The holidays are upon us, which means all the peppermint-infused, ginger-spice laden, fancy-schmancy holiday drinks are coming out in full force. After a particularly brutal US election, and with 2016 finally coming to a close, the idea of a holiday gathering has become more or less synonymous with "occasion in which I will drink as a coping mechanism."
It makes a fair bit of sense, really. Holiday work function? Add alcohol. Dinner with the extended family? Mulled wine, please. Racist cousin defending Trump over turkey dinner? Double rum and coke, and hold the coke.
But there's still one battleground where there's fair reason to steer away from the holiday drinks - the dating game. While social lubrication can feel like a god-send on a first Tinder date, when you're really getting to know someone, it's nice to be clear-headed and show them your true-blue sober self.
So whether you simply don't drink ever, are taking a strategic break from alcohol, or are just wanting some inspiration for really fun, original ideas to do with your significant other or long-time crush, here are some intoxicating date ideas that don't involve getting literally intoxicated:
Wander through the mountains on snowshoes
Get out into the great outdoors. The Pacific Northwest is like a ready-made playground, and filled with romantic winter wonderlands to experience on snowshoes this season - go for a trek, make some snow angels, and warm up in a mountain-top chalet.
Go to a drive-in Christmas movie
Definitely one activity that shouldn't involve alcohol anyways! Canada's Only Christmas Drive In at the River District Vancouver is hosting two days worth of festive Christmas movies on Friday December 11th and Saturday December 12th. Bring some popcorn and sweet treats and enjoy some holiday classics.
Take a holiday train ride around Stanley Park
Remember getting so excited for this as a kid? It's actually just as lovely now - with festive tunes, thousands of lights, hot coco and roasted chestnuts for sale, the Bright Nights Christmas Train (starting November 28th), is as festive and adorable as ever.
Dinner with a view of the city lights
The Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant provides some of the best views of the city - enjoy dinner at a novel spot with views of Vancouver lit up by Christmas lights near and far.
Volunteer together at a Vancouver food bank
While we should all do what we can to help out year-round, as we count our own blessings with the new year, it's prime time to give back to our communities. With many Vancouverites living in poverty, why not take your date to a volunteer shift at a food bank or community kitchen and do something to help those in need?
See some live poetry at Cafe Deux Soleils
A funky and awesome spot on Commercial Drive, Cafe Deux is the ultimate date night spot when you want some entertainment -- with poetry slams happening each Monday and a regular schedule of improv, storytelling, and open mic nights, Cafe Deux is a fantastic place to cosy up and support local talent.
Channel your inner book nerds
Personally, I find few things more attractive than someone who's excited about books. And a sure-fire way to tell if you're compatible with someone is if you're okay sitting with them in comfortable silence. Why not peruse one of Vancouver's many used book shops and cosy up reading in a local cafe?
Go iceskating outdoors
With many outdoors ice rinks in BC to choose from, you can either take your date to downtown Vancouver's Robson Square or else on a day-long excursion to some very special outdoor rinks. There are few things that say "adorable holiday date" like a few loops around the ice rink hand-in-hand.
Stargaze in comfort - at the Vancouver Space Centre
Saturday evenings at the Space Centre, there's a 'Universe in a Night' show at 7:30pm and 9:00pm. Or else be like Ross and Rachel in FRIENDS and have a romantic picnic under the stars at the observatory. Either way your date will be over the moon.
Build a gingerbread house (or a whole little village!)
Put your inner-architects to the test. With the housing market in Vancouver as it is, this may be the closest you and your significant other come to designing your dream home for awhile - plus it's a fun and delicious way to get in the holiday spirit.
Cut your own tree at a U-Cut Christmas tree farm
Out in Richmond, BC there's a U-Cut Christmas tree farm where you can cut your own Christmas tree. With various fields of trees, a blazing fire (over which you can roast hot dogs!), hot apple cider, and a pre-cut lot for all you lazy folk, this U-Cut Christmas tree farm is an adorable spot to venture to with a date before warming up indoors by a blazing fire.
Indulge your sweet tooth over chocolate fondue
A prime dessert choice (or, um, suitable as the main course), chocolate fondue is a great option for an evening date. Nothing beats fruit and sweets dipped into hot melted chocolate. Check out the award-winning Mink Chocolate and then go on a stroll through Gastown for a truly romantic Vancouver date night.
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