1. Plan your dream vacation.  Remember, this is a dream and the sky is the limit!  With easy Internet access to tourism and travel sites these days, research is a breeze.  You can explore options from Venice beaches to Irish castles; Panama cruises to Australian outback hikes, and from Egypt’s pyramids to Alaskan wilderness.  By the end of winter you can have a detailed itinerary of every stop you’d want to make on ‘your trip of a lifetime’.  You can plan where you’d like to stay from an all inclusive resort to a secluded rustic cabin.  Dining options range from a picnic on the beach to five star restaurants.  Activities might include shopping, gambling, or sightseeing tours.  The longer winter lasts, the more time you’ll have to plot and plan.
  2. Take up a new hobby.  Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn?  Maybe you have no idea what you could do.  A quick look in your local paper should turn up some interesting options.  Community colleges are known for the variety of offerings they have.  Pottery, painting, writing, and photography are all popular options here.  Music stores offer classes from guitar to dulcimer, to fiddle.  There is always someone willing to give piano lessons.  Check the local craft and hobby shops.  Beginning quilting, knitting, and crocheting classes are regularly scheduled.  In some areas the local conservation or natural resources department have classes in things like snowshoe making or fly tying.  You may even find a floral arranging or cooking class.  If you are lucky enough to live close to a folk school the variety of classes available to you goes up.  You may just amaze yourself with your new skill by spring.
  3. Host a theme party.  Give you and your friends and family something to look forward too.  Everyone can use a bright spot in the middle of those long dark winter days.  Hawaiian and beach themed parties are always a hit and easy to find decorations for.  Other traditional theme parties revolve around Mardi Gras/Carnival, a fiesta, the wild west or St. Patrick’s Day.  Party supply stores stock all of these popular items.  If you want to try something different host a mystery dinner.  Adventurous guests can play the suspects and the less brave can do some detective work to nab the guilty party.  These come in many different story lines.  There is sure to be one that will appeal to you.
  4. Volunteer.  There is nothing that makes you feel as good about yourself as helping someone less fortunate. Whining about the cold loses some of its appeal when reading to a sick child at the children’s hospital.  Not up to facing those sick kids?  Every community has tons of non-profit organizations just desperate for new volunteers.  Maybe you could take your new found knitting skill from idea number two above and teach a resident at a domestic abuse center.  Nursing homes often need a fresh face to distract lonely and bored residents.  Want to get in a little exercise?  Try coaching a basketball team at the local boys and girls club.  Whatever your talent there is someone who would be happy to utilize it this winter.
  5. If you can’t beat them-join them!  As a last resort you may have to decide to embrace winter.  Bundle up and head out!  If you live in an area that sees plenty of cold snowy weather you may have to break down and pick a winter activity.  Skiing (both downhill and cross country), sledding, snowshoeing, snowboarding, hockey, figure skating, snowman building, snowmobiling, ice fishing, photography-the list does seem to go on doesn’t it?  That means you should be able to find at least one thing to do that doesn’t make you long for summer.  So what will it be?  Go on, you can do it!