Ah…the holidays. It starts with Halloween. Then Thanksgiving. Followed by Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Christmas Eve. Christmas. New Year’s Eve. New Year’s Day. Cringe. Sigh. Open the wallet. Work some overtime. Try not to eat too much. Throw in a holiday party, or two, or three. I also get the added whammy of family members’ birthdays. This year, my family has a slightly different approach to the gift giving chaos. Instead of buying each other things we really don’t need, or could just purchase ourselves, we decided to enjoy spending quality time with one another through experiences and travel. Below are the adventures we will be embarking on in the New Year.
- Cooking Class
We (Me, Jason, my mom, dad, sister and her boyfriend) are going to take a Thai cooking class at the Pandan Room in Hackettstown, NJ. It is BYOB and you not only get to enjoy a delicious meal, but you get to take home everything that you cook/bake. You also receive a list of recipes to recreate the dishes at home. Phenomenal. A win-win since we all cook and spend a considerable amount of time in our kitchens. We are looking forward to a fun, hands on experience. My mom and I have taken a Vietnamese cooking class here before, and we left with our bellies full and greater knowledge about the Vietnamese culture and cuisine.
- Escape Room Challenge
Thanks to Groupon, we are going to Empire Room in Fairfield, NJ, to try to find keys, decode clues, solve puzzles, and complete a series of difficult challenges before the hour-long timer runs out. Then we plan on doing a family dinner at Jose Tejas. This will allow us to work together, have fun, and fuel up with margaritas after we use our brainpower. It will be interesting to see how an occupational therapist, police officer, massage therapist, mechanic, fashion buyer and engineer work together to solve the escape room. This is a true team building activity that is sure to bring our family closer together.
- The Big Brew Festival
Who doesn’t enjoy a good brew? I can’t wait to sample over 200 beers over a four-hour time span in Morristown, NJ on Saturday, March 4, 2017. www.bigbrewnj.com My family, friends and I will be able to spend time sipping libations, listening to bands, and trying delectable food truck menu options. If you more of a wine connoisseur, a wine festival is coming to Jersey City, NJ on January 28, 2017. www.jcwinefest.com
- Lake Placid, NY
Before we met, Jason was an avid skier. He had a ski pass and hit the slopes every weekend. I, on the other hand, can’t stand winter. I love sports, but my favorite winter sport is sipping hot chocolate and reading a good book in front of the fireplace. This year, for Jason’s combo Christmas/Birthday gift, we are retreating to Lake Placid, NY for some snow sports and R&R. Groupon has some pretty sick getaway deals, and we decided to capitalize on the hotel with many amenities in the heart of town.
What do you think? How would your significant other/family feel if you decided to do something, rather than give something? Instead of unwrapping another trinket, I want my families time and to create memories that we can all reflect upon as we age.
Through all the holiday craziness, I am looking forward to unforgettable experiences and to a very happy, healthy New Year.