T his week is a total tug of war. Your downtime is likely torn between family, friends, enjoying the new snow, trying to stay fit and take care of yourself, and eating tons of celebratory holiday foods -- you know, the kind that only come around once a year.

It'll be hard to make time for your lady friend between the Christmas wind-down and the build-up to New Year's Eve. But, this window of time is an opportunity to shine as a potential partner. If you can position yourself as an integral part of her support system, you'll take over her world -- or at least have a chance to rock it.

The trick is to create a niche for you as her go-to when it comes to relaxing amid the chaos of this high-intensity time. Display your mellowest attitude, and approach her with a low-pressure, high payoff date-night agenda, and you, my friend, could leverage your budding relationship and the sentimentality of the season into a full-blown girlfriend opportunity.

So, what qualifies as the perfect date night? The choices are endless (check out the last several weeks of this column for ideas), but during the family -- and friend-infused days before 2013, relaxation and a bit of escapism, as opposed to intensity and real-worldliness, are your allies. And good thing there's always an escapist activity -- or three -- on this town's calendar. Enjoy.


Want to go big? There's almost nothing more relaxing than reggae, and Boulder's hosting some of the best this Friday at the Fox (9 p.m.; 1135 13th St.; foxtheatre.com). The Wailers -- of Bob Marley fame -- are playing a full-length show of old-school and new-era reggae hits.

Between renditions of classics like "One Love," and originals like "Shining Star," this band's relaxation-factor will be about as high as... well, the rest of the room.

The only reason that this $28 show (price at the door) isn't sold out already, is because most of the 20,000 resident fans are home for the holidays. Perfect timing to score last-minute tickets to one of the year's best shows -- and a mellow night on the town.

Are you stressing about the New Year, or feeling the pressure to come up with a plan? An awesome alternative to the glitz and glam of a Pearl Street showdown is something a bit more introspective.

This activity's a bit of a gamble -- only suggest it if you think your lady would be into it -- but consider ringing in 2013 with a midnight-spanning meditation at Boulder's Unity Spiritual Center (Monday at 11:15 p.m.; 2855 Folsom St.; unityofboulder.com). The hour-long session will bring the two of you together, but also provide some welcome relief to the hustle and bustle of the holiday.

Need something a little stronger? In general, I'm a huge fan of the brew pub date. It's a staple in this town.

Instead of hitting the noisy, crowded Mountain Sun, try something a little further off the beaten path. One of my new favorite spots -- Upslpe Brewing's industrial-chic tap room (501 Lee Hill Rd., #20; upslopebrewing.com) has live music on Fridays. This week the entertainment is a bluesy, harmonica-fueled duo whose songs will replace those lingering carols that are still bouncing around in your head; especially after a couple of milk stouts.

Kristy Holland writes about dating once a week for the Colorado Daily. Tell her about your date-night ideas at boulderdatenight@gmail.com.