your mom certificates for neck or shoulder massages, offer your brother a free room cleaning, or guarantee Dad you’ll help him get the Christmas decorations stored back in the attic–no grumbling! Your coupon booklets can be as small or as extensive as you want, and you can get creative with hand lettering or a word processor to create a gift that perfectly fits its recipient.

5. Movie Night in a Box

Who doesn’t love a trip to the movies? But instead of giving someone a gift card to the local theater, gift them a box filled with everything they need for the perfect at-home movie night. You can go simple, with just a DVD, bag of popcorn, and movie candy or you can make it more elaborate with cozy blankets and movie-related merchandise.

6. Write Now

Find a fill-in-the-blank book that you can use to tell your BFF how much you appreciate her, compile a binder of your family’s favorite secret recipes, or pen a poem to tell someone how much you appreciate them. Few things are as powerful as the written word…put it to good use this Christmas and watch as your carefully penned sentiments touch the hearts of those around you

7. Spa in a Jar

Gift your mom, sister, aunt, or girlfriends with the ultimate spa-day-in-a-jar. Stuff a wide-mouth mason jar with nail polish, a face mask, mini bottles of soap and lotion, bath bombs, and anything else that speaks spa–don’t forget a gourmet truffle for recipients to munch on while they’re pampering themselves.

8. Sports Star

Surprise your sports-loving pals with a piece of their favorite team’s merchandise (shirt, cap, poster, etc.) AND make their day with an invitation to an at-home tailgate the next time their team’s game is broadcasted on TV. When it’s party time, offer a few plates of snacks, plenty of comfy seats, and an opportunity for the two of you (and even others!) to bond over sports…let’s hope you both root for the same team! 😉

9. Christmas!

While it might seem strange, Christmas decorations can sometimes make the perfect gift for that Christmas-loving friend of yours. Fill a box with fun and quirky ornaments for them to hang on the tree next year, or gift them that adorable Christmas mug they’ve been eying…you can never have too much holiday cheer!

10. Study Buddy

Make sure your friends are well-prepared to go back to school after the holiday with a school survival kit complete with novelty erasers, a notebook or planner with a cute cover, study snacks, and (if applicable) a coupon for a study session. Make going back to school after Christmas vacation just that much more bearable 😉

11. Encourage a Hobby

A new set of drawing pencils, a colorful skein of yarn, or anything else that will get someone’s creative juices flowing are always appreciated. Know someone who’s on the hunt for a new hobby to pursue or an unusual art form to try? Get them a DIY kit that will teach them the basics of needle felting, paper quilling, or bead making.

12. YOU

Sometimes the best gift you can offer others is simply yourself! Make a promise to spend time with someone special–offer to pack a picnic, plan a girls’ day out, or take your younger siblings to the water park. So many gifts can get broken, eaten, or lost under a bed, but memories of good times spent with a special person will never fade.

 

Do you have any more ideas for creative and heartfelt gifts? If so, drop them in the comments!