10 ways to make the most out of winter

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Photo By: Clique Images/Stocksy.

BY SUSAN HOLLIS

There is a certain acceptance felt by most Canadians when it comes to winter: It will be long; it will be cold; and it will be dreary. But these things don’t mean the end of joy!  

If anything, the inability to enjoy a spontaneous sunny beach day brings into circulation a variety of opportunities that don’t present themselves in the warmer months. These hobbity pursuits satisfy the need for comfort and connection. Here’s a short list of ideas for keeping cozy (and busy!) this winter season. 

1. Make a Pretty Wreath

Every winter, wreath- and centrepiece-making workshops are a fun and creative way to bring a dose of greenery to your home while learning new techniques that can be used year after year. Find them through local nurseries and flower shops, like Modpots and Foxglove Flowers.  

2. Get Steamy

A variety of sauna spas (finally!) exist around the city and suit both those who prefer a solo steam or want to connect with friends. The hot and cold experiences offered at spas like HAVN or Ritual give a nod to authentic Nordic traditions. Or, if you prefer the comforts of home, mobile sauna services are available through the likes of Wildwood Saunas, which will deliver a sauna complete with cold plunge and shower to your driveway. Whatever way you do it, there’s nothing like a proper sweat to put a glow on the
winter blahs. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Floating in the Inner Harbour, HAVN features cold pools, hot tubs and hand-built saunas.

3. Help Someone Else

Nothing warms the heart like helping someone who could use a hand and there are various nonprofits across the city always looking for help. Have a look at the websites run by Volunteer Victoria, the United Way, UVic’s community resource hub or the Victoria Native Friendship Society. These are just a handful of organizations that could put your skills and efforts to good use. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023

4. Play a Board Game

Perfect for teetotallers and imbibers alike, a night at a board game café like Bored with Friends on Johnson or Interactivity Board Game Cafe on Yates is a perfect way to bring out your inner child. Play old favourites or challenge yourself (and your friends) to hilarious and thought-provoking duels through any number of the creative new games on the market. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Interactivity Board Game Cafe.

5. Take a Cooking Class

Gather a group in the comfort of your own kitchen to do an online cooking class of your choosing through The London Chef. Well organized to provide the best online cooking experience you can find, these cooking classes offer myriad practical cooking tips along with delicious food while keeping you entertained by Victoria’s droll and chipper celebrity chef, Dan Hayes. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023

6. Shake a Leg

Take a touch-up or intro dance class with friends at any one of Victoria’s excellent studios through Dance Victoria’s Dance Days, 10 days of free classes and workshops each January. Hosted by experts at various locations across the city, Dance Days offers a great way to learn a new skill or rekindle a long, unused one. Keep an eye on the online schedule to find a class that suits your interests.

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Adult contemporary dance class at Seda Dance Arts. Photo By: Nicole Waugh.

7. Be a Smart Cookie

Get your host gifts ready for the holiday party circuit by throwing a baking party with friends. Each person can bring their favourite big-batch cookie recipe along with any extra ingredients not provided by the host (who can provide the basics, like flour and sugar). Together you can crank out a variety of delicious cookies and bars to divvy up and wrap in pretty packages for gifting throughout the winter season. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Photo By: Ruth Black/stocksy.

8. Quiet Your Mind

A serene way to joy and balance is through meditation, and various classes are available around town through Elements of Health, Victoria’s Transcendental Meditation Centre and the Shambhala centre. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Photo By: Mihajlo Ckovric/stocksy.

9. Sip Some Cider

It’s worthwhile to venture a bit out of the city to Merridale Cidery & Distillery in Cobble Hill, which really shines this time of year. With a charming holiday light display and a welcoming dining room for a before and/or after nosh, one can get some fresh country air while the kids run around. Plus you can wrap up with a pint of cider and a meal you didn’t have to cook yourself. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023

10. Savour Some Sweets Sights

Each December, Canada’s National Gingerbread Showcase offers a wildly entertaining peek into the minds of the creators of the sweet sculptures — while also raising raising much-needed funds for Habitat for Humanity. This year, its 15th, the event moves to a new venue, the Hotel Grand Pacific, and the theme is “family traditions,” which could take shape as anything from a beloved recipe to a celebration of friendship in baked-good form. 

10 ways to make the most out of winter - YAM Magazine Holiday Issue 2023
Gingerbread houses in urban holiday showcase, evening lights, reflections. Christmas concept