Head to a Nursery
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Winter doesn't have to be dead and dreary. Head to a local nursery and pick out some colorful flowers. Many nurseries are starting to incorporate small cafes, so once you've picked your beautiful blossoms you can sit down for an afternoon tea and conversation.
Play in the Snow
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Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, recommends embracing the wintry weather: "Get involved in activities that are unique to winter that can be done with your partner." Challenge your SO to a snowman-building contest, start a snowball fight, or build a fort. You'll have fun channeling your childhood, plus it gives you an excuse to warm up by the fire afterward and get really close.
Cook Dinner Together
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Skip the busy restaurant, and cook dinner at home. Find a new recipe you're both interested to try, head to the supermarket together, and divvy up the cooking tasks. You'll be able to interact in a more intimate manner, and the food will taste better knowing you created it together (but in the off chance it doesn't, have a delivery number on reserve). Can't handle the heat? Cook in your underwear.
Look at Christmas Lights
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Seeing festive decorations is just one of the many reasons we love the holiday season. Stir up a pot of hot chocolate for two, bundle up in your cozy sweaters, and go for a stroll. Don't live in a decorative neighborhood? Most cities host light displays around the holidays (some even benefit a charity). Do a quick online search to find one around you.
Go Sledding with Friends
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Spending one-on-one time with your partner is great and all, but sometimes you need to shake things up and see other people. Call all your friends and head to the hills for a day of sledding. When you're wiped out and frozen, sneak back home with your honey for an Irish Coffee.
How to End a Bad Date
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If you're on a bad date and want to make a graceful exit, you don't have many options. You could fall back on an old classic like a phone call from a friend or you could take some of this dating advice.
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Volunteering has been linked to lowered depression, increased well-being, and a deep sense of happiness. There are plenty of opportunities to lend a pro-bono hand in every community. Offer to write cards at nursing homes, clean cages and walk dogs at an animal shelter, or head down to the local soup kitchen to serve lunch. Many communities offer a sign-up list to receive alerts when volunteers are needed for events, and church bulletin boards are great resources for volunteer opportunities, especially around the holidays.
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"Exercise stimulates endorphins and helps you feel better, so that's something a couple can do together," Alpert says. Sign up for a weekly class at a local gym with your beau (we suggest yoga, kickboxing, or a dance class). You'll get to watch each other sweat while you burn some cals. How sexy is that?
Have a Spa Day
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A trip to the spa is a great way to relax and rejuvenate after a stressful week at work. Sites like Groupon.com are always offering discounts on packages for two. Don't want to shell out the cash? Get a few oils—such as lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint—set the mood, and take turns giving each other massages at home. You'll be able to help each other relax in a super sensual way, plus who needs a masseuse when you've got a significant other?
Have a Game Night
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Pull out all your favorite games for a fun night in. Whether you opt to invite friends or keep it a private party, the games are sure to trigger memories of your childhood and have you sharing stories nonstop. Make it a competition: Set a bet before you begin, and whoever wins the most games gets a prize.
How to Get Someone to Kiss You
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If you're not the type to initiate a kiss, don't worry. It's not hard to give the green light without going all the way. Let our relationship experts teach you how to pucker up without pouncing on him.
Attend a Lecture
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Colleges and universities offer free speaking engagements that are open to the public. Check out the calendar of events for schools near you, and find one you'd both like to attend. Afterward, pick up a bottle of wine and head home to share your thoughts and reactions.
Tour a Winery
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Like microbreweries, wineries are popping up in the heart of urban areas, and winter is the perfect time to visit. Search for a winery near you, and head out for a full-day date. You'll learn a bit about the craft, get to test each other's palates, and, hopefully, get a bit of a buzz. P.S.: Check Groupon for special offers on tours. Even though it's winter, many vineyards will be open at a discounted price.
Buy Two Tickets to Paradise
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Not into wintry weather? Treat your partner to a surprise getaway. Alpert suggests planning a 3-day weekend trip to a warmer climate to give you something to look forward to, plus you'll finally get to soak up some rays, which increases serotonin and dopamine levels that up your mood. Check sites like Airfare Watchdog for cheap, last-minute flights.
Go to an Indoor Waterpark
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Can't get away for a weekend trip? Seek oasis at an indoor waterpark (hop online to find one near you). Make it a game to see who can hit the most rides and slides. When you're all worn out, head to a bar, and sip on summer cocktails to keep the fantasy alive.
How to Deal with a Bad Kisser
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You don't want to hurt his feelings, but you definitely don't want his tongue tickling your tonsils either. The DC relationship panel tackles bad kissers and how to handle them.
Brew Your Own Beer
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You don't have to be an expert to brew your own beer. At-home brew kits are the hottest new trend in DIY. Starter kits are relatively cheap—we're talking $40 for a kit that yields 1 gallon of liquid gold—and the directions are super-easy to follow. It takes a bit of time, so set aside an afternoon and prepare some snacks. Steamy tip: Bittering hops have to soak for 45 minutes, so set a timer and sneak away to brew up a little romance on the side.
Date Night In
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Stuck in a blizzard or just can't bear the blistering weather? Have a date night in. Gather all your blankets and pillows into a nest on the floor, kill the lights, start a fire, turn on ambient music, and uncork the wine. The romantic atmosphere is sure to stir some deep conversation that will make you feel more connected than ever. P.S.: Leave the electronics off.