L ike it or not, the holiday season is about gift giving, feasting and family. You might be “home” for Christmas, but it’s also likely that you miss your dorm-, fraternity-, or friend-fueled social life.

Unfortunately, it’s normal to sideline your own social agenda during the second half of December. Even though you’re out from under your credit-heavy workload, dating often takes a backseat while you watch football games with your old man, or help your mom with the last-minute shopping.

If you’re hitting up old high-school romances or you have a super-hot second cousin joining the family festivities, you’ve got it easy. Enjoy oversleeping, casual catching up at hometown haunts, and don’t give a second thought to your campus pals who are doing the same.

Your holiday will be different, though, if you’re lusting over a new campus-born romance or missing your long-term honey — who’s also stuck with his (or her) family until the new semester starts. But, being apart doesn’t necessarily mean you have to, or should, forego deepening your bond during the break.

After all, if you’re genuinely into each other, you may have a lot of family holidays, semesters abroad, business trips, or other upcoming interruptions to your togetherness. Why skip the bonding, just because you’re separated by a few hundred miles? Here are a few ways to feel close to your honey and even get a jump start on making your own traditions — even if you’re far apart.

Play Games: I don’t mean start playing hard-to-get or tease her that you’re going to a party at your hot ex’s house. I’m talking about good, old-fashioned board-style games on your phone, or online if you can manage to fight your siblings for a reasonable amount of screen time. Classics like Scrabble (Words With Friends), chess (Chess with Friends), and Settlers of Catan (Catan) are a few iPhone favorites. Buy the hard-copy game as a gift so you and your date can play the real thing when you’re together, too.

Just because your game is mobile, don’t drop good game-playing etiquette or let your competitive edge turn you into a jerk if you loose (or win).

Stargaze: As long as you’re both in the Northern Hemisphere, you’ll be looking up at the same big sky each night. Plan some moonlight time and bundle up, go outside and do a little simultaneous stargazing while you catch up by phone. Watching the night sky is super relaxing, being outside gets you away from eavesdropping aunts so you can be a littleromantic with your honey, and if you can point out a few of the more notable constellationsyou’ll impress your girl. Study up and be able to identify Corona Borealis and Aquila. Both are visible and have romance-inspired stories that’ll make her swoon.

Write letters: It’s easy to sext your way through the holidays, but don’t limit your contact to abbreviated quips and fleeting notes. Nothing says “I love you” like a hand-written note, but even an email communiqué highlighting your day-to-day activities with the fam can make you and your honey feel closer than normal.

Feeling frisky after a few post-dinner drinks? Before you do any holiday drinking, turn on Gmail’s Mail Goggles. The program prompts you with a simple math test before letting you send out emails, so you may avoid sending a lovey-dovey drunken message in the middle of the night.

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

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