Sometimes it takes more than turtle doves and partridges in pear trees to get into the holiday spirit. For those of us who end up feeling a bit Grinchy around mid-December—due to shopping chaos, the stress of family members coming into town or a deep-seated hatred for the ceasless stream of Christmas music that begins prior to Thanksgiving—here are a few ways to get into the ho-ho-holiday spirit in the next 17 days.
1. Watch some favorite kiddie films. Conjure up some nostalgia for Christmases past, and remember the joy of waiting for Santa Claus. Try Home Alone or animated classics Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
2. Go sledding. Bundle up, grab a sled and go find some snow. But if you're slinging back a few adult beverages beforehand, be careful. As one slightly inebriated, slightly injured sledder said succinctly, "Drunk sledding hurts."
3. "Watch It's A Wonderful Life." The Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise provides for a perfect viewing of It's a Wonderful Life in a venue with an incomparably-cool vintage vibe.
4. Watch A Christmas Story. Something about Ralphie's sense of childhood wonder—and subsequent disillusionment—make this holiday classic unforgettable.
5. Make a gingerbread house. Even the baking-impared can pick up a pre-fab kit and put cookie walls together with pastry-putty.
6. Watch a movie about someone who lacks more holiday spirit than you. Sometimes feeling cheery by comparison works wonders. Try The Grinch—both the Jim Carrey version and the cartoon original will do. Or for a more adult take, check out Billy Bob Thorton's complete disdain for Christmas cheer in Bad Santa.
7. Host an ornament-making party. Ornaments are simple, inexpensive and entertaining to make. Clear-glass Christmas tree balls, glitter and hairspray allow for even the least crafty to have a good time and make something original.
8. Start the day with a dark chocolate peppermint mocha. Let no calorie be spared and go for Christmas in a cup.
9. End the day with a Christmas beer. Try Bridgeport's Ebenezer Ale, with its lingering chocolatey flavor, or Sierra Nevada's spicier Celebration Ale.
10. Pick up the tab for someone you don't know. The "pay it forward" idea is becoming increasingly popular. Next time you're in line at the coffee shop or the dry cleaner, pick up a tab for the person behind you. It's contagious it feels good.
11. Better yet, volunteer your time. 'Tis the season for giving.
12. Go ice skating. Head out to Idaho Ice World and rent a pair of skates. It's guaranteed to make you feel like you should be on a christmas card.
13. Check out Idaho Botanical Garden's Winter Garden aGlow. This is definitely a spectacular sight that can only be witnessed during this time of year.
14. Go look at Christmas lights. Scope out holiday zealots' handywork. Lights are best toured with warm beverages, fun friends and a chauffeur.
15. Go see Ballet Idaho's production of "The Nutcracker." It doesn't take a deep love for ballet to appreciate the holiday vibe of this Christmas classic.
16. Shop smart. You probably have to go out and buy something, but maybe don't fight the crowds. Shopping for unique gifts from local, out-of-the-way shops makes the daunting task of acquiring presents much more fun.
17. Put cookies out for Santa. Setting out a plate of treats can bring back some fun memories ... and make for a convenient breakfast in the morning.