It is a truth universally acknowledged that the holidays is the time to spend with those you love; whether it be over a meal, drinks, or even meeting up to see a movie. As I get older, I've noticed that my time becomes even more precious: work and the usual mundane day-to-day responsibilities crowd my schedule, and it has become harder for me to maintain my relationships...not to mention feeling tired and bored. So, this holiday season, instead of giving material gifts, I've resolved to keep the laptop closed and spend quality time with my nearest and dearest doing something together that's...well, unexpected. I've jotted down some ideas, take a look after the jump...
For me, making this list was a bit more of a challenge than just going to a store or trying to craft something. I thought about conversations that I had with each person, hoping to remember a comment or something that they might have said in passing and going from there. Bonus to this exercise? A greater appreciation for all what LA has to offer. Here goes:
- Enroll in a workout class / session. My mother is one of those people who would never do anything indulgent for herself. The idea of spending money on herself, even for the betterment of her health, would never even cross her mind. So, for her, I am signing us up for a PIlates Duet Session at the nearby studio. We won't get ripped in an hour; but it's time that I can spend with her doing something that is out of her comfort zone that I think she'd enjoy (and laugh about later, as we're both clumsy).
- Take a bike ride together, then get a beer. My dad is the exact opposite: he indulges at every whim any time he wants. As a result, coming up with a plan to do with him was pretty hard. He recently came back from Europe and marveled that Europeans seem to enjoy life more, even in the simplest of things. So I'm taking a cue from his past trip, and creating our own version: Taking a bike ride around Eaton Canyon followed by a leisurely afternoon of beer tasting at the local pub, Lucky Baldwin's.
- Skip the wildlife documentaries, go to a sanctuary. If you have a friend who loves wildlife and nature, check out this place: the Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in Lucerne Valley, CA. It's a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the preservation of wolves, and they rescue wolves from the movie industry, private owners, and breeders. Currently, they care for 16 wolves and they're one of the only sanctuaries that allow human interaction. You just have to bring a frozen chicken drumstick "popsicle" for each wolf!
- When in doubt, try trapeze. I've been meaning to do this a for LONG time with two of my pals. Lucky for us, the Trapeze School New York holds classes every week and weekend at the Santa Monica Pier. Frankly, I'm a bit terrified of this one (dizzying heights, poor upper body strength...), but it's an experience that could be worth every anxious moment.
- Spend time in the kitchen. Have a friend who can't cook (or refuses to)? So do I. For my dear friend who lives solely off of frozen burritos and El Compadre, we're going to spend an afternoon having our own Top Chef challenge: who can make better salsa? We both love salsa, but we've never made our own; so this should be...interesting. Even if the salsa ends up inedible, at least we'll be making good use of his neglected kitchen while listening to music and drinking tequila.
What are some activities that you do with your family and friends over the holidays? Share your suggestions in the comments...
[ Photo via Emmas Blogg ]