Skaters swirl around the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. Skaters swirl around the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. Skaters swirl around the skating rink at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. (Photo: Chris Hondros / Newsmakers/Getty Images)

5 ways to embrace winter with your loved one

The cold months are known as cuffing season, when singles like to pair up and go on dates. But what's there to do when the weather's not great? An expert weighs in.

Did you know that it's cuffing season? What is cuffing season, you ask? It's become a popular slang term in recent years to describe how people tend to seek out relationships more during the wintertime. After all, who wants to be all alone during the cold winter months? By definition, snuggling requires another person.

So let's say you're ahead of the game, and have already met that special someone. All that's left now is figuring out what to do when the weather's not great. Have no fear; we've brought in an expert. We dialed up Daniella Rudoff, an Israel-based matchmaker and relationship coach, for some ideas on the ideal winter date. She's set up hundreds of singles and has spent countless hours counseling couples. (She even offers online dating courses for the relationship-challenged.)

This cuffing season doesn't have to be spent alone in your apartment. Grab your partner and get going...

Go to a museum or a bookstore

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City offers plenty for the couple wishing to explore. The American Museum of Natural History in New York City offers plenty for the couple wishing to explore. (Photo: Clari Massimiliano / Shutterstock)

Despite their ubiquity, a coffee or dinner date may be a tough first outing because it requires constant conversation. That can lead to some awkward lulls, especially if it's early in the relationship and the chemistry hasn't kicked in yet. Head to a museum instead. Besides being warm and toasty indoors, a museum provides the perfect setting for a new couple. For starters, there are a multitude of museums – covering topics as diverse as archaeology, architecture, science and fashion – so there's plenty to choose from to keep you both engaged. The exhibits provide multiple talking points and possible entryways into deeper conversations as you move from room to room. A bookstore is a similar situation, and one that Rudoff herself chose for her first date with her now husband. "We met in a Barnes & Noble," she said. "The idea is that you're not stuck just talking to each other, but there is a distraction. And that's nice because then it takes away the pressure and stress of that first date."

Attend a cooking class

A bottle of wine and a couple of hours spent learning how to make the perfect wintertime soup is sure to make your loved one (and your stomach) happy. Experts have long pointed out that going out of your comfort zone and having new experiences with your partner provides an opportunity for growth in a relationship. Looking for something to quench your sweet tooth? Try a cake decorating workshop. What better way to impress a future spouse than by showing off your fondness for food prep? If you want something a little less formal, Rudoff suggested going on an early morning hike and bringing along a single burner camping stove. You could make hot cocoa or even shakshouka. "It doesn't always have to be a night date," she said. "It could be a Sunday morning hike in the woods and it's really romantic."

Participate in a winter sport

You can look at ice skating as either a challenge or an opportunity. You can look at ice skating as either a challenge or an opportunity. (Photo: Fotoliza / Shutterstock)

Going ice skating or skiing can bond a couple, especially if the two of them have varied skill levels. "They could discuss whether one of them has the patience to teach the other one and you could see how they react," Rudoff explained. The one with less skills shows humility, while the other partner can showcase their ability to encourage and cheerlead from the sidelines. "The one who is a good skater gets to show their compassion," she said. She recently went skating with her entire extended family at an ice rink in Jerusalem, even though she had some initial reservations. "I was nervous about it," she admitted. "But once I got on the ice skating rink, I was flying because I used to ice skate. It was like getting back on a bike kind of feeling." It also helped her bond with Josh, her husband of 24 years. "I was so scared that I would hurt myself, but Josh was really patient about it. It was like a real date, even though we were there with everybody else. So it was really fun for me in the end."

Volunteer together

Volunteers prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the needy at St. Anthony's Dining Room in San Francisco. Volunteers prepare a Thanksgiving meal for the needy at St. Anthony's Dining Room in San Francisco. (Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

No matter the weather outside, there's ample opportunity indoors to show your date – and others – that you're a caring person. Stop by your local pound and see if they need help with the rescue dogs. Call a nearby hospital to check if any lonely patients need visitors. Spending your free time volunteering with a partner – whether it's in a soup kitchen or at a charity event – allows you to see how well you and your loved one work together. "You're feeling good about yourself and you're not focused necessarily on being on a date," said Rudoff. "You're able to focus on something else. And you're able to share that with somebody. You're doing something nice for other people and it takes the tension out of the clinical dating process." Not to mention you're doing good for the world.

Think outside the box

Bowling may seem old fashioned, but it's become trendy recently among the hipster set. Bowling may seem old fashioned, but it's become trendy recently among the hipster set. (Photo: Orlando/Three Lions / Getty Images)

Sure, you could spend all weekend bingeing shows on Netflix, but where's the fun originality in that? Rudoff had some other suggestions. Test your perseverance by signing up for some dance lessons or work on your conflict resolution by teaming up in an escape room. One of her favorite winter pastimes is something she did growing up: bowling. "I wouldn't suggest it as a first date, since one of you will always be bowling and you'll never get to talk," she explained. But it works perfectly for when you're further along in the relationship. "You can flirt and laugh about different things or be very competitive, but in a fun way," she said. Most bowling alleys also have pool tables, which is another game Rudoff recommends. "That's a fun thing to do," she said, before adding with a laugh, "if you're good at it."

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5 ways to embrace winter with your loved one
It's cuffing season, when singles tend to pair up. But what's there to do when the weather's not great? Here are some ideas.